Preparing for an Expensive Month, Budget Talk
The month of May will bring new adventures and few extra visitors to our home. In Chicago the summer has started, people are riding bicycles to work, wearing shorts for the men and dresses for the ladies, and festivals are coming up and around every corner, I’m excited. This month we will welcome my brothers-in law, twins in fact, to Chicago for almost a full month as they take the summer off from college, Mrs. Even Steven couldn’t be happier as she is very close to her family. We have many adventures planned some are free of charge, like playing tennis at the park while others like eating at restaurants(GASP!!!) will cost money. We will also be entertaining my parents for a week, showing them the city and hitting up some local eatery’s and I’m sure a good meat market to enjoy one of my favorite past times of grilling out, I love a good BBQ! As you can see will be having a couple extra mouths to feed and a couple extra places to visit. If you think we are just going to spend, spend, spend, you know go with the flow and look at our bank statement at the end of the month, you haven’t been reading. Let’s talk budget!
Mrs. Even Steven is now the spender of the family, I rarely buy anything anymore. It’s almost funny since I buy and sell clothes on eBay I look at new clothing like I am paying 500% more than I should be. I will still buy an occasional item from an eBay seller, this one for example was for a charity called Managers On a Mission and it might even be at full price, but highly unlikely. The reason for the purchase is I have this strange fascination with Nike and college basketball practice jersey’s, when I retire this could be my full time wardrobe with a pair of shorts, stop judging me, I know you are.
Back to the budget, the time came as I was crunching numbers and filling out my spreadsheet on last month’s numbers and forecasting next month’s, I think Mrs. Even Steven believed we were just going to skip our budget meeting and just put it all on the credit card and worry about everything later. Lately this may have been true, the budget meetings have been pretty quiet since the only items that have had any fluctuation are the grocery and eating out budget, which I monitor pretty regularly. Our usual budget for groceries is $400, which includes everything: groceries, household items, and items for our dog Angel. The eating out budget is kept separate for each person, Mr. Even Steven has a $80 budget and does it in all cash baby! and Mrs. Even Steven is $300, which counts for the occasional lunch and coffee, but also accounts for any dinners or drinks we have together. I know it is a lot, it’s the pain in our budget(pun intended), but to be honest it’s really improved. If for example you grab coffee and lunch in the Chicago loop, plan on spending $20 each day, which we did more often than we should have. We are winning 2 of the Big 3 with our house and car, still working on the number three.
For our budget we did what every good budget meeting should do, we talked openly and planned for the upcoming month. This way nobody is surprised when the restaurant expense is $800, we know that’s what we planned to spend, we budgeted for it. We also talked about what some of the adventures would cost including museums, kayaking, and a trip to an amusement park. The next item after we figured out how much we were going to spend was where would the money come from. I am currently finishing up my student loan payoff journey and need every penny to finish by the end of June, Mrs. ESM has one of two options:
- Cancel the savings automatic transfer for the month of May
- Spend some of her bonus from work that has been sitting in a savings account*
Mrs. Even Steven decided to go with option 2, at the end of the month we will tally up the amount and transfer this money into her checking account to cover all the eating out expense over $300, grocery expense over $400, and any other adventures for the month of May. Mrs. Even Steven uses a credit card, while I don’t agree with credit cards and think they do more evil than good, she has not had the many issues and debt related problems that I have had using them. One day I might try to be a travel hacker, but I doubt it, I think I listen to Dave Ramsey too often for that to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if we became an all cash family, I like the ring of that.
This month will be expensive for the Even Steven Money household, but the good news is we have talked about our expenses with a budget meeting and planned ahead for the costs. We have looked into things in Chicago that are free or at a low cost because we do our best to frugal people, we do not have the perfect budget or the spend the least, like the Frugalwoods who share their budget expenses each month and make us look like a “Fancy Spendy Pants”. $13 for beer Mr. Frugalwoods, I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to be mad at you or happy, but I jest of course. We all have our own places where we spend more or less on certain items and then we try to cut costs and get better at each category until we feel comfortable with our budget. Know one really wants to spend a ton of money on groceries or beer, we want the best quality for the best price for things we like, make sacrifices in one area of our budget so we can save in another. Don’t forget to talk about your budget!
*Mrs. Even Steven loves to see money sitting in here account, me I can’t wait to pay down a student loan or invest
Do you sit down for a budget meeting? When you have an expensive month planned, what do you do?