Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Budgeting Madness & April 2012 Budget

I’m very excited because I have $30 to spend on groceries today!  I budget on a weekly basis with the week beginning on Monday (to force any weekend fun money to come AFTER groceries and other important purchases have been bought for the week).  

I also budget on a monthly basis, because I get paid on a monthly basis and I like to look at improvement one month at a time.  Otherwise it looks like my financial status is fluxuating wildly.  I realize that I’ve overly complicated the whole budget thing, but what can I saw, I’m an engineer.  The important thing is that I’m budgeting and I’ve found a system that works for me.  (Most of the time anyways...there is always room for improvement!)

Either way, it’s a new month and the last day of the week and that means I’ve somehow gotten $30 to spend on food!  (I cook often with my SO, and my portion of the food has come almost exclusively out of my cabinets and freezer for the last two weeks...)

Sometimes our budgets do nice things for us.  They allow us to spend money on the things that fulfill us.  On that note, I’m introducing my April Budget(cou-goal-gh). 

I’d like to explain a little bit about how my paycheck is distributed every month.  The percentage is the amount of money spent in a given category to my post-tax paycheck.

Apartment:  High cost of living area offset by being able to live in graduate student housing.  Without the school’s help I would have a hard time finding affordable housing.

Utilities:  I’m expecting a higher-than-normal bill this month.  That is accounted for, but I’m hoping that after I receive the bill I’ll be able to divert some of the remainder to other things...

Random:  This usually ends up accounting for things I need for the apartment (dish washing soap, detergent, shampoo etc.).  It can also account for any expense that doesn’t fit in else where.  Currently I have over budgeted (hopefully) in my Utilities and Cell Phone categories.  This is where any leftover money will immediately be redirected if bills are somehow lower than expected. 

Food:  This accounts for both eating out and groceries, although I very rarely eat out.

Cell Phone:  I’m also expecting this bill to be higher due to what I’m sure will be a future post regarding other people and your finances.

Transportation:  I have no car so this is used for things like bus fare and gas money for when other people drive.  I would really like this to be higher.

Fun:  Internet & Climbing Gym Membership.

Health:  An attempt to set money aside each month to pay for my health insurance (which is greatly subsidized by the school.)

E-fund:  Trying to build up a reasonably size emergency-fund.   I admit to dipping into it to help pay my bills from time to time but my emergency fund is slowly making progress.

Slush Fund:  This money is set aside for future larger expenses, to help account for an expensive month, and for traveling to visit family.  It’s in recovery from the end of the year and a few unexpected expenses in the last few months.  Until this fully recovers I haven’t given myself much wiggle room in my budget.  Proud Note: The E-fund and Slush fund equal 20% of my post tax salary.  Unfortunately this is only a goal and rarely gets achieved.

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