Friday, May 29, 2015

12 Months of Budgeting {No Looking Back}

On May 30, 2014, I decided to take a major leap of faith with my finances and start using the envelope system to reign in my frivolous spending and keep a closer eye on the money that goes in and out. I started with 11 different envelopes: car, clothing, eating out, entertainment, gas, gifts, groceries, personal items, salon, tags, and vacation. Today, I have 19 envelopes (2 of which are new this pay period):

apartment - I'm trying to start some kind of foundation of funds to buy "around the house" things. For instance, right now I'm saving up to buy new pillows for my bed. (And I can't wait! #YouKnowYoureAnAdultWhen)

car - I used this to save money to pay my mom back for a set of new tires, but now I just use it in case I need some minor things relating to my car, like oil changes (I buy the Jiffy Lube Groupon whenever they have it), new wipers, etc.

Christmas - I started out with a Christmas envelope, then switched it to include all gifts, but now that I'm at the point in my life where people I know have gift-giving celebrations all year 'round, I need to separate the two in order to accomplish my original goal: save money all year for Christmas.

clothing - Self explanatory. This is an area of difficulty for me though because I do a lot of online shopping and it's easy for me to get carried away.

dining out - Self explanatory as well. If I eat at a restaurant, I use this envelope.

entertainment - If I go see a movie, go to a game, buy tickets for something, or do any kind of activity really, I use these funds. Maybe it would be more aptly named "activities".

Europe - I decided this month that by the end of 2016, I'll have visited Europe. I just wanted to set a few bucks aside each pay check for that trip in order to make it a reality. Time to start planning!

gifts - With friends of mine getting married, having babies, and apparently having a birthday every year, I'd like some specific funds to buy cards and celebrate the people in my life.

groceries - Need I say more?

massage - Because I have chronic knee pain that doesn't seemed to be helped by anything but massage (oh darn, right?!), I've started getting a massage every quarter. This could also be accurately called my Treat Yo Self envelope. ;)

medical - If I have to pay a copay or buy a prescription or over-the-counter medicine, that comes from here, so it's really just small medical items. 

miscellaneous - This is just anything that doesn't fall under another category. The first major purchase from this envelope was my 2015 Erin Condren planner and it's almost time to buy 2016...I can't believe it!

oils - Since I've started using the Young Living Essential Rewards program, I have to place a $50 (minimum) order each month. Sometimes I go over, but I put $25 per paycheck in this envelope to cover that. I just deposit it the day after my order is processed since it's through my card online.

salon - I get my eyebrows waxed once every four weeks and my hair cut once every twelve weeks, so I added up how much I would spend throughout the year and divided that by 24, the number of times I get paid per year.

Starbucks - Yeah, I have this terrible Starbucks habit, so I try to refill my reward card with this money. Thankfully it has slowed down how frequently I go to Starbucks. Sometimes I just find myself there; I can't help it!

sundries - I use this envelope to buy things like shampoo, deodorant, tooth paste.

Superbowl - What the heck, right? Well, it started as a deal between my ex boyfriend and me. I told him I would buy him tickets to the Superbowl the next time the Bears went. Well, since the Bears were absolutely atrocious last season, I only put $5 per paycheck in this envelope. After we broke up, I decided to keep the envelope because, heck, I want to go to the Superbowl sometime! (And hopefully see the Broncos beat the Bears, ha!) If that doesn't happen, I at least have additional savings. But it's happening. Or maybe this will be my "see Aaron Rodgers play at Mile High" envelope. November 1st can't come soon enough.

tags - Car registration! Everybody's gotta do it once a year. I just divided the cost of mine by 24 and save a little bit each paycheck so every April I don't have a "big ticket item" that I would inevitably forget about every year.

vacation - I use this envelope to save some extra spending money for vacation. The purpose isn't to buy plane tickets or something like that with this envelope, but rather accommodate for the inevitable extra spending that I'll do on vacation.

So you can see that some envelopes are spending envelopes and some envelopes are saving envelopes. I especially like the saving envelopes because it helps spread out the cost of things that I'm going to spend money on either way. I don't want to be one of those people who is stretched thin over the holidays or has to dip into savings to cover things like tags for my car.

To say that my life has drastically changed in the last twelve months would be an under statement. I can't even imagine going back to swiping my debit card for everything. Sure, it's a bummer to lose out on reward points that my bank offers and it's obviously not as simple--or even as safe--as just carrying plastic, but it's given me so much peace of mind when it comes to finances that it's absolutely priceless to me. And for the record, I've only left an envelope at one restaurant once in the last year, but I got it back (thank goodness) so it was fine.

Getting a hold on my spending has revived my finances, to be honest. I'm better about saving. In fact, my savings account is bigger than it's ever been. I'm better (right now) about spending on my credit card, although that always seems to come in waves. But I feel like my finances are manageable and not something that needs to keep me up at night anymore. And yes, I've actually been there...more than once. When people see me using the envelopes, they almost always ask me questions and I would recommend it to everyone. The cashier at Trader Joe's and friends alike! (I really am trying to convince this guy who works at TJ's to use them since he always asks me about them when I'm in there buying cookie butter and jalapeno Greek yogurt dip.)

Right now, the majority of my finances are handled through this envelope system. I have auto-pay set up through my bank to pay for my car insurance and my tithing. (I used to have it for my car payment, too.) My IRA payment and phone bill come directly out of my paycheck. I always use my card to buy gas. Outside of those typical "bills", I'm back to using cash all the time.

Read more about my year of budgeting:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ten on Ten :: May 2015

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!

I started to get nervous that we wouldn't have the usual May snow (therefore my new-to-Colorado friends would be proven right), but we got it last night!

Mother's Day at Pure Bare with mimosas and a sale!

My answer was "Disoriented". I kept dreaming that I slept through work and then I ended up getting to work 45 minutes early. It just took me a while to wake up this morning. Ugh.

I love this view and I love snowy flatirons.

Teddy! The Pure Barre Boulder mascot. 

I had to partake in the aforementioned mimosas. Or at least the champagne part!

Red pants for the Change of Heart class presented by Go Red for Women and my new favorite jacket. (I wear it every day because I keep getting compliments on it!)

Ashley made strawberry bars and lemon bars for our Game of Thrones viewing party, so I documented it with a very blurry picture.

My mom and I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron this afternoon, so I'm now reading everything I can find about it online, starting with the IMDb trivia.

And it's not officially Mother's Day without an Instagram post. I had fun looking through old pictures to find one of me and my mom. (I was the cutest baby. #sorrynotsorry)