Current Financial Goal: Finishing the Basement

basementplans We're getting super excited to start working on our basement! Once it's all said and done, we'll be nearly doubling our living space (the benefits of a Midwest ranch). There will be (clockwise from top left) a playroom, storage room, bathroom, guest bedroom, bar, living room and office down there. We've dreamed up some really fun ways to make it special.

Also, how would you use the space differently? I'd love to hear in the comments. We're always looking for ideas.

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Sometimes after Rooney goes to bed, we go down there to tape off where the future walls will be and dream about how awesome it's going to be. It's helped us to visualize the space and we've even recently made some changes to our existing plan by moving doors and walls, and talking about little things that guests would enjoy when staying in our home.

It will be fun, but costly! We've set and arbitrary goal of saving/spending $10,000 for building materials and furnishing combined (profits from my book sales are going toward this project). We have $3,300 saved right now (that is not reflective of book sales by the way, Amazon takes a big cut!) and we're trying to buckle down where we can to save even more (I'm looking at you, Food money). We're also looking into ways of saving money on the project, too, so maybe we don't need the full $10,000... exciting stuff for us budgeting nerds.

Anyway, there's an important lesson we learned in August, and it only came to mind because of how we've started using the YNAB method of budgeting this month's income for next month.

In August I received an extra paycheck (three paychecks instead of two, just because of the way the dates fell since I get paid every other Thursday). This happens for both Kelsey and I twice a year. That's a total of four extra paychecks! It sounds crazy, but in the past we've typically let these little "bonuses" slip through our hands. There have always been "things" that came up and the money seemed to vanish into thin air.

My hunch tells me it was because we weren't thinking ahead and setting a goal for what we would do with the extra money. But by using this month's income for next month's expenses, it was easy for us in August to see that we would have an extra paycheck and simply apply all of that money toward a goal in September.

We were able to give our Finish Basement fund a big boost because of this simple change in mindset. Of course, this is just a behavioral tendency, and we each get paid every two weeks. If you only get two paychecks a month, say on the 1st and 15th, you'll never get that "bonus" check. Your salary is simply split up by 24 paychecks a year.

But, if you get 26 paychecks a year, you should seriously think about what you will do with those two extra checks.

What are your budget goals this month? How are you doing with them?