Thursday, January 21, 2016

{Life on a Budget} Our Budget Nitty-Gritty

Last week I mentioned that Neal and I had decided to really dig into our budget and cut whatever we could.  We've got ambitious savings goals and are dedicated to reaching them.  I know that whenever I read a blog about living on a budget, I hate it when they don't share the actual details. I get why - your finances are very personal and sharing them makes you vulnerable to a lot of questioning and judgment.  That being said, I feel proud of the budget that we developed, and hopefully it can answer questions about how we're making things work and serve as potential inspiration for people who think they can't do it on what they make.

Before I share the actual numbers, please know that this is what works for our family.  I would never judge anyone for keeping things in their budget or taking other things away - we are all unique in our needs and wants and we differ in what we feel is necessary for quality living.  There are definitely line items in our budget that I know people will deem as "frivolous," and I'm okay with that.  We can achieve our goals with this plan, so we kept some things in.  We are also fully aware that once we get into the full swing of living on this budget, we may need to make adjustments.  Sometimes ideas seem so feasible on paper, but turn into disasters when they are applied to the messy, fabulous ride of "real life."

So, with all of that in mind, here is our actual budget.

Rent: $2600
Groceries: $500 - cash
Insurance: $250
Auto loans: $500
Internet: $75
Cell phones: $125
Gas: $150
Utilities: $250
Clothes: $50 – receipt jar
Entertainment/going out: $100 - cash
Animals: $100*
Miscellaneous: $325* (Haircut, Car Registration)
 Gym: $300
Gifts: $40*
Medical: $50
Student Loans: $545
Ethan: $50*

Netflix/Prime: $15

Total:  $6,025
Our total net income:  $9, 400
Monthly savings: $3,375

Our budget is based on a monthly schedule.  Bolded items are things we really can't do much about, and starred items we have set up savings accounts for.  

I thought I would touch on a few items I know would likely cause raised eyebrows, too.  Sometimes we'll look at others' budgets and gasp, but really, for where they live, it's totally normal. Let's take the mystery out of a few of our line items:

Rent - For where we live, this is a pretty good deal.  We have a two-bedroom duplex with a backyard and a garage.  I know some people in our area who have cheaper rent, but just to give you an idea, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in a complex is $2700 - $3000 a month.  We are just not willing to commute 45 minutes a day to get something cheaper.  It takes away too much from our quality of life.

Gym - This one, I freely admit, is a luxury.  Neal and I love our gym and are just not willing to cut it out of our budget.  We go three - four times a week every single week.  It is a specific type of gym for the workouts we do (Powerlifting), and other, cheaper gyms just do not have the equipment we need.  Plus, the culture at our gym is amazing and we get a lot of coaching.  When you lift weights as heavy as Neal does (he's up to 455 pounds on his deadlift), you want to make sure you have the right equipment and can ask for help or guidance if you need it.  We're keeping this one, expensive or not.  

Miscellaneous - This category is pretty big, but it encompasses a lot.  I get my hair cut about four times a year, and as we ladies know, that costs a bit.  We put aside for our yearly car registration renewals, and other things like that.  As a teacher, I also have things that come up, like needing to bring in treats for the staff on my assigned day, or paying social committee dues.  This section is really the catch-all for random things like that.

Netflix/Prime - Another luxury, I know.  We gave up cable months ago and haven't missed it one bit, but we love our Netflix.  We watch it all the time - who else was hooked on Making a Murderer?! Anyway, for only $15 for the two of them, these were luxuries we use so often we felt they were worth keeping.

Animals - Juneau doesn't cost this much a month, but we thought we'd put in some extra just in case anything came up with her.  Vets can be expensive!

That's most of everything so far.  I can't wait to share more posts on ways we're having fun within our budget and how we're growing as a family learning to love living on less!

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