Building a Big Girl Budget

I’ll set the scene. It’s a Friday night. Suited in your coziest robe, Friends reruns on, and third glass of pink Moscato deep, you are fully engulfed in an online shopping binge that has almost, just almost, remedied the stressful workweek you had. You have about seven different tabs open, all holding carts brimming with items you may or may not need (fall scented candles are a necessity if they’re buy one get one half off, right?). As you frantically start entering your credit card info over and over to make your purchases, a thought flashes across your head. Am I going to need to dip into my savings for this?  You decide to finish out your shopping frenzy and assess the damage in the morning.
No matter your age, adulting is hard. But it’s a lot harder when you feel like you have no grasp on your money. The solution? A nice big girl budget 😉!

We put out a little poll on our Instagram story asking our followers how they manage their money. 75% said of course they budget! The other 25% were not quite as meticulous. For those who keep a detailed budget, good for you! Keep doing you. And if not, trust me, I get it. Life happens and it’s hard to track every purchase and every expense. Nevertheless, regardless of whether you have a concrete budget, or you eyeball it, there are a few rules of thumb that we should all follow:

  • You should have enough to cover six months’ worth of expenses in your short-term savings in case of an emergency.
  • No more than a third of your pretax income should be spent on rent (good luck with this one if you live in Manhattan).
  • The 50-30-20 rule: 50% of your income should go to necessities. 30% can be allocated to play. 20% to savings (15% to retirement and 5% to short-term savings).
  • Only treat to yourself to 1% or 2% of extra cash you make (commissions, bonuses, inheritances). Put the rest into savings!
  • Don’t spend more than you make (my dad’s tip, sweet and simple!).

    If you want to keep an eye on your spending, but shudder at the thought of managing every penny, what I’ve found as a useful middle ground is to outline all fixed costs. These include your monthly rent, utilities, phone bill, car payment, savings for a vacation, etc. (essentially any cost that will stay the same each month). If you know your fixed costs or expenses, and make sure you set aside enough of your monthly income to cover them, the rest can be considered your play money…as long as you remember to feed yourself! 

    For now, I’m personally trying out the whole super detailed excel spreadsheet type of budget. That’s right, your girl made a color-coded spreadsheet and has been inputting every purchase. I’m not going to lie, it’s exhausting. I’m getting a good sense of where my money is going, but I’m starting to consider easier alternatives. I’ve heard great reviews of the Mint App, for example. It syncs up to all your cards and visualizes your spending to help you stay on track. If you don’t mind the lag that comes with updating card activity, it could be a great way to keep a grip on your money! Whatever you do, just remember to take a peek at your budget before your next online shopping binge…and then spend away 😉!


How do you manage your money? Let us know, because some of us Anjéls need your help!

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