This October Is “Money Month” at Apartment Therapy
Last January, when I didn’t know that 2020 was going to look… like this, I made a New Year’s resolution to become a “budget person”. I’ve always been careful with my spending and had a budget, but to me, there’s a difference between proactive and passive about it. It’s a mindset and habit shift, and one I was committed to making so I could feel more in control of what’s going where and why. In early January, my husband and I signed up for Mint.com, and started tracking everything. We also created a regular calendar invite to ourselves for the first Saturday of each month to look at the previous month’s spending, and to make adjustments as needed.
Sometimes the concept of money feels so big, it can feel easier just to avoid altogether (only me?). But I applied the same logic that has helped me to tackle other “too big” life issues—I broke it down into smaller steps and that, plus the monthly meeting, helped me get started… I wasn’t making my 30-year finance plan, I was making a monthly budget. And it’s worked! By the time you read this, we’ll have had our October budget meeting, and will start talking through our goals for 2021.
When our team chose Money as our October editorial theme, it seemed appropriate: after all, what’s more spooky than tackling financial ghosts? But we had no idea what a hard economic year this would be for so many of us who have lost jobs, experienced furloughs or pay cuts, or faced down unexpected medical bills for ourselves and our families. Our hope is that this month’s content can begin to help with some of those major stressors. I know for me, the simple step of creating a budget back in January helped us to weather Covid-related financial changes later in the year—allowing us to quickly look at which categories could be trimmed and which were must-haves.
Throughout the month, we’ll look at how to save up for big budget items, the complicated financial etiquette of roommates, and, yes, an explainer on how to become a person who has a budget (like I’m working on becoming). We also thought we all deserved a daydream vacation after so many real vacations were canceled this summer, so we’ll spend the week of Oct. 19 talking about dream houses and what that means to different people. And of course, October is also Halloween, and we’ll have lots of fun ideas to share to make this one special, despite the weirdness of the year. Looking for a weekend project to get started? Check out these stylish no-carve pumpkin ideas (I have the hobnail one on my fall bucket list).
Wishing everyone a healthy and safe month.
Our letter from the editor series appears the first Monday of every month.
You can follow Laura on Instagram here.