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As I mentioned before, I analyzed all my spending from 2014 and have made some budgetary changes to reflect real-life spending. The biggest of these changes is that I’ve added additional budget categories (instead of lumping things together as “miscellaneous”), and I’m allowing for more fluidity; meaning the same budget categories won’t be present every month.

Just so we’re all on the same page, this is a work in progress. I’m still tinkering and figuring out how to do this correctly. I would imagine it will probably take a few months for me to really get a hang of it and to anticipate a month’s needs.

So, that being said, I’ve decided I’m going to do away with providing a “planned budget” for the month and, instead, will only provide summaries of the my spending once a month is complete. I’ll still be doing monthly planning, but because things are going to be more fluid, it will be difficult for me to allocate every dollar to a category at the beginning of the month when I don’t know for sure what expenses are going to pop up. To account for this, I’m budgeting every dollar that I KNOW has a job already (i.e., rent, water, electricity), and trying to anticipate some one-time expenses, but then I’m leaving a good chunk of money (what used to be my “miscellaneous” budget) in the bank and will allocate it as expenses pop up. Make sense? I decided to do this because it doesn’t make sense to me to give you all the boring stripped down numbers at the beginning of every month (rent, utilities, food), because they’ll always be fairly consistent. Instead, I’m only going to provide a spending overview once the month is done. Sound fair?

That being said, I owe you a budget update from the month of December!

December was a bit of a “wonky” month, so it’s a bit unique compared to other months. We had a couple really large expenses ($1600 root canal & $1100 car maintenance). We’ve been living on last month’s income for several months, but with $6550 to spend for the month and well over that amount in expenses, I ended up having to use all of last months income, plus dip into some income from the current month in order to cover all of our expenses.

Here’s what I did:

$6550 = last month’s income

$225 = Christmas money (from my savings account)

$1100 = from current month’s income to cover car repairs

$1600 = from current month’s income to cover dental work

= $9475 for spending in December


Place Planned Budget Actual Spent
Rent 1055 1055
Electricity 170 164
Water 60 56
Natural gas 20 23
Sprint (2 lines) 115 114
Cable/Internet 100 100
Car Insurance 56 46
Health Insurance 350 380
Trash 35 35
Debt 2078 2078
Miscellaneous 300 3361
Groceries 400 371
Baby Purchases 1200 1092
Gasoline 100 103
Saving for Irregular Expenses 495 495
Total Budgeted 6534 9473


After adding in the above funds, we were barely able to cover our expenses for the month. Why so high?

  1. Turns out our health insurance is rising after all. In honesty, I have no idea why it’s higher this month (I need to call and find out). I received notice that our monthly premiums would raise to $400/month for the 2015 year. Still much, much lower than other insurance plans I’d priced, but a $50/month hike from what it used to be.
  2. Christmas & Travel-related spending. Our actual travel expenses were pretty low, and we tried to keep gift-giving reasonable, but it did cost additional money outside of our regular budget.

Here’s how the miscellaneous category broke down:

  • Entertainment: Budgeted = $20, Actual = $21
  • Eating Out: Budgeted = $100, Actual = $61
  • Personal Maintenance: Budgeted = $30, Actual = $10
  • Other: Budgeted = $300, Actual = $3270

But if you take the “other” category ($3270) and subtract the dental work ($1600), car maintenance ($1100), and hotel from traveling to Austin ($140), you’re left with only $430 spent for everything else (including all the “regular” stuff that falls under this category in addition to all Christmas-related spending). Still a bit high, but not as bad once you realize that the overage is mostly due to those two really high bills this month (dental + car maintenance).

So there you go. And then, just to contradict myself, let me tell you about a couple of expenses that I’m planning for the month of January….

First, hubs and I are both getting our wills done! 2015 = year of becoming an adult, remember??

Also, I’m going to try to keep the costs low-low-low, but I have a couple gift-giving expenses to budget for. One friend got married, 3 family members have birthdays (including my step-dad’s big 60th birthday), and a baby shower (I’ve already got the gift for this, but need to mail it). Haven’t decided if the dental stuff (exams & x-rays) is going to happen this month or next month. Guess we’ll see how it goes!

Are you implementing any big budgetary changes for 2015?


  • Reply Kili |

    Hi Ashley,
    if it’s not a time-thing, I think it would still be useful to do a planned budget at the beginning of the month.
    It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but this way everyone could see right at the beginning of the month what you’re dealing with this month (like… what amount of income was generated the previous month… what expenses you have planned for this month e.g. dental work / business wardrobe or whatever) And this way it’s easier to compare if you’ve met your goals or what needed to be adjusted.
    If it IS a time-thing, then yeah, go ahead and skip it and just do it all together at the end of the month.
    Otherwise good luck with the Year of Becoming Adults, a title that might inspire me to finally take care of some long overdue grown-up-tasks as well. Ugh.

  • Reply Walnut |

    I love your year of becoming adults. Do you have one “big thing” you’re planning for each month? It could be an interesting way to pace yourself and check some boxes.

    I’d love some info on your process to get wills done. This is definitely a task I am backburnering out of reluctance to deal with it.

  • Reply Sue |

    Honestly, it is nothing to be afraid of – we put it off for so long our oldest child was going to be the guardian for our youngest child if anything happened to us….think we were a BIT behind on this process??? Seriously though, the hardest part is more the “idea” that you are doing it than actually doing it. We went to an attorney and had it all done – it is a process, makes you have to make a LOT of decisions, but all in all, I’m very glad we did it!!!

So, what do you think ?