And now, we welcome you back to your regularly scheduled programming.
At last we are in our new place. And starting to feel settled. ish. For the most part, all went well with the move. But we are exhausted. Luckily, unpacking is about 1000x easier than packing. And I love me some decorating of a new space. And Johnny loves giving his two cents on my decorating.
Johnny: I don’t know about that vase next to the fireplace…
Me: Okay… [scrambling to come up with a different arrangement]
Johnny: Eh, I guess that looks better.
Really helpful. Mostly, though, we’ve gotten along swimmingly despite the stress of moving. Although, on the second night in our new place, the police knocked on our door at 1:00 am because someone had called in a domestic disturbance. One of the officers took me outside to make sure Johnny wasn’t abusing me. After a couple minutes of talking, we both realized they had the wrong address. But it still scared mine and Johnny’s pants off since we’d just been reading in bed. Welcome to the neighborhood!
And that’s my random story for the week.
Admittedly, our budget had seen better days during the month of July. It happens. But we’ve repented of our moving-induced budget busting and are on to a new month. And so one of our first orders of business for the month of August has been to change our budget to fit this new place. We’ve found a few places to save, but this month will also be a testing ground to see if we need to adjust any of our budgeted expenses. The changes for this month are noted in parentheses.
Our August 2013 Budget
|Rent: $1300Utilities: $375
Everything Else: $550
Total Expenses: $2745 (-$90)
Church/Charitable Donations: 10% of gross income
Savings: To be determined, but at least the 35% of our net that we were saving before
Pre-Tax Retirement Savings: TBD!
A Few Notes
- Rather than budget every single item out, we have an “Everything Else” category for all the expenses that can vary from month to month. As long as we stay below the total amount budgeted for that category, the money can be spent where needed each month. The flexibility that comes with doing our budget this way has made it much easier to stay within our spending limits, and it has drastically cut down on disagreements. Some months it might go to an unexpected medical expense; another month a big chunk will go to clothing or hair (read: Joanna’s hair). But we make sure the total money allotted to that category is never exceeded.
- For expenses that change unpredictably, such as utilities, we budget a little more than we’ve ever actually needed so that it never hurts us if a bill is unexpectedly high one month.
- To keep track of our budget, we use HomeBudget for iPhone. The app syncs with both of our phones so it’s always up-to-date and ready for budgeting madness on-the-go. It costs $5 (which is the first app we’ve actually ever purchased), but it’s been worth every penny.
Changes to Our Budget
Our new place is a few hundred square feet smaller than where we were before, and the utility bills should be smaller, too — per the previous tenant, anyway. You know how we feel about splurging on cable TV, but we’re doing satellite instead of cable this time. It cuts down on costs, and it was the only option. Oh, that. And Johnny promises that he’ll cancel the sports package once college football season is over in December. I’ll believe it when I see it.
We haven’t figured out what our exact savings will be each month out here because we don’t know what Johnny’s exact net pay will be, but we’ll be saving at least what we were before. So yay for that!
And we’ve got some pre-tax retirement saving deets to work out still. I’m still putting away 9%, but we’re not sure how much Johnny will be putting away.
I must say, even though we’re only four days into August, it feels pretty darn good to be tracking every little expense with a new determination to save. Moving, you almost did us in, but our freaking budget won out in the end.
How’s your monthly budgeting going? How does our August budget line up with yours? In which categories do you spend more or less?