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

___________________________________________________________________________

FIXED EXPENSES

Living

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

Debt

Student Loans: $ 846.11

Consumer Debt: $334.21

Personal Loan: $137.40

Vehicles: $699.47

Total Debt Payments: $2017.19

Miscellaneous

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 FIXED EXPENSES: $3708.19

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! 

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. Erik @ The Mastermind Within | 28th Feb 17

    1,700 remaining is fantastic. You will be able to build wealth at a fast rate once your loans are paid off.

    Having a large cash account is a great feeling. I found that I feel better the more cash I have mentally. I think the optimal level for me is about $10k, but I choose to keep about $8k in there so I can trick myself into frugality!! Ha!

    Do you have a goal for your cash account?

    • Mrs. Daisy | 28th Feb 17

      Thank you! $1700 is the plan, let’s hope we stay close to that. Those unexpected expenses have been killing us, I’m banking on the $150 I budgeted in to be sufficient. You’re right, having that nest egg is such a comforting feeling! We are aiming for $15,000 by the end of the year, averaging $1500 in savings each month. My husband’s overtime should kick in this month, which we will put right in savings!

  2. Katy | 2nd Mar 17

    Thanks for sharing your budget! ! Cheering you on as you try to get to $15,000 in savings by the end of the year!

    • Mrs. Daisy | 3rd Mar 17

      Thank you, Katy! I’m cheering myself on 🙂

  3. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer | 3rd Mar 17

    I think you’re off to a great start, Daisy! Consider checking out Republic Wireless for your phone. We live in a spotty area too but they’ve been great for us so far. I’ve got a review of them on my site if you’re interested….

    Keep up the good work. I love that you’re saving as you pay down your debt – that is so important!

    • Mrs. Daisy | 3rd Mar 17

      Thank you so much for the encouragement, Laurie!! 🙂 You’re not the first person to recommend Republic Wireless to me. I think I’m just nervous to cut the cord from one of the “big names”, which in reality I shouldn’t be because I thoroughly despise the company itself and how they handle their customers. I’m stuck on whether the quality of service is worth the switch, as I have no qualms spending a little more for quality services and items that are worth the money.

  4. Nathalie | 8th Mar 17

    It’s important to have an emergency fund, especially with a little kid!

    I also like to have buffers in my checking account because crap happens. I remember, back when my ex-husband was in charge of our checkbook, he never left any cushion in it, so I would write checks for groceries after thinking I’d been frugal because I used coupons, and then we would bounce the checks because he had mailed various bill payments and I didn’t know about it. I finally got smarter and took over the finances 🙂

    What I did, years ago, was average how much our various utilities were costing us each month and I still use the same number as our budget amount each month. But since we spend less nowadays (fewer people at home, more efficient AC units, LED bulbs instead of incandescent, reusing rainwater for the garden for instance), I just report the overage to the following month (the only debt we have left is our mortgage). It provides that extra cushion since I don’t budget for every eventuality, and at the end of the year, I take what’s left and use it either to pay for vacation for the following year or an unexpected expense (like when we kept the 3 newborn kittens we found in our yard last August).

    I tried using YNAB but it was too complicated for me so I went back to my previous method that I have used for 20 years. I kept it linear in an Excel spreadsheet and it has 3 sections. The top section matches our bank statement, line by line. It’s what expenses have cleared the bank already (so how much money the bank says we have). The middle section contains those transactions that have been completed but haven’t cleared the bank yet (so how much money we actually have on hand), the third section is our expenses and income, projected one to two years ahead. As I spend money, I move lines from the third section to the 2nd section, and then to the 1st section as they clear the bank. Since we don’t have credit card debt anymore, I still charge everything so I can reap the free rewards, but I treat our credit cards as debit cards and deduct each expense from our “budget” right away. Budgeting 1 or 2 years out, I can input a one-time expense or recurring expense (with a little more work as I am no Excel expert!) and see how it will affect our bottom line. This is how, 14 years ago, I was able to convince my husband that we would be OK if I became a stay-at-home mom.

    Since I budget in advance, I also make sure to insert a line for car repairs, vacation funds, school supplies, car tag renewals, medical expenses, etc, etc. I try to anticipate as many expenses as I can and try to build in those reserves.

    How are you snowballing your debt? Are you paying the highest interest rate off first or the smallest debt amount first? I’m just curious. Common sense says that paying off the highest interest rate is better but I read on Lifehacker a few weeks ago that research shows that people who paid off their smallest debt first stayed more motivated, hence were more successful at paying off their debt.

    Sorry for the long comment, I tend to get chatty 🙂

    • Mrs. Daisy | 8th Mar 17

      Please don’t apologize! I love the long, chatty comments. I’ve been afraid that my blog posts have too much content, because I tend to just go and go. I’ll try to respond to each one of your points 🙂

      A buffer in the budget is a necessity for me. I need that cushion, and that piece of mind. I try to keep our budget pretty simple, I keep our categories broad and not too specific. However, things are bound to happen outside of what I have budgeted for. Even now, I think that our cushion is a little small, but sacrifices are being made to pay down debt.

      I also tried YNAB, and had the same response. It was too busy for me. It sounds like my Excel budget is very similar to yours! I have 3 columns: Budgeted, Actual, and Difference. I will post it next week for my mid-month budget check-in.

      We are following Dave Ramsey’s approach with the debt snowball and paying off the lowest balance. Lifehacker is right, seeing the immediate impact on a smaller balance keeps us motivated. We just snowball up after each account is paid off. Each month we decide how much of what’s left will go to savings vs. debt. This is where we veer from Dave Ramsey’s teachings a bit. Also, any overtime my husband gets ($175 so far this month!), or any income from my side hustles does directly onto whatever debt we are snowballing at that moment.

      I am extremely fortunate in that I have never had to pay for car repairs. My dad, brothers, grandpa, step dad, and uncles are all either mechanics or very mechanically inclined. And what would you know…I also ended up marrying a mechanic 🙂 Plus, my dad owns a trucking business so we get wholesale prices on parts. You would not believe how much auto body shops mark parts up! But, everybody’s gotta make their money somehow, right?

      I would love to stay home and home school my daughter, but it’s not an option right now. Not with our debt. Plus, I truly love my career and what I do. I’m hoping to transition to a more flexible schedule in 3 years when she is school age and work part time from home with the ability to school her. We will see 🙂 Thanks again for being so kind to respond, I am really looking forward to talking with you more!

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