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The end of March is just around the corner, and with a new month comes a new budget. Get your April budget set up before the month begins so you are ready to start tracking your spending and being intentional with your money!
Have you already done the big work of setting up your zero-based budget?? I wish I could tell you this is a ‘set it and forget it’ life plan, but like every month brings new adventures, each month brings new budget needs. The good news is that once you get set up, the next month is way quicker.
Setting up your new budget
In EveryDollar, when you go to start the next months budget, it will forward all the information from the last month. So that means that the hard work is done for you already!
When you click on ‘March 2019’ at the top of the page, a drop-down menu appears where you can select which month you want to view. By clicking April 2019 you are then starting your new budget, and EveryDollar copies all of your numbers from March so you are well on your way to being set up!
(This is a great tool once you have been budgeting for a while because you can look back at what you spent last April to get a sense of what you might need to include this month too!)
Fixed & Flex Payments
First – fixed payments like mortgage or rent, insurance, property taxes. They aren’t changing from month to month, so they are already set in your budget. Step one, done!
Next up – Flex payments. Do yourself a favour and spend some time looking at what you spent your money on this month and make adjustments as you need to.
If you budgeted $400 for groceries last month but found that even being super conscious of your shopping you spent $700, you should put more in your grocery budget. This means you’ll need to cut back in another area though, so look and see where you might be able to do that.
The key to intentional budgeting is making adjustments and changes as you need to, so don’t feel like you are doing it wrong just because your March and April budgets don’t match.
Take a look at your budget and see if there are any places where you might be overbudgeting too. If you are working on paying off your debt right now, you want to trim down the budget as much as you can so that all that extra money can pay off your debt. The more you can pay off each month, the sooner that will be money in your pocket! Planning to spend $500 on clothes each month is lovely, but probably not necessary, especially if you are focusing on Steps 1, 2, or 3!
Getting real with yourself
Honesty is key. The budget will only work for you if you get real about where you are at, and commit to the changes you want to make.
It is absolutely OKAY if you didn’t nail the budget the first month you used it. It takes about three months to get the hang of it, and when you “blow the budget” it is NOT a fail. The simple fact that you are working on it, looking at your bank account, tracking your spending, thinking about your money – that is a success.
I still have months where I forget to add something in, or I overspend in an area. It’s all good – the next month I either adjust my budget or my spending (generally BOTH) and keep on rolling!
This is REAL LIFE, guys – you won’t get it right the first time, and you will make mistakes.
Hear me well: Just. Keep. Going.
Even when it feels hard, or you feel like you failed. Keep going — high five yourself for trying. And then try again!
Don’t forget these April expenses…
Are you ready to enjoy the warm spring weather? Rock through your April budget so you can enjoy April when it arrives!
April Fools Day
If you are a family of pranksters, you might want to add a budget line for this! Or do some research to surprise your friends and family with a FREE prank this year, if you are trimming your budget to pay off debt!
I’m very new to gardening, and my green-thumb is still developing. But what I have learned in the past few years of growing flowers and veggies in my yard is that it can be VERY easy to spend a lot of money. Think about your garden needs and start budgeting NOW so that you are prepared when the prep and growing begins!
The winter season can be hard on the deck furniture and outdoor equipment. Think about what you NEED and budget accordingly. Our barbeque is on its very last legs, and one of the sweetest joys in my world is evenings with burgers on the grill and my loved ones laughing in my yard. ‘New BBQ’ is a budget line that I’m saving for – it will feel so good to buy it in a few months without having to think twice because the money is already set aside for it!
Chocolate, candy, new decor, new spring dresses and sweet shirts with pastel bowties. These fun things add up quick! Add them into your budget so you can shop without breaking the bank!
Summer Holidays & Camping
Do you drive across the country to visit Auntie Pam every summer? Or is there a family campout scheduled for the August long weekend? Maybe you are planning a week in the mountains to disconnect and recharge. Whatever your summer plans are – start budgeting for them NOW, and you’ll be fully prepared when the warm weather rolls around!
This is a great time to go through the closets and see what fits and what doesn’t. My little dude grew a TON this winter, so I’m pretty sure most of his shorts and Tshirts from last year won’t fit this year. Not only will I save a bit of money in April to be able to get him some new threads for summer, but I’ll also take the too-small clothes and list them online to sell and make a bit of extra money, too!
Until next month…
Every month brings new expenses and goals. Make sure you set aside time at the end of each month to make changes and get set up for the month ahead! A bit of intentional planning goes a long way to getting successful with your financial goals!
What else do you need to add to your April budget? Comment below!