Budgets come in all sorts of variants and permutations, but the best type of budget is the one that actually works for you.
The strictest budget that I know of is the zero-sum budget. With it, you have to “spend” every cent you make or to be more precise, you give every cent you make a job to do since money that isn’t allotted will only be spent mindlessly. My preferred budget though is the anti-budget by Paula Pant of Afford Anything where you save/invest a pre-determined percent of your income per month. It pretty much goes like this: take out money, save/invest accordingly, and spend the remainder of your monthly income as you please. Easy peasy.
Unfortunately, it will take me a while before I can use the anti-budget since I still have consumer and mortgage debts to deal with, necessitating that I micro-manage my money until I can completely wipe out my debt.
As part of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge, I’ve been scrutinizing our expenses to see what parts of our household budget we can improve on. My main goal in participating in the UFMC is to minimize spending and throw all that extra cash towards building up our savings and investments which have been decimated because of life and its sick humor.
A second goal, although no less important, is to reset my mindset by being deliberate with my spending and thinking over each purchase before I open my wallet. Hopefully, by doing it often enough, a month to be exact, this will become second nature and my purchases will end up aligning with my goals (i.e. build up savings and investments).
First up for scrutiny is our food expenses. Here’s how we fared food-wise in the past 6 months:
One of my favorite personal finance bloggers is sponsoring a frugal month challenge. Alison of the Frugalwoods will guide and handhold her readers towards a month of conscious frugality, helping us get our spending to align with our goals.
The challenge begins January 1 on the dot and Alison wrote a nifty guide to steer her readers towards uber frugality. Step One of the guide asks the participants to list down their goals to set the overarching reason or purpose for your frugality. (more…)
Ok, so I’m not really feeling maximum Christmas vibes yet. But ever so slowly, Christmas is making its way felt. In the same way that negativity is infectious, Christmas spirit is also catching. Yin to the yang.
I refused to let Christmas get to me this year because it seemed like there was nothing to celebrate. With the burning down of Aleppo, rampant EJKs, idiot government officials, etc. etc. and so forth, it felt wrong to don my merrymaking hat. Also, I didn’t qualify for most of the year-end bonuses because I didn’t meet the basic tenure guidelines, and when I did qualify, it was still pro-rated at a sad 30%. Crazy world + no money = scroogey grumpy Jill.
But, as I said, Christmas is an annoying little beast that refuses to be ignored. And with a three year old who joyfully dances to Christmas songs and gets excited over Christmas gift, how could I not give in to Christmas?
While the marketing machinery tells you to spend your way to happiness during the Christmas season, it is very possible to not blow your entire Christmas bonus and still feel happy. Christmas is about the feels (and baby Jesus) y’all, and you can get the feels even without buying out the entire mall. Here are some ways I get my Christmas on without making my wallet cry bloody murder:
Halloween is my most favorite holiday, with New Year being a close second and Christmas a distant third. Every year, I look forward to what I can dress my son in and the idea is to DIY a costume because: (1) I want to flex my creative muscle and (2) I’m too cheap to buy a ready made costume. However, the costume has to be easy enough to do because my sewing skills are sadly limited to the backstitch and the glue gun.
This year’s costume was inspired by the bow and arrow set I bought the last time we were in Subic, and so before you could say merry men, I had put together a basic, but very adorable, Robin Hood costume for my son.