Sep 03

Monthly Budget Report – August 2013

Wow…it’s already September and it seems like August just passed by. I can only think – where did the Summer go so? It seems like it just got here and now it’s going away so quickly. In the northeast it hasn’t even felt like Summer most of August, we went from 90s-100s in July with brutal humidity and now to this Fall-like weather most of August. I’m not ready for the cold just yet! It has been another busy month for me and I had the expectations going into the month that my spending would be higher than average with going on vacation and car insurance payments starting up once again. Let’s see exactly how I did and if I was able to keep my spending down in other areas to counteract that increased spending.
Continue reading

Jul 08

Monthly Budget Review – June 2013

Sorry that this post is a little later than usual, but I was down at the beach for a long July 4th weekend with the girlfriend 🙂 You will also notice that I ditched the weekly spending posts – I had only planned on doing that to see how my spending was going on a running basis. After realizing it’s pretty much in control and much lower than I was expecting (maybe it was posting it on the internet that did this?), I’ve decided to just stick to monthly budgets. If I notice my spending inflating or starting to get out of control again I will bring back the weekly spending posts for myself.

Now let’s move onto the numbers, so here is what my budget for June ended up being:

Item Budgeted Actual Difference
Income $2,800.00 $3,300.00 $500.00
Rent -$100.00 -$100.00 $0.00
Car Insurance -$110.00 $0.00 $110.00
Cell Phone -$20.00 -$20.00 $0.00
Gas -$100.00 -$120.00 -$20.00
Gym -$20.00 -$20.00 $0.00
Dining Out -$50.00 -$20.00  $30.00
Entertainment -$100.00 -$100.00 $0.00
Total Income After Fixed Expenses $2,300.00 $2,920.00 $620.00
“Extra” Spending $0.00 -$92.00 -$92.00
Total Income Before Student Loans $2,300.00 $2,828.00 $528.00
Student Loan Payments -$2,000.00 -$1,500.00 $500.00
Total Remaining $300.00 $1,328.00 $1,028.00

As you may have noticed, I had additional income this month compared to the usual $2,800. After talking to my grandma about student loans in general and then my student loans, she wanted to help me out with my loans this month for my birthday – and would not take no for an answer. I feel extremely fortunate to have her help and I am very thankful and grateful that I have someone in a position like that to help me. I absolutely do plan on putting all that extra money I received towards my loans next month after the confusion this month with my federal loans switching services.

You will also see that because of my camping trip, I ended up spending more on gas than was budgeted for that category – but I expected that because of all the extra driving. I also ended up spending more on my entertainment and extra spending categories, from buying groceries while camping as well as buying my Dad a gift for Father’s day. I managed to only spend $20 going out to eat this month – I didn’t include the groceries in this category as I considered them to be entertainment and extra spending to go along with camping.

I really don’t think I broke my budget too bad if any at all. I went over by $20 in gas and over by almost $100 in my extra spending category. But I also saved $30 on going out to eat this month, and I still didn’t have to pay car insurance which will continue until next month. I’m pretty satisfied with my spending this month, especially with the camping trip being included! I expect next month to be about the same with our trip down to the beach this past weekend, but it may look “negative” after using the extra $1,328 from this month to pay even more on my loans in a few weeks.

Jun 04

Monthly Budget Review – May 2013

This is the fun part where you get to see how exactly I spent my money this month, and how well I stuck to my planned budget. I will also show how much ‘extra’ money I spent outside of my allotted entertainment budget that could have went to my student loans instead.

For now my budget is set to have $0 remaining at the end of the month, with every extra dollar going to my student loans but this will not be an exact science. My student loan payments are due not quite at the end of the month, so it will be hard to be perfect with this but I’m going to stick to the plan and try to throw as much money as possible at the student loans.

This month will also look a little weird as I told you in a previous post, I wanted to completely eliminate one of my smaller, high interest loans. I did this by pulling money out of my sizable ’emergency fund’ as I try to bring it down to a more reasonable level of 6 months worth of income. I’m currently living at home, so I think the amount I have sitting in my savings account is way too conservative for now.

Here is the breakdown for my budget this month:

Item Budgeted Actual Difference
Income $2,800.00 $2,800.00 $0.00
Rent -$100.00 -$100.00 $0.00
Car Insurance -$110.00 $0.00 $110.00
Cell Phone -$20.00 -$20.00 $0.00
Gas -$75.00 -$97.00 -$22.00
Gym -$20.00 -$20.00 $0.00
Entertainment -$100.00 -$100.00 $0.00
Total Income After Fixed Expenses $2,375.00 $2,463.00 $88.00
“Extra” Spending $0.00 -$357.00 -$357.00
Total Income Before Student Loans $2,375.00 $2,106.00 -$269.00
Student Loan Payments -$2,200.00 -$3,900.00 -$1,700.00
Total Remaining $175.00 -$1,794.00 -$1,969.00

I ended up being over budget by almost $1,800 – but this was done on purpose. I took that extra money out of my savings account and extra large emergency fund to completely pay off one of my private loans. I plan on doing this for a few months until I am able to get my emergency fund down a reasonable level, I do not want to actually spend more than I make in a normal monthly situation.

As you can also see the rent, cell phone, and gym payments will not change. There was no car insurance this month as I made my last payment for the ‘year’ last month and now I will have a few months where it will not have to be paid. I think I’m going to have to up the budgeted amount for gas money to around $100. It will end up being higher than my current budgeted amount most months with gas prices seeming to always be going up. With my current drive to work and visiting my girlfriend at college, it was too conservative.

I used up all $100 of my budgeted “entertainment” money for this month, and unfortunately because of the car problems I had this account for a significant amount of my extra spending. I also plan on adding in a $50 budget line item for dining out, that way I can see how much I use on that instead of just placing that into ‘extra spending’ after my $100 “entertainment” budget is all used up.

If you take out the $300 I had paid in fixing my cars, my entertainment budget was out $157, which is only $57 over my budgeted amount. I can’t complain with that at all. I definitely thought I was doing much worse, but maybe keeping track of all my spending helped me remind myself not to throw my money away! I would have still ended up with about $118 left over if I had not pulled extra money out of my savings account for the month. Once I add in a $50 item for eating out, I think that this will definitely be a more realistic budget that I can target going forward:

Item Budgeted
Income $2,800.00
Rent -$100.00
Car Insurance -$110.00
Cell Phone -$20.00
Gas -$100.00
Gym -$20.00
Dining Out -$50.00
Entertainment -$100.00
Total Income After Fixed Expenses $2,300.00
“Extra” Spending $0.00
Total Income Before Student Loans $2,300.00
Student Loan Payments -$2,000.00
Total Remaining $300.00

Photo Credits for this post: Charles Rondeau

Apr 27

Starting A Monthly Budget

In order to figure out how fast I can pay off my loans and how much money I can allocate to actually paying them, I figured a good idea would be to create a monthly budget to see what I absolutely have to pay each month when it comes to my income vs. spending. Having a budget right in front of me (as well as keeping track of weekly expenses on entertainment and other things) will help me see how much money is being wasted on things I don’t really need.

I currently make around $2,800 a month in take home after taxes, 401k contribution, medical, etc.

My bare minimum budget for a month would look like:

Item Amount
Income $2,800
Rent ($100)
Car Insurance ($110)
Cell Phone ($20)
Gas ($75)
Gym ($20)
Entertainment ($100)
Total $2,375

 My ‘rent’ is currently $100 that I give to my parents for now, I’m taking advantage of living at home with these huge amounts of loans. Sometimes it can suck still living at home, but I’m definitely grateful of having a place to be instead of being forced to spend $800-$1200 a month on somewhere to rent.

Car insurance is around $1300 a year. I make an initial payment of $300 at the end of July and then I make a payment of $110 for 9 other months, with 2 months of paying nothing. Being under 25 as a male sucks for car insurance, and being in the Northeast makes my rates even higher. That’s with 0 traffic violations as well.

Cell Phone is $20 to my parents each month to pay for my line, I currently just have a feature phone. Ton of minutes and unlimited texting. The local gym is $20 a month, which i totally see as worth it.

Gas is around $75, but that could easily be higher if prices start to go up. My girlfriend is still in college and is about an hour and a half away, so that definitely increases my gas costs but is obviously 100% worth it! Entertainment will obviously fluctuate depending on the month as well but I would like to stick as close as I can to that target most months.

This leaves me with $2,375 money after my mandatory expenses each month.

For my private loans, the minimum payment is around $600 a month and for the government loans the minimum payment is around $300. I have been trying to pay more than that so that I can make a bigger dent into the principal each month. Interest really sucks! My next post will hopefully go more into detail about my plan of attack in paying these loans off.

Photo Credits for this post: Tax Credits @ Veezzle