We have several long-term money goals that we add to every month. Among them are small additions to our Emergency Fund, paying off my student loans, and our building our retirement savings. We’re also starting to regularly invest. Lately, though, we’ve been discussing our 2017 budget and things that are going to happen this year and only this year. How do we budget for those short-term financial goals?
First, one of Winston’s best friends is getting married in May. We’ve done a budget for the trip and figured out it will cost around $2000. This budget accounts for flights (almost half of the budget), hotels, rental car, gift, and a new suit for Winston (he’s in the wedding and needs a new black suit).
Second, I’m turning 30 this year and I want to do something a little more exciting than normal. I don’t have a budget for this yet because I haven’t decided what I want to do. Eeeekkk! I know I need to get on this even though my birthday isn’t until July.
Third, we need some new furniture. I came to this relationship with 2 $20 Target bookcases and Winston came with everything else. His everything else though is a couch that’s falling apart, 2 Ikea tables we push together for a coffee table, and a TV stand that is too small for our TV. We’re assuming these new items will cost around $2000, but we’d love to come in way under budget!
Fourth, some of my best friends are turning 30 this year, too. We usually exchange small gifts and have normal parties. This year, I’m guessing that there will be more expenses associated with these birthdays.
Now, you’re probably wondering how we’re finding the room in our budget for these new items!
- We Looked For Expected and Unexpected Windfalls. We each get paid every other week. That means that twice a year, we get an extra check. The coolest thing is that this just happened for us in December, so we were able to earmark that money directly to our “Get To Friend’s Wedding” Fund. DONE! You could also look for unexpected windfalls. Did you get some cash for Christmas or a birthday? A bonus at work? Put that money to use!
- We checked our budget for invisible money. Sometimes, even when you work hard to budget, money falls through the cracks. I am not a salaried employee, so I only get paid for how many hours I work. Since I don’t always (actually, pretty close to never) work exactly 40 hours a week (some are more, some are less), we budgeted for me to bring in less money than I actually do. Since I’m currently bringing in more money every 2 weeks pretty consistently, it would be easy for it to just disappear in our budget. Instead, it is all earmarked for our “Furniture” Fund. Not, DONE, exactly in that we’re still saving money, but we we will have enough pretty soon!
- Find a Way to Make Extra Money. For all the 30th birthday expenses this year, I’ve redoubled my efforts on Swagbucks and on a new site called InstaGC. I wrote a post about Swagbucks already (we used our Amazon gift cards to help pay for our Wedding Welcome Bags, too), but I’m focusing harder than usual. This way, I don’t have to look inside my budget for more money. I can just work a little harder outside of it. My goal at the moment is to make $25 a month. If I do that through the end of May, I would have $125. It’s not life-changing at all, but that’s certainly going to help with the extra gifts and the extra drinks I’ll need to buy. Plus, imagine what it would add up to if I keep going for the rest of the year and uses it at Christmas. Not into doing work on the internet? Try picking up a few extra hours at work or selling things on ebay!
Now that we’ve got all of these extra money streams, we’re even more excited about the things we get to do this year! Not worrying about where the money will come from is the most amazing gift! Plus, now that we’ve identified them, we’re excited about what we can do even after these goals are met. Even though this extra check went to our friend’s wedding, we’ll have two more extra checks this year that we can allocate to something equally as fun. Plus, after we buy new furniture, we’ll be able to put that extra money toward something else, too!
The links to Swagbucks and InstaGC are my referral links. However, you will see the benefits of extra money, too, and extra money is always a good thing!