Monday, September 03, 2012

Budgeting for Autumn 2012


Mums Wreath Kit, at Paper Source

I'm taking time today to look at my budget for the next couple pre-holiday months. (I'll worry about my Christmas shopping budget a bit later). My budget is different from last year, due to family emergencies, new family responsibilities and another teenager living here.

I need to think about upcoming birthdays I'll need to send gifts, cards and flowers for; Thanksgiving expenses (I don't travel for that holiday, so that helps); and all the grocery shopping I'll need to be doing for the autumn dinner parties I throw. We're doing Family Night dinners twice a week now, so that needs to be factored into my grocery budget too.

Meanwhile, I will need money to maintain my home (and make it better, not just keep it at the same level). I need a chimney cleaning, fireplace glass repair, new carpet in the upstairs living room, my regular autumn carpet cleaning, and a furnace inspection. A tree needs to be trimmed back from over the chimney, and I need to hire a gutter cleaning service later in the fall. I'm hoping to find room in the budget for some autumn mums to plant in my front yard.

I'll likely need to buy a couple new sweaters for the fall. The teenage cousin living with me needs a new pair of rain boots, another pair of shoes and some clothes for fall, too.

If I can manage it, I want to take my boys to see Elf the Musical around Christmastime.

All these things need to be factored in, and I need to figure out how many extra hours I can work and what things (pedicures, manicures, Starbucks runs) I can give up and do without in order to fulfill my goals for the fall.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Balance checkbook; pay any outstanding bills that didn't get done on September first.

  • Do a quick maintenance-cleaning wipedown of bathroom mirrors, counters, and sinks as needed.

  • Launder bath towels, bath mats, wash towels and hand towels, if needed

  • Make a special beverage for Labor Day Weekend, whether it's lemonade, a pitcher of sun tea, mojitos or a margarita.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Budgeting


Home Budget Organizer, on Amazon

After today's Labor Day Weekend activities, make a plan to sit down with your significant other/spouse/partner (if any) and look over your budget for the next 2 months.

Are you able to pay all your bills, put away money in savings? Pay down credit card debt? If not, what things do you need to give up, and behaviors to change, in order to do so?

What sorts of upcoming expenses can you anticipate? Need to buy any coats or fall clothing for family members? New shoes (the kind someone actually needs because their existing shoes are worn out; not the kind we just want because they're pretty?).

Do you have any medical appointments coming up that need a co-pay? Dentist visits? Veterinarian visits for your pets? School pictures for your kids? Any upcoming field trips at their schools that have a fee associated? Will your family members need haircuts, or pets need professional grooming, in the next two months?

Any birthdays coming up, or parties you plan to throw? Need to stock your pantry for fall, and buy cleaning supplies? Planning on attending any movies, concerts, or events between now and November? Are you well stocked on fall home fragrance and candles? Any autumn crafts supplies you need that you will actually use up and make things with?

What home-repair, home maintenance, and home improvement projects do you need to get done in the next 2 months? Doing any home organizing or redecorating, and maybe need to budget in organizing supplies?

Write your estimated budget (and expenses) down on paper. If you have a significant other, have them sign it, and make a copy so you both have one. That way you can refer back to it later (especially during an argument, laugh!)

I post mine somewhere I see it every day - my home office wall right next to the computer. After a couple weeks I'll forget to look at it, so hopefully I will remember to move it somewhere else so I will notice it again. I wouldn't put it anywhere public like the fridge where visitors could see it, though. Mostly it's just a reminder for me of all the things I want to accomplish and to be able to provide for my household.

LOVELY BLOGS: Everybody Likes Sandwiches


A food blog that isn't just about sandwiches! Recent posts I've enjoyed include shaved summer vegetable salad, chopped Mediterranean salad, double chocolate cherry muffins, and sour cherry frozen yogurt.

http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Garlic Parmesan Grilled Corn (Epicurus)

How to Steam Clean Your Carpets Naturally (Organic Authority)

It's Ok To Skip That Bake Sale: Finding the Right Amount of Parental Involvement in School (NY Times)

7 Nail Polish Colors That Work for Summer and Into Fall (Glamour)

Sangria Starters (Martha Stewart)

Spiral Cut Hot Dogs (Not Martha)

Ultimate Fall Denim Guide (Fabsugar)

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