Budget Update: How to Get to Your Goal Little by Little

At the beginning of the year, I went over my strategy to get to my savings goals by May. With March right around the corner, I thought I’d give you an update on where I’m at so far. While I haven’t hit my goals yet, they are still not unattainable by May and I’m not giving up hope.

My bills are roughly $1500 per month. Originally I had set a goal of saving $4500 for maternity leave so that I could take the full 90 days for FMLA. Then I remembered that being a month ahead means that May is already covered by whatever I make in April. That brings the goal down to $3000. Score!! Also, $600 of that 1500 goes into the joint account for the house utilities and food shopping. While I’d still like to keep that 600 in my goals, it’s not the end of the world if T helps out with that portion or we take it from the money saved in the joint account. Worse things have happened. That’s kind of what an emergency account is for.

So, roughly two months later, where am I at? Well, let me first say that I am the kind of person that needs to split up her money and give each little savings goal a purpose. If I just set a goal of saving $5000, per say, once I get to that goal I feel I owe myself something. Then, each time I go shopping I think, no big deal, I’ve got $5k in the bank. No big thing, I can buy this. Before I know it, my $5000 has diminished substantially. It’s depressing, really. You’d think I’d have better self control at 34 years old. What I’ve learned is that if I divide it up and give it a purpose I am less likely to spend it. Hence the “Additional Savings” category in the image below. (Yes, I understand that I am neurotic for keeping track of my income on an Excel spreadsheet. I’m not judging you… Don’t judge me. LOL)

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By giving each savings envelope a purpose, in my mind that money is already accounted for somewhere. The $500 for the car- that’s for any repairs and maintenance I may need on the vehicle. I take from that envelope and pay it back as I go. Soph-vaca? Oh, my 6-year old gets to go to Hawaii in June with my mom and step-dad. She picked the winning ticket at my step-dad’s club and they won the 1st prize trip to Hawaii, so they’re taking her as a reward. By saving $25 per week, she’ll have $400 of spending money by the time she goes. Yes, that’s kind of a lot for a 6-year old to have, but I’m trying to account for food and activities as well as a few souvenirs.

In addition, I break down each bill by week and that’s the amount of money that I put in that envelope each week. When I make extra, the bills are accounted for first, then Soph’s vacation $$, followed by the 52-week challenge, and finally, any extra left over is put into the maternity fund. I also automatically transfer 10% of my paycheck every two weeks into my regular savings account, $10 per week into our joint savings account, and $10 per paycheck into my Capital One account (which is really just a backup account). It’s not much, but it adds up, and I try not to touch any of the savings accounts if at all possible.

So, if I work until May 1st, which is my plan, that means I have approximately 2 months left to save. Am I halfway there? Not quite. Going into the last weekend of February, I have $1209 saved for the maternity fund. ( I forgot to add it to my Excel sheet, but I won $400 on a scratch off the first weekend in Feb and paid back 100 into the Car envelope and the other 300 into the maternity fund.) Not exactly where I wanted to be, but I’m just under halfway there with another weekend to go. There was also the weekend of snow in January where I physically could not make it to work. That took away any potential income there. Also, I’m trying to keep up with the 52-week challenge and Peanut’s vacation money so that I’m not 12 weeks behind when I start making money again or she’s not broke while on vacation. That takes a little away from the maternity fund each week as well.

As I said in one of my previous blogs, I had the opportunity to have a web meeting with Rosemarie of The Busy Budgeter a couple weeks ago and I’ve been trying to follow her steps, as well as the advice of Ruth Soukup from Living Well Spending Less in order to make my blog more focused and to generate more traffic. If I can start earning a modest income off of this blog I will be one step closer to my goal of being a stay-at-home mom with a full-time income by the end of the year. I’m getting there, slowly but surely. And I’m just stubborn enough to succeed.

Have a great night. We’ll chat again soon.

-Candice

 

Author: Candice

I am a wife, mom of 1 1/2 (it'll officially be 2 in May), part time waitress, avid reader, and an unpaid comedian, chauffeur, cook, maid, therapist, and cuddler. I love my family more than anything and as scared as I am to start over on this whole mom gig, I'm so excited to do it again.

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