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When I first started budgeting, I was clueless as to where my money was going. I was spending money on pretty much anything and everything that I wanted, when I wanted to spend it. Restaurants, pedicures, clothes, makeup, food, and so many other things stole my money before I even had the chance to think about where it was going. Originally, I thought “I am paying in cash, so it could be worse. I could be putting it all on a credit card.” I was unknowingly throwing $1,500 out the door every month!
But when I realized that I had no money going towards savings or any of my goals, I knew it was time to get a budget down on paper. I started budgeting and putting money towards my goals. This was when I started my debt free journey.
During baby step two, I cut out a lot of things from my budget. It was key to me paying off $15,000 in the first 12 months of my debt free journey. Cutting things from my budget was one of the big ways that I was able to pay off debt. A while back, I wrote a blog post on the things that I do still “waste” money on. A lot of those things are the things that people usually add back into the budget during baby step three.
Things I am adding Back into the Budget in Baby Step Three:
I am excited to add coffee back into the budget. While I didn’t totally cut it out of the budget, I only gave myself coffee money a few times over my debt free journey. If I did get coffee, I used discounts, rewards programs, or gift cards. I used Ibotta to get free cash back on my grocery purchases and cashed them out for coffee gift cards! In the last two years, I have probably spent less than $50 of my own money on coffees.
Now, during baby step three, I plan to add $25 a month back into my budget for coffee stops. I love sitting at the coffee shop to work on my writing. Since starting my debt free journey, I have cut back on writing at different coffee shops.
I can’t wait to start traveling again. Two years ago before I started paying down my debt, I had started a travel blog. While I was blogging about my travel, I was going on trips almost every single month for about 6-7 months. I did road trips, beach vacation, and day trips around my state all of the time. Every month was a new destination, but when I got serious about my student loans, I stopped traveling.
Now that I am done with my student loans, I plan to take a few vacations. I can’t wait to be able to take off with my family and friends to new adventures. I plan to book my summer with short road trips and small day trips. But ultimately, I plan to start putting away for a tropical vacation for my birthday this year.
This is just my umbrella for anything beauty related. To me, this includes haircuts, manicures/pedicures, and hair colors. I never stopped paying for my make up, but I have already planned to get my hair done more than once per year! Because I am a bartender, I don’t plan to go crazy with my nails, but I might add a pedicure every other month back into the budget. I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair and nails, but I look forward to being able to do it when I want to. I am adding $100 into my budget for March to get my hair done. After that, I plan on just $40 a month to get something done every other month or so.
Ultimately, this is the biggest thing I want to add back into the budget. I have already started working out more consistently, but I am looking at replacing some of my old workout clothes and shoes. My few workout outfits have seen better days. I want to sign up for more races and put some money into the budget for health/fitness related expenses.
My gym membership was never something that I cut. Read more about why I kept my gym membership on this blog post.
While I was in baby step two, I cut out a lot of the extra funds for fitness and health. Now that fitness is back in the budget, I plan on focusing on my health a little more. Included in my fitness budget is adding a little to my grocery budget for healthier foods. I have done a decent job of not sacrificing too much in my grocery budget, but I will be adding more fruits and veggies where I can!
This isn’t something I am necessarily doing in this house, but I promise that as SOON as I have the house that I am buying, it will be in the budget. I didn’t have it before, but it is something that I have always wanted. I HATE cleaning, but I hate my house being dirty. Instead, I would rather spend time working or with friends. In all honesty, I will probably have a house cleaner in my house before I even move in! This is something that I have always gone back and forth on, but I can’t wait to walk into a clean home without doing the work! To me, it will always seem like it will be worth the money.
When I asked the Debt Free Community on Instagram what they would add back into their budget, these are the responses that I got.
- A few new pieces of clothing
- Manicures/ Pedicures
- House Cleaning.
- Add to my grocery budget
- Regular haircuts
- Gift giving more regularly
- Regular restaurant budget
- Gym Membership!
- Sinking funds for car repairs
- Monthly Massage!
- Blessings to others
- Car Wash Membership
- New pots and pans
The biggest thing to remember is that personal finance is PERSONAL. What some people take out of their budget, may not be worth the sacrifice to others. Everything is up to you. I know some people who took their gym membership out of their budget at the very beginning, but for me that was one important thing that I refused to give up.
Whatever your items are, just remember that it is up to you!