February is finally here. I saw so many memes going around instagram and facebook that it was January 74th and man so true! It really felt like the longest month. But I am happy to say that February is here and I want to make sure that your February budget is ready to go!
First off, do you have a budget?
Having a budget is step number one! If you don’t have a budget, click here for my excel budget template. It is super easy to use, has all the formulas pre-populated, example categories preloaded AND can be used in Excel, Google Sheets and numbers!
I also have a super helpful spending analysis template that will help you determine how much to set for categories like groceries, eating out, gas, personal spending, etc.
February budget items you don’t want to forget:
February can have lots of unexpected expenses which can really hurt your wallet and budget if you aren’t prepared! Here are a few items to keep in mind when doing your February budget.
• Super Bowl
You don’t want to show up to a Super Bowl party empty handed. Add in some extra money for snacks, beer, wings, and maybe even a shirt for your favorite team that is playing!
If you are hosting a Super Bowl party, PLEASE make it a potluck and ask people to help you with the food and drinks. Do not try and be hostess of the year and totally blow your budget buying everything yourself. Your guests EXPECT to bring something to a party and will honestly feel weird if they don’t.
• Valentine’s Day
Ahhh love is in the air! But don’t let that make you bust your budget! Plan out your Valentine’s Day now so that you are ready when it comes. Try some alternative Valentine’s Day options like cooking at home, a day activity on Groupon (buy through Rakuten of course), or a card from the Dollar Tree! While at the Dollar Tree, if you have kids this is a great place to pick up treats for their classroom and any little toys you may give them.
• Income Tax Bills
Tax season is officially here. If you know that you are going to owe money on your taxes, file them EARLY. You have until April 15th to file and pay your taxes but if you do owe money it is best to know now so that you can set aside money each month to pay for them at the beginning of April.
As a small business owner we hire an accountant to do our taxes for us to maximize our deductions. Make sure you set aside money in your budget for CPA fees as well.
• Higher Utility Bills
When the temperature drops your electric bill certainly won’t, well, unless you live in Florida like me, where this is the lowest months of the year. But for everyone else… when planning your budget in the winter month’s be sure to give yourself more money in the electric and gas categories.
If you are unsure how much to add, do a spending analysis and see how much you spent on your electric bill this time last year. This way you can gage how much it has gone up or down year over year.
• Girl Scout Cookies
Who can resist the famous Girl Scout Cookies that only come around once a year?? Set aside some room in your budget for a box (or ten) of your favorite cookies. My favorite are Tagalongs, I can spot that red box a mile away! What’s your favorite!
• Sinking Funds
Have your started your sinking funds for the year? It is not too early to start saving for Christmas, vacations, a new car, car repairs.
Check out this post where I break down sinking funds and how they can save your budget and prevent you from going into debt. All of your sinking funds and emergency fund should be kept in a high-yield savings account so that you are earning interest on your money!
• Doctor’s Visits
Flu and cold season is here. That may mean that you, your spouse or your kids may get sick and need to go to the doctor a few times this time of year. Anti-viral medication is not cheap, set up a medical sinking fund so that if the flu does strike you are financially prepared.
• Presidents Day Sales
President’s Day is famous for having great sales, specifically on home goods like decor and bedding! If you are needing to upgrade some of your items or just moved into a new home like me, this is a great time to buy. But, don’t let it bust your budget if you don’t have the money or don’t plan for it!
Ways I save money:
Here at Freedom In A Budget, I am all about saving money! Here are some of the EASY ways that I save money:
• Billshark negotiates lower prices on your monthly bills to save you time, money and hassle.
• Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s it. Really. Free gift cards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries.
Just scan your receipts and get gift cards from retailers like Amazon, Target, Ulta, Applebees. Use code QHKBH to earn 2,000 points ($2)!
• CIT Bank offers high interest savings accounts and CDs to provide a safe, secure way to GROW your savings.
• Gabi is a full-service, online advisor who compares all your insurance options to find you the right policy, all in under two minutes.
• M1 Finance is an easy to use brokerage platform that allows you to invest in Fractional Shares and auto reinvest!
• Webull Get 2 Free Stocks on WeBull when you deposit $100 (Valued up to $1400).
Did I forget anything that you need to add to your February budget? Comment below!