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Sandra Gilpatrick, CFP ®,CDFA™

Budgeting life priorities

I am in good company with many of my clients sharing an affinity for clothing, jewelry & shoes. My inspiration to write this blog in part is keeping my fingers busy so I don’t click “buy” to a gorgeous pair of chinoiserie golden velvet slippers. I figured, since I’m still thinking about these shoes days later, that others have the same battle with their budgets. Sometimes when you really want something, it feels like a need. I had to click off the webpage and remind myself that I already have six other pairs of Stubbs & Wootton slippers (all bought at a discount) and it is not a needed purchase.

I see many budgets from my clients and often spot common themes. For example, I see take-away spending as a common budget inflator (previous blog ). However, each person is unique to what is important to them. Budgeting is also a great time to consider a bigger picture - what is most important to you? Your spending should align with your values and desires.

Fixed costs are the easiest start when making your budget. Most have difficulty with variable expenses, with good reason. There can be unpredictable expenses, ex. being invited to costly weddings. Travel and entertainment can tip the scales of our budget away from financial priorities, so it’s important to have a maximum spending limit for a category in mind and to stick to it. A handy tip is that if you have a monthly limit you know you are going to exceed July, just subtract that amount from what you can spend in August, and so on for future months to keep your budget on track for the year.  

Creativity and flexibility in budgeting are useful. If I were to generate extra income from the sale of some shoes or clothing I’m not wearing anymore, I could make a new purchase with the offset in funds. Generating more income, of course, is a way to fit more into your budget if desired.

Before making a big purchase, it’s good to take a breath and remember life priorities.  For me, paying for a private school tuition takes a big chunk of my budget. I often think about the other purchases I could make with even a portion of those funds. It is a choice, as public school is free.  Making the decision to have a child is an expensive endeavor. A budget is about balancing your life and your priorities. Remember that we all have different goals and desires for our future. Being mindful of life priorities is a good way to spend consciously!


*As a footnote as I’m still thinking about those shoes!  I will look for them to go on sale or on secondary sales sites where I might find them for a bargain in the future; fitting into my budget.