Creating a Monthly Budget, Schedule, & Plan
Welcome to part 7 of my year-long series where through the year I will share with you each element of the monthly packs available to our Sweet Life Society members!
Admittedly “monthly pack” is a rather vague description of what you’re getting. So I hope this series provides clarification and gives you some ideas on how to use each piece of the pack. This way you can see what you’ll be getting as soon as you decide to make the leap and join us in the Sweet Life Society!
Do you ever feel like you’re jumping from month to month hoping that you haven’t dropped the ball on anything too important, trusting that your phone or the mailman will remind you if you have a bill you haven’t paid? I’ve been there – and it can be oh so stressful!
The months truly do fly by, and if we aren’t intentional about it, our finances and our schedules can very quickly get out of hand. Taking just 15 to 20 minutes before the new month begins to sit down and create an action plan can alleviate hours of worry and stress.
I’m going to quickly address three areas where a little forethought can go a long way.
The thought of sitting down and purposefully thinking about finances sure can bring on the butterflies – and not the happy, lovey dovey ones. But there is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of here. You aren’t going to be analyzing every item you bought at Target last month or creating a strict budget that will result in you either having to throw the budget out the window or eat rice and beans every weekend.
Instead, take just a few minutes to think realistically about what your expenses for the month will be. Probably those expenses include items such as a mortgage payment or rent, possibly a car or personal loan payment, the utility and electric bill, and internet (which seems to be getting more and more expensive!) Starting out with those hard costs will give you a rough idea of how much money you’re looking at for food, gas, entertainment – all the more fun stuff!
If you’re a spreadsheet girl like me, you may want to go ahead and estimate food and gas expenses here, but you certainly don’t have to.
I’d also recommend you think through your income – when you’ll be paid and how much! And for sure take a moment to relish that joyful-anticipation-of-pay-day feeling ?
And lastly in the finances department, give yourself a goal to shoot for in terms of savings. If saving is a habit you haven’t been super great at cultivating, maybe just set aside 5 to 10 dollars a week. Saving just a little bit at a time really truly will add up!
The most important thing to remember is that all of these notes and figures you’ve written about your monthly finances are guidelines to help you stay on track, not hard and fast rules meant to restrict and confine you. You actually have more freedom because you know where your money is going – and that is a wonderful feeling!
Another area where a little forethought goes a long way is in your event scheduling. Do you ever get a little apprehensive when you commit to something more than a week out because you aren’t actually sure what you’ll be doing that day? Now is a great time to pool together all the information in your brain, your planner, your phone, and maybe even on some scattered post it notes to form a solid plan for the appointments and events you have going in the next month.
You will thank yourself later when you’re trying to schedule a coffee date and you can feel confident that you know you aren’t double booking yourself. And you can say goodbye to missed doctors appointments!
And finally, we’ve come to my favorite part of this reflection process: personal growth.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a vague idea of who you want to be and what you want your life to look like. I want with all my heart to be a good wife and mother. I want to spend quality time with those in my church family, getting to know them and bolstering our relationships. I also want to improve my personal health and fitness. But knowing that I want these general ideals doesn’t actually help me get there.
I’d encourage you to set one or two specific goals for the month that are going to intentionally move you closer to the person you want to be. Maybe for you that’s going to the gym 3 times a week, or reading a chapter in your Bible every morning. Maybe it’s finishing a home renovation project or finally making that memory book from last year’s family vacation.
Whatever the specifics may be, don’t let another month go by without taking an intentional step towards growth. It doesn’t have to be a big step, but every step does count!
I hope seeing this monthly planning process in action has been helpful to you!
You can click here if you’d like more information about all the great perks of being a Sweet Life Society member!
Lesley N Walker Says