April Budget Challenge

Let’s talk money.  Money!  We all need money to do the things we want to do or have the things we want, I know I do.  Traveling is such an important part of my life and something I love doing, but as we all know, it costs money.  Lately, Mark and I have been planning our big trip at the end of the year and while I’m super excited to plan and finally visit those countries, I know that a lot of money saving is coming up in the near future.

I went a little off my budget path in March… Okay, I went off it a lot.  When I look at my budget app, almost everything is in the red, ah!  Maybe it was partly because I was trying to get out of a rut, but every now and then I want to shop and eat really good food!  I was going to take a picture of my money to add some excitement to this post, buuuuuuut, I’ve pretty much spent all my cash…  Anyway, I was scanning Pinterest for budget tips and came across this challenge: Focus on Finances on Fun, Cheap, or Free.  I was inspired by this clever way to budget and since it’s past January, I though, Why not create my own?

So now I’m blogging about it, so people out there in the internet world know what I’m doing.  If it’s blog official, I have to stick to it, right?

April Budget Challenge
From previous months, I have determined how much is a good overall spending goal for the month.  A part of this challenge is to withdraw all the money I need for the month, to decrease the amount of times I go to the ATM.  It also motivates me to save as much money as I can, because the unspent, excess money will go into my savings (yes!).  Another main part of the challenge is a spending freeze, a day/week when you don’t spend any money (bills excluded).

Why all this budgeting? An important part about budgeting is having a specific goal in site.  “I want to save 5 million dollars by June.”  Okay, that’s a great goal, but is it attainable?  Maybe if you’re Bill Gates, but if you’re a English teacher in Japan, you will never see that kind of money.  Make realistic, attainable goals for yourself, so you’re not stressed out about saving an amount of money that isn’t feasible.  Sooooo…

Let’s make a goal!  (This is how I talk to my students: Let’s (insert verb here)!  I’m all about ‘Let’s do such and such’ now) By December, I want to send $6000 back home to build my savings for grad school and a new car.  I also want to save $1,500 for my winter trip in December.

Why?  I want/need a new car, because once I go home, I will have no means of transportation.  I also need to go to back to school in order to be able to work in the field I want to go into.  Lastly, I love traveling and think it’s very important to experience different cultures because it broadens your understanding about yourself and the world.  There are so many places I want to travel to!  I would like to cross off my two top countries off my list of travel destinations in December.

Feel free to join along!  It’s always nice to know that you’re not the only person doing a challenge alone.  Let me know if you are because I would love to hear about your experiences and different kinds of saving methods you use.

How do you budget?  What methods have worked really well for you?  What are you saving up for?



  1. Alex Fahey

    Love this! We want to have $20,000 before leaving here and I realized we need to set our savings in gear! We set aside my whole paycheck and about $600 of Matt’s each month for savings and travel. We usually pull out the cash we need for the week and then divide it into certain categories. I like using cash because it makes us more aware of how much we are spending each week. Good luck with your budget!

    • Mallory || Sweet Smores

      Thank you! I love using cash. Like you said, you become much more away of how much you’re spending. It’s good to have a savings goal for the week/month/year, whichever, so it helps you focus on what how much you need to set aside each month. Before I moved here, I came up with an amount I wanted to save overall in one year, and I think I’m on track, I just need to figure out how to send it home haha! I’m planning a lot of traveling for the rest of the year so I’m going to have to focus and save a lot each month. Good luck to you too!

    • Mallory || Sweet Smores

      Thanks! I’ve been attempting to meal plan for a few months now, but lately I haven’t been doing it. I really need to get back into it because I did see some results and less random spending when I went to the store.

  2. esther julee

    i guess carrying around cash might be good so that you can see the money being spent.. but i usually find that unless it’s larger bills like 50s or 100s.. I spend cash so much faster!! maybe it’s just me though.. budgeting has never been my strong point. i don’t like to really look at it, but i usually try to evaluate every couple months on mint to make sure i’m not too in the red.

    Good luck!! :)

    • Mallory || Sweet Smores

      Thanks! I spend my $10 bills in Japan soooo quickly because it doesn’t seem like that much money (which is bad!). There are some months, like in March, that I completely hated budgeting haha! I could definitely tell because I went back and looked at my categories and it was all red.

  3. Happyeverafter_Bride

    I currently use spreadsheets, but I think a budget app is pretty good. I will look into having one. I am constantly in the red though. :(

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