Manage Your Money Final Week – Think Ahead and Stay Determined!

This Weeks Prize Winners!


  1. FPU DVD Lesson: The Great Misunderstanding – Budgeting the Fun Stuff
  2. A Gift To My Children by Jim Rogers – Kathleen C.

Congratulations to you all! πŸ˜€

Manage Your Money Final Challenge

So far, you’ve learned about budgeting on paper on purpose, deciphering wants versus needs, the benefits of teamwork and accountability, impulse spending, and the impact debt has on your budget each month. Today we are going to finish the Manage Your Money challenge by talking about two things; thinking ahead and keeping the determination alive. Both are important because without either, you will be more likely to give up due to a feeling of mounting distress and frustration. It’s hard to stay determined when you feel it isn’t working,and it’s hard to make it work if you do not think ahead.

Think of Your Budget Like a Game of Chess

The biggest problem people have in the awkward phase, is not including irregular expenses that eventually sneak up on them and bust even the best of budgets. It’s what you don’t account for that will sink you everytime. There’s not a worse feeling than spending time to work out your budget, only to find out a couple of days in, that you forgot about your insurance that renews that month. What about when Christmas sneaks up on you, you forgot about that engagement party, or that upcoming wedding arrives faster than you thought it would. You have to plan ahead for those things.

They say in Chess you need to think at least 5 moves ahead, and that’s for someone who is just starting out. When budgeting you need to think 5 months ahead, just to make sure you have no surprises to worry about. No budget is ever perfect, but the more you plan for the less you have to cause you trouble down the road. I recommend having a list of irregular expenses in a handy place—wherever it is that you set up the budget. Perhaps you could bring the list with you to the monthly budget meetings to make sure everything is covered. It’s why I have listed on my EOD Deluxe Budget 2.0 a place for you to do just that. It’s right on the same page as the budget so you should never forget! Ever since we have done that we have had way less instances of catastrophic budget failure. Most of the time though those issues can be solved fairly easy if you have an emergency fund in place, but planning for them is the best possible solution.

Determination to Stay On Course is Crucial

To be quite frank, quitting is stupid. If you choose defeat, how far do you think you will get, or more importantly, how much MORE damage will you cause yourself? It is absolutely imperative that you stand back up, dust yourself off, and give it another go. Your family is counting on you, and if not your family, then certainly your future is. You cannot afford to do nothing, and if you quit that’s what you will end up doing—nothing!

Doing nothing gets you nowhere and fast. Ever heard people with addictions proclaim that they gave up what they were addicted to, only to later fail, which ended up making their situation even worse? Financially, someone who likes spending may go out and binge shop. Health and fitness goals are broken, and often leads to a massive weight gain. I for one, could probably be an expert on gaining weight after systematic failure in the eating department. The temptation to go back to doing what got you where you are is too high, so you end up compensating for the lost time I guess. What you’re really doing is punishing yourself and in most cases your family.

If your situation was bad enough to feel you needed to do something one day, it is highly likely that it is STILL IMPORTANT TODAY! Nothing has changed, and if you fell of the wagon and had a bi-polar moment, you have given yourself even more reason to get back on track. Your future and your sanity are at stake, not to mention the family bond. Stick with it and make sure that you are always moving forward. Baby steps work wonderfully, as long as your progress is consistent over time. I really need to work on this myself as far as my weight loss is concerned. I have failed and given up a lot and my body and my health have paid the price. Don’t make your financial situation worse because you may have messed up. Instead learn what caused the problem, and put something in place that will keep it from happening again. Find solutions and think ahead and your determination will get you through the toughest of times.

I hope this Manage Your Money project has given you lots to think about concerning your money, your behaviors, and how it all affects your family in the end. Thank you for participating! πŸ˜€

Good luck!

Today’s Bonus Challenge

Today we aren’t going to do a big long challenge. It is simple. Get a piece of paper and write down the next 5 months of the year starting with the next month you are on (April). Now write down IN ORDER, anything that could pop up on you down the road for those 5 months. (worth 1 entry)

How many irregular expenses did you come up with?


Nothing fancy. Just do it for an entire year, all the way through March of 2011. (worth 5 entries)

How many irregular expenses did you come up with?

Things To Consider

  • Tax bills
  • Graduation celebrations, gifts, ceremonies
  • Summer trips or vacations
  • Weddings
  • Anniversaries
  • Retirement parties
  • Domain renewal
  • Web-hosting renewal
  • Birthdays
  • Back-to-school shopping
  • Auto insurance renewal
  • Thanksgiving preparations
  • Christmas
  • Any other holidays that bring with it cost. (July 4th, Labor day etc.)

That is it! This has been a really great project that I am so happy I decided to follow through with. It has been a lot of work, but I hope each and everyone of you, including those of you that participated silently, were able to really learn something from all this. I hope you learned something about yourself, your spouse, your children, and your money! Don’t forget about the BIG GIVEAWAY on Thursday where 4 people will win:

Please be sure to visit the sponsors page to check out all of the awesome people who made this Manage Your Money project so much more interesting and special. I would also like to thank all of the bloggers who helped me spread the word right from the very beginning. Thank you all! Thank you Pocketsmith for inspiring me to start this project to begin with. πŸ˜€

See you on Thursday!


  1. Manage Your Money Sign Up
  2. Manage Your Money Pre-Challenge Post: On Paper On Purpose
  3. I Love You…Like A Blogger!
  4. WEEK ONE CHALLENGE: Manage Your Money – Wants Versus Needs
  5. WEEK TWO CHALLENGE: Teamwork, Accountability, and Kids
  6. WEEK THREE CHALLENGE: Death By 1000 Cuts
  8. BONUS CHALLENGE: Think Ahead and Stay Determined!
  9. FINAL POST: Feedback April 1st

About Brad Chaffee

9 Responses to “Manage Your Money Final Week – Think Ahead and Stay Determined!”

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  1. Kathleen C says:

    Yay, I won again. I just have to say — I’d really like to win the FPU offering! I’m sure we all would! πŸ™‚

    For Today’s Challenge:

    I have canceled my annual renewable things that were for fun or luxury (on-line fees and such). I know I will need new tires and brake work in the next year. I don’t know when – at least six months out unless something happens in the meantime. I need a sinking fund for this eventuality, but don’t know which month to put this in.

    At some point in the next month or two, my aunt will be coming to live with us. She’ll be paying her own moving expenses, but I’ll have to get down to FL to help her out – don’t know which month that will happen – but I expect the end of April/beginning of May.

    As for the rest, by month:

    April – Aunt’s move – if it happens this month, otherwise, no big thing I can think of – except any kind of emergency with the car or the house – which will hold for all the months. Easter is just a dinner and the kids are grown so no need for baskets and such.

    May – pool season expenses: opening, chemicals, etc. plus auto tag renewal due for the next two years.

    June – no vacations, no graduations, no weddings that I know of for this entire year. I think the next one we know will happen in 2012.

    July – Similar to June ~ though we generally have a family pot luck pool party at some point during the summer. Not sure that will happen this year – for a number of reasons, but I’ll try to make it work from the food budget this year if the family insists. This would be the only β€˜extra’ expense I can think of for the summer

    August – same as June and July

    September – pool season closing expenses

    October – Since I have nothing here – I’ll explain that my insurance is a monthly expense and already in my budget, so there will be no big insurance bills at any given time. Halloween is this month, but I really don’t do much for it. We get about 12 – 20 kids knocking at our door, so a bag or two of candy is sufficient and my mother is the one that buys that – she enjoys it. I’d be a witch and keep the lights off if she weren’t here to enjoy the kids in costumes!

    November – Thanksgiving dinner – though we’ve been very low key the last few years and this may not raise any extra expenses if the low key continues.

    December – Christmas – I hope my budgeted savings from now until then will make this easy this year. I have been scaling back every year and now do a lot of making of gifts – food, knitted items, etc. I have most of the supplies for the knitting, may need to stock up on staples for baking treats as the sales pop up in the Fall. Also, I generally get new glasses – if I need them – in December. FSA funds are used, but I have to pay up front and get reimbursed.

    January 2011 – if we have snow next year like we did this year, there will be extra expenses for removal/repair

    February – same as January

    March – Mom’s 75th Birthday – the family will want a celebration of some sort. Again, I have a year to save some funds and the family will kick in too

    That is all I can think of for this year. I knew that this one and the next one would be the easiest for no family events. Only one close cousin is of ‘marrying’ age – and I don’t think she is headed there. My sons have a bit of time before they step that way. The rest of the close nieces and nephews have already graduated from HS or have 2 or more years to go before they do.

  2. Ken says:

    Great points about managing the ‘irregular’ expenses of life. It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. Right off the top here are some of mine:
    April 4 – son’s birthday, Spring Break..maybe a day at museum
    May – Mother Day gifts,
    June – Fathers Day gift, wife’s b-day, short vacation?
    July- other son’s b-day, 4th July fireworks, out of town trip?
    August-back to school shopping, school fees, shoes

  3. Woot, I won! Should I email you my address?

    Wow, the list is long:
    April 2010 – Trip expenses for a quick Austin weekend with friends.
    May 2010 – Car maintenance.
    June 2010 – Last graduate school books.
    July 2010 – Family birthdays and summer vacation.
    August 2010 – School supply expenses.
    September 2010 – Referree supplies.
    October 2010 – Family birthday and Halloween decorations.
    November 2010 – Family birthday, early Xmas shopping, extra food expenses.
    December 2010 – Xmas shopping, family birthdays, property taxes.
    January 2011 – Weekend getaway expenses.
    February 2011 – Car maintenance and registrations.
    March 2011 – Homeowner’s insurance and domain renewal.

    We put away money every month in case things pop up, but I never really thought about the fact that something “pops up” all the dang time! Thanks!

  4. Jan says:

    Ah, what a great lesson. I would have to say that in addition to planning for the things that I have already foreseen (birthdays, Christmas, Dental, Doctor visits, Vacation and camp) I need to remember these things:

    Homeowners insurance (July)
    Easter baskets and cards – other holidays, Halloween costumes, Christmas lights and decorations
    A job fund because you just never know,,,and we are in that boat right now
    appliance failure
    upsurge in gas prices
    birthday parties (our kids are still little) not just the gift
    holiday meals
    auto repairs
    back to school costs
    replacement of outdoor equipment (mower, etc,)
    gardening needs (for me, that’s a necessity) manure, seedlings, fencing replacement parts
    Pet needs (flea meds, spay/neuter)

    I guess I could look back at what I have run up as far as debt goes and see where my costs are, I had a pet credit card bill when my dog got attacked, still have Lowes for home costs, I had two vacation credit cards, one for gas and groceries, three for clothing and several for appliances. They are all closed and we are paying them off, but if we don’t build funds, those things will come back.

    Thanks for showing me this and sorry to be long-winded. I really needed your post tonite. I mean really.

  5. Derek Clark says:

    Great thing to think about. Far too often I just cash flow the little things and don’t actually put them in the budget ahead of time

    April – church softball, friends wedding
    May – mothers day, brother-in-law’s b-day
    June – sisters b-day, fathers day
    July – can’t actually think of anything now, but i’m sure something will come up
    August – back to school stuff for my wife i suspect (teacher)

  6. Simple in France says:

    Looking for the ‘gotchas’ in the budget is a great mental exercise. We have a move coming up, a car purchase and perhaps a trip or two. . .not too many things to renew for now.

  7. Julie says:

    Great exercise!

    April 2010
    -bill for our March 2010 baby from hospital will probably arrive in mail
    -nephew’s bday (already bought the present. We just need to put a check in the mail for his college fund).
    – 2 Daughter’s friends’ bday parties

    May 2010
    – niece’s bday (same as nephew)
    – BIL graduates from college
    – Mother’s day for MIL and my mother

    June 2010
    -nephew’s bday
    -Father’s Day
    -mini vacation with BIL and SIL to children’s park

    July 2010
    – nothing planned to be coming up. Will be going to a potluck for the 4th.

    August 2010
    – brother’s bday
    – FIL and 2 BIL bdays

    September 2010
    -Daughter #1’s bday
    – lawn seeding
    – Rosh Hashanah

    October 2010
    – car insurance – already have a sinking fund for this in the monthly budget
    – Halloween- candy (one bag from Costco usually cuts it), costumes for the girls (already have them but will buy next year’s after this year’s Halloween).

    November 2010
    – Mom’s bday
    – Thanksgiving Dinner
    – Daughter #1’s friend’s bday party

    December 2010
    – Chrismakkuh dinner
    – holiday presents for a myriad of nieces and nephews
    – New Year’s Eve Party

    January 2011
    – none

    February 2011
    – Valentine’s Day
    – prep for Chinese New Year
    -MIL bday

    March 2011
    – Daughter #2’s birthday party
    – Daugher #1’s friend’s bday party

    I have to add that a lot of our home improvement and insurance payments are budgeted for in my monthly budget into their own little funds which I take and pay out of when they come due. I also have a gift fund for birthdays and such, but a lot of our older daughter’s friends are having a lot of birthday parties lately so I have to add more to it.

  8. Donna says:

    Okay Brad, you just had to make me think, didn’t you! lol . . . This is a great lesson but lets go:
    April: quarterly newspaper and garbage fee
    May: graduation gift(s) no weddings in sight, Mother’s Day
    June: Father’s Day
    July: Extra gas usage as we will be driving to rehearsals and concerts for 3
    weeks before we get our first checks., our wedding anniversary
    August: My birthday, paper and garbage fees
    September: Birthdays
    October: Birthdays
    November: Thanksgiving expenses
    December: Christmas, paper and garbage fees, Union dues (musician)
    January: Tax preparer fees
    February: Birthdays, Valentine’s Day
    March: Professional license fees (medical)

    In there will be oil changes as needed, car repairs as needed (need to budget for)
    I am sure there are others I am missing but when I put them down on paper like this it gave me pause. I realized I am not budgeting for them. No wonder I am always scrambling. I have too many things in misc!

    Thanks again for the lesson. I guess I needed it!

  9. Kim says:

    OK, here it goes:

    April 2010: we’re closing on our house that we finally sold and moving (somewhere…don’t know where yet…AGHHH!), so there will be all kind of moving expenses and we’ll probably be eating out quite a bit; a family birthday; son’s school field trip expense

    May 2010: 3 birthdays, Mother’s Day

    June 2010: 2 family birthdays, Memorial Day outing expenses, Father’s Day, possible travel expenses if decide to visit family out of state

    July 2010: July 4th camping trip expenses; family birthday

    August: 4 family birthdays, an anniversary, fees for sons’ preschool programs, back-to-school items to buy

    September 2010: can’t think of anything for this month

    October 2010: send monetary holiday gift to family overseas, a birthday, Halloween candy and costume expenses, family might come to visit us so we might have more grocery expenses

    November 2010: Thanksgiving expenses, Christmas shopping

    December 2010: Christmas expenses, possible travel expenses if visit family, New Years Eve expenses, 2 birthdays

    January 2011: 1 birthday

    February 2011: can’t think of anything for this month

    March 2011: 3 birthdays, 2 anniversaries

    I’m sure I’m missing some things, but I’m just going to keep this list and add to it as I think of things. It’s somewhat difficult to think ahead since we’re moving in April and we don’t know exactly where we’re moving yet. I thought this challenge was really useful. Thanks!

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