to save & spend

It’s officially 2014; a new year with new opportunities, new beginnings, and a new budget.

Okay, so one of those things isn’t quite as exciting as the others. Money management is a part of growing up that I think we’d all rather avoid. I mean, let’s be honest, who actually enjoys budgeting? Not I. But it’s essential and I’ve found that it makes my life a whole lot less stressful.

Remember in early 2013 when I did my Makin’ Bank Challenge? If you weren’t a reader back then, I highly encourage you to take a quick look at those posts. Over the course of 30 days I kept track of all my spending and learned quite a bit about where my money was going. It was eye-opening, to say the least. The challenge left me more aware and conscious of my money and I loved that.

This year, I’ve decided to focus on 2014 as a whole. Instead of creating a 30 day budget, I want to make a lifestyle change that will last me all 365 days…and the rest of my life, for that matter.

IMG_6075I sat down yesterday and figured out my monthly expenses vs. my monthly income. I spent a lot of extra money over the holiday season (naturally) so now it’s time for me to get back on track. I wish there was a magic formula that would make budgeting easier but it all comes down to one thing:

Increase Income // Decrease Spending

Obviously that’s easier said than done- particularly increasing income. But those are my overall goals for 2014. I’m going to start small; picking up extra shifts, cutting back on my Starbucks addiction, not shopping quite so often, etc. and then I’ll take things from there. I truly believe that small changes make the biggest difference and that’s especially true when it comes to finances.

Growing up sure is fun, isn’t it? Le sigh.

Here’s to bringing home the [tempeh] bacon…

-Emily

20 comments
  1. Irina said:

    I think it’s so great that you’re focusing on the year as a whole financially! Near the end of 2012 I made a psychotic Excel spreadsheet to track my spending (because I knew I wanted to move to NYC in 2013 and wanted to know if it was feasible monetarily). It tracks everything down to what stores I shop at and exactly where every single penny goes. It’s a bit crazy and a lot of work to maintain (I dropped the ball on it a bit these past few months though) but it’s so worth it. I suggest keeping up your 30-day tracking every month!

    Happy New Year, good luck, and I absolutely cannot wait to continue following your journey here on your blog this upcoming year :):)

    • Emily said:

      Oh my goodness, I’m definitely going to look into using excel to track my spending- that sounds like a really good way to keep track of everything. Plus, I’m OCD so a little crazy organization doesn’t bother me one bit. (:

      Thank you! And Happy New Year to you as well! xoxo

  2. This is a great idea! I want to move into a nicer apartment which naturally comes with a higher rent. And go back to school at a local tech college to get my paralegal associates (cause a bachelors in legal studies is proving to be useless!)

    I’m cancelling my cable, cutting down the starbucks runs…the only problem will be my groceries. Paleo is expensive!

    • Emily said:

      I really want to go back to school too! It’s just hard to figure out how to do that financially- especially since it means giving up work hours. I know it’ll pay off for both of us in the end though!
      And groceries are always what gets me too- eating healthy can be expensive sometimes!

  3. Ashley said:

    Budgeting is one of my goals for 2014 as well–it’s an unfortunate part of growing up, but I think it can make you feel accomplished once you get the hang of it, so it isn’t all bad. Once I find a job, I know I’ll have to spend some time figuring out how to make it all work. Hopefully we can both find a balance between funding necessary expenses while still having a little money to spend on ourselves for fun!

    • Emily said:

      I definitely think we’ll both be able to find a balance- it just takes a little practice! I don’t think either of us will ever be able to fully give up our shopping and that’s perfectly okay! (:

  4. Taylor said:

    This could not have come at a better time, as the beginning of this year I’m definitely more aware of budgeting! Leading up to a move and travels (I will be in LA at the end of Feb!) I know I have to watch what I spend as well- we shall have Starbucks withdrawals together 🙂

    • Emily said:

      Ahhh…what?! I’d love to see you when you’re in LA! Send me an email when you have more details and dates. (:

    • Emily said:

      That’s the name of the game this month! I’m happy to hear that I’m not alone- it will be well-worth the effort in the end! xoxo

  5. P said:

    Budgeting is like a game. It may be a game we don’t always want to play, but it can be lots of fun in the end
    I find some joy in writing down where my money is going and how much of it. I get even more joy when I have a new paycheck deposited in my bank account :P.

    • Emily said:

      That’s such a great way to look at it! Seeing things in a positive light always makes them more enjoyable. Thank you!

  6. That’s a great idea and you did pretty well the last time already so I’m sure it’ll work! Watching my budget has been a goal of mine last year already but I messed it up sometime along the way. I’d been pondering to pick it up again and your post has been the final reminder I needed. I’ll be doing this along with you. Not being paid in my current internship makes it hard to increase my income so for now I’ll try to focus on not using up too much of my savings. Good to know I’ll have your posts as inspiration to stick with it.

    • Emily said:

      That’s the most difficult thing! I’ve been contemplating going back to school but, like an internship, I wouldn’t be paid and it would take away a lot of work hours. It’s such a tough situation! I know your internship is going to pay off though. (:
      And yay! I’m so happy that you’ll be doing it along with me.

  7. Anna said:

    Get the Mint.com personal finance app! It is seriously AMAZING and is a great visual way to see your spending and budgeting.

    • Emily said:

      Oooh…I’ve never heard of that. I’m going to download it right now. Thank you!

  8. I have a feeling that come August I am going to have to really REALLY watch my finances….no income is going to SUCK. But I agree that resolutions should last a lifetime 🙂

    • Emily said:

      It’s such a scary thought, isn’t it?! But everything always seems to work itself out somehow. I’m sure you’ll get it all figured out! (:

  9. my mum is afraid I’m going to spend more now that my loans are paid off. hopefully that doesn’t happen. I need to buy some roth ira haha good luck with budgeting. hope to read updates on this! 🙂

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