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A End of Summer Challenge


The end of summer is upon us. And I realize that it is hard for many to save money or reduce spending this month. Back to school clothes, back to school supplies, school expenses and so on. And of course, the temptation of tax free weekends in many states. (Yes, I know to steer far away from that one!)

But this month’s challenge might help with all of this…and it’s twofold!

  1. First, redo your budget. It’s the time of the year when you start a new routine. Summer crazy is over. The holidays will come up quickly. So sit down with a calendar, a calculator and your spouse, if you have one, and create a financial plan for these end of the year months.
  2. Second, have a sit down with your children (that are the appropriate age) and not only talk about your family budget and priorities, but also encourage each of them to create their own budget. Whether they get an allowance, earn money from chores or are old enough to have a job, there is no time like the present to open the dialogue about how to manage their money.

This is something I do with my kids regularly. While only the twins have their own budgets, Gymnast and Princess have been involved in many family financial planning sessions. And this week, Princess, History Buff and I will sit down and talk about our plans for the end of the year.

We are going to Texas for Thanksgiving again. Airline tickets have already been purchased (using our AA vouchers.) And we are waiting to hear from Sea Cadet when he will have a break and may can come for a visit.

So do you accept the challenge? New budget for the fall? Have a family financial discussion? Let me know how it goes or if you have tips and tricks from your own family financial planning.

Hope’s 2019 Fall Budget


This summer has been overwhelming for a number of reasons. While the work and financial front has been steady and growing, my personal life has been CRAZY with a capital C. I am so ready for the steadiness of the school year schedule. The calmness of having just two kids at home, and really only one I have to coordinate with, and the predictability of the events to come. That has not been the case this summer with so much change and upheaval.

The BAD community is obviously angry at me for purchasing a newer used car. That I am not surprised at. But the anger and the hatefulness spewed has been a bit much. I am not the only blogger who has does this kind of thing…even Beks latest update revealed how she and her husband back slid.

My decision to purchase the car was one I didn’t make lightly. Seriously, I had over 3 months without a car to think about what kind of car would be best for me, for Princess and for the life that is to come next. And while I had planned to wait until next May to make a purchase originally, the BAD comments on letting my son’s be more independent and not putting them (or my grandmother) on the hook for my decisions/driving were spot on.

A New Budget for the Fall

The good news is that I think you will see from this budget update why I felt like I could afford to make the purchase now, even though it did require a new debt.

But first, this is what I thought my summer budget would look -> HERE. Then I had my car wreck and revised my budget to THIS for the summer.

And then this is my new budget for the Fall.

Hope's Fall 2019 Monthly Budget

DescriptionMonthly Budget
EF Savings + 10% of extra income$100
Household (hygiene, cleaning, etc.)$10
Auto - Gas$100
Auto/Rent Insurance$300
Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash)$185
Life Insurance$23 (paid quarterly)
Buffer - Savings
Kids Activities$50
Auto - Maintenance/Fees$30
Debt Payments - minimum payments
Car Payment$700
Student Loans$307
History Buff's Contribution($245)
Total Personal$2,993
Regular Income$3,850
My business covers expenses not listed here: internet access, health insurance, phone service and business travel and work expenses.

The Details and the Changes

I think this budget is the biggest change of all previous budgets. Of course, there are lots of changes here at home too.

EF Savings

I’ve been putting $100 each month into my EF fund. In addition, as my income has grown, I have been putting 10% of each additional paycheck into my EF fund. And my plan is to continue that as my business continues to grow.


I actually think my grocery budget is going to be less than this, especially for the next couple of months. We used a good chunk of our cash budget last month to stock our freezers again. The local Quality Food had a Truck Sale and we stocked up with meat and frozen vegetables. But I didn’t want to under-budget and be stuck.


This is an estimate as I don’t know what the costs are going to be on a regular basis. But I am pretty confident we can get through each month with just 3 tanks of gas based on the current plan.

Buffer Categories

Each of the buffer categories feeds into a savings account. Most of the numbers have come down for one reason or another.

  • Kids Activities – no plans for this money at this point, but hindsight and the new school leads me to prepare for the just in case.
  • Gifts – this covers our Christmas and birthday presents. This number has not changed from the previous budgeted amount.
  • Clothing – this number has been cut in half. With Princess set for the school year with her school uniforms, it’s really just my needs as they arise (and I am not a clothes person at all) and then summer clothes for Princess and the occasional clothing item for one of the boys.
  • Travel – this number has been cut in half. With half of the $1,300 in American Airlines vouchers from our Texas trip, I covered our travel to Texas for Thanksgiving. And the remaining vouchers should more than cover any trips for Gymnast over the next year. I will still have to cover extraneous costs – food, lodging, etc. as needed so want to be prepared for that.
  • Auto – hopefully, with a newer car we won’t have to dip into this at all except for the regular maintenance. Oil changes, tire rotations…

I think most everything is pretty self explanatory. My Regular Income is contract work that provides a steady income stream and has been steady for several months now with no change in sight.

As for the question of health insurance, etc. as previously posted, my business covers my business expenses independently of my personal income. And this budget is my personal income only, and does not include my business.

What to Do with the Extra?

Right now, my budget is showing about $1,000 “extra” per month. I have several thoughts on this:

  1. I could take less income and put the money back into my business. This is a definite possibility as my business has been growing substantially over the last 6 months.
  2. I can build my EF substantially faster.
  3. I can help Sea Cadet with some of his medical bills. He is on a payment plan with each of them.
  4. I can pay off my two remaining debts much more quickly.

I have not decided on the best course of action. And it might be doing a combination of any or all of these options. For once, it is nice to have options.

I have tried to be very thorough with this budget and think of everything coming up in our lives through the end of the year. If I missed something, please bring it to my attention.