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January Budget

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My monthly budget for the first month of the year has been updated to reflect some of my goals and also my passions and pursuits. I believe this illustrates the quote on my 2019 financial vision board, which explains that the way people spend and save money is a reflection of their beliefs and desires. My January budget shows my goals to save 25% of my income, plan ahead for any possible expenses, and my personal (non-financial) goal to value my health.

The budgeting strategy that works best for me is to have a weekly budget and a monthly budget. My weekly budget is simple, as I allot $110 to weekly expenses with $25 to gas, $20 to personal/household use, $50 to food, and $15 to any cheap dining out. My monthly budget was a bit more complex and I needed to find a great tool. After experimenting with several budget planners, I found this one that I absolutely love and have used it since. It separates fixed and variable expenses as well as debt repayment and it easily shows the monthly total, yearly total, and yearly percent of an expense. I downloaded both my weekly template and this monthly template from this site with lots of great templates http://templatelab.com/budget-worksheets/.

Savings

I have $3050 of income for the month of January. I saved 20% of my income as it shows above in the debt repayment section of my budget. $525 is going to my Bank of America credit card balance and $85 is going toward my student loans. (Although Excel is showing my debt repayment to be only 14%, I also include my rental income for one of my houses here so it skews my total income.)

 

Non-Recurring Expenses

I am also planning ahead for any possible expenses. There are some expenses that I can easily plan for on a monthly basis. This budget planner lists my small recurring expenses such as my wellness plan for my dog ($35 monthly). I am also budgeting for an upcoming trip ($100 monthly for the past few months) and a birthday party that I am planning for my dad ($40 monthly for the past year).

My goal for the new year is to be better prepared for non-recurring expenses. For example, I was on the road a lot for the holidays and I know that my car will need some work soon ($90 one-time payment). I am also staying on top of my wellness and although I am not sure if I will need to, I have allocated money for a doctor visit ($40 one-time co-pay). Any surplus amount from these funds will go back to my debt reduction.

Me-Money

Lastly, I have budgeted money strictly for myself. I believe in frugality but also believe people should do the simple things to keep them happy and maintained, whatever those personal things may be. This month, $50 is budgeted toward my nails. Sometimes I play with this number. For example, in the winter months I can stretch pedicures and I also never get a manicure, only polish changes. I also get gel nail polish because it last a full month. This simple mani/pedi time was satisfying for me this month.

I’m looking forward to staying both my weekly and monthly and will keep you posted!


No Spend January

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I have decided to start my 2019 with a bang! Our No Spend October led to an incredible last quarter for us financially. Some of my financial highlights from the last few months were:

  • Saving $1,700 for a Thanksgiving trip to Texas
  • Paying an extra $2,500 toward my tax debt
  • Putting $1,000 more towards my EF

Why Another No Spend Month?

With that being said, I have decided to do it again. Here are my thoughts on why this is a great month to do it:

  • My pantry is stocked with the last of our food stamps.
  • All of the kids have their winter clothes in order.
  • There are no kids activities until the middle of February. (Princess is going to play on a rec volleyball league beginning mid-February.)
  • It’s cold and rainy  outside so staying home is always a great idea.
  • The new semester of school is starting, with all three in college classes, so they will need study time.
  • And there are no holidays or birthdays coming up.

It’s the perfect time to do another No Spend Month.

Having the motivation to meet or exceed my last debt payoff prediction, and it being the first of a new year which always means new beginning and new hopes for me, it’s a great time for me to laser focus on work. Not only continuing with my current workload but also expanding and growing as well.

What is a No Spend Month?

What this No Spend Month will look like:

  • Other than paying the month bills, there will be no extraneous spending (no eating out, no entertainment, no shopping.)
  • No grocery shopping unless absolutely necessary. We will essentially eat through the pantry as much as we can. (Which is going to mean more Chicken Noodle soup than any of us like since I accidentally bought two cases instead of one.)
  • All budget money that is not a monthly bill just gets stockpiled.

There are two exceptions to the No Spend rule though:

  1. My car is due for an oil change and tire rotation. So that money will be spent this month.
  2. I have to register Princess for the rec volley ball league staring in February this month. I believe it will be about $60.

My goal is twofold:

  • Stockpile money without thinking about it since I try not to look at the bank accounts during no spend month (so I’m not tempted to make rash decisions.)
  • Grow my business by being laser focused on work and homebound without distractions.

I will tell you this now. I may have already mentioned it. We are planning to go back to Texas for the kids’ Spring Break. It is not in my budget. And I’m going to have to put some thought into it. Before you say “Oh, Hope, not again,” my mom’s health is not good. I don’t want to have any regrets for not being there. And I don’t want my kids to have those regrets. That is the sole reason I will make that trip again. There are just some things that are worth more than money.

Want to join me with #nospendjanuary? Use the hashtag on your Instagram to share your money saving, free entertainment and financial wins through January. Follow the hashtag #nospendjanuary and encourage others on this debt free journey!