Sarah's Real Life
01. 29. 2014
January Budget Breakdown (Bloggers Who Budget)

Exciting news! This year I decided to join Fran’s “Budgeting Bloggers” group and share how I budget my shopping each month. To be clear, this is not a new year’s resolution. I don’t believe in them, mostly because I’m so close to perfect I rarely need to change or improve myself. I actually started keeping track of my shopping budget in April 2013. It has definitely been good for me to log what I spend, but I found I was regularly going over my budget and then trying to catch up the next month…and then doing that over and over again. So the next step to get better at this budgeting thing is to make myself accountable to someone besides myself.

That’s where Budgeting Bloggers comes in. Now I have to fess up to every dollar I spend, and the whole internet can see it! And even worse, my mom and my wife can see it. Yikes.

So before I tell you what I spent my money on in January ’14, I guess I should explain how I came up with my budget. Even before I started blogging (or making money from blogging), I estimate I spent $200-300/month on clothes, shoes, and accessories. Then I got figuratively punched in the face by a massive bill from my dentist. (“Dear Sarah, Remember when you got your wisdom teeth out last summer? Turns out we were wrong about your insurance…You owe us $2000. That’s not a problem, right?”) So with the extra $150 I now I had to pay toward my debt each month, I decided to cut down my “fun” spending to $150/month.

So. I start out each month with $150. But if I went over budget the month before, I subtract that from the $150. Before you get too sad, I also have the potential to add to my starting budget. I’ve been taking old clothes to a consignment shop, so when I get a check from them, I add that to my budget. Out with the old, in with the new! I also add any income I make from this blog, which includes commission from affiliate links and payment for sponsored posts. My goal by the end of this year is to make enough from my blog that it covers all my shopping!

Phew, that was a lot of numbers. Let’s look at some more numbers to find out how my budget worked this month!

January Budget

          = $319

What I Spent

          =$340

Only $21 over budget…not too shabby! I’ll subtract that overage from my starting budget for February. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll also be including in my monthly budget posts any gifted items I receive. While these items don’t take away from my budget, they’re not exactly “free.” Like they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or a free necklace)! I wouldn’t get complimentary items if it weren’t for all the work I put into this blog. Here are the perks I got this month.

What I Received

A Confession

I also bought one and a half suits at Ann Taylor this month. Since I’m working for a judge this semester, and hopefully I’ll have job interviews before too long, it was about time to grow my professional wardrobe a little. I decided not to apply these to my budget. They would have blown most of the month, and I see these pieces as investments in my future career so I don’t want to skimp on them. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on “cheating” like this again for a LONG time, if ever!

Here’s to a successful February! Be sure to check out Fran’s blog “Franish.” She’ll probably have her budget post up soon!

25 responses to “Budgeting Bloggers: January”

  1. 75only75 says:

    Please please please,
    tell me that you do your budget calculations in an excel sheet !
    Then I will make room for you on my nerd altar :-)

    I only have a budget of 40€ a month, being a broke college student, but I prefer not to keep track of my clothing spending…
    But as I have half of my clothes back at home and not so many in my dorm whenever I go come I do a closet swap and I am really shopping my closet and stuff feels brand new :-)

    Do you ever do that or are you really parting with your clothes for good, giving them to the consigment store as you mentioned?

    I hope you will learn a ton working for the judge and I can’t wait to see what you’ll be wearing to a job interview.

    XXX Moi

    • PUT ME ON THE NERD ALTAR! I do use an Excel sheet. With formulas and everything.
      I do a closet switch twice a year where I swap out summer and winter clothes, and a lot of times I’ve forgotten about things I have so they feel new again. But when I pull something out of storage or get ready to put it in storage and I think to myself “I can’t remember the last time I wore this and I really don’t look forward to wearing it again,” that’s when I get rid of it. If it’s still in good shape, I consign. The idea of getting some of my money back makes it easier to say goodbye!

  2. rosie154 says:

    This is a great idea! I’m always investing in my work attire (career). I am starting this budgeting thing next month!

  3. Yay for joining us, I find it keeps me honest. Bravo as well for including items that you were gifted, I think acknowledging this is important! I could write paragraphs about why but suffice to say, I won’t verbally vomit on your blog in that way :)

  4. Absolutely love your post and am inspired to do the same for myself! Thanks so much. Will keep you posted!

  5. BeingZhenya says:

    This looks like an interesting idea! I might have to start doing that on my blog, but I am only buying thrifted this year and doing project Use Up for makeup/beauty products! Saving money for a couple trips I want to take this year!
    ~Zhenya
    http://beingzhenya.com

    • That’s impressive! I could probably get my fashionista card taken away for this statement but…I have never been a thrift shopper. I don’t have the patience. When I see something I like, I want it to be available in different colors and in my size. And I don’t want to have to inspect it for holes, stains, and smells. I think all these years of retail shopping have spoiled me!

  6. Anna Belle says:

    I’m glad you are joining the budget posts. I’ll have my first one up this weekend. I appreciate you sharing how you set your budget each month!

  7. That totally sucks about the dentist bill! I don’t make new years resolutions either…perks of being perfect. lol. Great buys this month!

    http://kacieskloset.blogspot.com/

  8. Maybe I should start keeping better track of my spending… I’m scared to know!! hehehe.

    • Haha I totally understand! But it’s kind of nice to keep a list of what you’ve bought, because when you have an overstuffed closet like I do, sometimes by the end the month you’ve already forgotten what you bought at the beginning of the month…when a list is right in front of you, it’s less tempting to keep adding more!

  9. cassidylou says:

    Love this idea. I may have to start that. JUst this month I started keeping all my receipts and spreadsheet of what I bought, when, where & how I paid. Sometimes my shopping totally gets out of hand, so budgeting & tracking is a great way to control it!

  10. AJ says:

    $20 over isn’t bad at all! That suit is an “investment” and the other piece look quite versatile as well.

    But I MUST know…how did you make $200+ in income from your blog?! I’m SO interested in this…

    -AJ
    OccasionallyAJ.com

    • I use 2 different affiliate marketing programs, which just means I make a commission when lovely readers like yourself click on some of my product links :) Both of them require you to build up at least $100 before they disperse payment, and it just happened that I got payment from both of them this month. So it really took longer than 1 month to earn the $200, but I only count it as “income” when the money’s actually in my hand (seems safer that way!) Hope that answers your question!

      • AJ says:

        OOOO, I see! I use those links too, I feel like I’m going to be 90 before I get to $100! LOL! Good for you!

  11. Diana says:

    I would be interested in a post about your consignment pieces. What, how, why you decided it was time for that piece to say goodbye. It might help the rest of us in deciding its time to part with a few things. That seems to be an issue for me and consignment is a great win-win!

    • The short answer is that I consign when I haven’t worn something in several months and I don’t feel excited about wearing it again. I know it can be hard to get rid of things because you worry you’ll miss it, but if you’re sticking to the “test” above, it’s VERY unlikely you’ll regret letting go. (Especially if you’re like me and you’re always adding new things to your closet.)

  12. I HEART budgeting! Yay for getting on the wagon. I love the pink skirt you got :)
    xx
    Here&Now
    Enter to win a $500 shopping spree!

  13. Rachel says:

    Oh I’m loving the shoes and sweaters you purchased. Super cute!

  14. Valerie P. says:

    Hey a good suit is an essential- especially in your line of work! Such fab purchases this month!
    Valerie
    http://www.the-style-files.com

  15. Ashley says:

    I love that you are able to sell some clothes to add money to your budget. I really need to think about doing that! I love all the beautiful shoes you added to your closet this year. You got some beautiful things!

    And boo for wisdom teeth removal – it already sucks without having to pay out the wazoo for it!

  16. Welcome. Every month, it’s basically been a walk of shame for me, since I consistently blow my budget. But that’s ok. I really like having everything written down and documented for the world to see. You got some great staples this month. Professional/Work clothes are kind of a necessity. As are underthings (which is why I don’t count them toward my budget).

  17. Meghan says:

    I’d really like to get into budgeting bloggers so I’m looking at everyone’s posts. I like that your’s isn’t a resolution but more of an accountability. Kudos.