It’s the end of December 2015, which means this is my 24th Budgeting Bloggers post. After 2 straight years of confessing my shopping habits every month, my outlook on these posts has changed – not necessarily for the better or the worse, just changed.
For one thing, my average monthly budget has increased since I started doing these these posts in January 2014. If you’ve been following for a while, you know that my shopping budget fluctuates depending on the income I get from this little online endeavor of mine. As I’ve found the best ways for me to monetize this blog, I’ve gotten a steadier stream of shopping fuel. Ironically (but in a good way), the day I post my budget each month is usually the day I make the most in commission because you’re all clicking my links to see what I bought!
When I check out some of my fellow Budgeting Bloggers each month, I’ve noticed that I spend more (sometimes a lot more) than most of the other ladies who bare their
souls receipts online each month. No one has ever given me a hard time for my spending habits, but I have to wonder whether there’s anyone out in Internet land who’s thinking to themselves that I’m either (a) showing off how much money I have or (b) living outside my means. I’m not losing sleep over people who may or may not be judging me, but I am a little worried that I could be setting the wrong example for someone like a younger version of myself. So because it’s the end of the year, I want to take this opportunity to give a little insight and set the record straight on how I feel about budgeting, shopping, and participating in the Budgeting Bloggers linkup.
The most important thing I’ve come to realize is that you should never compare your spending to someone else’s, even if that person is your same age, has the same job, or the same number of kids. That means not only should you not adjust your budget to align with another person’s, but you also shouldn’t judge another person’s budget because it doesn’t align with yours. There are so many factors besides income that influence what is appropriate to spend on clothes. It may seem to most people like I spend an exorbitant amount of money on my wardrobe, but consider this: I live in a modest house, I drive an 8-year-old Nissan Sentra that is paid off, I have no kids, I take my lunch and snacks to work every day, I use coupons at the grocery store, and I don’t have any other expensive habits or take glamorous vacations. On top of that, I put in several hours of work a week to keep this blog running, which helps turn shopping into a self-sustaining hobby. I still put money in a retirement account, I pay all my bills, and I have excellent credit. I’m even getting close to paying off the credit cards I ran up back when I was not as smart about budgeting!
The only person who knows what your shopping budget (or your housing or food or car or any other budget) should be is you. It might be easier to Google “what percentage of my income should I spend on clothes,” but Google doesn’t know what your priorities are. If it’s your goal in life to have 4 kids and drive them to pre-school in a Lexus, then by all means, live your dreams. But unless you’re filthy rich, please do not let me peer pressure you into spending $800 a month on clothes!
The moral of the story is: Do what’s right for you, and don’t presume to know what’s right for others. I wish I could go back and say this to my 22-year-old self, but at least I can say it to the world wide web in the hopes of reaching another 22-year-old who thinks she can buy whatever she wants because she’s an adult with a college degree. I plan on continuing my monthly budget posts in 2016 because, even though my budget has increased, it will never be infinite, and these posts keep me in check and accountable.
OK, I’ve already gone on long enough, so I won’t go into my usual detail on my budget. After 2 years, I hope you can trust me when I say that I came in $120 under budget this month. (Yay me!) Most of what I bought/received this month is in the collage above. I had a great haul this month thanks to (1) a higher-than-usual blog income, and (2) Christmas gifts and gift cards.
As a reminder, I am linking up once again with the always enlightening Fran and her Budgeting Bloggers. Thanks for keeping me (brutally) honest, ladies!