If you’d like more details regarding our monthly budget, please see my first 2015 Budget Post.
Welcome to the Mintly Budget Preview for March 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. This month, we put it entirely towards our Student Loan Debt Eradication Fund. YES!
Note: This image is a screenshot from the Budget tab of my account on Mint.com.
Debt Eradication: I went ahead and put this in as a line item this month. We would do this anyway, but I like putting it in the budget so it accounts for more of our money that’s used each month. All the transactions in this category are “Transfers,” though, and not counted as “expenses.”
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: I’m sticking with $600 for the month. I keep thinking that we should really aim for lower, and we should. I also keep thinking that if I set a mental goal of $500, then that would be good, and I’ll try to meet it, and maybe I will! But I have a bad feeling that the only way that’s going to get me to really try to make strides in this category is if I change it in my budget and share it here….
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: I think this is a little high for a regular month (without extra traveling), but we also have 5 weekends to account for (we take L to dance in Small City, which is about an hour away).
Kids Activities: L’s piano lessons are variable, since it depends on how many she has a month. This month she will have 5 (!) so our cost is $150. The other $60 is her ballet lessons. Because of this, we decided to…
Slush Fund: …lower our Slush Fund by $30 to compensate! I’m hoping we’ll still do okay here. I don’t foresee much spending in this area this month – but, of course, things always have a way of cropping up….
Babysitter & Daycare: FANTASTIC NEWS! We got a note in L’s backpack saying that the after-school program won’t be charging us for this month because the school was closed for about two weeks straight last month! Woohoo! So we have already snowflaked that $100 right to our Student Loan Debt Eradication fund! YES! The other $45 is leftover from last month, because we paid the babysitter with a check and she hasn’t cashed it yet (yes, we’re those awful parents….oops!).
Home Services: This is our trash/recycling pick-up. We could take our own trash and recycling to the dump and recycling center, but I will say that this is a LOVELY service and I’m grateful it’s only $25 a month!
Entertainment: $9 for Netflix.
Fee: $1 for the credit union.
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.
March Extra Funds: The money over $5000 from our paychecks went directly to our Student Loan Debt Eradication fund. It was $378.43, so that was pretty awesome! (That will be reflected in our Snowflaking area of our March recap at the end of this month.) It will be lower after we get our next paychecks, though, because I was doing a little side hustle that added extra in my paycheck for January, February, and March. So, one more extra-nice paycheck, and then we’ll be back to “normal” (i.e. not much extra above $5,000).
March Debt Eradication: In addition to our $756 that we’re putting aside each month to send to H’s student loans (held by Navient), we’re also planning to send a big chunk of money to one of the loans after our minimum payment due date (to get as much of that payment to go to the principal as possible!). That should be somewhere around $2,800, but as we have more than that in our Student Loan Debt Eradication Fund*, we will pay another payment online after that one clears. That will be our experiment to see how well it works to pay extra payments online without Navient automatically advancing our automatic payments. (For more info about why we’re paying down $2,800 first and then sending another payment later, see the first paragraph in the Debt Eradication section of this post.)
* Maybe I should be abbreviating this title. “St.L.D.E.F.”? “SLDEF”? Oh, well. Happy March! Keep your fingers crossed for spring-type weather!