January 2019 Budget


If you want some background information about our budget, see my first budget post from December 2018.

I initially thought I was going to do some major revamping of the budget given our focus on paying down our student loans. However, when I took a look at the budget, I was happy with how things were set up. The only change is that instead of throwing extra money to savings, most of it (except for yearly bills and our small travel fund) will go to student loans. Also, the first time I posted our budget I rounded all of the %s and it drove me up the wall, so I’m introducing decimals this time around.

Other things to note for January… I had a work trip this month, which means that travel and dining out spending were all way over budget. However, these all got reimbursed. Because all these costs negated themselves, I just left them out to give a more accurate picture of what our actual spending was. In addition to travel reimbursements, I had 2 physical therapy appointments that are getting reimbursed too, so they aren’t reflected here either.

January 2019 budget

Budgeted: 43.75%
Spent: 42.43%
Leftover: 1.32%
student loans

What’s included? Mortgage payment, property taxes, home insurance, home warranty, and any home improvement costs. We’ve got a moratorium going on any non-necessary home improvement stuff, which is where the leftover is coming from.

Budgeted: 20.48%
Spent: 17.28%
Leftover: 3.20%
student loans

What’s included? Food, non-food cooking stuff, toiletries, cat supplies, cleaning supplies, paper products, pharmacy… anything you can buy at the grocery store.
We had a fair amount of frozen meals that we tapped into this month, while also re-stocking. We’ve been stocking up on sale meat (chicken at ~0.88 cents/pound) and then stashing what we’re not currently using in the freezer. We re-upped the cats’ flea collars so that pushed us a bit higher this month, but overall still under budget (we have come a long way with our grocery bill…).  

Budgeted: 7.74%
Spent: 6.83%
Leftover: 0.91%
student loans

What’s included? Electric, gas, water, and trash.
We’re at the peak of our usage and holding steady with our allotted budget. I have ~2 years worth of utilities bills to base our budget off of and that’s been a huge help in budgeting an amount that can accommodate our highest months. Once we get through February I think we should (knock on wood) be on a downward trend for utilities for the rest of the year. We’ve been setting our heat way down at night (~61) which has been good for the gas bill.

Travel related expenses
Budgeted: 7.81%
Spent: 3.21%
Leftover: 3.84%
savings for yearly bills and our travel fund; 0.76% student loans

What’s included? Car insurance, gas, registration (billed every 2 years), AAA (billed once a year), savings for a car maintenance fund, and a general travel fund for family visits and smaller local trips.
Technically we spent a bunch on travel this month with the conference trip (i.e., hotel, public transit from the airport in SF, parking at the airport, etc.) but all of this was reimbursed through work so I’m not including it in here.  

Budgeted: 3.78%
Spent: 3.76%
leftover: 0.02%
Student loans

What’s included? Phone bills, phone insurance, internet
For some reason I budgeted out a few extra dollars in our phone insurance category and never adjusted it. I think maybe it used to be a few dollars more and then went down for some reason? I don’t know… part of me enjoys always knowing we’ll have just a little bit leftover in this category each month. We’ve been looking into switching to Republic Wireless or Google Fi, but given that our phones are paid off (as of January) our new bill will be comparable to what we’d be paying with one of these… so I’m not sure we’re going to switch just yet.

Budgeted: 1.86%
Spent: 0.66%
Leftover: 0.33%
workout fund; 0.87% student loans

What’s included? doctor’s bills (we also have an FSA but keep this additional fund to give us a little more padding just in case), a gym membership, and a savings fund for a summer bootcamp.
Technically I had two doctor’s bills this month for PT but they were all reimbursed through the FSA so I’m not counting them here.

Budgeted: 1.67%
Spent: 0.18%
Leftover: 1.06%
savings for yearly bills, 0.43% student loans

What’s included? a random assortment of things… jewelry insurance (billed once a year), a once a year haircut for me, Netflix, Prime membership (billed once a year), website hosting (billed once a year), and just a general miscellaneous category. For the things that are billed once a year, I just divide them by 12 and include it as a line on our budget each month, putting it into savings each month, letting it earn a tiny bit of interest.

Dining out/entertainment
Budgeted: 1.20%
Spent: 0.49%
leftover: 0.71%
student loans

What’s included? Dining out/take out, movie rentals (with Netflix/Prime we don’t really have a need for this), museums, kid stuff (e.g., a class at the rec center for Ellie)
Again, technically we had a bunch more in here from our trip; however, we worked it so my per diem covered our food bills in San Fran so we technically didn’t spend anything.

Budgeted: 1.10%
Leftover: 1.10%
gift savings fund

What’s included? Gifts, mainly for Ellie, sometimes for the occasional wedding or new baby. Mike and I don’t buy each other gifts (aside from the occasional food item during holidays/birthdays). We’ve got a gift moratorium going on for family/friends. Anything left over in this category gets put into our savings until we need it.  

Budgeted: 0.55%
Spent: 0%
leftover: 0.55%
clothing savings fund

What’s included? Any clothes we buy (which we really don’t do that much).

Student loans
Budgeted: 10.05%
Spent: 9.58%
leftovers from above categories: 8.23%

What’s included: Mike’s student loan payments and my student loan payments. The % spent reflects our bottom line payment (e.g., our minimum payment amounts, plus a little extra on Mike’s so interest doesn’t accrue). Last month we were able to put an additional $580 towards Mike’s largest loan. Once we get our taxes in (still waiting on one document), we’ll have a sizable chunk to put towards the current loan we’re targeting. Also, not sure why the percentage spent is lower than what was budgeted this month. I think it may have to do with adjusting some of the payments because it’s never clear whether or not Nelnet’s auto-debit is going through or if I’m going to have to do it manually. Because I like charts/graphs and I wanted to visualize our efforts, here’s what our 1 month of focused tracking looks like. If you didn’t see my first post about budgeting, we took out a huge chunk of our emergency fund (leftover from the sale of our first house) and put it towards paying off one of Mike’s loans, so that’s why the graph below shows a pretty steep drop… normally we would never be able to come up with that large of a sum of money. Good way to start us off though.

December to January student loan totals

December to January student loan totals