Does anyone else tend to overboard on spending during the summer? Between weekend getaways, outdoor dinners and happy hours, and the overload of cute summer clothing on sale, it’s easy to keep spending money. So I’m implementing a No Spend September. Obviously I have to spend some money. I need to pay rent and utilities, and I of course I need to eat. But I’m cutting out nonessential spending, and cutting back on luxuries.
I’m going to do regular No Spend September updates throughout the month with all things saving. But today, I want to start with setting up a budget. It’s harder to save money if you aren’t keeping track of what you’re spending.
Tools for setting up for your budget:
There are a lot of tools available for budgeting. You can even set up your budget in an Excel document and update it as you’re spending. Find an app or program that will work best for you.
Learnvest is what I’ve started using for my budget. They primarily offer financial consulting, but they also have a free mobile app that you can sync with your bank accounts. I also have my student loan account synced so that I can keep track of that in the same place. (Note: this isn’t affiliated with Learnvest in any way, it’s just the app that I like best.)
Knowing what you have:
Before you can start deciding how you’re going to spend your money, you need to know how much money you have to spend. I know for some people that’s not a fixed number. If you’re estimating based on previous months or paychecks, estimate on the low end to make sure you don’t overspend.
I have my fixed income from my day job, but I also make money on Poshmark every month. I budget with my day job paycheck, and then any extra money from Poshmark or anything else can be put towards my savings or student loan payments or used for a treat that I didn’t budget for.
Know what you need to spend:
Unless you have zero regular expenses, there’s money that you’re going to have to spend every month. That might include rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, loan payments, cell phone bill, groceries, etc. Start by budgeting for these expenses. You might not be able to predict your exact expenses, but I know that my utilities could be as high as $100 so I always budget for the highest possibility.
Budget for extras:
You can save a lot of money by grocery shopping and eating more at home. But be realistic. There are probably going to be happy hours, dinners and brunches out, and nights where you really just want something delivered.
Have a budget for fun things too, Whether that be going to a movie or a concert or anything else fun that comes up.
Be sure you have a budget for anything that you might spend on from a shopping day to an Uber ride.
Budget for savings:
If I don’t plan to put money into my savings account, it doesn’t happen. Budget whatever amount you’re comfortable with to add to your savings account each month.
What are your best budgeting tips?