Photo by rawpixel via Unsplash.com
Recently, a friend of mine asked for help with her finances and we set up a “budget meeting” time to take a look at everything. As I was showing her my budget as an example, she said “how do you only spend $60 on stuff?”
While I spend a lot more than that on monthly planned expenses, like subscriptions and food, it’s true that my miscellaneous fund is only $60. It looks and feels small, I agree. But in reality, I wasn’t spending this much money on extra things in the first place. And if you’re in the same season of life as me (unmarried, just graduated, new career, no kids, etc.), you probably aren’t either.
Think about it: when do you make purchases over $60? We all need or want to buy new things or replace old ones. But do you make these purchases every single month? Maybe. And are they usually more than $60? I doubt it.
This isn’t to say that $60 is the perfect number. Maybe, for you, it’s $80. Maybe it’s $40. Either way, don’t be afraid of the limitation– just find the appropriate amount and try. My guess is that you’ll be surprised at how much you truly need.
To show you the abundance I’ve found in this fund, here are the things I’ve purchased using my $60 fund and some things I plan to purchase in the future.
Things I’ve Bought
Higher quality clothes. Namely socks, a bra, and underwear, which are surprisingly blessings for me. I used to keep wearing socks with holes in them way past the point of no return, and I have never owned a bra of true quality. Replacing these, in addition to spending $30 on better quality underwear, used to feel like a privilege that it was never a good time for me to afford. What this line in my budget has given me is the peace of mind that I can afford to buy and/or replace the things that I may not “need” to, but will improve my day-to-day life markedly.
Classroom supplies. This includes all the decorations that I bought at Five Below and Michael’s the week before school, but also includes small things like my pens, tissues, folders, spare pencils, etc. As I was preparing my first-ever classroom, I was extremely grateful to have this miscellaneous fund.
Unplanned fees. This mostly includes parking meters and ATMs, but applies to anything unplanned that might pop up during the month,
Aaaaaaaand sometimes I go over my “going out” fund and get some peace of mind… 🙂
Things I plan to buy
Replacement jeans and running shoes. Getting holes in both of these, sadly. The jeans I can buy in one month, but the shoes I may have to save up more intentionally for. Since I’ve made it through a few hikes with my old, damaged shoes (and I’m not going to the gym very often these days), new sneakers are on my list to replace but I know I can make it without them for a bit longer.
An item of spirit wear for my school. This is a new item I’ve been wanting to buy for some time now. I love repping my school, and I found a quarter zip I really like, so this will be the next item on my list once I replace the items I need to.
Items for my apartment. My boyfriend and I came up with a spreadsheet of the needs and wants for our future apartment. We also spent an evening looking at art we would like to potentially buy to decorate. My miscellaneous fund gives me the space to slowly gather some of these items to contribute to this longer-term project.
As you can see, I actually find more freedom in this $60 per month than I do limitation. I can buy new or replacement items without any guilt or buyer’s remorse, knowing that I’ve given myself permission by planning ahead for these costs.