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Category: Budgeting

Our transparent family budget with actual numbers

My original ambition for starting this blog was to share my family’s real numbers and real budget as we strive to climb out of 6 figures of debt. This is my monthly budget report post in which I do exactly that. Please be kind and non-judgmental as I make something as personal as finances a public affair.

monthly budget


Oh, April. Tax month. Blech. While we didn’t have to pay a ridiculous amount of taxes like others do, we still had to shell out a few hundred bucks to our city.

April was far better than our March budget, although there were a few setbacks that had to be taken care of.

Below you’ll find my easy-to-read snapshot of our monthly budget. It is comprised of 3 categories: Budgeted, Actual, and Results. I fill in the Budgeted at the beginning of the month, enter data in the Actual twice each month (mid-month check-in and end of the month), and the Results column is designed with formulas to easily show us if we were over, under or on budget and by how much.

Our transparent family budget with actual numbers

family budget
The Daisy April Budget

The good

  • Income was higher than expected this month thanks to some overtime from Mr. Daisy and bowling prize money won!
  • Under budget on pet food, fuel, spending cash, Little Daisy, and our Oh $hit category.
    • My mother in law gifted us some pet food
    • I’m really not sure how we were under for fuel, but I’ll take it!
    • Little Daisy didn’t need anything this month
    • As a result of being more intentional with our spending cash, we reduced that category
  • With roughly $700 left this month, so we threw $500 into our emergency savings and the remainder onto a credit card.

The bad

  • Our heating bill was normal this month, however our furnace needed some maintenance so I threw that expense into this category.
  • Our vehicles line was more than budgeted due to some minor maintenance and a few car washes.
  • Do you ever sign up for a free trial and forget to cancel it before you’re charged the monthly fee? Yep, that happened to me this month which is why our subscription line is more than budgeted. I took care of that right away.
  • I didn’t separate groceries from personal items like I had hoped this month so that line is technically over budget.
  • Our household miscellaneous line is over budget because we purchased a patio set that I am super, super excited about! We had nowhere to sit outside and enjoy the weather for meals or to just relax. I had been on the lookout for used sets when I found a deal at Wal-Mart that I could not pass up!
  • Entertainment is way over budget due to the girls’ trip my mom and I took this month. It was well worth it.
  • Our other category includes some gifts for bridal showers and our city taxes. Boo.

The ugly

We spent $605.00 eating out at restaurants this month. What the &*%^! A chunk of that is from a wonderful night out for a friend’s birthday, but that still leaves $500 in restaurant costs. Live and learn, I suppose. We will diligently work on this during May.

May budget goals

  1. Pay ourselves $200 on the first of the month.
  2. Pay an extra $750 on credit cards.
  3. Limit eating out to <$100.
  4. Be more mindful of how often the debit card is swiped.
  5. Split grocery line into grocery and personal items.

May wins & challenges


  1. No bowling budget = +$116 in our pocket
  2. Increased overtime = at least an extra $500 in income


  1. Out of town wedding ~ $150
  2. Another bridal shower ~$75
  3. Garden expenses ~$100
  4. Dogs’ annual visit and vaccinations ~$150
  5. Brakes on Kia ~$100


How did your finances pan out in April?

You can follow Dirt Road Daisy on Pinterest HERE

You can follow Dirt Road Daisy in Instagram HERE

Related posts:

Budget Setbacks {& how I handle them}

Mid-Month Budget Check-In with Actual Numbers

Our Monthly Budget with Real Numbers



Credit Card Utilization Percentage + a free spreadsheet!

For those of you that are new here, this blog chronicles my family’s journey out of six figures of debt. This epic amount is a combination of student loans, credit cards, vehicle loans, and a personal loan. If you’re interested in a more in depth explanation, check out this post.

One of our primary financial goals for 2017 is to knock out our credit card debt to reach a utilization of less than 30% in hopes of giving our credit scores a boost. We are currently renting from my in-laws and will need to be out of this home by February 2018. We have zero desire to rent again, so we have less than a year to get ourselves mortgage-ready and in a lender-favorable position.

I assume that some of you will read this and think that we are crazy for wanting a mortgage while being in six figure debt. Personal finance is just that, personal. Unique. Different. Our decisions may be the last decision someone else would choose, but that’s the beauty of living in a diverse world.

What is credit card utilization?

Expressed as a percentage, this is the relationship between balances on your credit cards and the credit limits.

Example: You owe $450 on your Kohls credit card. Your credit limit is $1000. 450/1000=0.45=45% You are utilizing 45% of your available credit.

Why is credit card utilization important?

Your credit card utilization is a significant element used in calculating your credit score. Banks interpret high utilization rates as an inability to efficiently manage your money.

Why 30%?

Banks and lenders need to see evidence that you can manage your money in a wise manner. I am not a fan that one must go into debt in order to prove your acumen in finances. You would think that by prudently managing your money and paying cash for everything would be proof enough. But, I digress.

From my research and conversations with several lenders, a utilization rate of less than 30% is the industry standard that places you in the “good” category. A utilization of 1-10% is even better.

I have received conflicting information on 0% credit card balances. One lender says that in order to increase your credit score you should charge a manageable amount and pay it off each month in order to avoid interest. Another lender informs you that you should carry a small balance from month to month. What to do, what to do? (If any of you have any insight, I’d love to hear it!)

If this graph is any indication, carrying a 1-10% utilization rate on your credit cards results in the highest average credit score.

Credit Score Chart

Source: Credit Karma

Calculating your credit card utilization

I created this extremely simple Excel spreadsheet in order to get a snapshot of our family’s credit card utilization and I wanted to share it with you all.

Here’s a snapshot:

These are not our numbers. How I wish they were. 

How to use the credit card utilization spreadsheet

  • Enter the account information: account name, due date, minimum payment, current balance, and the limit.
  • The current utilization, target utilization balance, and total to pay have built in formulas so it should automatically populate.
    • If it doesn’t, the calculations are as follows:
      • Current Utilization = Current Balance/Limit
      • Target Utilization Balance = Limit*0.3
      • Total to Pay = Current Balance – Target Utilization Balance
  • The Current Utilization and Total Utilization cells are formatted to appear red when the value is greater than 30.49% and green when less than 30.49%.
  • You can assign priority however you see fit. Personally, we assign priority to the highest Total to Pay amount.

I am quite sure that there are more fancy and sophisticated spreadsheets out there to capture this information. But if you’re like me, you like simple and straight forward.

Here is a link to download the Excel file:

Free Credit Card Utilization Spreadsheet & Calculator

If you try it out, let me know what you think! Also, if you find it useful – share with your friends!

March Budget Report {with actual numbers}

My original ambition for starting this blog was to share my family’s real numbers and real budget as we strive to climb out of 6 figures of debt. This is my monthly budget report post in which I do exactly that. Please be kind and non-judgmental as I make something as personal as finances a public affair. 

monthly budget

I can’t believe that we are already in April! It’s crazy to me how some days seem to drag on forever, but then bam! We’re at then end of another month. Which means taking another hard look at our family’s spending and saving for the month.

The theme for this month was Budget Setbacks {which I wrote about HERE}. There was a broken cell phone, vehicle repairs, and that blasted “Other” category. We were $1267.16 over budget for March. Ouch. We were set to have $1700.00 in surplus had we stayed on budget. At our monthly budget meeting this month, Mr. Daisy and I made some changes to our budget categories and a huge commitment to altering some spending habits.

Below you’ll find my easy-to-read snapshot of our monthly budget. It is comprised of 3 categories: Budgeted, Actual, and Results. I fill in the Budgeted at the beginning of the month, enter data in the Actual twice each month (mid-month check-in and end of the month), and the Results column is designed with formulas to easily show us if we were over, under or on budget and by how much.

monthly budget
March 2017 Budget Report

Budget Fails

There is a lot of red in the Results column. Here’s the breakdown on the major snafus:

  • Cell Phone: $175 over budget. My phone completely died on me, woh woh. This $175 covers the cost and shipping of a replacement.
  • Vehicles: $484 over budget. I touched on this in the Budget Setback post, but Mr. Daisy’s truck was in dire need of some maintenance. I hate to think what this would have cost had we been required to take his truck into a shop and pay retail for parts and labor. I’ll have to jot this point down in my gratitude journal because it surely could have been worse.
  • Household Misc: $64 over budget. Mr. Daisy sprayed the yard for fleas and ticks, we purchased a new shower head, and replaced the rest of the light bulbs in the house with LEDs.
  • Groceries: $69 over budget. This isn’t too awful considering that I included our personal items (soap, detergent, shampoo, etc) in the grocery category this month. To get a better feel for what we’re actually spending on food, I am going to break personal items out into its own budget category for April.
  • Entertainment: $80 over budget. Mr. Daisy went paint balling with some of his friends, we bowled in a tournament, and got ice cream a few times with Little Daisy to celebrate that spring has finally sprung here in the Great Lakes region! Money well spent in my opinion 😉
  • Spending cash$60 over budget. There’s no real reason for this one other than I got a little ATM happy this month. Next month I am going to attempt to track what I spend that cash on because for the life of me I have no idea where it went.
  • Other: $450.00 over budget. Yuck. There were several culprits in this category. Lunches out, dinners out, clothes, wedding shower gifts, other wedding items, and stuff. Stuff that was not vital and completely unnecessary. I didn’t budget it into the Oh $hit category because it wasn’t Oh $hit stuff that came up.

Budget Successes

There is some light at the end of this $1200 over budget month:

  • We were under budget on pet food. My mother in law had some dog food that her dogs didn’t like and it happened to be exactly what we feed ours. Lucky coincidence.
  • Somehow, we were under budget by ~$50 on fuel. We got creative with some fuel perks at our regional grocery store and maybe we just didn’t drive as much. Not sure.

Moving Forward

Like I said, April is going to hold some changes for us in regards to our budget and spending habits. Here are the 5 major action steps for April:

  • We are going to pay ourselves first. Rather than waiting to see what we’ve spent and what’s left at the end of the month, we are going to transfer a set amount of money to savings prior to the spending commencing.
  • We are placing a larger impact on savings vs. debt repayment for the next few months. While we do have some savings put back for an emergency, we both decided that we need more of a reserve. Normally, I would have thrown that $580 remaining after expenses onto a debt. We are going to hold off on extra debt payments until we get an additional $2000 in savings. We set a goal of having this completely by July (which should be simple with Mr. Daisy’s overtime picking up)
  • We are splitting and adding some budget categories.
    • The grocery category is going to include only food. We are going to add a Personal Item category to capture shampoo, conditioner, deodorant etc. I will put detergents, cleaning supplies and the like in the Household Misc. category.
  • I am going to track my spending money. I’m a bit ashamed that I have no idea where my spending money went, which means that it went to unimportant endeavors.
  • We are going to baby step our way into implementing a cash budget for variable expenses. Starting with Entertainment in April, we are going to start using only cash much like Dave Ramsey touts.

Although this month did not go anywhere near what we had planned, I am thankful that we didn’t go negative. (We do have a reserve amount that kept in our checking account because $hit can and will happen)

Monday, I will share more details about our plan for April. Tomorrow, I am so excited to say that I will have a guest post (my first one!) up over at The Frugal Farmer. Laurie has some exciting stuff going on over at her blog for Financial Literacy month so be sure to stop by and check it out!

How did your finances pan out in March?


You can follow Dirt Road Daisy on Pinterest HERE

Related posts:

Budget Setbacks {& how I handle them}

Mid-Month Budget Check-In with Actual Numbers

Our Monthly Budget with Real Numbers


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Weekly Frugal Meal Plan

I’ve decided to change things up a bit and talk about what we spent and are planning to eat in the beginning of the week. If I lay my frugal meal plan out here for everyone to see, there is a better chance that I will actually stick to it. Fingers crossed!

frugal shopping frugal meal plans

Weekly Grocery Trip

On Sunday I spent $85.52 at the grocery store and accrued $.60 in fuel perks. Mr. Daisy ran his truck over later that evening to fill up for a whopping $1.20/gal. Full disclosure, I haven’t made it to ALDI the last few weeks. It’s just too. damn. crowded. I truly love the efficiency of ALDI, but I have zero patience when it comes to cart traffic. I don’t have the option of going shopping in the middle of the day or at other potential slow times. I’ve tried everything…Saturday mornings as soon as they open, Wednesday evenings an hour before closing…but to no avail. I don’t browse through the grocery store. I have my list and I know what I want. I’m afraid you’ll see me on the news for reckless operation of a cart 🙂 So, that’s why my grocery bill has been a bit higher than normal. I have no doubt that this grocery trip would have been more around my goal of $50 but I just wasn’t in the mood to battle the crowds.

No grocery picture, sorry! So, here’s a quick rundown of what I purchased. I put it in a pdf so that if you’re interested, you can click and read it. If you’re not interested, I haven’t wasted any extra blog space for you to scroll through .

Shopping 032617

Weekly Meal Plan


Mr. Daisy eats Clif bars each morning on his way to work with his coffee. I can get them for $1/bar at a regional chain store. That’s not too frugal, but in comparison to him running through a drive-thru each morning, it’s definitely frugal. I’ll take the $5/week breakfast over a potential $20-$30/week.

We are fortunate that Little Daisy’s daycare provider feeds her breakfast each morning. If she’s up especially early one morning I will give her a piece of toast while I get ready for work.

For myself, I alternate between peanut butter toast and maple brown sugar oatmeal. With coffee of course. Both of these tend to hold me over until lunch so I’m not itching for a snack at 10am.


Our predominate lunch expense is with Mr. Daisy. He is unable to re-heat leftovers or have a hot lunch. Most of the time he will eat right in whatever equipment he’s operating (not while in operation, though). He alternates between egg salad, tuna salad, and salami sandwiches. He also packs some chips or pretzels, cashews (which are not cheap!), Gatorade, and some sort of snack. It reminds me of a lunch your mom would pack you in 4th grade, but it works and he’s not picky. Little Daisy of course eats at her daycare and I always try to bring leftovers to avoid food waste. However, there are times when I get restless and need to leave my desk. Once per week I’ll use some of my weekly spending cash and grab lunch out (usually meeting with my brother’s girlfriend).


Here is our weekly dinner plan:

Monday| Breakfast sausage and cheese quesadillas with rice and black beans

Tuesday| Family meal at my grandfather’s. It is my week to cook and I am making a big batch of baked spaghetti.

Wednesday| Crock Pot vegetable soup with grilled cheese. I have a love/hate relationship with my slow cooker, but that’s a post for another day.

Thursday| BBQ shredded chicken sliders with a veggie side.

Friday| We have bowling league this night. I’m sure we will have leftovers from the week, so we will try to eat some of those up.

Saturday| We are going to experiment with our new smoker on Saturday. I think my husband is planning on smoking a wild turkey breast, so we will have that for dinner!

Sunday| We will pick through the fridge and try to gobble up leftovers to reduce any food waste.

Meal Prep for the Week

In order to spend as little time as possible preparing dinner after work (and more time with my family!), I try to do a bunch of meal prep on Sundays. This saves in cooking time as well as clean up time. This week I spent only 45 minutes doing the following:

  • cooked up 1 pound of ground breakfast sausage for Monday’s meal
  • cooked up 2 pounds of ground beef for Tuesday’s baked spaghetti
  • boiled 4 chicken breasts for easy shredding for Thursday’s meal
  • moved the wild turkey breast from the deep freezer to the refrigerator to thaw for Saturday
  • I have a small basket on the counter full of Mr. Daisy’s lunch items. He is NOT a morning person, so rifling through the house getting his lunch ready is not the way Mr. Cranky Pants wants to start his day. So, on Sunday we pre-portion out his chips, cashews, and fill his basket with his other items so all he has to do is grab what he wants and go.

That 45 minutes is time well spent in my eyes because it leads to more time with my family during the week.

I’m hoping to calculate a cost for each meal because I am curious to know, maybe you are too! I didn’t intend for this post to be so long, sorry 🙂 I will update you next Sunday on how well we stuck or didn’t stick to plan!

Do you meal plan or prep food for the week? Why or why not?

Budget Setbacks {& how I handle them}

When it comes to planning and organizing, I am 100% Type A. You should have seen our first budget as a married couple; there were pages and pages of categories and formulas and colors. It was too specific. Because of the specificity, our first budget failed. Big time. I was trying to be far too precise and particular about tracking our money and telling it where to go. For example: under Little Daisy’s category, I had 5 budget lines. Why does an infant need 5 budget lines? I was also trying to track every transaction as it occurred. I would be checking our online banking at least once each day. You know what happened? I got tired, burnt out, and pissed that my day was now revolving around our money.

Fast forward 3 years and several other budget system fails: I’ve created a much simpler, visually pleasing, and easy to navigate budget. Even my free-spirit husband doesn’t mind sitting down to our  weekly and monthly budget meetings. I still tweak it each month because life happens. Our daughter is getting older and we are hitting different milestones and seasons of life. Just like the world around us, our budget is a living thing. It evolves with the ebbs and flows of time. We have the quick weekly check-ins, the mid-month check, and the “big” end of the month/beginning of the next month meeting. Less is definitely more when it comes to our budgeting style.

The Budget Setback

But just when you think you’ve got said perfect balance and your system is flowing perfectly…BAM! In comes the budget buster! Crashing through your wall like the god damned Kool-Aid Man. Not just a $50 buster that you forgot to budget for. But a $600 vehicle repair that was most definitely NOT in your plans.

Mr. Daisy has been worried about his transfer case for about a month. We knew it was going to need replaced eventually. He crawled under yesterday and in his words, “It’s puking fluid. Needs fixed now.” But as he was under there he also noticed that the front ball joints were in bad shape, the water pump needed to be replaced, and might as well throw in the wipers while we’re at it. Before our balanced budgeting days, I would have had a mini meltdown any time something popped up that I hadn’t accounted for.

Now that I’m in my budget-Zen mode, I take a few breaths and look at the bright side:

  1. If we had to take his truck to a shop to get repaired, this would easily cost us well over $1200 with parts and labor. Mr. Daisy is a mechanic so no labor costs and we have the wholesale hookup on parts through my Dad and brother’s businesses, so no crazy marked up parts prices.
  2. Daisy’s truck will get him from point A to point B safely.
  3. I enjoy working on vehicles with Mr. Daisy. One of his 5 Love Languages is Quality Time and he appreciates when I take interest in something that he’s doing. (I would prefer that it didn’t cost $600, but I digress).
  4. We can afford the costs of repairing his truck and we can afford having two vehicles. We are fully aware that this type of setback would cause other people in other situations much more grief than it has caused us. It will not affect our ability to put food on the table, get to work, or disrupt our daily lives and we are grateful for that.

It is natural and automatic to immediately compartmentalize unplanned and unfortunate setbacks into the “The Sky is Falling” category. It’s something that I did for a really, really long time. I would get frustrated and give up on budgeting and gaining control over our finances. It was difficult for me to see that light at the end of the tunnel and still is sometimes. If this would have been a $3000 repair, I would have panicked. No doubt about that. In my struggle to become more calm and Zen with our budgeting and finances; I am trying to teach myself  that much (if not all) of life is about balance. It’s about understanding which situations require calmness and which require an intense approach. Does this small thing really require an argument with my husband? Does the plant that Little Daisy accidentally knocked over validate me losing my patience?

It’s nothing groundbreaking on how I handle budget busters and life setbacks in general. I attempt to find and keep stability, get back up from whatever set back it is, notch it in my brain for future reference, and move on. It may require creative tweaking in next month’s budget, but life will go on with or without me pouting about something. There’s no room for hostility towards something I cannot control when there’s an adorable three year old asking me to play Candy Land with her.

What types of budget setbacks have you encountered? How do you handle them?

What We Spent | What We Ate {we’re on budget!}

A quick grocery trip this week cost us $50.83. While this is over my super strict goal of $20/week due to one heck of an expensive shopping trip a few weeks ago, we’re trending right on budget which makes this momma happy.

You’ll notice that this week’s shopping trip is mainly snacky, processed foods. Mr. Daisy was fresh out of food for his lunches. He is unable to heat leftovers at work, so he packs what I like to call a high school lunch 🙂


What We’ve Spent: 

March trip #1 : $33.65 + $27.97 ( I forgot to throw the second shopping trip in last week’s post, oops!)

March trip #2: $50.83

Total: $112.45 

I budget $225  per month for groceries (to see a breakdown of our budget, look HERE or HERE), so we’re left with $112.55 to get us through these last two weeks of the month.


What We Ate: 

Monday is ballet night. We had a snacky dinner that consisted of veggies, fruit, yogurt, and sandwiches.

Tuesday  is family dinner night. It wasn’t my turn to cook (yay!). We had pizzas at my grandfather’s.

Wednesday, I made some delicious homemade chicken nuggets. They were perfect and crispy and moist and so good. I will get a recipe post written and share this deliciousness with you all. We had edamame and some homemade applesauce on the side.

Thursday was a night out to eat. Little Daisy went to spend time with her aunts and new baby cousin, so Mr. Daisy and I stopped in at our favorite restaurant in town. Everything at this place is amazing. Whether it’s the pulled pork, chili, pizza, wings, subs, chicken parmesan…it’s all good. It is a locally owned, family run business so we have no qualms whatsoever about spending our money there.

Friday is bowling night. I have errands to run after work so I brought an extra sandwich and a granola bar, Little Daisy is having dinner with her grandma, and Mr. Daisy is on his own.

We will be spending this weekend trying to master our new smoker, planning the garden, and doing some frugal DIY projects that I hope to share next week.

What did you have to eat this week? Are you on budget?

I am attempting to grow this blog and its audience to form a community of like-minded individuals that can learn from each other.
So please comment and share on social media. I love to interact and share with people!

Mid-Month Budget Check-In with Actual Numbers

{A side note: Yesterday, Dirt Road Daisy hit its first 1000 views! I am so excited and thankful to those of you continuing to return}

Near the middle of each month, I print out our bank statements, comb through them, categorize each transaction, add it to the budget spreadsheet, and take stock of where we stand.  I primarily do this mid-month check-up for one reason: to assess our variable expenses.  We’ve identified the variable expenses as the category that kills our budget for very obvious reasons…they vary. By looking at what we’ve spent so far this month, I am able to grasp whether we are on track to be below, on, or exceeding  our budgeted amounts.

I have this in a nifty 3 columned spreadsheet with some very obvious formatting to let me know how off or on the tracks we are. The 3 columns are: Budgeted, Actual, and Results. I put the values pulled from our transactions into the actual column. The results column contains formulas and conditional formatting built into the spreadsheet so the values and colors are generated automatically.

Green means we are under target, yellow is on target, red is exceeding target.

A quick glance at the Living Expense category will show you a few things: we are on budget for rent and car insurance. Duh, those are fixed and don’t change each month. I overestimated our utilities bill, so we are under in that category. I underestimated gas, so it is red.

The glaring factor in this snippet is that we are $175.06 over budget in the cell phone line. My poor 6 year old Samsung Galaxy finally died on me. The $295.06 we spent here takes the replacement phone I purchased into account.

Here is our mid-month check up:

{ If you would like an in-depth look at our monthly budget, I wrote about it HERE }

Like I said, at the mid-month check-in I’m most focused on the variable expenses. Here are the main take-aways:

  • Groceries: We’ve used about 50% of our grocery budget. I’m happy with this and will just be mindful to shop smart the rest of the month. Status: Good. 
  • Pets: We have $41.30 left to spend for our pets. I anticipate we will go over this by the end of the month. The price of their dog food has jumped, plus they will need their flea/tick/heartworm meds. Status: Meh. 
  • Household Misc: About 50% here, not bad. I don’t have any more purchases planned in this department. We’ll see how well that goes. Status: Good. 
  • Fuel: This will be a close one. Gas prices have risen to about $2.25/gallon here. We were spoiled with the prices hovering around $2.00/gallon for a while. This line will probably have to be adjusted next month. Status: Meh. 
  • Entertainment: We are on track to be a little over budget here. Mr. Daisy spent around $40 at an indoor archery range to practice his craft. He could have worse hobbies 🙂 Status: Over-budget
  • Spending cash: We’re definitely on track to be over-budget here. No rhyme, reason, or excuse. It’s just something we will have to be smarter about next month. Maybe a goal for next month will be to track our (ehemm, my) spending money and see where’s it’s going… Status: Over-budget. 
  • Little Daisy: We spent some money on matching outfits for Little Daisy and her new baby niece for Easter photos. I know, not frugal. But I have justification! These photos will make adorable frugal gifts for grandmas, great grandmas, and great-great grandmas (yes, we have those!). I will take the photos myself with my DSLR. So in the long-run, it may be a frugal win 😉 Status: Good. 
  • Oh $hit: Remember my KFC frugal fail that I talked about HERE?  I threw that in this category. Status: Good. 
  • Other: Another budget buster. I forgot to budget for two wedding showers this month and clothing for a wedding that Mr. Daisy is a groomsman in. There are also a few ATM fees and eBay sales packaging purchases thrown in. Status: Over-budget. 

In addition to the mid-month check up, Mr. Daisy and I have quickie budget meetings, usually each Sunday evening. These last no longer than a few minutes and are not in depth whatsoever. I’m the spreadsheet nerd, him not so much. Since I manage everything financial-related, we utilize these to maintain open communication about finances and where we stand. I’m sure we are all aware that finances are easily a top contender in the category of divorce-causer. We quickly discuss how much is in the checking account, what bills will be paid in the coming week, and any other expenses we assume will come up. For instance, this past Sunday Mr. Daisy let me know that his truck will need ball joints and some sort of transfer case thingy in the very near future. While it will be a hit to our budget, we are fortunate to not have to shoulder full retail prices on parts or pay for service at a shop. The perks of marrying a mechanic and having a dad that’s a business owner.

At the end of the month I will share the final numbers for the month, including our income (which is set to be more than expected, yay for overtime!).

How is your budget looking so far this month?


I am attempting to grow this blog and its audience to form a community of like-minded individuals that can learn from each other.
If you would be so kind as to share this post on any of your social media platforms, I would be forever grateful!

Our Monthly Budget with Real Numbers


Happy March y’all!

Today’s the day.

 I am going to share our real budget with real numbers.

Before I get started, please remember that our budget fits our life. There is no one size fits all budget, and our priorities may be different than yours.

For example, we budget $100 each month for our dogs, while some people may scoff at that. Their health and happiness is a priority to us, so we put our money where our priorities are, and you should too. You may enjoy eating out at restaurants, while that is not something we do on the regular.

So, be nice and don’t judge. No judging allowed 

Each month, we budget down to zero and tell our money what to do. I am paid once per month on the 28th, which I LOVE. I love having all of that money at the beginning of the month to work with. My husband is paid weekly. We are still in our debt free journey, therefore, we are not living on last month’s paycheck like so many financial gurus tell you to do. Sure, it’s a goal. It’s just not the reality right now.

Obvious disclaimer: I’m not a finance expert.

{I’m just a girl in debt, trying to be a girl not in debt.}

Here’s a quick rundown on how I create our budget each month:

  1. Calculate our total income
  2. Budget our Fixed Expenses (Living, Debt, Miscellaneous)
  3. Calculate our balance after Fixed Expenses
  4. Budget our Variable Expenses
  5. Calculate our balance after Variable Expenses
  6. The balance from step 5 is then either put into savings or on debt, depending on our plan for the month.

So, here lies our plan for March. Notice, it is a plan. Things will happen, because…well…Murphy. First, a detailed paragraph form of our budget. I will follow it up with a spreadsheet for all of my spreadsheet lovers out there. No shame, I’m one of them.

INCOME – after taxes

Mrs. Daisy: $3931.88

  • The above amount is my take home pay after 401k contribution, taxes, and health care.
  • Here is the breakdown:
    • $55.34 for dental
    • $51.23 for short term disability
    • $100.00 direct deposited in our HSA account
    • $160.68 to 401(k)

Mr. Daisy: $2808.80

  • Mr. Daisy works as a heavy equipment operator. The number reflected here is his base hourly pay with no overtime. Now that Spring is starting to peek in a little bit, he will be getting more and more overtime. I will reflect that, if any, in the end of the month recap.

Total Income: $6740.68




Rent: $450.00

*We are lucky enough to be renting a house owned by my in-laws. They are extremely generous with the rent amount

Utilities: $350.00

*The city we live in operates on a co-op. Our electric, wireless Internet, cable, trash, water, and sewage is all included on one bill.

Gas: $70.00

Cell phones: $120.00

*I am researching alternatives in this area. The area I live in is notorious for spotty service when you veer away from Verizon.

Car Insurance: $123.00

Total Fixed Living Expenses:  $1113.00


Student Loans: $ 846.11

Consumer Debt: $334.21

Personal Loan: $137.40

Vehicles: $699.47

Total Debt Payments: $2017.19


Daycare: $540.00

Subscriptions: $38.00

*Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited. We may cancel Hulu, our Roku picks up pretty much everything we care about on Hulu.

Total Miscellaneous Fixed Expenses: $578.00


Total Income: $6740.00

Total Fixed Expenses: $3708.00

Left to Budget: $3032.00


Variable Expenses

Groceries: $225.00 or 56.25/week

Pets: $100.00

*This includes their food and preventive care

Household Miscellaneous: $50.00

*Repairs, décor, etc.

Fuel: $300.00

Entertainment: $120.00

*This includes my bowling budget. Yes, I’m a bowling nerd.

Spending Cash: $320.00

*My husband and I each get $40 in cash as spending money per week. I usually spend it, my husband on the other hand, tends to save it up and splurge on himself (or Little Daisy and I) every few months.

Little Daisy: $50

*Clothes, ballet, anything else she may end up needing

Oh $hit: $150.00

*A buffer I like to leave in the checking account in case of a little emergency or unexpected expense.

Total Variable Expenses: $1315.00

Balance from above: $3032.00

Total Variable Expenses: $1315

Remaining Income: $1717.00

Here is a link to a .pdf file that contains a spreadsheet of our monthly budget for a more concise view:

DRD Budget March 2017

Our current plan of attack is simply banking the remaining $1717.00 in a savings account to build up our savings this month.

So, there you have it! My first foray into using the entire Internet as my accountability partner. Oy. At the end of the month I will post what we actually spent. Let’s see how well we stick to our budget this month.

Have you created your March budget? What format do you use? What are your challenges? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!