Our Freaking Budget: August Breakdown


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Our August Budget

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

  • Electricity:  $50 (-$25)
  • Gas/Heating:  $50 (-$25)
  • Water/Waste:  $0 (-$50)
  • Cell Phones:  $140
  • Internet/Cable:  $60 ($-40)
  • Auto Insurance:  $75

Food:  $470

  • Groceries:  $220
  • Eating Out:  $250

 

Personal:  $50

  • Johnny:  $25
  • Joanna:  $25

Everything Else:  $550

  • Pet Supplies
  • Baby Supplies
  • Clothing
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Personal
  • Auto/Gas
  • Home/Personal Care
  • Entertainment
  • Medical
  • Gifts
  • Miscellaneous

Total Expenses:  $2745 (-$90)

Plus…
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?

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21 Comments

  • Reply Rob August 5, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Congratulations guys on your successful move and a good first budget in your new home. It’s a good idea to have flexibility in your budget (the “Everything Else” category) while still watching the “big financial picture”.

    Our monthly budget has been taking a big hit (last month and this month) but intentionally as I’m currently on a major home improvement kick these days (a retired dude has to keep busy, ya know – lol). Patio re-leveling and extension, new stone sun deck, new raised front stone porch, new paved driveway, the projects just keep rolling along. And to keep my lady happy, we also recently purchased two leather LA-Z-BOY swivel reclining chairs. And so it goes…

    • Reply Joanna August 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks, Rob! It sounds like you are keeping very busy! Those are some impressive projects! I’m hoping Johnny will be open to the idea of a new chair in our living room, too! :)

  • Reply Michelle's Finance Journal August 5, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Thank God you guys are settled and ready to go. Our budget’s been ok, but we’ll have to change it a little since my hubby will be moving to a new job soon. But since we’re not moving, changes will occur mostly on our savings and debt payment part.

    • Reply Joanna August 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      We’re happy to finally be settled, Michelle! A new job is always quite an adventure. Good luck to you and your hubby as he makes the transition!

  • Reply sarah @makingitmyhome.blogspot.com August 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

    My budget is freaking me out! I dont work during the summer (teacher) but have enough saved up to get me through the summer. Unfortunately, i lost my job in June and while I have my cushion for the summer, I don’t want to dip into my savings if I don’t have a job in Septmeber

    • Reply Joanna August 6, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      I’m sorry that you lost your job, Sarah! The uncertainty that comes with job loss is terrible. Good luck with the job hunt! I hope you don’t have to dip into your savings, but it’s great that you have savings if it comes down to that.

  • Reply j.mill August 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

    You find unpacking easier than packing?! I’ll trade you – You can do all the unpacking and I’ll do all the packing!

    I always find that I can throw things in a box/bag easier than I can decide where it goes in a new place and/or find the toilet paper when we finally arrive!

    So glad you guys are feeling on top of things!

    • Reply Joanna August 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks, j.mill!

      Johnny and I use packing as an opportunity to purge and organize, so it’s a pretty terrible process! Luckily we’re on our last leg of unpacking now, and hopefully won’t be doing either one again anytime soon!

  • Reply zoe @ my unhoardED life August 5, 2013 at 11:03 am

    You guys impress me — we hit $2750 of expenses WITHOUT including our mortgage, and that’s with no baby and trying super hard to keep that number as low as possible.We live in an expensive, major metropolitan area but that’s just an excuse. We’ve gotten better – our average used to be closer to 3300$ a month. But we just got a scare about my husband losing his job, so we’re going to need to learn to tighten our belts a bit.

  • Reply Tara @ Streets Ahead Living August 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Yay on a successful move! I remember when we moved a year ago last July, I was just so happy it was over. It also helped that our old apartment building was such a cockroach motel (veryone had a problem with them regardless of how clean you were) that I was happy to be in a nice, clean bug free apartment. :)

  • Reply Jaclyn August 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    We made a lot of changes to our budget last month that are working pretty well so far. We also moved our budget to Google Docs which is GREAT because we can access it from anywhere!

    • Reply Johnny August 28, 2013 at 12:38 am

      We love Google Docs! We don’t use it for our budget, but that’s great thinking.

  • Reply Halsy August 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Glad the move went well and you already have a budget! Our budget is pretty much in line with yours. We budget about $2300(not including tithing, retirement and savings) over half of that is our mortgage :( However, some categories have needed some revisiting for a few months. We need to figure out if we are being too lax or if those areas need to be increased. Unfortunately, we have a needed bathroom remodel so our savings is going to take a big hit this month…but my hubby is doing all the work himself so we are saving quite a bit on what the cost would be if we hired someone.

  • Reply Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa August 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I think the everything else category is a smart one to have. Building flexibility into the budget means that it can last for the long haul.

  • Reply JMK August 6, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Most months we put 35-40% of our take home pay into retirement savings and/or making extra mortgage payments. In the summer we usually temporarily redirect those funds to the major annual trip we take, and starting a year ago to college tuition (half due in July half in November). In July we still managed one extra mortgage payment even with the trip and first term tuition, but August looks like another month of minimal savings as we need to address a rotting deck, and a plumbing leak that we’ve decided is the catalyst for a minor bathroom renovation we’ve been considering for a couple of years. Once those projects are done it’s back to the usual all frugal all the time with massive savings in the name of early retirement.

  • Reply Amanda August 6, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Congrats on a great move and hopefully everything continues to go smoothly! Because my income is so variable, usually from week to week, I try and stick to coming under the numbers I set, which really did not work out this July. I’m going to try and tighten my belt a lot this month to make up for a few unexpected expenses last month. Hopefully I can continue putting a large amount of my money towards retirement and student loans.

  • Reply Emma Lou Loves: Budgeting! (Juuuuust kidding.) | EMMA LOU August 14, 2013 at 2:25 am

    […] are a young couple (with an ADORABLE baby) who blog about their adventures in budgeting. They share their own budget each month and also give advice to others on how to best […]

  • Reply Mel September 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Just clicked over to your blog, so maybe this is somewhere already but I don’t see it…

    $220 for groceries for the month seems insanely low. How does that work?

    • Reply Johnny September 16, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      Sorry I’m just now getting to this. Been a bit crazy over in this house.

      Here’s a post that dives into that exact topic: http://www.ourfreakingbudget.com/how-we-do-groceries/

      • Reply Mel September 16, 2013 at 11:57 pm

        Thanks! I eventually found that post. I have an odd fascination with grocery bills. They’re so unique and personal.

  • Reply Andy August 2, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Hi – Great site! Can you go into more depth about how you manage to keep your grocery bill so low each month? We’re in CT, a family of three, and spend about 400 dollars more a month. I’d love some tips!
    Thanks

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