Long time no see on the budget front! I took a bit of a break from the budget breakdowns, since I was traveling in September, but I’m ready to get back at it!
Looking Back: August & September Monthly Budgets
August and September seem so far away. I was on vacation for 2 weeks in early September and then went away for work for a week in September.
The Budget Good
- Groceries: In both August and September, I did well with groceries. Part of this is due to increased attention towards my grocery spending, but part of it is due to the fact that I was on vacation for two of the four weeks in September.
The Budget Bad
- Clothing: I purchased a number of items to get ready for my trip in August. This included a rain jacket, bathing suit, and cover up. As such, as usual, I went over my clothing budget.
August & September’s Net Income
Since I’m pretty vague about what my actual income is (on purpose), I decided to add another piece of information to give you a sense for how my spending mapped to my income for the month: net income. You can usually tell how well or poor a month went by how much you spent vs. how much you brought in. In August, my net income was $733. In September, my net income was $4,374. This large net income amount for September is due in part to receiving my bonus. This means that I was in the green two months in a row!
My October Monthly Budget
Now that I’m back from vacation, it’s time to get back to a normal budget.
Rent: $1075 (my portion of rent – not split exactly 50/50 but almost 50/50)
Utilities & Non-Discretionary
- Natural Gas (my portion): $25
- Electric (my portion): $55
- Internet (my portion): $28
- Cell Phone (my portion): $56
- Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: $108
Car & Transport
- Expected Car Expenses: $70 (deposited into a savings account for car insurance and repairs when needed)
- Metro: $80 (taken directly out of my paycheck and applied to my Metro card)
- Groceries (my portion): $350
- 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, clothes and home supplies all come up at infrequent intervals, so I set aside an amount each month to contribute and if I don’t spend it, it rolls over to the next month. Everything else is everything that doesn’t fit into a neat budget. I’ve increased my everything else budget to account for some one-off expenses.
- Pets (my portion – rolls over monthly): $60 (plus $19 from rollover)
- Clothes (rolls over monthly): $200 (rollover reset to $0, again)
- Home Supplies (my portion – rolls over monthly): $3 (due to being $17 over last month and only budgeting $20 per month)
- Everything else: $400
Total Expenses: $2,455 (minus savings and extra student loans)
And don’t forget…
Savings & Extra Student Loan Payments: I generally contribute 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. I now have a fully-funded 3-month emergency fund, so I’m holding off on trying to boost that higher while I pay off the rest of my student loans. I have increased my short-term savings to give myself a little more wiggle room and to establish a dedicated vacation fund.
Retirement Contributions: I contribute 6% to my employer-sponsored 401(k) each pay period.
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.
I’m hoping that August will be the calm before the storm that is my Wild West trip in September. That in and of itself will be a challenge.
- Pets: Zeke is due for this 6-month well-cat visit. Stella needs more flea and heartworm medication. I have a feeling the pet costs are going to be high this month!
- Clothing: I’m in the market for a new pair of leather boots and a nice fall jacket. Not sure if I’ll find the right ones, but they’ll likely be expensive.