Have you entered my Adora milk & dark chocolate calcium supplements giveaway?
As you may recall, in my free time I’m working to become a certified holistic health coach. It’s pretty sweet to learn about so many different dietary theories, but one of my favorite concepts is the idea that we all consumer “primary food”. While the importance of the food we eat – actual nutrition – is not to be understated, it actually takes a backseat to the other areas where we “consume”: relationships, spirituality, career and movement. If these areas are hurting (or, you could say, we are “malnourished” in these areas), our overall health will suffer, too.
Which kind of sort of brings me to today’s topic … money. A little awkward, eh? Why is that? People disdain discussing money and we hear mantras like “money isn’t everything!” over and over. While I definitely agree money is not everything, it’s pretty dang important in many senses. Having enough of it to be comfortable means more time and energy to focus on our other primary foods. And in order to have enough of it to be comfortable, most of us need to practice some strategy and diligence in socking it away (unless you were born a Kardashian, in which case, stop reading. Except Khloe. Khloe can stay).
At the turn of the new year, JC and I decided to start focusing on conscious saving by creating a solid budget sheet, and I have to admit I run a tight ship with it. As a result, we’ve already saved more than usual for the month of January and I’m eager to see how much better we can do this month.
How’s about a little contest?
Recently at a dinner party some friends devised the genius concept of “Frugal February”. The goal is simple – save as much as you possibly can. Complicated, right?
Truthfully in order to earn your spot as a true #frugalfeb enthusiast, you’ve gotta have a bonafied budget sheet. Do not be afraid; they’re easy to devise, and if you enjoy nerdery 1/16th as much as we do under this roof, you might actually have fun with this.*
*Seriously, JC & I faught over who had the privilege of creating the spreadsheet. True, sad facts.
Top 5 Foolproof Tips for Budget Sheet Creation
- Figure out what you have coming in each month. At the top of your budget sheet, you should combine your income with your partner’s (or, if it’s just you, even easier.) Most of us get two paychecks each month, so add these together to create your monthly capital.
- Identify your monthly fixed costs. Rent (or your mortgage if you’re a BOSS), utilities like gas, electric & cable, cell phone bill, student loans. What you have left over will be divided amongst your flexible spending categories.
- Use google docs. If you don’t have gmail and you aren’t familiar with google docs, drop everything and go explore this. Google documents lets you share your spreadsheet with others, so if you do have a partner, you both can edit the spreadsheet in real time, rather than having to press send and email it to each other (so 2000 and late.) Genius!
- Create categories for your flexible spending and allocate budgets to each. Be aggressive, but not too aggressive. Let’s not go overboard with the frugality. See below for some really helpful percentages to guide your budgeting for every category you create.
- Track every purchase. No cheating! It’s okay if you spend more in certain areas – things happen. Continue to log these expenses so you can examine where your funds are really going, and identify how much you can move to savings next month!
Some recommendations from these fine folks:
Housing: 25% to 35% (Ours: 32%)
Transport: 5% to 15% (Ours: 4%)
Food (groceries and dining): 10% to 15% (Ours: 10%)
Personal care (including clothing): 5% to 10% (Ours: 8%)
Health care (including insurance premiums): 10% to 15% (we combined this with “debt”)
Loan repayment (excluding car payments): 7% to 15% (Ours: 15%)
Utilities: 4% to 7% (Ours: 5%)
Entertainment: 1% to 5% (Ours: 15% … including fitness like yoga & races, plus travel/vacation.)
In my personal scenario, that leaves 10% left for savings.
SO! Who’s in for #frugalfeb?? Everybody wins (cha-ching) so I hope you’ll join!
If you want to read more, this article kind of rocks.
- What’s your saving strategy?
*I’m currently immersed in studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I’m learning about over 100 dietary theories while helping people seek the best versions of themselves. Interested in a free consultation with me? I’ll hook you up!January 30, 2013
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