Episode 3: Low Budget Income Series – January Check In

Welcome to episode 3 of my low Budget Income series. For new readers, this series I’ve created is documenting my financial journey all 2019. Episode 1 looked at my January budget and why I’ve decided to take control of my finances and episode 2 was a close look at my 2018 expenses. To keep up with the entire series, click here. Here we are halfway through January so what better time than now to see how things are going and what needs to be adjusted.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial expert or accountant. I am on the road to financial freedom like many others and decided to document my journey.

As always, be sure to click the links throughout this post for related posts and links to purchase items/similar styles featured.

Planner I’m Using


I am using the Happy Planner Budget Extension Pack. The planner is laid out month by month with space to track the following:

  • Savings
  • Bills
  • Expenses
  • Month-at-a-glance
  • Monthly review

For the monthly review, it has pertinent questions to help adjust and make changes for the following month, well going forward in general.

Since I’ve started this journey, I’ve done a lot research to see what I could do differently – tactic wise. While I have been paying my bills I am still behind in a few which leaves me constantly playing catch up.

What Needs to Change

The Happy Planner extension pack has a great sheet at the end of each month titled ‘Budget Review.’ It lists 3 questions:

  • Where did I have the most trouble?
  • What could I improve this month?
  • What goals can I set for next month?

Filling this out in the middle of the month helped me immensely as I still would have time to make some changes. I had the most trouble setting a budget. I went about setting up my month the wrong way.

Instead of laying out my bills in the monthly, I should’ve started with using the Month-At-A-Glance worksheet. Writing down my bills just isn’t enough. I need to estimate how much each category will be and compare that to how income I will make.

As for what I could improve:

  • Keep track of expenses weekly.
  • Check my bills weekly to see what’s been paid and what’s left to pay.
  • Keep a record of my weekly play.
  • Keep track of cash expenses. Do not just rely on debit card.
  • Hold all receipts until end of month. Save what’s important.

In setting up February, breaking down each category and estimating how much I’ll spend in each is the best bet for me to stay on track. We’ll see how it goes.

Interested in what I use to stay on top of my budgeting, check out some of my favs below:

Episode 4: February Budget – Sun. 2/3/19

Keep up with my low income budget series here.

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