This was another “meh” month with our income. We live on last month’s income and last month we only made a combined total of $5805 (after taxes). I added an extra $50 to our income (with money leftover from October’s budget), which leaves us with a total income of $5855 to work with.
I have to admit, when I sat down to make the budget for this month I was a little bummed.
In my “prototype” budget I had my car debt payment set at $3,000. Ha! We didn’t even break the $6,000 mark for income, so paying $3,000 to a single bill is not happening. We just literally don’t have enough. Instead, I had to lower my payment to only a mere $745. That’s it. I played and played with the numbers, trying to get my debt payments higher but I think that in lean months such as these, the #1 MOST important goal is this: Don’t add new debt!!! So instead of having my budget set up with overages in various categories, I had to lower my debt payments so as to keep things at- or under-budget. I’m still making larger than minimum payments, so I’m making progress. It just feels a little “blah” to pay so little in terms of the “extra” toward debt. I just have to remind myself that every bit helps! Relentless forward progress!!! (<<<a favorite running saying that I think applies here, too)
Here’s our planned November budget:
|Sprint (2 lines)||115|
|Saving for Irregular Expenses||495|
I owe you all a full debt update (maybe next week? Those take me the longest to prepare), but here’s a little breakdown of what’s being paid toward each debt:
- Medical Bill 1 = $25
- Medical Bill 2 = $50
- Medical Bill 3 = $75
- License Fees = $250
- Car Payment = $745
- Student Loan 1 = $77
- Student Loan 2 = $260
- Student Loan 3 = $16
Total Debt Payment = $1498
Now I’ve got some questions for you all regarding my savings.
First, to give you some background, when I first started blogging here (back in March 2014), I had slashed my savings way down to $190/month. Then, slowly, across the course of the past 9 months my savings have crept back up. I realized my semi-annual savings were too low (I’d forgotten about some of my semi-annual payments, and I added a new one – our renter’s insurance); I also increased the amount saved toward several categories (car maintenance, dental/vision, vet care) in response to the fact that we have upcoming needs in these areas and I felt it would be prudent to plan for those in advance rather than being surprised by the big bills when they pop up.
So what started as only $190 in monthly savings has slowly crept up to $495 in monthly savings.
On the whole, I feel good about my savings categories. I feel like this is money we will certainly need for expenses in the future and instead of not having a plan for how to pay for them, we’ll have money already set aside.
That being said, this is a very lean month. December will probably be quite lean as well. Plus, I have some potentially large expenses coming up. I’ll need to have money set aside to buy a couple nice interview outfits and some travel expenses for the month of December.
With all of this being said, what do you all think about me setting aside my “savings” money for these other purposes? I could split it roughly in half, putting $250 toward planned December travel expenses (which should cover about half the total expenses – see here), and $245 toward funds to-be-used on a nice interview outfit or two (I have to admit I have NO IDEA how much I’ll need for my interview clothes).
For reference sake, here’s how I currently have my savings categorized:
- Semi-Annual Bills = $100
- Car Maintenance = $100
- Dental/Vision/Health = $125
- Travel/Christmas = $25
- 3-6 Months Expenses = $25
- Dog/Vet Care = $10
- Girls’ Birthday Savings = $10
- Roth IRA = $100
I know it’s a slippery slope to stop contributing to these savings permanently (i.e., I KNOW the semi-annual bills are going to happen, so it’s unwise not to prepare for them), but do you think it would be prudent to stop the contributions for a single month so I can use this money toward these other things (i.e., interview clothes and travel expenses)? If not, from where should I draw this money? Contribute less toward debt payments? Try to sell more things? Something else?
I appreciate any and all tips or suggestions. Thanks!