Time to set our February budget and goals. With the beginning of a new month there are a few things we always think about from a financial perspective. First, reviewing the previous month and second setting a budget and goals for the new month.
Financial Review of January
January was a more difficult month financially than we expected. We had problems with our furnace, our dishwasher conked out and we got an unexpected medical bill for one of the kids! So many zigzags on the financial front! So our plan to rebuild our emergency fund did not happen. We also decided that the dishwasher quitting on us was not an emergency, so we have been hand washing all of our dishes. The furnace was the most pressing expense. Having no heat in a January in New Hampshire just isn’t an option. The doctors bill was unexpected because we thought our health insurance covered the expense but of course it is a new year; so new deductible.
Looking Forward to February Budget and Goals
Setting a budget for February is pretty easy. We always base our budget on the previous months spending and adjust where we think it makes sense. For example the grocery category of our budget for January was set to five hundred dollars. We spent $436.87. So for February we set the grocery category to four hundred fifty dollars. The extra fifty dollars will go toward the emergency fund. In the category of miscellaneous, we way overspent in January because we forgot that the printer needed ink, the kids school had a fundraiser, and of course the unexpected doctors bill went into that category. Maybe we need to add a few more categories to our budget to make the miscellaneous category less of a catch all.
Setting goals for February felt so much harder than setting the budget. One of the main reasons for this is that February is a shorter month. There are fewer calendar days, which is few work days. Another reason is I am a worker in the public schools in New Hampshire. I will be bringing home less money. Every February at the end of the month we have a week off from school which is unpaid for me. But despite those problems, here are the goals we came up with for February: fully fund the baby emergency savings, fully fund the other short term savings funds that we did not add money to in January.
Setting up our February budget and goals ahead of time will give us a road map for the month. February is going to be a catch up month for us financially here at our untidy life. Sometimes, that is okay. It is certainly better than accruing more debt. I am interested in hearing about a time when your family had a month where you had to maintain the status quo. Please leave me a comment below.