What Does This $4 Drink Have to Do with Your Budget?

Get what you want, when you want it, worry-free.

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte came early this year, making its debut on August 28. And, if $6.9 million in sales of pumpkin-flavored products are to be believed (Nielsen says they are), then I’m betting that more than one of you purchased your very own cup of the fall favorite.

The question is, did the aroma of spiced sweetness lure you away from your budget? And, while we’re on the subject, what other expenses have popped up with the changing of the seasons? Back to school supplies, warm socks, jackets, moisturizing lotion, rock salt, wood for the fire, a cozy bed for your pup … it all adds up.

And It’s a Great Time to Revisit the Rules

Whenever your behavior patterns change (like with the seasons), it’s important to reevaluate your budget—specifically, how will your priorities affect how you go about YNAB’s first two rules? While your air conditioning-related electrical expenses plummet, you might, for example, find yourself grabbing more warm beverages on the go.

So, when you sit down to budget, consider the following:

  • How will your schedule change this month, and will that affect your food or fuel budgets?
  • Are you weather-ready? Do you need any clothing or supplies for the changing temperature?
  • What special occasions are coming up—holidays, birthdays, anniversaries?
  • Do you have any annual bills due this time of year (insurance, cloud storage, annual subscriptions, etc.)?

Of course, you can lean on Rule Three and roll with the punches if you forget something (which is totally fine), but the more you plan ahead, the better off you’ll be. When you anticipate expenses, it puts you in control. You’ll have an easier time increasing your age of money, which is how you break free of the dreaded paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and crush your financial goals!

Build Success into Your Budget

The more you pay attention and capture your true expenses each season, the better you’ll get at planning ahead for the next year—and not because you’re smarter, but simply because you’ve mastered a little lifehack that I like to call “capturing reality in your budget”.

So, if you want a pumpkin spice latte every day in October? Go for it! And set aside the roughly $124 to do so, guilt-free. By planning ahead, you can simply budget $11 per month, every month, so that it doesn’t hit your bank account all at once. (Of course, if you don’t want to spend that much on PSLs, you could go the DIY route, too.)