In the past, I have always been reluctant to plan for the year ahead. Especially with anything as concrete as money. Never had a budget. I had been afraid of my ability to earn, afraid of making commitment to jobs I never really liked.
Budgeting is fun!
I am happy to report that I have finally overcome that barrier. I am confident in my ability to earn next year. I know what expenses to expect. I know where I can find leeway in my budget for when things don’t go as planned. Is this what they call “adulting?” 😂
Categorizing money is enjoyable!
First, I figured out my fixed expenses for the year, like rent, phone, insurance, etc. Then I estimated my variable expenses, like groceries and entertainment. I may need to adjust this category but hence the “variable” category!
Next I estimated taxes based on a sample income that I can expect to make each month. As an independent contractor it’s truly an estimate, because my schedule is so variable. It’s just an average, and does require me to keep pushing myself in terms of not taking too much time off.
Don’t sleep on sinking funds
I love the sinking funds category, as it’s a real departure from the old “put it on the credit card” method of buying things. Here I am budgeting for things like a laptop, car (eventually I’ll need a new-to-me car, as mine is over 20 years old now!) continuing education, recurring annual PT license and insurance fees, travel, etc. This way I can pay cash for these things and not have to dip into my emergency fund.
And finally, planning for the trips coming up including WDS in June and FinCon in September, woo hoo!
What a relief to have it all done!
Having all this out in an excel spreadsheet, and seeing that it all makes sense and can actually be done, is tremendously satisfying. I hope this helps you plan your budget for the next year! Please let me know in the comments if it is helpful, and ask any questions, I’ll be happy to explain further!