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Where are you spending your money – October, 2021


I posted my spending plan/budget for September last month and then constantly read in the comments that I don’t have a budget. While my budget may not look like yours, I do have a budget. I’ve got a plan for every cent of money I anticipate making through the end of May, 2022 right now.

It may not be the traditional budget, but it works for me. And let’s me see very quickly how any discrepancy in income and/or spending affects me in the next 8 months.

Here’s my spending/savings plan for October:

Auto – Gas10/1/2021-30
Princess – monthly allowance10/1/2021-150
Saving – EF10/1/2021-300
Pandora (Apple)10/4/2021-5
Utilities – Gas, Water, Trash10/4/2021-150
Utilities – Electric10/5/2021-250
State Fair?10/7/2021-500
Auto – Gas10/8/2021-30
Work – Internet10/9/2021-67
Student Loans10/14/2021-300
Parents Weekend?10/14/2021-300
Auto – Gas10/15/2021-30
Auto – Maintenance10/15/2021-75
Princess – monthly allowance10/15/2021-150
Work – Cell Phones10/15/2021-160
Princess – clothing10/15/2021-300
Auto Insurance10/16/2021-457
College Savings10/16/2021-500
Auto – Gas10/22/2021-30
Hearing Aids10/25/2021-110
Twins Birthday10/27/2021-400
Auto – Gas10/29/2021-30
Work – Adobe10/30/2021-20
Christmas Savings10/30/2021-500

The Details

Most of these are standard expenditures with a couple of exceptions and I want to explain some of my “extra” spending.

Work – first you will see a couple of expenses that you typically do not see here. For the first time since I began the corporate job, my consulting income is really low. So low, in fact, that I must pay a few of my business expenses from my personal account. I don’t anticipate this being a long term thing, but had to happen this month.

State Fair and Parents Weekend – these are things I am hoping to do and not really sure what to expect cost wise. I can cover them with my “slush” fund (all those $5 I never spend and change jar savings) so they won’t be coming out of my regular income. But I’m also not really sure they will happen with COVID, etc. But have it as a line item in case.

Auto Maintenance – I have this amount budgeted every 3 months to cover oil changes/tire rotations. Thanks to having a newer car, I don’t typically need any other work. And some days I go longer, depending on how much the car has been driven.

Princess Clothing – this was actually in last month’s budget but she wanted to wait until it got cooler. So the plan is for her to get it this month.


  • Reply Marzy-d |

    You are right, this isn’t a budget. This is “do I have enough money in my account to cover the stuff I want to spend money on”. Its reactive instead of proactive. While its good to know you aren’t overdrawing your account, it doesn’t let you truly understand how much you are spending on what. For example, you aren’t giving Princess an allowance, right? This is money she saved from working that you are doling back out to her. If so, that isn’t a line item in your budget. Ditto for “state fair”. Your entertainment budget is what? $25/ week? 50/week? And from that you are planning to pay the state fair costs.

    If you don’t want to share numbers (fair enough), why don’t you consider sharing percentages?

    Monthly pay – 100%
    Giving -10%
    Mortgage and insurance 20%
    Retirement 15%
    Debt 15%
    Car gas 5%
    Car maintenance and replacement 5%
    Car insurance 5%
    Clothing (including annual amounts you give to kids) 5%
    Entertainment and gifts 10%
    Healthcare 5%
    Home improvement 5%

    And so forth? You could get some useful feedback including categories that you may not be considering.

    • Reply Hope |

      My spreadsheet actually does include income. I’m just not comfortable sharing those exact numbers. I have revealed that my corporate job provides a low 6 figure salary.

      I don’t have an entertainment budget on a regular basis. I rarely leave the house unless necessary. I guess right now, my house projects are my entertainment, along with hanging out in my hammock, playing with my dogs, reading books from the library…my life is very fulfilling but very low key.

      I did write in the details where the state fair money would come from…I have, for years, not spent any $5 bills. That is what I consider my slush or fun money. It’s become a decent amount and would cover the state fair.

      • Reply Marzy-d |

        I am really concerned that you don’t seem to grasp the difference between what you are reporting (this is what I am spending this month, and look, I have enough to cover it), and an actual plan where you determine how much money needs to be allocated to reach each of your goals.

  • Reply Emily N. |

    The reason we don’t think you have a budget is that this is just a list of planned expenditures without reference to your income.

    • Reply Hope |

      Hmm, you are right. I’m just not comfortable revealing my exact income. Rest assured in my spreadsheet, my income is listed and dated as well.
      I’ve revealed in several posts that my corporate job provides a low 6 figure salary. But as far as specific numbers, I’m just no comfortable revealing that.

  • Reply cwaltz |

    You are funny. You tell us earlier this month that for the next four months you will be expending money on your home instead of debt repayment while still leaving it as a question mark in your “budget”. You have the weirdest “budget” ever. Most budgets don’t have question marks.

    I thought you said the hearing aids were $4500 over 12 months interest free? In order to pay them off in time wouldn’t you need to pay way more than $110? Has something changed that you have not explained?

    I guess I also don’t get the big mystery of not detailing income but detailing over $6000 worth of expenses.


    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, I get that my budget is unusual. We’ve always been a bit unusual and I’m ok with that. But the reality is that those ?? hold space and resources for the maybes. I’ve had enough surprises in my life so I would rather be over-prepared and have a plan then be caught unexpected and have to scramble. If we don’t spend that money, it stays in the pot and will be reallocated at the end of the month. If we do, then I don’t have to scramble to figure out where to pull from.

      That was just the minimum payment required last month. I didn’t get a statement so they called because I was “late” so I paid by debit card over the phone. Once I get a statement and have all the details, I can put a plan around it.

  • Reply Angie |

    But I don’t really see this as a budget, but a sheet tracking the withdrawals to ensure you don’t overdraft your checking account. I suppose it works if you are going back and updating it with real spent totals.

    Your largest, and one of your only discretionary spending (house) has a ? as the amount…. And I get the feeling that this has been the case all year (no plans or budget for house spend, just trying to spend smart). This is a big red flag to me. I know you have lots of projects planned for your house. But shouldn’t you have a rough budget set aside for them? You’re just giving yourself free reign to continue to spend by not having a limit. If you are planning every dollar for the next 8 months, how much do you have set aside for your house projects?

    • Reply Hope |

      I can see how you would think that but in my real spreadsheet I have all sorts of color codes and notes on actual vs anticipated amounts, what account the money is coming from and going to, etc. It’s actually all encompassing, but the translation from Excel to this website, well, it doesn’t do it justice.

      I am working on house project budgets…one project at a time. If you saw my carport you would think I shouldn’t have to buy any supplies because it seems like we have left over everything. We save every scrap that we have pulled out to reuse and recycle. So I know the blank line item looks scary but in reality, we are being super conservative. I just need to give myself some freedom and breathing room from all the penny pinching. I will be posting updates on what that spend looks like.

  • Reply Klm |

    It would be helpful to know the balance and goal for your EF and any other savings. You’re adding to it, which is good, but at a certain threshold, it makes sense to back off and send that contribution to debt.

    • Reply Hope |

      Good point, I have a post on my savings plan scheduled for this week or next.
      As for my EF, it is well over the $10K threshold which was my goal. I can’t remember when I reached that, some time back.
      Actually, this month is the last I’m putting into EF as an automated transfer. More to come in my savings plan post.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    Do you have any medical or Healthcare expenses budgeted? Most companies have moved to a high deductible plan or plans at least have co-pays. Just wondering where that falls in here (beyond your hearing aid payments)

    • Reply Hope |

      I am maxing out my HSA. I think that’s $7200? So that is where any medical needs will come from.
      Some of it has already been spent…Princess cut off her finger, my hospital stay with COVID, eye exams and glasses and then some toward my hearing aids.
      The plan was to get the younger two’s wisdom teeth out this year, but after a consultation, that has been put on hold until next year so I’m just letting it grow for now.
      Not sure if I will use it toward my hearing aids or save it for any emergency needs.
      But no, other than that, I have no medical/healthcare expenses budgeted. Our health insurance all comes out of my paychecks before I get my income.

  • Reply Elspeth Farrow |

    For someone bringing in over $6000 per month, this budget is pretty horrifying. You’re saving a total of $300 in your ’emergency fund’ but nothing for retirement. You’re saving $500 for someone else to go to college and only paying off $300 from your own college experience three decades ago. You’re spending $2000 on trips and presents and a clothing allowance. You don’t have appear to have any savings put aside for planned vehicle maintenance or home repairs.

    If you live like this for another three years, you’ll have saved $10,800 out of $300,000+ in income in an emergency fund. You will have no retirement savings. You will not have paid off your student loans or mortgage.

    On September 2, you said: “But for the next four months, other than my car payment this month. I am going to pay the minimum on everything and spend money on my house”. This isn’t the case – you aren’t spending money on the house outside of maybe the “Amazon Home” line. You’re spending money on wants. To be entirely clear, you’re spending more than I take home in a month on wants.

    Look at your choices and re-evaluate. Your first priority should be paying down student debt, and your second priority should be retirement. Your children will appreciate you not asking them for money in the future more than any amount of money you give them towards their school or cool clothes at 18. If you were splitting that $2000 a month between an IRA and your student loans instead of spending it, you actually would be going somewhere.

    • Reply Hope |

      Maybe you are new here or maybe you I don’t know haven’t ready any further back then this one post…

      But my ROTH IRA was maxed out last year as it will be this year. I just wrote (last week, I believe) how I just received a 5% raise and immediately raised my 401K contribution by that much so I will not see the new income.

      I have well over $10K in an emergency fund, that yes, I continue to contribute to for now.

      So PLEASE before you get on here and crucify me, read back to my previous posts.

      And yes, my house spending is mostly “wants”, that is why the title of the post when I revealed that decision was “a decision the bad community won’t like” – and while I don’t have a budget around it. I am not just going willy-nilly spending. It is very thought through and done with minimal financial impact. But I am giving myself permission and freedom to turn what has been a house into a home. No regrets.

      • Reply Elspeth Farrow |

        There is no house spending on this list of places where you are spending your money in October, despite that being the plan you announced for the fall. You do have a question mark, and a spending plan that already reflects every penny of a low six figure salary already being allocated.

        You can give yourself permission and freedom to do anything you want. That doesn’t mean you’re making good decisions, but I sincerely hope you do not regret these choices in the future.

        • Reply Hope |

          Believe me there is more income than allotted in this list. And the House ? is the line item for the house, I just don’t know what the spend will be.

  • Reply SMS |

    Vaccinated or not, going to a state fair, or any crowded place, is not safe. I’m surprised that you felt your office was unsafe but a state fair would be ok.

    • Reply Hope |

      You do recall that the State Fair is a question…it’s in my budget in case we go and there is a question mark next to it.
      But, yes IMO, an outdoor event where you can easily social distance and breathe fresh air is safer than an enclosed office space.

  • Reply SMS |

    I have to make one more comment on this post after reading poster Elspeth above. People have encouraged you multiple times to save for retirement and I’m glad you’ve started, but you’re way behind. You really need to be putting as much as possible into your 401k, working up to maxing it out. You may not be able to work as long as you think – things happen. You need to save now.

So, what do you think ?