Each month, Chris and I budget $100 each to spend as "personal allowance." This includes eating out/coffee/activities we do separately (we have a joint family allowance budget of $150 as well) and purchases that are that wants and not needs. To keep ourselves accountable, we use Mint to monitor our spending. As an extra layer of accountability, I am sharing what I spent my personal allowance on each month and whether I stayed within budget. Check out previous months here.
In December, Chris and I had our annual goals and budget meeting. We reviewed our budget (kept in an Excel spreadsheet) and made sure each category of spending aligned correctly with a budget in Mint. We made a few changes and did some general tidying to our budget - it was so satisfying!
So January felt like a "fresh" start to our budget (always appealing) plus Chris and I made a goal of spending very little of our personal allowance money. As a result I've been tracking every dollar we/I spend in Mint - and I have been loving it.
We are each budgeted $150/month of personal allowance money. It's what we use if we buy coffee or a meal out or want to buy anything beyond groceries and what we need to have around the house. Even though $150 seems like a lot to me we both find ourselves over-spending most months. While at the same time neither of us feels like we are extravagant spenders!
By tracking every dollar we spent this month we have both stayed well within our personal allowance budgets. PLUS we've stayed within other budgets like groceries, household services (lawn care, cleaners, other things that come up) and for home supplies (lightbulbs, etc. plus disposable diapers and wipes).
Our month of "no extra spending" was a failure in that we did each spend personal allowance money. But it was a huge success in that neither of us over-spent and it feels like we're establishing new habits of tracking every dollar. Something that helped me stay within my personal allowance budget was making sure that I reimbursed myself for things like gifts and business expenses (for my podcasts). We have separate savings accounts for those and I always mean to rectify the spending but often think, "Oh it'll work out." And what works out is that I overspend my personal allowance. No more!
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to share how I spent my personal allowance money this month. Perhaps it will be a recurring monthly feature. It's certainly a good way to stay accountable to my budget!
Personal allowance spending in January 2017:
$24.33 - 2017 Nikki McClure calendar for my office
$17.32 - brunch out with a dear friend in Tucson. This charge is a little annoying because we actually went out at the end of December so it should have been a December expense but it didn't hit until January.
$10 - Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to see Push Comes to Shove: Women and Power (amazing)
$7.20 - coffee and gelato post-museum with a feisty friend
$3.76 - hot tea at book club. Normally I'd get a beer and I definitely could have bought nothing...but I didn't.
$6.27 - Phoenix Women's March small registration donation + online service fee.
$39.97 - printing my Women's March poster and having it mounted on foam board at Office Max
$10.78 - beer and a slice of pizza at book club happy hour
$7.20 - iced cold brew + delicious blondie during a Girl Next Door Podcast work session
Total spent: $126.25/$150
Even though I ended up spending more than I thought I would I feel good about it! My Women's March poster was a bit of an unexpected expense and the most expensive thing I bought. Totally worth it. I'm saving the ~$24 "left over" in my personal savings account for a rainy day.
I'm interested to see if I can remain on budget for my personal allowance going forward. One-hundred and fifty dollars can go alarmingly fast, all the more reason to track every dollar.