Exciting news! This year I decided to join Fran’s “Budgeting Bloggers” group and share how I budget my shopping each month. To be clear, this is not a new year’s resolution. I don’t believe in them, mostly because I’m so close to perfect I rarely need to change or improve myself. I actually started keeping track of my shopping budget in April 2013. It has definitely been good for me to log what I spend, but I found I was regularly going over my budget and then trying to catch up the next month…and then doing that over and over again. So the next step to get better at this budgeting thing is to make myself accountable to someone besides myself.
That’s where Budgeting Bloggers comes in. Now I have to fess up to every dollar I spend, and the whole internet can see it! And even worse, my mom and my wife can see it. Yikes.
So before I tell you what I spent my money on in January ’14, I guess I should explain how I came up with my budget. Even before I started blogging (or making money from blogging), I estimate I spent $200-300/month on clothes, shoes, and accessories. Then I got figuratively punched in the face by a massive bill from my dentist. (“Dear Sarah, Remember when you got your wisdom teeth out last summer? Turns out we were wrong about your insurance…You owe us $2000. That’s not a problem, right?”) So with the extra $150 I now I had to pay toward my debt each month, I decided to cut down my “fun” spending to $150/month.
So. I start out each month with $150. But if I went over budget the month before, I subtract that from the $150. Before you get too sad, I also have the potential to add to my starting budget. I’ve been taking old clothes to a consignment shop, so when I get a check from them, I add that to my budget. Out with the old, in with the new! I also add any income I make from this blog, which includes commission from affiliate links and payment for sponsored posts. My goal by the end of this year is to make enough from my blog that it covers all my shopping!
Phew, that was a lot of numbers. Let’s look at some more numbers to find out how my budget worked this month!
- +$40 ($150 starting amount minus the $110 I overspent in December…I blame it on Christmas sales)
- +$68 (sold clothes at local consignment shop)
- +$211 (blog income)
What I Spent
- -$45 on a silk scarf at the art museum gift shop
- -$18 on combat boots from Target (gift card covered the rest)
- -$55 on a tulle skirt and statement earrings from ModCloth
- -$60 on 2 pairs of jeans from American Eagle (on sale)
- -$77 on 2 sweaters and a bag from Forever 21
- -$40 on suede boots from Sole Society (on sale)
- -$45 on 3 pairs of flats from ShoeMint (on major sale!)
Only $21 over budget…not too shabby! I’ll subtract that overage from my starting budget for February. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll also be including in my monthly budget posts any gifted items I receive. While these items don’t take away from my budget, they’re not exactly “free.” Like they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or a free necklace)! I wouldn’t get complimentary items if it weren’t for all the work I put into this blog. Here are the perks I got this month.
What I Received
I also bought one and a half suits at Ann Taylor this month. Since I’m working for a judge this semester, and hopefully I’ll have job interviews before too long, it was about time to grow my professional wardrobe a little. I decided not to apply these to my budget. They would have blown most of the month, and I see these pieces as investments in my future career so I don’t want to skimp on them. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on “cheating” like this again for a LONG time, if ever!
Here’s to a successful February! Be sure to check out Fran’s blog “Franish.” She’ll probably have her budget post up soon!