Lemme tell y’all, I have been trying to sit down to write this post for ages. Things have been so hectic around here for the past 2 weeks, I was afraid I was never going to get around to this post. But today, I finally have a nap time where the house isn’t a complete wreck and I don’t still need to eat lunch, so conditions are perfect! As always, the month flew by, but I’m not even going to try act sad about that fact because the month of March means spring is here! The cold weather was fun for a bit, but I think four months of coat weather is enough for me. As I write this, it’s sunny and in the low 70’s outside. I might actually start wearing shorts again this month!!! Y’all, I am seriously brimming with excitement.
I decided to also start a spring cleaning project this month. And I started with my finances. I was realizing that my percentage calculations for income and expenses were a bit off because I wasn’t including the twice yearly contributions to my husband’s 401K as a part of his benefits as well as our deducations for medical, dental, life insurance, the health savings account, all that good stuff. While I decided to keep my budgetted percentages the same, the actuals are a little different from previous months, now that all the other stuff is factored in. So here’s how we did for February:
February 2016 Budget Review
Essentials (50% of budgetted 45%)
The grocery expense struggle is real, y’all. I have been beating myself up because we haven’t been able to get this number lower. I kept all of our receipts from the month to try to figure out what the extra costs are. And when I added up all non-essential food & drinks purchased, do you know how much of a difference it made – $118.69! And after looking over my receipts like 90% of that $119 is cold-pressed juice, fair-trade chocolate bars, chips, and salsa. Can you guess which food is for my husband or myself? 😉 The other $750 of our grocery expenses are legit ingredients for meals; nothing premade or processed, just tons of healthy, organic, and gluten-free foods. Nothing is thrown away or goes to waste, it all is eventually consumed. Technically the juice could be considered a meal because I normally drink it for breakfast. So I’ve decided to stop beating myself up over our grocery expenses. Maybe we will continue to be over the 45% goal in the essentials category, but I’d much rather continue to make healthy choices for my family, then save $100 every month.
Lifestyle (10% of budgetted 10%)
I was really pleased to see our lifestyle expenses hit the mark, especially since I added a new expense this month – Pure Barre. I took my first class towards the end of the month, and I immediately signed up for 1 unlimited month of classes. Since that first class on February 20th, I’ve been to 10 classes. And I plan to take another 10 before the first month of my membership ends. 20 classes for $85…not a bad deal. During the month of February we also splurged on two movies. If you have young children, you recognize that going to the movie theater twice in one month is pretty extravagant. That plus my birthday lunch, a video game and book for Ryan, and a Beautycounter order made up the majority of our lifestyle expenses.
Goals (40% of budgetted 45%)
We missed our savings goal by a bit due to the essentials expenses. I’m not sure if I’ve clarified this before, but whenever we don’t hit the savings goal, it is only our short-time savings that suffers aka the house downpayment fund. We always put the same amount towards the 401k, Roth IRA, and the kids’ 529 college savings plan. Our transfers into savings are always sizeable chunks of money, but we are still only 25% of the way to our goal. So we’re going to keep on hustling and hopefully by the end of the summer, we’ll be much closer. Have I mentioned how much harder it is to save money versus pay off debt? 😦
Shopping Ban Updates
I’ve over a month into the three month shopping ban, and I have to say, it’s really not as challenging as I thought it would be. I feel so relieved to have an excuse to not purchase things and even more relieved that I actually have the cash flow for experiences. I can’t imagine I would have felt comfortable starting this barre class if I was spending like usual. Moving away from spending on unnecessary items has made me think a lot about how I really am so appreciative of the nice things I already own. I have a thick pair of workout pants that can stand up to multiple washes per week instead of a couple pairs of cheap pants. My closet is full of clothing that I love wearing, even if it is just 9 tops and 4 bottoms for the autumn/winter season. I have a small collection of skincare and makeup products that I use every single day, all of which work wonderfully. My home has minimal decorations and furniture, making it so much easier to clean which provides me more time to relax and enjoy my surroundings. I don’t look around and think “what else could I add to this space?”. Instead I think “how can I maximize my enjoyment of this item?” or “how can I best care for this item so it can be used longer?”. I’ve also recognized that it is totally acceptable for me to want to add new objects to my life from time to time, if those objects (a) serve a purpose, (b) replace something that has become obsolete, and (c) I don’t spend too much time worrying about the decision to purchase them.
I also thought it would be a good idea to detail the neccesities I do purchase (non-consumable and otherwise) during the shopping ban. During the month of February, not including groceries, I purchased the following:
- 1 bottle of vitamin D supplements
- concealer, conditioner, body wash, and face mist
- 2 tubes of toothpaste
- 1 month of unlimited barre classes
- 1 pair of sticky socks for barre class
- 3 glass storage jars for my bulk laundry detergent, sugar, and flour
Besides the jars and barre items, everything was purchased as replacement for something that was completely used up during the month. The 2 tubes of toothpaste were an add-on purchase to a diaper subscription. I’m not sure why I purchased 2 since I place a diaper order twice a month. In the future I know I won’t purchase extras.
March 2016 Budget Projections
As a way of keeping our lifestyle spending low, my husband and I have worked out an allowance system for ourselves. We each have $240/month to spend on whatever luxury items we want, no questions asked. You might be wondering why someone on a shopping ban would need $240 for luxury purchases. I, too, thought it would be overkill. Yet someone how I’m 7 days into the month with every cent already allocated for something. I will be spending $150 of my $240 at the end of the month to renew my barre membership. That leaves $90 which already went towards music/TV subscriptions, a missed barre class (penalty charge), my mom group membership, tea from Piper & Leaf, and snacks/juice from Target. Needless to say, March is going to be pretty frugal for me.
Thanks for reading and I hope your month is off to a wonderful start! Fun fact – this is my 50th blog post since starting Lauren, Etc.!!! So an extra big THANK YOU FOR READING to all of my followers!