If you’d like more details regarding our monthly budget, please see my first 2015 Budget Post.
Welcome to the Mintly Budget Preview for February 2015!
- We use a zero-sum budget.
- We get paid a little more than what I budget for – but I use that extra either to pay down unexpected expenses from the month before or I can snowflake it to Debt Eradication. If either of those happens, I’ll let you know!
Note: This image is a screenshot from the Budget tab of my account on Mint.com.
Travel: Hotel: H and I are going to France for a conference in July! This charge is for the Airbnb reservation I made – however, it will be reimbursed partially by the others who are sharing the apartment with us! We should (hopefully) receive the reimbursements by the end of the month, totaling to $948.60 (that’s only $316.20 per person for 7 nights in France!). The best part? I put it on the Chase Sapphire card, meaning that by the middle of the month, we should have even more reward points on the card to put towards our airplane tickets. I’m still trying to determine whether it’s worth it to risk waiting until the middle of the month or if I should go ahead and order the tickets now, though – I read that 150 days before you plan to fly is a good time to get tickets at a lower cost. However, I haven’t noticed much of a change in the ticket prices recently, so I have my doubts. I’m at least hoping they don’t go up drastically within the next 30 days….
Another note: I transferred money out of our Travel Fund to cover the cost of the Airbnb transaction, and when we get reimbursed, I will move that money back into the fund.
Transfer: Sinking Funds: This is where we save money each month for known upcoming expenses. I have a spreadsheet with different line items to keep track of how much money each category has in it.
Food & Dining: We have already bought my father-in-law some groceries when we went to visit this past weekend. I don’t mind spending money on family, though. It means it will be a little tight, but we did a good job of our first February grocery run – $68.79! We have already spent money on food out for the trip to my father-in-law’s (and back) and we also went out to dinner with more of his family when we were there. So, we’ve already spent $130.03 of our $600 budget for the month…. Just have to keep a close eye on it. I think I’m getting somewhere on meal planning, so that’s a plus!
Student Loan: This amount is our minimum payment for four separate student loans. (Debt Eradication funds are separate from these automatic payments.)
Bills & Utilities: Cell phone bill, Water, Electric, and Internet are included in this category.
Gas & Fuel: $250 is a bit high, but I’m taking a trip to VA to see a friend! I get free lodging, but I expect to spend money on gas (as well as food). Since last month was $250 almost on the nose, I’m keeping it at $250 (last month, we drove all day from my parents’ house to our house, so I’m hoping it is kind of equivalent).
Slush Fund: This is probably going to be a problem this month. There are already things we’ve purchased when we took L to a show and the circus last weekend! Ugh. H is going to be getting a haircut this month, and we’re also planning a dinner out for my birthday / Valentine’s Day (and I’m not sure which budget line item we’ll end up having to use – I’d like to use it all from the food budget, but I think I know myself too well to assume we’ll have money left over in that budget). We’ll see how it shakes out. I am also considering using the money in the Gift category of our sinking fund.
Kids Activities: This is L’s ballet lessons ($60) and piano lessons ($30/lesson). Piano lessons are variable, and this month L will have 4 lessons.
Babysitter & Daycare: L’s After-School Care cost + $40 for a babysitter for our Valentine’s Day / Birthday dinner out! (Don’t worry, we don’t actually go out on Valentine’s Day – the Frugalwoods have already outlined how terrible a deal it is to go out on 2/14!)
Home Services: This is our trash collection. It’s a separate line item because it’s not variable, like some of our other utilities. I was going to move it over into the other utilities line, but I’m going to keep it here. Mostly because I’m lazy, but somewhat because it’s not variable.
Entertainment: $9 for Netflix.
Fee: $1 for the credit union.
Pharmacy: All doctor’s bills, pharmacy, etc. come out of our health category in our sinking fund (that’s why that transaction doesn’t appear in the actual budget above).
Goal: Citibank (Balance 2): This is the $450 we spend each month to pay down our Citibank card, where we moved a good chunk of our student loans. It will be paid off in June 2015.
February extra funds: The money over $5000 from our paychecks went directly to paying down credit card debt that we didn’t get reimbursed from H’s business items return. I hope that March’s extra money will actually go to Debt Eradication!
February Debt Eradication: We’ll see how it looks – I’ve done our taxes, and we’re somehow only getting back a little over $100 this year. (Cue the sad trombones.) I suspect it’s because when I was working part-time as my side hustle (for the institution where I’m now working full-time), I claimed too many exemptions. When I started working full-time, I claimed 0 exemptions, which is why I was really hopeful we’d be getting a good chunk back. Unfortunately, it looks like it just barely evened out. We’re lucky we don’t owe!
Have you noticed that I keep talking about reimbursements? Are you already thinking to yourself, “Gee, Ms. Mintly, have you ever stopped to realize that reimbursements are not very much fun? Have you considered doing business in some other way?” Because *I* am thinking those things….