Our Monthly Budget: March 2016

Our Monthly Budget: March

We made it! Does anyone else feel this way when March hits? I always breathe a huge sigh of because it means we’ve made it through another winter. Everything’s not coming up roses quite yet, but I feel like winter, for the most part, is behind us. The first two months of 2016 have been good for our budget. We’ve spent a little extra on food, but we’ve kept our expenses minimal otherwise. All of our focus has been on our business so far this year, which has meant that we’ve had little time to think of spending extra money. So even if everything else in our life seems chaotic, at least our budget is smooth sailing so far. Here’s what we’re budgeting for March:

March 2016 Budget

Rent:  $1620
Utilities: $377

  • Electricity:  $55
  • Gas/Heating:  $55
  • Cell Phones:  $127
  • Water: $70
  • Sewer: $25
  • Internet:  $45

Food:  $500

  • Groceries:  $325
  • Eating Out:  $175

Non-Discrectionary: $897

  • Gas: $110
  • Auto Insurance: $41
  • Life Insurance: $66
  • Aflac: $80
  • Health Insurance Premium: $600
Everything Else:  $305

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

Child Care: $480

Gifts: $20

Vacations: $0

Total Expenses:  $4,199

Church/Charitable Donations:  10% of income
Savings: TBD (With our new business in full swing, it’s hard to project how our savings will shape up this year.)

A few notes about March…

  • I’m planning to spend a small chunk of our “Everything Else” category on spring clothes for the girls. Sally and Winnie both need summery clothes desperately. Sal is wearing 4T and 5T, which we have no hand-me-downs of, and Winnie’s hand-me-downs are for the wrong season. One of my favorite parts of having two girls is getting them new clothes and scouring the Internet for the very best deals, so I’m actually looking forward to this extra expense.
  • While our vacation budget is set to $0 for March, we’re planning to book a summer vacation sometime this month. We won’t actually be going anywhere this month, but we will probably end up spending some money. I’ll update next month on the costs once I have them.
  • We are focused on saving money this year, and we’re already off to a good start. It’s much harder to keep track of money coming in and going out right now because we have a business that we’re funding ourselves. It’s made our finances much more complicated. And while “complicated” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it has made it harder to know exactly where we stand from month to month.

For so many reasons, I’m excited for this month, our budget included. We’re making some much-needed changes within our business that I’m hoping will give me more time to grocery shop and cook and be more mindful of our food spending in general. Fingers crossed! How is your 2016 budget going so far?

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  • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls March 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I don’t know how you can keep your grocery budget so low! I kept beating myself up over spending twice that for a family of four (one child with food allergies). However, according to the usda a family of four with kids your age averages the following:
    Thrifty – $563.70
    Low cost – $719.30
    Moderate- $890.60
    Liberal – $1104.20

    Obviously, we all can still only afford what we can afford, but I feel better knowing I’m hovering between the thrifty and low cost plans. You guys are not even close to even a couple with no kids! Do you guys have your own farm??

    • Reply Erin March 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

      It may be that they figure their expenses slightly differently. I noticed that while they budget $325 for groceries, they spend $175 each month eating out. They also have a daughter who is barely a year (ish) old. So their total food expense for a family of four, two of them being very young children, is $500. My family of 5 (two adults, two girls 10 & 12, and my 1.5 year old son) budget between $650-700 a month on groceries and we rarely, if ever, eat out. However, our budget also includes household supplies like personal care, cleaning, toilet paper, etc. In the budget above, they have those items listed separately (everything else category). So I take their $500 dollar amount as spending only on food items, and not anything else that may be purchased at a grocery store.

    • Reply Erin March 10, 2016 at 10:55 am

      I would also say that buying food for a child with allergies is a very different set of circumstances that you shouldn’t feel guilty about! When certain food categories are off limits, budgets can look very different. What is important is what works for your family.

    • Reply Derek @ MoneyAhoy March 17, 2016 at 9:17 am

      I agree – $325 for monthly groceries is crazy low! Are you just eating rice and beans every day 🙂 ??

  • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls March 10, 2016 at 11:54 am

    The usda numbers account for the ages of the children (there is a line for infant – toddlers, and then one for elementary age kids and one for teens) and are strictly groceries and so are mine. Eating out and household items are separate.

    Even if they counted just the two of them they are below average spending in that category. Please don’t think I was criticizing, just in awe of how they do it! The averages helped me put my spending in perspective. One of the gurus out there says food should be 2-5% of your budget and I couldn’t fit in that so I felt like I was doing something wrong. Seeing what most families are spending made realize I just had to adjust my categories and spend less in another area in order to up my grocery budget.

  • Reply Halsy March 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I always have liked your “everything else” category as I’m sure it gives a little more freedom when say you need to buy both kids shoes plus normal monthly baby supplies and then you could cut bal. on entertainment or whatever within the everything else category. I’ve tried to figure out how that would work for us but we don’t have many of the other categories . I wouldn’t feel bad about needing to raise your food budget. There’s are times where it’s a busy season and if you have room in your budget pay for the convenience of having premade salads, getting takeout or whatever it is. I know will probably temporarily do this when baby #3 comes this summer as my husband works long hours and will not be able to help me much at the beginning. For out family of 4 (includes 2 and 4 year old girls) we spend $325-350 for groceries/toiletries and household items. We also have a $75-80 to eat out a month which is basically 1 takeout/fast casual meal a week. I don’t really think age of children matter when factoring budget because all kids have different appetites. My daughters eat ALOT. Just for breakfast they each had toast, a banana and a Chobani regular size cup of yogurt. That’s more than I eat. So just because kids are small it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not eating much. We deal with food allergies as well (the main ones that impact the budget/shopping is egg and chicken allergies). I would say the biggest thing I have learned is make everything I can from scratch. An allergy free cookie mix is $4-6 but I can make twice as many cookies for $1-2 per batch by making it from scratch.

  • Reply Katie March 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I am so glad I found your blog! I work in AP and am also a creative, so it’s interesting to see how others budget. I was a bit shocked this month that I’m on track to spend $300 for groceries for myself (and some for my boyfriend, I try to buy more since I make more money). I’m also calorie tracking to lose weight and eating healthy is not ending up being cheap, BUT my eating out budget has gone down. Enjoying the site!

  • Reply Melanie March 16, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    My monthly budget is shot for March due to a move sooner than I expected, along w six month car insurance due and other things seeming to all fall within 30 days. The nice part is, I have other accounts I can draw from. It’s a great feeling that even though I’m “over budget” it’s not stressing me out and I have the funds. 😀

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