Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We Have Updated Our Monthly Budget

Since hubby's last grad school payment is ready to go and I severely overestimated our property taxes for 2009, we needed to revamp our monthly budget.  We want to pay off our car loan ASAP, so this is our new budget until December 2010:
  • Mortgage - $900.00
  • Car Debt - $650.00
  • Roth IRA - $300.00
  • Opportunity Fund - $120.00
  • Car Payment - $330.00
  • Car Insurance - $115.00
  • Gasoline - $200.00
  • Electricity - $200.00
  • Water - $30.00
  • AT&T U-Verse & DSL- $100.00
  • Sprint - $85.00
  • Groceries - $300.00
  • Fast Food / Restaurants - $200.00
  • Medical - $100.00
  • Misc. Bills - $100.00
  • Joint Entertainment - $100.00
  • Hubby's Fun Money - $125.00
  • My Fun Money - $125.00
  • Housekeeper - $100.00
  • Lawn Services - $50.00
  • Netflix - $20.00
  • Pet Account - $100.00
  • Car and Home Account - $200.00
  • Vacation Accountt - $250.00
  • Property Tax & Insurance Account - $0.00
  • Emergency Fund (currently has $10,000) - $0.00
  • Cash - $200.00
  • Total = $5000
That comes to $60,000 a year and we make $78,000 jointly.  Taxes, the pension, the 401k, and our benefits account for the other $18,000.

Unplanned expenses are taken from the appropriate target accounts.  Extra money from our hobby jobs is either put towards debt or split between the Emergency Fund (50%), the Vacation Account (25%), and our two individual Fun Money Accounts (12.5% each). 

As always, I am still donating my time and both of us donate our own fun money to the charities we love to support.

That's it - our new budget for quick car loan annihilation!

What do you think?  How has your budget been faring?


  1. Me personally, if I was trying to "annihalate" car debt I would take the $200 fast food/restaurant bill and the $250 vacation account and pile it all on... super intense mode. In fact I would go as far as to cut the individual fun money accounts in half and be done with the debt

  2. Anon, that would indeed be intense but we'd burn out and say "frack the debt" if we couldn't have any fun...we're just that kind of people. Is that how you got debt free or are getting debt free? How long did it take and how did you keep from burning out?

  3. Which account is used for holiday gifts/spending or for gifts for parents/friends/relatives (graduation, wedding, birthday, anniversary, etc.)? I am assuming you use your 'fun money' and spend on others depending on whose family/friend it is? Or do you funnel the cash separately into a 'gifts' account?

    My husband has 7 siblings and between our own 3 kids and all of the nieces (lost count), nephews (lost count here as well), siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, we have 3 birthdays to buy for each month at the very least! Then there's Mother's Day, Father's Day, and holidays...

    My parents are divorced and have re-married so there are 2 extra grand/parents as well. We budget $100/mo. toward family gifts and $125/mo. for Christmas and always end up going over the budget. And I'm always afraid of looking cheap!

  4. Your budget looks way better than mine! I can't wait until our stupid lease is done this December. Can't pay that off early. (We only lease because it was a company car through my husband's old job. But when he changed jobs, we had to take the stupid lease with us. Argh!)

    Just curious. I think my netflix is only 9.99. Is yours an exciting plan? Hmm, now I am wondering if I am in an introductory offer period. I do love my netflix.

    Also, how strict are you with your budget? If you have spent your fun money and a friends wants to hit a show, do you go or say you can't? Mine is quite elastic, so I was just wondering how forgiving other people are with their own budgets.

  5. That seems like a great budget to me...to have $18,000 to save after all expenses. But, what type of lawn services do you have for $50 a month? Lawn Care seems to be the only bill I can't make fit what I want to pay.

  6. You don't seem to have any room for household purchases--like your bedroom set of last year. Is that because you don't anticipate any needs here?

  7. Holly, birthday and Christmas gifts are put in the miscellaneous bills category. Gifts just because or gifts that cost more than usual are taken out of our joint fun money unless it’s obviously from one of us and not both of us – then it would be taken out of our individual fun money. We are thinking about starting a separate gift account once the car is paid off. Of course, I only have two sisters, my husband is an only child, and we don’t have kids yet so we don’t have the same gift obligations that you do. :-)

    It also helps that most of our family and friends are a lot like us – they don’t want physical gifts. We do a lot of activities like picnics, potlucks, and cookouts instead and everybody just brings a dish or two so it just gets rolled into our food budget. We spend about $500 a year for Christmas and birthdays altogether, so it’s pretty easy to just roll it into miscellaneous expenses. The grandparents on both sides always request updated photos or quality time as presents, so they’re really easy on our budget too.

    When hubby or I splurge on each other, it’s usually taken out of the vacation account if it’s over $100. Lately, we haven’t been buying physical gifts though. We’ve been taking weekend trips or eating out to celebrate stuff so it’s not hitting our budget too hard (our Prius goes 500 miles on one $25 tank really easily) and we’re having more fun.

  8. Everyday Tips, yeah, you explained about that stupid lease before. That really sucks.

    We get the 3 at a time Netflix plan for $16.99 plus tax. We usually only have it about 5 months of the year since we watch so much network tv off of our DVR the rest of the time.

    As for how strict we are, I’d have to say we’re pretty elastic on some stuff and not on other stuff. Since we have so many accounts for unexpected expenses, we never have to skip on anything necessary (like deciding whether the car problem can wait or not.). As for fun money, we have a $500 cushion in case we ever go over. For example, hubby has to pay for his Curling leagues up front…that’s $130 for 2 months of Curling. Even if he only technically has $50 of fun money, he really has $550 in the account so he simply pays and skips using fun money the next month or two while his account builds back up. That works great for him since he is the king of splurging big and then going on a spending hiatus anyway. That’s just his spending style.

    On the other hand, I rarely spend much of my fun money…usually about $25 a month and big $50 splurges once or twice a year. I just don’t have as many hobbies that require spending. I use the extra as a backup emergency fund since I highly value financial stability...I just like seeing the money sitting there. I just recently splurged on my blog (I paid for a web host and to have it migrated to Wordpress in June)…that was about $200 total but I still have $330 left before hitting our cushion.

    BUT, we’re really strict when it comes to food expenses. Whenever we get close spending $500 in a month on food, we start only eating stuff we already have at home until the new month starts (usually this happens for the last 5 days). Since food is usually our biggest consistent splurge, this is just our way of keeping ourselves in control, lol. In general, we don’t enjoy spending money so our budget doesn’t feel restrictive, but we really love food so we have to keep ourselves in check instead of buying ice cream every time we have a slight craving.

    In short, our budget is flexible but we don’t seem to have a problem staying within it anyway. We never go over the annual limits but any given month could be a few hundred dollars different in the positive or negative…

  9. Young Mogul, that $18k is what goes towards the pension, 401k, benefits, AND taxes altogether before we get paid. The other savings accounts are listed in the budget itself. Altogether we save about $28,000 a year between the pension, 401k, Roth IRA, Scottrade, debt overpayments, and all the categorized savings accounts ($13,000-$15,000 between the pension, 401k, Roth IRA, and Scottrade alone). Our actual living expenses are about $36,000-$40,000 a year including the car that will be paid off in December ($330 a month) and the mortgage that will be paid off in 2017 ($740 a month if we weren’t overpaying).

    Our lawn care guy is Ben Davis. He and his partner work out of Houston. It’s $25 biweekly April-October for mowing, edging, weeding, and cleanup. I spend about $40 a year to fertilize it twice myself and $15 a year on cheap bagged mulch. $25 seems to be the going rate in my neighborhood but we do have small front and back yards (see the pic of my front yard in my Gardening post last Friday…our back yard is about the same size too). You may be able to find inexpensive lawn service in your area on Craigslist or through recommendations of friends or family. Good luck.

  10. frugal scholar, oops, that was a mislabel. Good catch! :-)

    The $200 a month to the auto account is actually to the ING Auto and Home Maintenance account. In general, if we do need big home purchases (like furniture), car purchases, or maintenance on the home or cars, it comes from that account. We use the vacation account for backup or obvious “fun” home purchases (our 47” LCD TV was a vacation account purchase a few years ago). That account will be better funded once the car is paid off (it was getting $550 a month until we decided to redirect $350 to car debt).

  11. BFS--

    What does the 'Min.' stand for in "Min. Vacation Account"?

    Also, what would be an example of a "Joint Entertainment" expenditure...out to see a show/band?

    Also, off-topic...with the recent tumult in the stocks, would you say this is a good time to invest/bargain-hunt, or do you think stocks will go much lower? Or will you defer to your DH to make that call since he is more interested in stock investments? Could be a nice to time to use that 'opportunity' fund.

  12. Holly, thanks for pointing that out! “Min. Vacation Acct” was a cut and paste leftover from my actual Excel budget that meant “Minimum Vacation Acct”…it’s my note to self that if we have extra at the end of the month, I may be able to put in more, lol. A little subconscious motivation. :-)

    Yep, Joint Entertainment is for joint fun expenses like tickets to the Transiberian Orchestra or movie tickets…pretty much any date night or joint fun activity.

    In regards to stocks, we currently have hardly anything in our opportunity fund since we just invested another $2000 in the market…I believe hubby bought some Intel and Conoco to be exact. We’re down a lot this month in our mutual funds and a little in Scottrade, but we have increased our shares so we should have a quick turn-around when the market just goes up a little. I hope it does it really soon since I cringe at the net worth update I have for all of you so far for Tuesday…yuck…oh well.