There is a saying I have heard many times. One I probably have repeated on this platform before. “You can have it all, but not at the same time”. This phrase comes into my mind in this moment because I felt it was time to officially announce a break from Lauren, Etc. This January, I started taking 2 night classes at the local community college. My first college courses since August 2009, I was worried that I would have trouble jumping back into this type of learning. Two years of the alternative education that is an architectural degree program had made my next two years at the University of Florida difficult, and, ultimately, were what caused me to leave without a degree. I didn’t want to go back to school feeling like I needed to balance it all; I wanted to stay focused on school. I am no longer of the mindset that women (especially wives and mothers) have to do everything and be everything. There is no trophy for multitasking, only the added stress, decline in health, and possibility of everything being half-assed. Which leads me to one of my other favorite sayings “Don’t half ass multiple things, whole ass one thing.” I really felt it was my duty to put my whole ass into the process of going back to school. But as the weeks have progressed, an old problem has reappeared – sleepless nights. I initially started the blog as a creative outlet, so that my mind had a place to flourish, so I could focus on something other than Daniel Tiger and milk cups and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and the big slide at the playground. So when I officially decided to myself that the blog was going on hiatus, the creative thoughts associated with blogging that buzz around my head all day stopped. Instead they manifested themselves at night as random errands and to-do’s popped. After three difficult nights in a row, I decided I would come back to my little corner of the internet with a new monthly budget update, instead of a quick note about taking a break for the semester. Sometimes when it comes to activities that add so much value to your life, it’s okay to half ass it a little bit.
January 2017 Budget Review
Essentials (57% of the month’s income)
If I were to write a story about my life it would be entitled “I Don’t Know Why We Are Over Budget in Groceries Again”. Like literally. Every month. Same story. I’m pretty positive I saved all of our receipts from grocery trips this month so I’ll be compiling a massive spreadsheet to see where exactly all our money is going in this area. So be on the lookout for that uber exciting blog post in the future! We were also slightly over budget on gas due to the new vehicle added to the fleet at the end of December. If you don’t follow me on Instagram you might not know – we bought a 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer as a project vehicle for my husband. Happy wife, happy life rings true, especially when the wife is happy because all of her husband’s messy hobbies stay outside of the house and in the garage 🙂
Lifestyle (31% of the month’s income)
This is where we hit some speed bumps. Some were avoidable and some were just bad timing. We were charged for cable for the month of January because our bill had printed 2 days before we turned in our cable box. The charge is being refunded in Feb’s bill, so it will all balance out in the end. Then there is the saga that was getting my laptop fixed. Repair costs were $357 plus the $60 external hard drive I purchased so the previous repair shop (whom I had already paid $125 to) could back up my hard drive before returning my still-broken laptop. Not to mention the $150 circuit board I purchased due to the initial diagnosis that is now awaiting a refund, minus the 15% restocking fee. All in all, fixing my laptop was a little over $650. So here’s to hoping I get many more years out of it! Prior to finding out I was going to have to spend so much to get my laptop fixed, I purchased some clothing totaling $181. But then the icing on the cake was at the end of the month when I realized I was running super low on a bunch of skincare products. But instead of just ordering what I needed to replace, I bought a bunch of new products totaling $382. I highly regret this end of the month, skincare spending, but what’s done is done, so I eagerly await my new products and hope I get a lot of use out of them.
Goals – Short Term (22% of the month’s income)
I decided to split up the goal category since we’re doing our spending/saving a little differently since meeting our emergency fund goal. Beyond the emergency fund, we have a designated account for short term savings. When designated spending projects that are defined as goals come up, the money comes directly from that short term savings account. This month’s designated short term goals were tuition & books for my two classes and painting supplies for the kids’ room and the family room, kitchen, and dining room. The equivalent amount of money that came out of short term savings for these goals was 22% of this month’s income. This category will feature spending and saving so I’ll try to designate if it was positive or negative based on the color of the amount (green for savings and red for spending).
Goals – Long Term (9% of the month’s income)
This is the other side of the goal’s category, the amount that should always stay about the same. When we start putting additional towards the mortgage, I’m thinking that amount will be included as a long term goal. It makes sense since it’s money going towards an investment, but then I feel like I should also include all loan payments (not including escrow) as long term goal amounts. Thoughts? Anyways, this category includes monthly transfers into the 401K, Roth IRA, 529 savings plans, and HSA.
Next Month’s Projections
With such an expensive month behind me, I’m enacting a temporary shopping ban for the month of February which I may continue into March and April. I did my 3 month shopping ban this time last year, so it just feels like the right time to do it again. Same rules will apply as before – no clothing, books, movies, unnecessary snack foods & super foods, consumables only when something runs out, spending on Ryan and the kids’ is not included. But I will include a couple exceptions; on my current wardrobe needs list are 3 items I will consider purchasing if they fit into my budget. Meaning if on the last day of the month we are under budget with room for the designated purchase, I can place the order. Those three items are – warm weather pajamas, a couple pairs of white socks, and a week’s worth of underwear.
Quick question before y’all leave, show of hands as to who has seen “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things”. My minimalism-loving heart has been overflowing with happiness seeing so many people in my life stumbling across this film, decluttering their closets, going on shopping bans, and being more intentional with their lives. Thank you for taking the time to read this, my first post of 2017!