Babe on a budget: more month than money

At the end of the month I always call my bank for my bank statement. This month it was quite a bit in the negative. This freaks me out. I work full-time live quite frugally and I still have too much month left before my funds run out. How is this every gonna work out if I want to work less hours but have more expenses next year?

I tried to find some guidance in Amercia's Cheapest Family. A great book to help structure your finances and cut back on costs. There's this chapter about clothing in which they explain that living frugal doesn't mean dressing like a hobo. Alright, that got my attention. Saying that clothes are important to me may sound superficial. But wearing something that I like, which feels comfortable and looks good on me makes me feel better about myself. 

I grew up in a family of five. My parents and two younger sisters. We had to get by on one income when my sisters were little. It was very common for clothes to be past down from me to my siblings. But also from my older cousins. That always made me happy. Digging in piles of clothes and finding something you really like. Other than that we got by on shopping cheap stores or during sale. 

In the present I still do that. I can't afford to buy clothes full price so I only shop seasonal sales or the cheaper stores. And I still am happy when someone passes clothes on to me. Now it is the other way around and my not so little sisters anymore, donate clothes they don't fit or are bored with to me. Same goes for shoes. 

So for this month I'm trying somehting different. I added up all my regular monthly expenses like rent, electricity and insurance and made sure there's enough on my bankaccount for direct debit. The amount that was left is now transferred to my savings.
I really want to be conscious about what I want to buy and really need. I'm taking it week by week. So for this week I want to buy nothing at all and see how that goes. Will we get by without doing grocery shopping for a week?
Challenge accepted. 

What do you do when there's more month left than money in your bank account?


  1. I totally know what you mean. At first, if I spoke about a month, I counted 30 days in my head. Okay, some months have a day more and some less. I really thought that was how it worked.
    My mother gave me a tip. She said that I should divide the months in weeks. Then you will see that one month has 4 weeks and some other have 5 weeks. Your regular costs will remain the same, like electricity, television, etc. But what is left over, that is important. Now, I’ll split that up in weeks. If it means that the month ahead, is a long one, I will already try to buy the more expansive things a month earlier. Like washing powder.

  2. My mother had another tip, but I haven’t used it so far. To have two pay accounts at the bank, next to your savings account. At one of the pay accounts you will transfer the regular monthly costs. So the companies can take it from there. What is left, you will put on the other account. Therefore you have always the security the bills are payed.

  3. It is always a puzzle. I think it will remain a puzzle. I have accomplished to have a small amount on my savings account. I am not there, where I want to be. But at the end of the month, when I haven’t left enough to get around, I will sometimes take a little amount from my savings account. But, I have a deal with myself. Whenever I take money from my savings account, I have to put it back in a short time with some extra’s. Also if it only means a amount of €10. Last month, I had to wait for my salary for two days longer than expected. I took €100 of my saving account. When my salary was delivered, I took €110 of my salary to my savings account.

  4. I am with the ABN AMRO. They have a new thing called ‘pinsparen’. You can choose your own percentage. The smallest one is 1%, than you have 5% and 10%. Every time you will pay an amount with your card, a percentage of that amount will be transferred to your savings account. So when I have chosen for the 10% and I buy something for €5, €5,50 will be of my account, where the €0,50 will be transferred to your savings account. €0,50 sounds little, but sometimes you do a lot of payments in a month. It is a easy way to save money!

  5. Hi Gwen, thanks for sharing your great tips with us. I like the idea of Pinsparen. You don't really notice it but for every purchase you make you save. Indeed, these little amount can add up.
    I use 'saldo sparen' which means that at the end of the month (if there's any money left) the remaining of my funds gets transferred to my savings. I choose to transfer that money to my student loan piggy bank. I have to pay off this debt beginning January 2014. This way I already have a little amount ready for when the deductions begin.

  6. Saldo sparen is a very good tip! I will get into that, Thnx! Have you already filled in the forms for the student loan? You have a new and an old way of paying back. I don't know which one is better, but take a good look at both, because it can save you some money. Well, not saving, but it can make your monthly payments less. And after 15 years, when their is a amount left to pay, they will pay it for you. Hahaha I hope I make sense! ;-)


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