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.  oregonducksI 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:

  1. Cancel the savings automatic transfer for the month of May
  2. 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?



25 Responses to “Preparing for an Expensive Month, Budget Talk

  • We do sit down and discuss our budget, usually when we update our net worth tracker. Other than that we are pretty much talking money every day.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Net Worth Update: April 2015My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      That’s interesting, the wife doesn’t get sick of talking about money? Mrs. ESM takes our money talks in small doses, I probably talk about the future too much though.

  • Sounds like a fun month ahead for Mr and Mrs Even Steven, which I’m sure will be worth the extra spending!

    We’ve definitely had a few expensive months recently with some ‘one-off’ items, and tend to just make sure we have the income or savings to cover them in advance. But otherwise, our monthly budget doesn’t change too much, so we tend to just review each month at the end and make sure things still look reasonable.

    I’m definitely no travel hacker either, but don’t think I could ever bring myself to be a ‘cash only’ person – it’s too hard to track your spending!


    Jason@Islands of Investing recently posted…Million Dollar Islands update – April 2015My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      We also do more of a review currently, unless we have big expenses coming up. Cash only would be interesting, but for my lunches and coffee’s for the week, when I take out $20 I know it’s for that, but other expenses could prove more difficult to track I agree.

  • I think it’s awesome that you two sat down and had a conversation about the additional spending you’ll have this month. I agree with you–it’s all about being on the same page and deciding to spend on the things that are meaningful to you. Sounds like you have a really fun month ahead :)! And hey, that $13 was for a six-pack that we shared with friends, so don’t worry, Mr. FW didn’t drink it all ;).
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Our 12 Tips For Visiting Open Houses: We’ve Been To Over 270My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Yeah talk and communication go a long way, I’m sure it will be a fun month of May. Sharing means caring right;)

  • I’d say don’t worry about your budget too much this month. Family and friends > $$.
    The Professor recently posted…A Budget for a Young FamilyMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Agreed that Family and Friends are greater than Money.

  • These months happen. I have two bachelor parties and two weddings this summer. I’ll have a blast with my friends at each of the events, so I allow myself to splurge a little and not get upset about it.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Financial Independence Day – September 2026My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      I think it’s important to let go a little when events with family and friends come up, helps keep the sanity.

  • I think spending time (and money) with family and friends is money well spent. Obviously not talking about blowing it on ridiculous things, but nothing wrong with spending some money to have a good time with other people.

    I think when you write about your dining out budget, it’s important that you realize that you are making progress even if it’s slow. It’s not realistic to say “Okay we’re going to spend only $10 this month!”. You might quickly hit that amount and then lose all motivation towards your goal.

    When I have a high budget month on the way (usually vacation), I usually try to keep the spending down in the months surrounding. Or even the other weeks in the month.
    Debt Hater recently posted…April 2015 Budget ReviewMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      That’s good advice on keeping the spending low on the surrounding months, Rice and Beans in June!!! JK it’s true though. Slow progress is better than no progress because that’s usually what happens if you go with the $10/month radical change.

  • Nice, that’ll be awesome for your brother-in-laws to stay with you guys in Chicago for a month. Usually when we have expensive months it’s due to something unexpected happening or something travel-related. We deal with these as they come, recognizing that planning has it’s limitations.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…What Does Financial Independence Look Like?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      We are excited for the month of May, I think planning is important when you have visitors it gives you an idea of what to expect and where the money will be coming from.

  • I think we need to try this approach. We don’t usually update our budget each month, I just try to make any changes I might happen to think about. I really need to pull my wife into the loop more to get her vested in the process. Thanks for the great idea!
    Vawt recently posted…Dangers of Credit Card RewardsMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      My wife is not a big fun of budgeting so it took some time a few coffee shop talks, but yeah it really helps. Wife now thinks I am less crazy as well so I hope that works for you as well!

  • We have an expensive month coming up with some landscaping that needs to get done. When something comes up that is expensive but planned I try to sit down and look at the budget 2-3 months beforehand so I can get a better handle on where to cut so that we can pay for the costs. In this case I am lucky because the costs came in under budget so it won’t be as expensive as I thought
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Is Renting Your Home on Airbnb Worth The Risk?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Yeah preparing ahead is a great strategy, we should have done more of this in the previous months to get a hold on things for this month. Great to hear something actually come under budget when it comes to landscape work, I know how that can work.

  • Hope you have an excellent month in May. I am not sure how our budget is going to go because I am headed to China where all my expenses are paid, but my wife is left behind, is undergoing physical therapy, and trying to work. Lately, I am sad to say we have been eating a lot of boxed meals or takeout. So our food budget might go up for the month. It will be interesting to see when I get from my jaunt across the globe.
    Jason recently posted…Financial Tip Friday: What To Do WIth Old Retirement Accounts?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Going to China for work I’m sure will have some huge benefits short and long term. I think we all get hit by the eating out bug as long as it’s not a lifestyle change I know you guys can switch back…..Boxed meals, come on Man! Ha

  • Finishing up the student loans by July? That sounds awesome!! Keep at it!

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Thanks Petra, it’s even sooner, working on the end of June, so I can celebrate July 4th in style!

  • We are doing a ton of spending this month too. A lot of entertaining, a camping trip, and hopefully new flooring. Normally we are cash flow positive, so it’s felt crazy to be spending instead of investing. It also makes me appreciate having a higher salary. A few years ago, we would have really had to dip into savings to make these things happen. Now just a month or two of preparation makes this high living possible.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      That’s awesome to be able to spend a few extra dollars and what I heard that was the best was you can feel it, you actually know you are spending money and want to correct it so you can get back to investing. Cheers to that with my morning cup of coffee!

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