Cha Cha on the Rocks with a Moldy Twist

Jan 27, 2023 | Blog Beat, CCRx*

I’m sure you’ve noticed. I haven’t mentioned my budget in a while.

You thought I gave up, didn’t you?

The truth is, I didn’t give up, but I also didn’t try for most of December. …or November, if I’m being honest.

My budget was broken anyway.—According to my bank account, I had about $10,000 less than my budget was telling me. What kind of budget tells you that you have more money than you actually do?! The broken kind.

Instead of fixing my budget, I ignored it. I vaguely navigated through the holidays, knowing about how much money I had, and generally how much I was spending.

Shortly after the new year, I ran out of excuses. I needed to balance my budget and clear the transactions that had piled up in my notifications.

After a few anxious hours of sorting through money spent, I cringed at my basic mistake.—I set up YNAB to import my credit card purchases as a debit (money in). I adjusted the numbers to credit (money out) and mourned the loss of $10,000 that never existed in the first place.

Knowing my work was far from finished, but also exhausted from my efforts, I closed my budget app and went back to Wordle. Although I was pretty sure I had stopped the source of the compounding budget, I still felt defeated, incapable of ever getting the handle on my money.

A few weeks of Wordles passed.

Yesterday I braved myself to return to my budget. I logged into my You Need a Budget (YNAB) dashboard and took a deep breath.

I navigated to my banking budget and clicked, “Reconcile.”

“Is $this your current balance?” asks the YNAB popup.

Hands quivering, I opened another tab and logged into my bank to compare.

“Yes! That IS my current balance!!”

One account reconciled, I moved on to the credit cards.

The first credit card is the one I use for most things. My day-to-day charges. But also things like tickets and hotels. (It’s probably not the best credit card to use for those things. But I get points back on Amazon, so at least I can reap the rewards right away.)

“Is $this your current balance?” asked my budget.

Yes! That IS my current balance!!

I was f*cking shocked.

I braced myself for the next card. My budget showed my balance as -$11.40. My guess was the transactions had stopped importing. Something broke [again] on the back end that connects YNAB to my banking institution.

I opened a new tab and logged in.

“Is $this your current balance?”

Yes! That IS my current balance!!

Holy smokes. My balance was -$11.40. (I guess I just paid my bill? — Note to self, look into auto-pay date.)

The excitement continued when my budget matched the balance of my third credit card.

I felt a wave of confidence. For the first time in my life, tracking my transactions, and managing my money.—Let’s call this Step 2 in Making My Dreams Come True. (Moving to where there is no winter was Step 1. But that’s another story.)

So that was yesterday.

And this is today.- Mold.

Mold! I found mold in our bedroom!

For the second time.

The first time I saw the mold was a few weeks ago, after a substantial rainfall by Socal standards. It was growing along the baseboard, mostly hidden by my rolling rack of hanging clothes.

We—I mean Justin—bleached the baseboard, and scrubbed off the layer of mold. And I moved on.

Until today, when I noticed the mold again. It’s grown back! This time even worse.

Again, how long has it been growing that I haven’t noticed? What else aren’t I noticing?

I look closer and see a patch of fuzzy dark green that definitely wasn’t there before. The virus has spread to the adjacent wall.

For once, my ignorance is not bliss! I am miserable knowing that I’ve been sleeping in a moldy room.

I texted my boyfriend. “The mold is back in the bedroom and it’s worse!!!!!”

Is there a more justified use of the exclamation mark?

Yes, I believe there is…

I am a budgeting queen!!!!!!!!!!!!

Originally from the east coast, Cha Cha lives in southern California with her fiance (he’s a plumber) and their bob-tailed cat, Copper Soup.

As a woman, Cha Cha spends her time writing, reading (though not as much as she wishes she did), watching Project Runway (way more than she wished she did—especially since the show ended in 2019), trying to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day (otherwise, she won’t leave the house because she works from home), learning how to manage her money, and talking to herself out loud.

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