#financefriday: Budgeting for Fun on One Income

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The #financefriday golden pig

Happy Finance Friday! As a follow up to my budgeting post, Financially Fit in 2018: A Guide to Becoming Budget Saavy, we’ve decided to add #financefriday to the Pittsburgh Moms Blog agenda. Send me your finance questions and concerns via our Facebook page, and we’ll address them during our #financefriday posts. 


Dear Teresa,
 
As a concerned parent of two little ones, going on ages 4 and 2, I find it is hard to budget our one-person income household. We find it is hard to get out of the rut of debt that we have and still being able to enjoy activities such as traveling and doing activities with our kids around the city and our hometown. Now into the New Year we would like to start budgeting better and still being able to enjoy traveling. What are some ways to budget and travel or even do events and activities near home?
 
Sincerely,
A Mother with Wanderlust
 

 
Dear Mother with Wanderlust,
 
It sounds as though we are in the same boat. I, too, have little ones right around that age, and we are currently on a steady one income budget, with the occasional boost from my freelance income.
 
The first, and most important, thing you should do is become aware of your spending. While I suggest everyone create a written, or electronic budget, simply becoming aware of excessive spending in any one category is equally important. Say, for instance, the bread-winner in your house buys lunch every day, Monday through Friday, when they work. At an average of $10 a day, that’s $50 a week. Simply buying lunch meat and single serve pieces of fruit could bring that weekly cost down to $20 (or less), and leave you with $30 of “fun money”. Also, do you subscribe to any services? BirchBox, Ipsy, Dollar Shave Club, a gym membership? $10 a week may not seem like much, but that’s $120 a year! Look for these sneaky little wallet parasites, and eradicate them, quickly.
 
White shadow box used as a piggy bank with "Our Adventure Fund" written on the front
The Glasgow Adventure Fund was gifted to us this past Christmas, and is home any extra funds we get, so that some day we can take an epic vacation.
If you’re looking for a way to put away a significant amount of money, maybe for a vacation, there are two options I suggest. First, set up an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck via your bank. Simply have a small amount transferred every pay day. $20 every bi-weekly pay day equals $520 in your savings account in a year’s time. Enough for a long-weekend vacation. Second, if you use cash, create an “Adventure Bank”. Every time you have a $5 bill, it goes in the adventure bank. Set a date to open the bank, and don’t peek until that date arrives. Maybe six months, maybe 12, regardless, you’ll see your funds add up over time.
 
If you don’t want to change your spending habits, simply look for free or cheap events in your area. These will be in abundance as the weather turns toward spring, but during the winter months, check your local libraries and community centers for kid’s programs that are typically free of cost. You can also check out the Pittsburgh Moms Blog Calendar of Events for free and paid events.
 
If you’re looking for an inexpensive vacation idea, consider camping. We requested camping gear for our children this Christmas, and were gifted sleeping bags, a cookstove, and camping lanterns. While we still need a tent, the cost of purchasing a tent is far less than staying in a hotel room, and some camp sites are as cheap as $30 a night! Plus, if you’re camping, you’re more likely to cook your own food (instead of eating out) saving even more money. Check out KOA and Jellystone Parks. Many have on-site waterparks and kids fun pads, like this Jellystone Park in Mill Run, PA. Its a kid’s water paradise, and only an 1.5 drive from the Pittsburgh region!
The epic waterpark at Mill Run, PA Jellystone Park
The epic waterpark at Mill Run, PA Jellystone Park. Image courtesy of Mill Run Jellystone Park.
 
I hope this gave you some good ideas.
 
Thanks for writing!
Teresa

 
 

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Teresa G is a work at home mom of three boys, ages 3, 4, and 2 months. She has been happily married to her husband Gus for 7 years. She and her family currently reside in the Slippery Rock area, where she has been a longtime resident. Teresa has bachelor’s degrees in both Dance and Professional writing from Slippery Rock University. She has worked in many different fields over the years - dance teacher, aerobics instructor, swim teacher, and most recently, documentation specialist and content manager for a local software company. Currently, she works for The Hillman Center for Performing Arts at Shady Side Academy, and as a freelance writing professional and content manager for a variety of clients in several different industries. Teresa and her family spend much of their time outdoors, being active, and you can often find them in their “Little Boat” on Lake Arthur, or in the “Big Bass Boat” at Lake Erie. In her spare time, Teresa loves to practice yoga, run, and read anything she can get her hands on.