So you have finally created that perfect budget and that accounts for everything? If you have please let me know. Since really sitting down and creating a monthly budget in January I do not believe I have had a single month where everything falls in place perfectly. From vet visits to speeding tickets a budget must be able to slip and roll with the punches.
Our Budget in January
- Mortgage Payment (Includes Insurance, Taxes, and PMI) – $1,300
- Utilities – $250
- Groceries – $250
- Restaurants/ Entertainment – $200
- Joint Savings (My fiancé and I each contribute $400 a month for future home repairs and remodeling) – $800
- Personal Savings – $500
- Anything unaccounted for goes straight to savings
Keep it Simple
As you can see my original budget in January was kept extremely simple. At the time I decided to place all of my spending on a single credit card in order to gauge my spending. For those of you who have many different accounts floating around, Mint.com is fantastic.
Primary Budgeting Factors – Needs
- Vehicle Expenses
Secondary Budgeting Factors – Wants
- Gym Memberships
- Clothes (Unless specific work requirements)
Property Tax Increase
Shortly after getting a budget in order I was surprised to get a letter from my mortgage company. Our property taxes for the previous year had increased. The mortgage payment had to be increased in order to maintain the correct amount of money in escrow. It was by no means a major increase but nonetheless it was still a change to the budget.
Dog Meds and Speeding Tickets
Whenever you find yourself in a good place life will always find a way to take you down a few notches. In February we had to take our dog to the vet because she was not feeling so well. Many tests, antibiotics, and hundreds of dollars later the vet finally discovered real issue. Now our Great Dane mix is set to be on meds for the next few months.
Another unexpected item was my first speeding ticket. Unluckily myself and two other cars moving at the pace of traffic hit a speed trap and all three of us were pulled over by a group of motorcycle officers. My first ever ticket and $150 dollars later, my May budget took another hit.
Current Budgeting Situation
After multiple months now it seems that my original budget is still able to adapt. When one category gets out of hand I am able to adjust by cutting back in another. The one thing that I have not sacrificed is my commitment to saving at least $500 a month. When all else fails I have $250 per paycheck direct deposited into a savings account. This money is the foundation for my emergency fund and eventually will become the money I use for future investments.
In the next few months my goal is to reign in some of our spending on extras like eating out and various entertainment spending. Since January we have become much better at eating in and have really enjoyed trying to cook new recipes from around he world. We set our goal to only eating out once a week and so far we are actually ahead of our target. Cooking at home has not only saved us money, but it has helped us eat healthier making our fitness goals that much more achievable.
Also with any luck, we will be able to start pulling in some welcome side hustle income as well to further improve our situation. We both have a few side opportunities on the horizon so we shall see how those piece together in the future.
Check out this related article: Start a Budget