Every month is a fresh start. I get this weird giddy feeling when a new month is coming up because it means I get to create a new plan for the future. Yes, I am very type A.
Anyway, here are some of the things I do that keep me sane and successful:
I Make a Monthly Meal Plan.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, either. I hate clutter, so I open up iCal and enter everything electronically. I do the grocery shopping each week, which helps cut down on food waste. Since I meal prep during the week, we pretty much just eat the same thing Monday through Friday. Saturdays and Sundays are the days I need to plan what’s for dinner and make sure I have everything on hand so we aren’t tempted to say screw it and get take out. Only having to plan our meals for Saturdays and Sundays really helps me minimize feeling overwhelmed.
I Develop a Monthly Budget.
Since I’ve been budgeting our expenses for quite some time, I usually have a good idea of how much to budget for each category. If you are new to budgeting, that’s ok. It’s never too late to start! I am so glad I finally did; we were wasting so much money and we didn’t even realize it. Once you start tracking your expenses, you will be able to anticipate how much money to budget for each month. A good starting place for us was to write down ALL of our monthly bills. From there, we tacked on non-bills like food, transportation, home maintenance, etc. For the first few months, we were either way over budget or way under budget on certain categories. However, once we found our rhythm, we now have a pretty accurate estimation of what we will spend each month.
I Talk to My Partner.
Each month, I make sure to ask my husband if he has any special plans or appointments we need to set aside time or money for. For example, if he forgets to tell me about a doctor’s appointment, then I can’t budget for it. Or if I forget to tell him about a family get-together, then he may buy us tickets for a concert for the same date by accident. These things happen, but its always easier when we are both informed. We now set aside a little time each month to communicate what our plans and expectations are for the next 30 days.
I Set Aside Time for Me.
In my last post, I talked about the benefits of using a habit tracker. This has really helped me to focus on myself, and I get a real sense of accomplishment when I finish each task. I just started using my habit tracker this month, but I am now going to add it to my monthly planning regimen. For instance, for the month of February I plan on tracking my daily exercise, taking my vitamins/rx, and flossing my teeth. Something new I’m going to add in this time are weekly trackers for things like face masks, at home pedicures, and the like. I can get complacent about doing things that are JUST for me, but using my habit tracker has been a very helpful daily reminder.
And there you have it! My personal recipe for success. Do you have any monthly routines or tips that you benefit from?