I’m back! I’m really really back! You know how I know I’m really really back? I’m doing a monthly review post. This time around, I want to switch it up and share my monthly budget. My old monthly posts used to focus on my goals and what I was up to the previous month.
I figured now that I’m back at it, I wanted to switch it up a little and give a bit more insight into how I practice (or try to practice) what I preach: finding a way to live a fun life that also helps me achieve my financial goals. So, I figured there is no better way to do that than to share my monthly budget.
My March Monthly Budget
Starting this month, I’ll provide my monthly budget at the beginning of each month. I’ll also provide a recap of what happened with my budget the in the previous month. To get started, here’s what I’m looking at for March!
Rent: $1075 (my portion of rent – not split exactly 50/50 but almost 50/50)
Utilities & Non-Discretionary
- Gas (my portion): $25
- Electric (my portion): $40
- Internet (my portion): $28
- Cell Phone: $73
- Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: $54
Car & Transport
My two main modes of transportation are the DC Metro and car. Each month, I have $90 deposited automatically on my Metro card and use that throughout the month. Any money left over rolls to the next month.
- Car Insurance (rolls over monthly): $89 (currently at $267)
- Fuel (my portion – rolls over monthly): $20 (currently at $23)
- Metro (deposited onto card at beginning of month and rolls over monthly): $90 (midway through March, currently around $100)
Richard and I try our best to eat healthy, fresh, unprocessed foods as much as we can. We are also gluttons for a delicious dinner out. As a result, our grocery and restaurant monthly budgets are fairly high. This is where the balance comes in: we don’t spend as much in other categories (e.g. electronics, entertainment), so we can splurge here.
- Groceries (my portion): $300
- Restaurants (my portion): $200
- Work Lunch: $40
Each month, I pay a total of $775 to minimum loan payments. Not that I’m counting or anything, but this expense is second only to rent in my monthly budget.
- Student Loans Minimum: $565
- Car Loan: $215
Shopping & Miscellaneous
Pets includes everything related to pets – food, toys, and vet visits. Clothing includes everything that goes on my body, including work clothes, fun clothes, shoes and workout gear. Home supplies are all of our consumables. Everything else is everything that doesn’t have its own dedicated budget category.
- Pets (my portion – rolls over monthly): $30 (currently at $150)
- Clothes (rolls over monthly): $100 (currently at $151)
- Home Supplies (my portion – rolls over monthly): $20 (currently at $20)
- Everything else: $300
Total Expenses: $3,210 (minus savings and extra student loans)
And don’t forget…
Savings & Extra Student Loan Payments: 25% of take home pay – All of the money that goes to savings and extra student loans is split up in a 30:70 ratio with 30% going to savings and 70% going to student loans.
Retirement Contributions: I contribute 6% to my employer-sponsored 401(k) each pay period.
March Extra Savings & Student Loans: I received a refund on my federal tax return this year of about $1,000. True to my monthly savings approach, I’m splitting up my refund so that 30% goes to savings and 70% goes to student loans.
Notes About My Monthly Budget
“My Portion”: You’ll notice that there are a few “my portion” indicators next to my monthly budget line items. This means that it’s an expense that Richard and I split. For 99% of the things we split, we split right down the middle.
Rolls Over Monthly: This year, I’ve been trying to become more purposeful in how I budget and allocate my money. In some categories, my expenses are sporadic. Two examples of this are pets and clothing. We are proud parents to two senior pets – as a result, we’ve decided to set aside some money every month to cover those inevitable vet costs. For clothing, I prefer to do big shopping trips a few times a year rather than shopping in smaller spurts more frequently. By rolling over my budget each month, I make sure I’m accounting for the inevitable expense.
Each month, I want to highlight some of the challenges that I foresee for the upcoming month in regards to my budget. Here are the following things on my radar:
- Tar Heel 10 Miler: I won’t be going this month, but I’ll be registering and potentially buying new shoes. As I pointed out last week, running in a race out of town isn’t cheap!
- Social Events: We went to a birthday party this past weekend and one of my friend’s is having a St. Patty’s Day party this coming weekend. I’ve found that these types of events (even if I’m just bringing a 6-pack) can start to add up.
- Planning a Mini Getaway: While we likely won’t incur any expenses this month, but we are looking into options for taking a quick getaway in early April to Asheville, NC. As we plan, we need to be mindful of our spending this month so that going on the trip next month goes smoothly.
What does your monthly budget look like for March?