Remember the post about the cookie jar? You reach in and you aren’t sure what is there? A budget can help reduce that possibility!
I love to budget. Yes, I budget my money. But my favorite kind of budget is for my time when I’m prepping for a ‘big’ event. Big events for me usually revolve around having people over for brunch or dinner. Or if there is a holiday meal.
How and why do I budget?
Well first – how? I start by looking at all of the recipes that I’m going to use and write down the amount of time it will take to prep them, as well as the oven time. Once I have that, I look to see what can be done ahead of time, and then what needs to be fresh out of the oven when people arrive. Anything that can be done early I mark and set for an earlier time in the day / the previous day. I also write down if there are things that need to be baked right before people arrive but can be prepped before.
Ok, now why do I do this? Simple, I would run out of time if I didn’t. People would be arriving, I would still be wearing running shorts and a t-shirt, and half of the food would still be left to prep. To make matters worse, I’d be stressed, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy being with everyone (the real point of the event in the first place).
Another reason I like to prep is to give me some flex time in case something comes up. Maybe I go for a longer run than I had planned. Or I stop for a coffee on my way home (shame on me – see coffee post). Or someone calls and needs my help “real fast.” Basically, budgeting allows me to relax and take these shocks to my time in stride.
Now, let’s get to budgeting money. Why do it? For the same reasons! It allows you to have the money you need when you need it because you have properly planned and saved. It allows you to be relaxed when the time comes to pay for things. And, it allows you to be ready for shocks. If you have saved far enough in advance and something unexpected arises, you will hopefully have built that into your plan.
How do you budget your money?
Well there are many ways! There are lots of apps out there that connect to your accounts that you can use.
I also know people that figure out how much money they have coming in and how much they need to save to pay for their mortgage, car, kids’ education, and big future expenses that they are saving for. With the difference in money coming in and going out they can figure out an average daily amount that they can spend on other things. And then stick to it.
I personally have a whole excel spreadsheet. I first take the amount of money I make in a month and set a specific amount aside for savings. Then, from there, I split it up into different categories. How much I want to spend on: rent, utilities, gas, food, entertainment, and clothing. I then try to stick to those amounts over the month. If I spend more in one category one month, then I try and spend less in that category the next money (all while staying in my total monthly budget). Expenses can be lumpy, so it is helpful to have a plan to save for something.
Here is a more concrete example on budgeting for something specific. Let’s say that you want to go on vacation in 6 months. The vacation will cost you $1,000. You could save equally for 6 months: $1,000/6 = $167 per month. You could also save $200 per month. Then if you have an unexpected small expense one month, no sweat, you had extra planned. So, you end up saving $200 in months 1,2,3, 5, and 6. Even though you couldn’t save in that 4th month, you are still good!
What if you didn’t save at all? Then you’d be left with the $1,000 lump payment for vacation. It would likely go on your credit card. Your credit card charges interest on your payments, so you’ll end up spending more than $1,000 on vacation!
Cinnamon rolls are an awesome thing to make for a group brunch because you can prep most of it ahead of time. My typical go-to cinnamon roll recipe is from Pioneer Woman. HOWEVER, they do require some prep the day of the event. So, instead I recommend one of these two:
Half-Baked Harvest Overnight Brioche Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls. They came out amazing with minimal work the morning of Christmas.
My absolutely go to website for recipes is King Arthur Baking Company. Each year they have a "Recipe of the Year." This year (2021) it is cinnamon rolls. These are cinnamon rolls unlike any other. They are super light, and the most amazing thing of all is that they last. The recipe actually says if you want to make these (completely) the night before - you can! Just don't ice them. The day of, warm them a bit and then put the icing on. They seriously still taste just as wonderful. Try it out!