February Wallet Watch

I think you KNOW a specific post needs to happen when you somehow manage to fly through writing it before you've even finished your morning coffee. That's what happened when I read Steph's Wallet Watch post and linkup announcement last week. I just opened a new tab and started churning out what you're about to read.

See, I haven't been terribly off the rails lately, but I can definitely stand to tighten up next month. I have a few trips and a wedding coming up (in which I'm the MOH and throwing the shower and bachelorette!) so February is a good month to reign it in! I've imposed spending freezes upon myself before, but call it something cutesy and put a linkup on it and my chances of succeeding quadruple. Probably. I dunno, I've never done the math. Anyway...

My rules:

1. Prioritize tax account.
Since I'm self-employed, my tax commitment is different from yours. Uncle Sam takes 30% of your paycheck and gives some of it back in April, but the trade-off for getting 100% of my income every month is that I have to plan to give 30% of it to Uncle Sam in April. I became fully self-employed in October of last year, and didn't have the structure right away to set up the 30% immediate transfer of 30% of all income to a designated account I'll pay my taxes from, so I need to finish making up for that small deficit as well as making sure I'm putting in 30% of my monthly income for 2016.

2. Switch checking account.
I suppose this reads more like a goal, and I have to do it by the first week of the month. I've had a Bank of America checking account since I was 18, but since becoming self-employed, I've had no direct deposit and I'm not the kind of person who keeps a minimum of over $1,000 in my checking account on a daily basis. So the $12 monthly fee is no longer waived for me. I kind of think $12 is a ridiculous amount to pay just to have a bank account, so I'm switching. I called and was able to get it waived for two months, but even though the gentleman on the phone told me it "should be no problem" for a branch manager for wave the fee going forward, apparently they can't. So, bye BOA.

3. Approved big spends: maid of honor dress & bridal shower invitations; one spring race registration; some basic personal care needs (already listed). That's all.
My cousin is having us pick our own bridesmaids dresses and wants them to not be too bridal, which is great. I think it's going to be a beautiful wedding. It's in May, so hopefully the springy dresses will start coming up in stores now and I'll find something I like. Looking for sales in Nordstrom/Rack and Macy's will hopefully let me keep this cost low. And then I need to print the invitations for her shower—I'm planning to use Minted. Does anyone have a discount code for Minted? (I know they collab with bloggers often.) Or a different service you like better that I should use? Thanks in advance!

As for personal care, I've run out of and decided I need a few things and have had them listed in my February budget for a few weeks already. None are really easily duplicated, and the total comes to under $50—which, considering there are about 10 things on that list, ain't so bad.

4. No unlisted clothes, shoes, personal care, housewares, or—gulp—candles. None. I don't need any. No, not even running or yoga clothes. Be strong. (Send prayers.)

5. No Chipotle. In fact, don't spend more than $20 on takeout food and coffee all month. This is more of just a bad habit that's creeping back up than a financial thing, but my wallet will certainly appreciate the restriction too. I don't eat out a lot (dinners with friends are a different category) and I never get fast food, but I do succumb to what I call "lazy food"—especially after a full day of YTT. I've ended up picking up Chipotle (it's right across the street from the studio where we train) afterwards more often than I can count in the last few weeks, and when you consider the condiment surcharge, it adds up. The worst part is that this always happens when I have PLENTY of food in my apartment, but choose to spend more money on different food instead. That's dumb when you think about it. There's generally not a whole lot of room for trimming my budget, because I don't do a ton of excess spending to begin with. But this can stand to be addressed.

Exceptions are always made for donations, as I am committed to doing at least one charitable thing every month. Some months I have a lot of clothes or items to donate, some months I plan ahead to volunteer my time, but I often like to make financial donations to worthy causes. Especially when friends of mine are fundraising for something dear to their hearts. I leave some wiggle room for that in every month's budget, and I've already budgeted for a donation to MFD's  fundraising goal for the Covenant House Sleep Out.

Other than that, there really shouldn't be any frivolous spending this February. It's a short month, so I should be able to make it happen, right? Who's with me? We'll be sharing on March 4, so check back to see how I did!


  1. These are great goals for February and gotta love that it's a shorter month!! I've been buying food at work a little too much so I need to tighten up there!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. LOLOL @ "send prayers." That's how I feel about not being able to order from Amazon all month.

    We got this!

  3. thank god for my accountant who is just so amazing. i hand her everything in a box for my business and she does her magical thing with numbers. that said, i also have to plan for the tax year (damn you, CRA!) so i can't be making it rain even on good years :(

  4. You have to pay taxes quarterly. I'm sure you know that, but just in case that 1% chance you don't, I don't want you to get penalized. Good luck this month!! Eating out (damnit Chipotle) is my biggest one too. Sigh.

  5. Girl I need to jump on board with this ASAP. Ive been mia but this is defo a link up I would be all over. Lord knows I have to tighten things all the way up!

  6. I totally missed Steph's post about this! Definitely a great idea to reign things in, Jared and I need to do the same this month. Eating out is the biggest waste of money for us too, it's so easy/convenient to pick up Chipotle or a pizza, ugh! Good luck- rock this month! :)

  7. I don't know why I love reading these types of posts so much, but I love how you have everything mapped out-- and in a way that's realistic. I cut back on things and then end up buying more of other stuff- which ends up being pointless.

  8. I am on a wallet lock down! With being unemployed, we had to make some serious cutbacks to our budget. I sat down and worked it all out this morning, but there is like no wiggle room in the budget. That's no fun, but hopefully it's not for very long!

  9. Good luck on your wallet watch!!! I should be doing this too...and technically January I hardly spent any money on fun shopping because it has all gone to health food. Haha. Ohhh the grocery shopping woes!!!

  10. Ugh... I'm gonna have to pay taxes for a couple months last year where I was under a W9 and I am NOT looking forward to it. I can't imagine having to do it all the time. I like it out of sight and out of mind! lol
    No candles?! GODSPEED...!!!!

  11. bye BOA for sure. from what i remember, PNC has a virtual wallet (3 accounts in one, i can explain more via email if you want) and one of the options to waive the fee is to do everything online / phone etc (ie no branch) so if that sounds like you, it might be a good option.
    sorry, the teller in me took over for a hot minute.
    good luck with all your goals girl - you can do it! i was going to participate, but #birthdaymonth so maybe next time ;)

  12. Oh geeze, I could use a wallet watch or spending freeze or something, but I have no discipline right now. New house! It needs stuff! I need stuff! But yeah, after I've impoverished myself I might be joining you.

    Self employment taxes are the worst! I was trying to figure out how much to set aside for taxes for my business (I just got a license, so I'm all official) and it's even higher than it would be if it was personal earnings. PLUS Ryan makes a lot more money than I do so if we file together I won't necessarily be in one of the low brackets. I'm setting aside half for now and hoping that there's lots left over after the IRS sees how little my "business" makes compared to my expenses.

  13. I've given up Chipotle after they had those couple of health scares. Which really just moved on to Qdoba and a local joint that makes the best burritos this side of the border. I think in general the no take-out one would be the hardest one for me. And I need to check my account to see if I'm getting charged monthly- good idea! I need to do this watch this month as well, I just need to figure what I'm willing to cut back on specifically!

  14. If you're not committed to Minted, I have a coupon for 40% off to Shutterfly that you're welcome to. I just ordered shower invitations from them 2 weeks ago and they were great. I need to reign myself in on eating out terribly. I've been terrible.

  15. Um, yeah, I should have gotten in on this action. February is a pretty low-key month so, in theory, it shouldn't be too bad but I'm sure I will find at least 5 things that I never knew I needed before the end of the month. My prayers are with you for no running, yoga, or candle purchases!


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