April 2016 Budget Report

submarine sculpture in a Seattle park

submarine sculpture in a Seattle park

April in Seattle was even more beautiful than March – way more warm, sunny days than rainy/overcast days, and quite sunny weekends. Each Saturday in April we went for a long walk in a new-to-us local park to exercise and see more of our city. We’re considering this lovely weather as “borrowed time” and do expect the rain and chill to return before summer really starts, so we’re capitalizing on it in the meantime.


We also started preparing in earnest for our baby’s arrival in a few months. We’ve been visiting lots of consignment stores to check out their inventory and prices and also doing a ton of online research on various products. We are being thrown one and a half baby showers in May so we’ve been trying to add the new items we want to the registries we created.


We updated our finances in a few small ways in April.


Now that we’ve finished filling our emergency fund, we reallocated the $150 we were saving each month to our budget: +$50 to our irregular expenses budget and +$100 to our grocery budget.


tossing a frisbee in a park near our home

tossing a frisbee in a park near our home

We decided to increase our grocery budget line item to $600/month from $500/month. We just realistically were spending well above $500 every single month so we couldn’t lie to ourselves in our budget. Kyle also insisted that we start buying higher quality meat for the baby – but according to his definition. While my definition of high quality meat has to do with how the animal was raised, his definition is about cuts of meat. So we’ve started patronizing the fish market near our home every weekend (one reason that Seattle is great in our opinion) to buy a few servings of fish or seafood. We’ve also cut way back on our ground beef consumption in favor of steak, pork, and chicken.


We created a new, separate “Baby” targeted savings account this month. Its purpose, at least right now, is not to pay for baby stuff but to fund our budget while Kyle is on paternity leave at half-pay. We funded this account with the portion of the proceeds from the sale of our second car that didn’t go to our emergency fund, our 2015 self tax refund, my contractor income received in April, and the discretionary portion of my final 2015 paycheck from my business. Just those additions pay for more than one month of full-time leave for Kyle and one month of half-time work.


The baby stuff we are buying these days is being cash-flowed or coming out of our irregular expenses budget. We have a new line item in the irregular expenses budget for baby stuff that doesn’t fit in any other category.


These small adjustments really aren’t sufficient to fully update our budget for the arrival of the baby, so expect even more in the next few months. We’ll likely start using my (irregular) income differently than we are currently now that we’ve met our emergency and baby short-term savings goals.


Sources of Income


Our budget is based on Kyle’s income alone. The discretionary portion of my contractor and business incomes went into our “Baby” targeted savings account.


Percentage-Based Budgeting


From Kyle’s net pay, we set aside/transfer:

  • 18% toward retirement
  • 10% for our tithe


Monthly Budget


This month’s spending wasn’t too bad except for food and baby stuff!


Regular Expenses


Rent $1375 ($1375 budgeted)

Water/Sewer/Garbage $120 ($120 budgeted)

Phones $61.54 ($65 budgeted): Republic Wireless for me and Cricket Wireless for Kyle!

Internet $44.99 ($45 budgeted)

Netflix $21.90 ($22 budgeted)

Student Loan $98.32 ($99 budgeted)


Variable Expenses


Transit $45.94 ($50 budgeted): We bought gas (partial tank) twice, paid for parking three times (once after driving around for at least 15 minutes looking for free street parking, ugh), and added $10 to one of our public transit cards.

Power $0 ($50 budgeted): An “off” month for our power bill.

Groceries $675.30 ($600 budgeted): Even increasing our budget back to $600/month, we couldn’t stay under! I have been eating more (allowing myself to eat more?) because of the pregnancy.

Restaurants $128.70 ($100 budgeted): I thought we were going to come in way under budget in this category, but then in the last week of the month we ate out three times! During one of our dinners, the power went out in the restaurant, which resulted in some delays (we didn’t mind, actually) and our meal ended up being half-price.


Irregular Expenses


In total, we are allocating $1,000 per month (on average) to spend across five six categories.


This month, we spent:

Cars $449.88: We did some maintenance on our car this month – an oil change and four new tires.

Travel $0: We are traveling to where Kyle’s parents live for a baby shower a family member is hosting for us in May, and Kyle’s parents generously paid for our flights for that trip.

Gifts $0

Appearance $55.12: New underthings for Kyle and a few (consignment) onesies for the baby.

Electronics $98.63: A new Kindle for Kyle.

new-to-us dresser

new-to-us dresser

Baby $456.92: We registered for a weekly support group for new parents starting in August for $160. While our health insurance is reimbursing our parenting classes (we also registered for $145 of classes this month through our hospital – not counted here), I don’t think they’ll reimburse for this group, though I will check. We also bought a dresser (combo use as a changing table) from a consignment store for $200+tax (we negotiated!) as well as a small part to fix one of the drawers. We also went to a large, one-time baby stuff consignment sale in our city and bought a soft-structure carrier and a few items of clothing.




Our available miscellaneous money this month was our normal $55.88. We spent $43.14, broken down as:

  • $11.99 on two home blood typing kits to find out Kyle’s blood type (we wanted to see if I could opt out of the Rhogam shot prescribed to all Rh-negative mothers)
  • $1.15 on postage for our North Carolina tax return
  • $30 on a conference registration fee


Bottom Line(s)


Monthly: Spent $2,571.69 of $2,526 budgeted – over!

Irregular: Spent $1,060.55 of $1,000 budgeted – over!

Miscellaneous: Spent $43.14 of $55.88 budgeted – under!


This month, we spent $3,675.38 of $3,581.88 available.


We slightly overspent our two larger high-level budgeting categories, which caused us to nudge a bit over our available spending money for this month. Not great but not terrible.


What do you like to do on weekends in your city? Do you have a monthly line item in your budget for child-specific expenses and/or do you save in advance for them?


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7 Responses to "April 2016 Budget Report"

  1. Congrats Emily on you budget report, and I am glad that you’re enjoying your stay in Seattle. Which part of the city are you most excited about?

    1. Emily says:

      I really like the water, generally. I hope to get back to doing some water activities like kayaking at some point.

  2. Fiby says:

    How come your power bill was zero this month?

    Around here Hmart has great prices (Korean grocery store). You ever tried going to one in Seattle?

    1. Emily says:

      Our electricity is billed bimonthly, so $50 is the average we expect to spend throughout the year.

      We’ve been to one or two asian grocery stores here for specialty items but haven’t made it part of our routine… I should revisit that idea!

  3. This sounds terrible but we kind of take expenses as they come. We keep our emergency fund at 3 months and try to keep our checking account above a specific amount. Auto expenses are where we get hit hardest, but it’s been a lot better since our two beater cars died and we got newer ones.

    I just turned vegetarian two months ago but I am definitely on your side of the meat debate – it’s about how the animals are raised!

  4. […] for DPR – unexpectedly. We had been taking a minimalist/frugal approach to baby spending (e.g., used dresser that doubles as a changing surface), but we simply ran out of time to complete that and had to […]

  5. […] When I report our spending each month, we always seem to be flirting with the bottom of our bank account. (This is not actually the case as we keep a large buffer in that account.) Did we overspend our available money or not? It seems like as often as we come in under budget, we go over budget, and it’s a little demoralizing. But tracking our net worth as a separate exercise gives a much different picture of our finances. Our net worth has gone up every single month in the past year due to our automatic retirement savings and usually increases in our investments as well. We’ve also seen net worth increases due to our savings goals such as our emergency fund and parental leave fund. […]

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