With it being the first weekend in October, the tingling sensation to go out and buy everything pumpkin, boots, flannel, and anything fall is literally gnawing at me. It is taking every ounce of my will to not go to HomeGoods or Kirkland’s (or Michael’s thinking yeah, I totally can craft…). I love fall and everything that comes with it, especially being outdoors or bringing the outside in! I love to decorate and I love to warm up the home with scents and flavors of fall. There is something about roasting acorn squash or baking maple cookies during this time of the year…
But alas, with this time of the year comes the mental recollection that the holiday season is literally around the corner. There are 90 days left of the year (okay, less than that but I didn’t want to officially panic) and for my family, the holidays also mean birthday season (my husband, my father, then me…)! So I cannot overindulge despite my inner Martha Stewart wannabe.
So I am taking some time to make some budgeting plans, which will be a challenge with a couple of travel opportunities coming up. But I need to make sure that I have all my affairs in order so I am making some drastic changes!
As you may know from earlier posts, my husband and I are saving a LOT of money by cooking exciting new meals at home during the week (and cooking them together is a great way to spend time together AND cut down on the time it takes). Sunbasket has been great and with their organic menu, we are eating cleaner and healthier while saving money — now THAT is a win-win. If you are interested in getting a box of your own and saving $40, I do have an affiliate code you can use: click here.
So with groceries off the list, there are a few other items we have to account for, like bills and yes, some fun even for an introvert like myself! So here is the plan for October:
I get paid bi-weekly and get my paycheck a day early thanks to my wonderful bank. I get those funds deposited into a checking account. So I am allocating my take-home into four expense categories:
Let’s start with the “Savings” expenses:
I immediately, and automatically, pay myself in terms of a savings account. I consider ‘savings’ as a bill so without thinking, I set an auto-transfer and don’t touch that account. It is associated with my checking and is a fail-safe in case of a rainy day but otherwise, I don’t acknowledge that account at all. So ~10% of my pay, every paycheck, goes here.
Then I look at “Standard” expenses:
This is the bulk of my expenses as I strive for a debt-free lifestyle (with the exclusion of my student loans because, well, education isn’t free).
So in this bucket are expenses like rent, credit cards, utilities, and car payments. This is ~60% of the month’s income.
Withdraw $100. That is my spending limit for anything frivolous outside staple items like medication or groceries. So if I want to go out at lunch or want to go to the movies – that’s all I have for the whole month. ~2.5% of the month goes here.
Miscellaneous expenses or emergencies:
Use my debit card and spend less than 10% for the month. This is for those desperate food cravings or emergency items that we didn’t have in the house. When we can, we go to our local farmers’ market for those one-off items like zucchini for bread or peaches for dessert. “Miscellaneous” items do not count towards frivolous purchases like clothes, makeup or unnecessary items (see how that works?).
Only allowing myself $100 cash means I will not need to go into my wallet to grab a card OR allow me to spend any additional money. Credit cards should not see any daylight with the exception of our rental car or hotel (this is a preplanned trip). And if I don’t have the money, there is no way to spend it -so I have to spend wisely! I also have gift cards that I can and need to use so those will come in handy.
So inquiring minds want to know… What are you doing to prepare for the holidays? How do you budget? Who is ready to join me!?