March 2017 Budget Report

St. Patrick’s Day photo

This was a pretty bad month for us in terms of large, unexpected expenses popping up that didn’t fit into our targeted savings accounts. Our ‘Miscellaneous’ spending category was completely overwhelmed. We also incredibly overspent one of our variable expense categories. Even our targeted savings accounts didn’t fare well; one of them is now negative! But thankfully we have our buffer funds to help us smooth this out. The one success we had was a second month running coming in under budget for our groceries.


Kyle and I did our first draft of our taxes this month. We decided to use TurboTax this year to prepare our tax return, but we’re disappointed. We usually prepare our tax return manually. So far it hasn’t found any tax savings for us that we didn’t already know about and hasn’t saved us any labor. The good news is that thanks to our new little tax deduction we’re due a small refund. We had saved several thousand dollars to pay in additional tax so this was a nice surprise. We’ll get to distribute that unneeded savings to a few awesome places next month when we finalize the return.


Regular Fixed Expenses


Rent $1495


Water/Sewer/Garbage $130


Internet $74.45


Student Loan Minimum Payment $99.67


Netflix $10.74


Cloud Backup $5.99


Regular Variable Expenses


Power $314.78 ($60 budgeted): Wow, this is a crazy power bill! It’s over 2.5 times what we paid at this time last year. I saw an article, though, about how people all over Seattle are paying higher power bills because of the cold winter we’ve had. We’ve for sure used more energy keeping our apartment warm than we would have before because we don’t want DPR to be cold and she and I are home all day.


Groceries $540.29 ($600 budgeted): Yes! Two months in a row we’ve come in under budget. The big changes have been a new strict way of eating for me and buying groceries at a restaurant supply store. We are still meal planning and sticking with our grocery shopping list.


Restaurants $10.86 ($100 budgeted): Between DPR and my picky food choices, we don’t go out to eat any long. I’m happy with this. This charge was for ice cream cones that Kyle bought when a friend was visiting from out of town.


Gas/Parking/Public Transit $91.74 ($60 budgeted): Two gas fill-ups and four parking charges. DPR is done with her recurring medical appointments so we won’t have regular parking charges any longer, yay! Our car is getting terrible gas mileage now so we definitely need to take it in for a tune-up.


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


Miscellaneous $253.07 ($8.48 budgeted): This is a laughable overspend! Kyle went skiing with his co-workers and paid for a lift pass and rentals. We converted $10 into quarters for laundry; we’re going through them at a slow rate now that we’re primarily using our portable washer. We bought an air mattress to replace the one I bought in 2008 that busted the last time we used it. We also replaced our sink protector.


Bottom Line


We spent $3,090.63 of $2,709.33 available. This was a serious overspend! We’re drawing down our savings account buffer to cover this.


Targeted Savings




Starting Balance $479.03

Saved $79.44

Spent $0




Starting Balance $1,925.00

Saved $450.00

Spent $1,167.60: We bought two sets of flights to California for trips in April and paid the registration fee for our 10-year college reunion!




Starting Balance $290.00

Saved $95.00

Spent $20.00: We contributed to a group wedding gift for one of Kyle’s co-workers.




Starting Balance $416.45

Saved $30.00

Spent $0




Starting Balance $954.31

Saved $42.86

Spent $0




Starting Balance $213.10

Saved $0.00

Spent $355.55: This was a crazy amount of spending! We paid two months’ worth of co-pays for DPR’s recurring medical appointments. We renewed our babysitting referral service membership. We bought a baby gate to create a safe play area for DPR and a probiotic. We now have a negative balance in this “account” so we’ll just have to refill it ASAP.




Starting Balance $258.33

Saved $108.33

Spent $0.00


What went down in your last crazy spending month? How were your power bills this past winter? What’s your opinion on using tax software vs. preparing your tax return manually?


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8 Responses to "March 2017 Budget Report"

  1. Tara says:

    we had a bad month too–my husband changed jobs (got raise and real health benefits for once!) but it’s a job where they “hold” a pay check so we are going four weeks without any pay from him which we can handle, but still sucks. Also, quick question about baby costs–do you have to pay for all your preventative scheduled visits for your baby? My health insurance doesn’t charge for those, but then, we’re on an HMO plan, so perhaps you’re on a deductible plan?

    1. Emily says:

      It’s a short-term sacrifice for a major long-term gain! Congratulations to your husband on the new position!

      We don’t have to pay for preventative care, but DPR had weekly therapeutic appointments for a few months for which we had a co-pay.

  2. Beth Peacock says:

    Oh my word – just found your blog. LOVING it. My husband and I have been married almost 2 years and we’re both in grad school and I’ve had a fairly good budget for the last year but I want to take it to the next level and really take control. Thank you for chronicling everything! It’s so helpful. 🙂 I’m going to start a monthly budget update on my blog as well.

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks for leaving me a comment! I’m happy to know you’re reading and glad to know another grad student couple interested in personal finance. I’ll check out your blog as well.

  3. CBS says:

    This is super helpful – thanks for sharing! Expecting a baby in July and haven’t really thought about how our budget will change (energy bills!). Luckily no medical costs but need to figure out what we need, we’ve been lucky to get loads from friends but I’m sure we’ll need to buy things, and start budgeting for nursery (£1000 a month!)

    1. Emily says:

      Congratulations on your pregnancy! I guess it depends on how temperate you kept your house before but we definitely keep the temperature in a narrower range now, so we have much higher costs in both the summer and winter. And you’ll do more laundry. Getting hand-me-downs from friends and buying other stuff used helps a ton so accept all you can!

  4. Erin says:

    The ice cream was great! As was the tour 🙂

    1. Emily says:

      Loved seeing you!

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