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how often do i need to prepare my budget

Updated: Feb 4

The short answer here is: monthly.

End blog post.

If you are interested in a little more detail, let’s get down to business.

As we all know, no month is exactly alike, just like our BFFs. Each one is a little different, and that is the spice of life! A variety of friends = good spice. Assuming a one size fits all budget is good for every month = bad spice.

[Is this a blog about budgets or cooking?!]

Things to consider when making your determinations:

How many days are in the month?

Let’s say you budget $20/day for food. Your food budget in January is going to be $620 whereas your February (let’s not get technical with Leap Year, folks) is $560. If you just let your budget rollover from month to month you would assume you have an extra $60 to spend on food in February. WELL… that money could have gone to debt payoff, car savings, or something else awesome and you missed the chance. Sad face.

What does your transportation look like for the month?

In the summer months, our transportation budget is a bit higher than the winter due to the extra fishing trips, etc. Is it the opposite for you? Are you one of those winter sports people who are willing to ski in negative temperatures? (We probably can’t be friends 😉 but your budget is more important than us!).

Do you have any random events coming up this month?

Maybe “The Bleachers” are in town and it’s a CANNOT miss concert… oh, just me? Make sure that goes into your budget so you don’t get derailed. Side note: if you don’t have the funds for the concert, try a few thing things: 1. figure out a way to make some extra cash 2. reallocate some money from another line item (clothes, meals out, etc.) OR 3. I’m assuming you already own their album - dim the lights, turn on your phone flashlight, and get to rocking out at home.

concert goers with their hands in the air with their phone lights shining bright (a concert tradition during slower songs)

Mortgage/Rent Increase

Did you receive notice that your mortgage or rent was going up next month (or down… fingers crossed!)? Make sure that gets added to your budget.


My garbage & recycling is billed quarterly. The month I receive the bill, I pay it; then I make a note in my spreadsheet for the next two months (I still leave the line item there).

Example: I pay the bill in April; I put $0 in the Amount column for May. Then I add the note “Pay again in July” in my Notes column, which applies to my May and June spreadsheets.

I recommend you prepare your budget at least a week prior to the month starting. If it’s around July 20th, time to get your August budget in order! If you are a household of one, do your monthly check-in with your budget. If there are multiple people making decisions, hold that check-in together. Everyone needs to be on board with the direction you take in your finances (and you want that direction to be awesome sauce... see what I did there?!).

Amelia Earhart quote: Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.

Happy preparing - it's worth every minute!

Here's to you!

Melissa Mittelstaedt

Money Coach (AFC® Candidate)

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