First! Check out my hard work this weekend - I'm in the progress of redesigning this little blog and am unreasonably proud of the new menu bar I created. It took days - but I finally got it looking exactly as I'd imagined. Roll your mouse over the links and see how fun it is! (It's okay to toot your own horn if it took days of work to create, right?) I still have lots to do - but I've got a header, footer, and menu bar done. And rounded corner sidebars. Whee!
Okay, now on to budgets.
Our basic goal is to save $10,000 for an emergency fund. You might laugh at how little that is, or you might only DREAM of having $10,000 in a savings account. We've been passively holding the goal of saving $10K in the back of our minds, but never acted on it until recently. I decided it was time to get serious and buckle down.
People don't often talk details about money - how much they make, how much they spend, and how much they owe. I'm going to break that taboo and divulge these "secrets".
Mike and I make about $2600 a month after health insurance, taxes, and 401(k) contributions (I know, we sound so adult, right?)
Our Monthly Spending:
First, I determined our monthly fixed expenses (using this template)
$960 - Housing & utilities (internet, gas, electric, water, sewer)
$200 - Transportation
$300 - Groceries & household supplies
$150 - Education (books, tuition)
$50 - Medical
$50 - Car & renter's insurance
Then, I decided how much we'd like to save:
Leaving us with our fun money:
Fun money: $260/month - so $65/week for restaurants, coffee shops, clothes, Target trips (except for "groceries & household supplies"), and gifts. It sounds like a lot, but it goes far too quickly.
I worked backwards from how much I'd like to save, because I'm willing to spend as little as possible if it means we'll have a well-stocked emergency fund. Thankfully, we're still able to eat out and
A Few Notes:
- I keep my Etsy and design income in a separate account. I use the money for business expenses. (Although, I am toying with the idea of paying for a trip to Vegas entirely with my freelance/Etsy money. No need to blow our savings goals for a trip, right?
- We are debt free (paid my student loans off last year!) and hope to stay that way except for a mortgage. Someday. Someday far, far away.
- We're lucky that our families are BOTH going on trips to the beach this summer, so we don't have an inkling to go on a vacation apart from those two trips. Which means, we don't have to save money for a trip!
Being responsible isn't nearly as much fun or as easy as just spending what we have (aside from a safety cushion in the bank), but I think we're going to stick with this. Goals - like our $10K goal - help us to see our progress and feel proud of ourselves. Bi-monthly automatic withdrawals from our checking to savings and obsessively checking Mint.com also helps. :)
In just a month of concerted effort - we've grown our savings account from $2,000 to $3,700. Results, baby. It makes skipping pizza delivery for homemade meal excavated from the freezer worth it.