January 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).
I 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
Student Loan Minimum Payment $99.67
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)
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!
Starting Balance $640.00
Starting Balance $1,050.00
Starting Balance $100.00
Starting Balance $420.00
Spent $63.55: I bought a six-pack of socks and a business casual shirt and dry-cleaned one jacket.
Starting Balance $2,300.00
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!
Starting Balance $500.00
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.
Starting Balance $41.67
How do you handle your irregular expenses and has it changed with time?