March 2015 Money Puddle and Spending Report


Bao Bao at the National Zoo

Hi y’all… Sorry for the dearth of posts and responding to comments recently. My schedule has been just as tight as earlier this spring. Between work, my commute, occasional socializing with my fellow fellows, and trying to maintain my relationship with Kyle long-distance, I have very little free time. The free time I do have has been going toward booking and advertising my personal finance for grad students seminars, working on the Grad Student Finances core content, and getting hired as a staff writer for a grad student blog. Thankfully I only have one week left in the fellowship and then I will be returning to Durham and funemployment!


This was a very reasonable month financially! Of course I am looking forward to getting back to Durham and spending less money overall, but that comes with a corresponding drop in income for me. We were in the black quite solidly this month and it feels amazing to be adding to savings again.


Money Puddle


Our money puddle represents our gross income from February, less taxes, our tithe, and savings into our Roth IRAs. This is the source of all of our spending money for the month (before dipping into savings).


March 2015 Money Puddle: $3,474.39

Look at all that moolah! That’s probably our most EVER!


  • Kyle’s postdoc paycheck
  • Emily’s fellowship paycheck
  • Emily’s contract work paycheck





Overall, our spending for this month was pretty reasonable for our current life situation. We are not trying super hard to be frugal and are giving ourselves extra leeway because of the difficulty in coordinating between two households.


Housing and Utilities

  • rent $910: This is our rent for our Durham townhouse, which Kyle is currently living in alone. My parents are not charging me rent or utilities to live with them during my fellowship.
  • electricity $129.31: Pretty high again. :/
  • internet $34.99
  • cell phones $61.46: This is for two smartphones with very satisfactory data plans! I’m still with Republic Wireless and very happy with it. It looks like Cricket Wireless is working out for Kyle, too.
  • water $23.69



gas transactions

how unlikely is this??

High again! Ugh, I can’t wait to be done paying for Metro commuting and these drives between DC and Durham.

  • gas $154.55
  • Metro $207.20



These categories are both higher than we would like them to be, but not grossly so.

  • groceries $495.57
  • eating out $92.62


Shopping and Personal Care

  • drugstore $16.83
  • Swype for Kyle’s phone $1.06




Reimbursed from Charitable Giving





Money Puddle: $3,474.39

Total Spending: $2,247.84

Difference: $1,226.55


We have three ways of assessing how successful we were in terms of living within our means this month.


1: Did we spend within our money puddle+$176?


Simple question – did we have money left in our checking account at the end of the month or did we need to transfer money in? (This is after accounting for the smoothed retirement contributions from my last two paychecks, which come out of savings.)


Yes! Second month in a row that we have lived within our means!


2: Was our deficit, if any, less than the amount we saved to our Roth IRAs?


No deficit! Woohoo!


3: Did our net worth increase?


No official answer to this but yes.



How do you cope with very busy times? How much has your spending changed as you’ve gone from two households to one or one household to two?


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6 Responses to "March 2015 Money Puddle and Spending Report"

  1. Yay! Both on seeing you back and on the excellent financial report. I don’t really have a great record of handling busy times well financially — I tend to collapse in a pile of buying pre-made food instead of cooking it. Trying to do better with that these days and semi-succeeding, but it’s certainly easier to make good financial decisions when life is slow.

    1. Emily says:

      Actually something similar has happened for me recently… I’ve been getting a lot of free food at work and from other sources, and many nights I will snack instead of cooking a proper dinner. This is great for the bottom line but not my bottom!! 😉 I’m very much looking forward to resuming the slow life next week.

  2. I kinda missed your posts for a while Emily. I was concerned what had happened to you. Glad that you’re back.

    1. Emily says:

      Aw, it was only 2 weeks, Jason! But that is sweet.

  3. Lauren says:

    I can’t believe you’re already almost done with your fellowship. I’d love to hear all about it–let me know if you want to get coffee once you’re back!

    1. Emily says:

      Yes, it really flew by!

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