I know, Mondays are usually for my menu plans, but last week I did no cooking. You can just take a look at last week’s menu and our menu this week will be about exactly the same. I did spend some time with my checkbook, budget calendar, and calculator today… and boy did I need to!
The last two weeks have been terrible for our budget… My mind decided that ignorance is bliss in the case of our checkbook. I finally got it balanced today, and I managed to get the budget figured out for the rest of the month, as well as for April! We should still be able to put over $300 into our savings at the beginning of the month! Some of that will be for our Christmas Savings, and the rest will be for our regular savings account.
My main goal for April will be to stay on budget, track ALL expenses, and keep a tight reign on things. If it wouldn’t have been for our tax refund, then things could have been really ugly this past month. Luckily it gave us a cushion that kept things in the black. I also had a newborn photo shoot, which gave us a bit of extra income as well.
The best part is that we are over halfway to our savings goal. My original goal was $2,000. I picked that number based on what our previous hospital bills were when we had Miss C. I also knew that we would need a few new items for a new baby, so I added that in. I think that since I am no longer pregnant, I am going to raise the goal. By end of the year, I would like to see our emergency savings at $4,000. It is going to be a stretch, as my current calculations show that we will be right around $3,000 with our normal savings each month. This means we are going to be really working hard at scrimping and finding ways to save. Once our savings is at $5,000 (which will hopefully be by this time next year), hopefully we will be able to save enough for hospital bills for when we get pregnant again, and then save for some fun stuff! We would love to go on a vacation eventually, and we have some things we want to buy for our house. I feel like there is actually a light at the end of this tunnel. It has been a long tunnel, and we won’t be completely out of debt, but with our savings going up each month, I feel our stress easing and our financial situation becoming more stable. It’s a great feeling!
I am trying to decide what to do with photography income at this point. There are a few items I would like to buy for my business: a new lens (around $1,000), a new camera strap (a wrist strap- about $20), and a new computer for editing (my current computer is about 8 years old and slow as molasses- about $1,500). They are all expensive items (except the wrist strap, which I may ask for for my birthday), but I can write them off on our taxes! I think I may start a new savings account for my photography purchases. Every time I make money from a session, I can split it 50/50 and put 50% into regular savings, and 50% into my photography purchases. I am working on booking a wedding for October right now, which would be a big bump in savings! I have three sessions in the books right now (for the next couple of months), and hopefully will become busy again once the weather decides to warm up. Fall seems to be my busier time, though, so I am not sure how it will work out this spring.
Right now with those few sessions, we are looking at about $400. That would boost our regular savings $200 and my photography purchases $200. For right now, I have the lenses I need to do the sessions at hand. For the wedding, I can rent the two lenses I would want to use. (One lens I won’t bother ever buying, as it is a telephoto lens and the only time I could ever imagine me needing it is shooting a wedding in which I had to stay at the back of the church). The other lens that I do want is one that can be used for many different types of sessions. It is very hard to combat the desire to buy things and want things. I guess we will just have to work hard at bulking up our savings account!