Budgeting, Cash Savings, Goal Setting

The 2022 Budget. In Simple Form.

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To prepare my 2022 budget realistically, I’ve taken some time going over what I spent in 2021. I use a budgeting app called YNAB, which keeps track of my spending and allows me to see reports at the end of the year. However, just seeing the numbers was not good enough for this task. I needed to see exactly what I spent my money on. So, I went over every single transaction. To say I was in a bit of shock is an understatement. As I suspected, most of my purchases were impulsive and media-driven. And although I single-handedly funded a planner small business, I will no longer be making impulsive, unintentional purchases.

Why all that work?

I needed to see the waste in my spending. It has allowed me to understand my weaknesses, and put into play a different behavior pattern. One way to do this is to make my budget as simple as possible.

How did I make it simple?

First, I decided on a monthly budget amount of $6,000. This amount would allow me to save enough money for my goal, while not being so austere that I would be miserable. Once I added up my fixed expenses, I subtracted that amount from the $6,000. Whatever was left was what I could spend for everything else.

My Simple 2022 Monthly Budget.

Fixed Expenses: Mortgage, Utilities, Insurance, Taxes, Cell Phone, Internet, Subscriptions $3,300.00

Variable Expenses: Food, Clothes, Gas, Pets, Personal Care, Gift giving, Entertainment, Vacation. $2,700.00

All other income, windfalls, cash gifts will go into savings. I will use the savings if an emergency should arise (house repair, car repair).

Pretty simple budget, right?

If I can stick to this simple formula, I have a chance at meeting my 2 years’ worth of expenses goal in cash savings. Having cash to use for expenses is a key part of our retirement plan (which I will touch on more in another post), so I’m pretty motivated to get it accomplished.

Have you created your 2022 budget? If so, how do you do it?

Cash Savings, No Buy/Low Buy, No Spend Year, Retirement



It’s the beginning of a new year (and hopefully the last year before my husband’s retirement!) and I’ve decided to embark on my biggest challenge yet! For 2022, I’ve decided to stop shopping. A No Buy/Low Buy year, if you will. I will still buy groceries, of course, and household items, pay my bills and take care of my health. I will put gas in my car, and buy birthday presents. However, I won’t be buying things that I don’t truly need.

My number one reason for this year-long challenge is to save as much money as possible to add to our cash stash. We have the means to retire today but we would like to have at least two years’ worth of expenses in a cash/non-retirement investment form. I am confident that if I stick to this challenge, we will achieve that goal by December 2022. My second reason, and probably more important than the first, is to curb my impulsive spending on stuff that I just don’t need.

Here are the general guidelines I will be following for this challenge:

  • Follow my buying/no buying lists (see below) with no exceptions.
  • USE cash when in stores.
  • LIMIT and/or AVOID online purchases, especially AMAZON.
  • UNSUBSCRIBE to store emails and social media that encourages spending.
  • KEEP track via WISHLIST of what I would have purchased if I wasn’t on this challenge.
  • WAIT 24 hours before making an INTENTIONAL purchase for items I am allowed to purchase.
  • REQUEST ‘use up’ or experiences as gifts for myself instead of stuff.
  • GIFT giving is fine, but I must stay within the budget I’ve set.
  • FIND a support system. (I’m counting on my readers to keep me in line!)


  • Basic Bills (mortgage, utilities, cell phone,internet, insurance and taxes)
  • Subscriptions
  • Health care costs
  • Groceries, gas
  • Replacements (only) for clothes, make up, personal care items, household items that wear out or run out
  • Haircuts and color treatments
  • Gifts/Charitable contributions
  • Home/Car maintenance
  • Eating out occasionally
  • Pet food/Vet
  • Experiences/Outings
  • Educational courses
  • Travel that has already been planned


  • Home Improvements
  • Home Decor/Seasonal Decor
  • Furniture
  • Clothes, outerwear and shoes (unless it is a replacement)
  • Planner supplies: planners, pens, markers, stickers, etc.
  • Purses, wallets, jewelry
  • Travel luggage, bags, accessories
  • Books, apps
  • Subscriptions boxes (any)
  • Perfume, extra make up
  • Excessive gift giving
  • Nail salon visits
  • Miscellaneous and unnecessary dog items (yeah, this needs to be listed)
  • New cruise/travel bookings

I may be speaking too soon, but I don’t think this will be as daunting as it seems. I have more than enough of the items that are listed on the “do not buy” side, so I doubt I’ll even miss anything. Most of the purchasing and spending I’ve been doing has been impulsive, mainly from advertisements and social media influencers. And that type of shopping has to stop altogether, not just for this challenge. I’ll be keeping track of the items that I almost bought, so I can also keep track of how much I saved by not buying them.

I will do weekly updates, monthly updates, and quarterly updates on this blog to keep myself accountable. I hope you’ll follow along and keep me accountable too!

Next up? My yearly budget plan.

Anyone else curbing their spending this year?

Beauty, Cash Savings, Covid-19, Self-Reliant

How I unknowingly became more prepared for a salon shut down.

person holding white ceramic mug
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

Let’s talk about our beauty regimen ladies (and guys if you are interested. 😉 )

Before COVID-19 was even named, I had been trying to be a bit more self-reliant with my beauty regimen.   It started out as a way to save money, but now, with hair and nail salons closed, it’s been the only way to keep up. (I will also share the cost savings of doing everything myself since this is a personal finance blog 😉 )


Changing my nail routine was not initially about the money.  It was about the health of my nails.  I used to get gel nails every 2-3 weeks because I thought my nails would be stronger.  However, each time they were removed, my nail beds became softer and more damaged.  Even my nail stylist told me to take a break.  I did, and I’ll never return.  I started taking care of my own nails at home, using high-quality nail products. After several months of my own care, my nails are stronger and healthier than ever.

Gel nails every 2-3 weeks yearly cost: $840.00

Doing my own nails w/OPI products: $50.00

Savings: $790.00


I’ve been having my brows and upper lip professionally waxed for years.  However, this was not a difficult task and one that I knew I could do myself.  In January, I purchased a wax kit and have been doing it myself for the past several months.  Besides being convenient, I feel it’s more sanitary.  And, after reading this article, I’m glad I’ve made the switch.

Waxing 12x a year: $360.00

Waxing kit: $40

Savings: $320.00


This one is a bit tougher because I don’t know how to cut my own hair.  However, I do color my own hair.  I try to wait  3 months before I get a professional cut and color, so I’ve become quite good at covering my roots.  I understand the best thing is to not color at all, but I’m so.not.ready to look old (my grey is the ugly kind — not the hip new look others are sporting.)  Fortunately, I did get a professional cut and color at the end of February for which I am very grateful. 😉

Professional Color (if I did it every 4 weeks): $2,400

Coloring at home: $80.00

Cut & Color 4x a year: $800.00

Savings: $1,520.00

Total Savings for Nails, Waxing & Hair:  $2,630.00

A pretty nice side effect of being a bit more self-reliant, don’t ya think?

Has the salon shut down affected you?  How are you doing things differently?







Cash Savings, Retirement Journey

Covid-19, cash savings and a retirement update.

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The Covid-19 virus appears to have given everyone pause, both in their physical lives as well as their financial lives, whether it was voluntary or forced.

It definitely has brought me back to reality, especially in the realm of retirement.  With 30% gains in my retirement accounts over the past 18 months, then 30% losses over the past 18 days, our account is back to where it was in 2018.   There were some sleepless nights and worries, but I know we are still in good shape.

My husband is 56.  We still have time to save, readjust and rejigger our plan.  And that is exactly what we are going to do.

We’ve decided to bulk up our third ‘bucket’ more than initially planned.  We lowered our percentage that is going into the stock market, and instead are adding that percentage to our cash savings.  We won’t stop saving until we have at least 5 years’ living expenses in the form of cash.  We know that our savings account will most likely not keep up with inflation.  It will, however, offer peace of mind which, to us, is priceless.

I thought I might go back to work, but I’ve realized now is not the time.  I will wait a bit and see if things get better.  In the meantime, I’m looking into online work, virtual assistant work, and such.   Anything to add to the cash savings.

Fortunately, the cruise line cancelled our trip which means we will be getting a full refund (and not just a credit).  However, our airline tickets will only be issued as a credit.  (Don’t get me started on how crooked they are).  That money will not be put in our savings fund, but moved to a  ‘future’ trip fund.  We still want to do something special to celebrate.

And lastly, our time line for when we retire may change.  We are still at least four years out to our planned retirement, but we are now considering five or six years.  It all depends on how much we can save.  We don’t want to retire hastily, without solid cash in hand.

That’s our new plan, and hopefully we’ll be able to meet our goal.  Covid-19 slapped us back into reality, and for that I am grateful.  It may just have saved our financial lives in our retirement.

How has Covid-19 changed your financial plan?  Please share.