January 2017 Budget Report

DPR_Jan2017_1January was a fairly quiet month around our house. We spent the first few days of it still in Virginia with my family, flying back on the 3rd. For the rest of the month I kept me and DPR almost completely housebound – it’s too cold and dreary for me to want to get out much. We did socialize a bit, but hosted our friends at our home instead of going out. If we were homebodies before we had a baby, I don’t even know what you would consider us now!

 

I had one speaking engagement this month, for which I was gone for three days (two nights). I was back in our grad school stomping grounds, through speaking at our rival school instead of our alma mater. In addition to delivering my seminar (best audience to date!), we held an extra Q&A session the following day, I recorded an episode of Hello PhD with one of the hosts, and I visited an old mentor and a couple friends at our alma mater. It was an unusually great trip! DPR spent a lot of time with babysitters, which was okay (and expensive).

 

DPR_Jan2017_2I guess I understand why the stock market has been going crazy lately, but I don’t really expect it to continue. Nonetheless, our technical net worth kissed $200,000 on February 1 due to the large run-up in January, although our true net worth is not quite there yet. If we don’t see a market correction soon, I expect we’ll be solidly in the $200k club within the next month or two – at least for a time.

 

I changed the format of this budget report slightly. Our regular budget is the same, more or less, but we’ve changed how we deal with our irregular expenses. We’ve resumed our use of targeted savings accounts, but we’re managing them differently than we did in grad school. I’ll write a whole post on the new system this month. For these monthly reports, I’m going to list the starting balance of each account, then what amount we saved into it and what amount we spent from it and on what.

 

Income and Percentage-Based Budgeting

 

Our budget is based on Kyle’s take-home pay, which is his gross pay less tax withholding and our portion of our health insurance premium. Then, we donate 10% of our gross income to our church and contribute 18% to our retirement accounts. The remainder of the money funds our regular expenses and our targeted savings accounts.

 

Regular Fixed Expenses

 

Rent $1495

 

Water/Sewer/Garbage $130

 

Internet $69.95

 

Student Loan Minimum Payment $99.67

 

Netflix $10.74

 

Cloud Backup $5.99

 

Regular Variable Expenses

 

Power $131.32 ($60 budgeted): I adjusted this line item to $60 ever month to pay for our every-other-month bills because it seems we’ve been consistently overspending the previous $50/month budget. We are definitely keeping the house warmer than we used to because of DPR.

 

Groceries $649.05 ($600 budgeted): I have been consistently meal planning, which in our life means that we spend a lot. This feels like a losing battle.

 

Restaurants $30.68 ($100 budgeted): We ate out twice this month, both times for conveneience.

 

Gas/Parking/Public Transit $88.81 ($60 budgeted): We had a few small gas fill-ups and one Uber trip (back from the airport on our winter break trip). We also paid for parking several times; DPR has a weekly standing physical therapy appointment now and parking at the hospital is $8. I increased this line item to reflect the additional money we seem to spend on parking.

 

Phones $64.04 ($65 budgeted): Two smartphones with large data plans! Kyle uses Cricket Wireless and I use Republic Wireless.

 

Miscellaneous $0 ($46.98 budgeted)

 

Bottom Line

We spent $2,765.25 of $2,733.00 available. We borrowed the balance against the buffer in our checking account – to be repaid ASAP!

 

Targeted Savings

 

Cars

 

Starting Balance $640.00

Saved $79.44

Spent $0.00

 

Travel

 

Starting Balance $1,050.00

Saved $437.50

Spent $0.00

 

Gifts

 

Starting Balance $100.00

Saved $95.00

Spent $0.00

 

Appearance

 

Starting Balance $420.00

Saved $30.00

Spent $63.55: I bought a six-pack of socks and a business casual shirt and dry-cleaned one jacket.

 

Electronics

 

Starting Balance $2,300.00

Saved $42.86

Spent $1,457.40: My laptop’s power cord failed this month. We bought a new one, which turned out to be the wrong model, and so returned that one (no reimbursement yet) and bought the right one. But in the midst of this, we realized Best Buy was holding a one-day sale on the computer I had my eye on, so we went ahead and bought it!

 

Baby

 

Starting Balance $500.00

Saved $0.00

Spent $379.85: We ordered enough of my prescription lactation medication to last me until DPR is one year old. In preparation to give DPR solids, we also bought a high chair and two tarps (to go under the high chair). We also bought a firm floor mat to go under her activity mat.

 

Insurance

 

Starting Balance $41.67

Saved $108.33

Spent $0.00

 

How do you handle your irregular expenses and has it changed with time?

 

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4 Responses to "January 2017 Budget Report"

  1. Leigh says:

    Happy new year, Emily and Kyle! We handle irregular expenses by just including them in the monthly budget and then keeping one month’s expenses as a buffer in the checking account in case we have a lot of them before we are fully ready. For joint unbudgeted expenses, we add them up at the end of the month and then we each top up the joint checking account. Our January power bill was over $300 😐 We’ve been running the heaters a lot more with me home more during the day.

    Congrats on kissing $200k! It seems that the second hundred thousand was much faster than the first :)

    1. Emily says:

      Happy new year, Leigh!

      Are you still projecting your yearly spending on irregular expenses, or taking it month-by-month?

      Wow, that is a large heating bill! I would have expected better insulation/heat sharing in a condo…?

      Yes, the first 100k took 7 years and the second 2.5 years! The second 100k does include two large cash gifts from our parents, but still most of it was regular income and investment returns.

      1. Leigh says:

        We’ve projected yearly spending on known expenses (e.g. car insurance, registration, and maintenance, property taxes, condo maintenance, etc.) and then unknown expenses (e.g. wedding reception related stuff) month to month.

        Historically our January power bill is closer to $200. Our condo has terrible insulation, really drafty, lots of windows and the hallways aren’t heated – all around terrible for the heating bill! We do have programmable thermostats which help somewhat but we like being warm enough that we simply pay the once a year bad power bill.

        I forget – do you plan to count 529 plans in your net worth or to track them separately?

        1. Emily says:

          I like it warm at home, too. My first apartment was one that would never get warm enough in the depths of winter and it was the #1 reason why I moved!

          We don’t technically have a 529 yet (just money set aside for one)… grrr procrastination… but when we do I think we’ll include it in our net worth.

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