If you’d like more details regarding our monthly budget, please see my first 2015 Budget Post.
Welcome to the Mintly Budget Preview for April 2015!
I’d just been thinking the other day that our budget doesn’t really change much from month to month anymore, and then when I sat down to work out April’s budget, I realized that I was so wrong! There are a few unusual things going on this month, so I’m excited to dive in!
- 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.
April Budget Breakdown:
Debt Eradication: This category includes the budgeted money we send to our student loans on top of the minimum payments. I classify all of these transactions as “Transfers,” though, and not counted as “expenses,” so they don’t actually count as “spending” in the Mint.com world.
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. (This transaction is also classified as a transfer, not spending, in Mint.)
Food & Dining: Again, I’m sticking with $600 for the month. You can see that we’ve already spent quite a bit in this category. H will be gone on work-related trips for about 10 days this month, and I’ve decided I’ll eat oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches every night he’s gone! (Well, either that or eat out of our cupboards/freezer/fridge – no need to buy food for “real” dinners.)
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.
Business Services: I added this line item this month because H is going on three different trips this month. They will most likely be reimbursed (whether it will be both gas costs and food, we’re not sure – it may be just one or the other). Although I didn’t actually retain an extra $300 in our checking account for this, I wanted to make a category where I could classify all of these transactions. If they’re not reimbursed, it will be easy to find them come tax time next year. I didn’t actually leave enough money in our checking account to cover these extra expenses, though I did cut our Slush Fund by $100 to help compensate, but that’s still $200 extra that we don’t have in the checking account. My current plan is to cover the costs from our Sinking Fund (we have a category for H’s business expenses), then replenish that fund if we get reimbursed.
Gas & Fuel: We’re keeping it this high since if we DON’T use the allotted amount, it’ll just get snowflaked to our Student Loan Debt Eradication fund anyway.
Kids Activities: L’s piano lessons are variable, since it depends on how many she has a month. This month she will have 4 so our cost is $120. The other $60 is her ballet lessons.
Slush Fund: I lowered this to $100 (the $70+ is from clothing I ordered online – it was time to replace a few key items!).
Babysitter & Daycare: L’s after-school care program.
Home Services: This is our trash/recycling pick-up and now (sadly) it’s time again for lawn mowing. We have a guy come out and do the front and back yards for $45/visit. (We expect that he’ll be here twice this month.) We have an electric mower, but the extension cords would have to extend so far that the electric mower won’t work as well (this is according to my husband, who would be doing the mowing, so I do end up deferring to him on this). It pains me that it’s so expensive, but the back lawn requires a riding mower and extensive “weed whacking” as it’s quite large and there’s a steep hill. I am considering getting another estimate, and if it’s lower, I could go back to our regular guy and ask him if he’d come down to that price.
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. We have no reason to pay it off earlier, as it’s at 0% interest. Our extra money is better spent paying down our interest-accruing student loans.
April Extra Funds: The money over $5000 from our paychecks went directly to our Student Loan Debt Eradication fund. It was $322.25! (That will be reflected in our Snowflaking area of our March recap at the end of this month.) Next month, this may be more like $130, as the class I was teaching has ended. The search for a new side-hustle has begun!
April Debt Eradication: That $322.25 has already gone into our Student Loan Debt Eradication Fund to be sent out after our minimum payment posts (sometime in the middle of the month). I don’t really mind waiting until the middle of the month, because it gives me something to look forward to. We also picked up some cash and a check from two different consignment stores yesterday, so that will be another $80 to put to our student loan debt! I’m pleasantly surprised that April won’t be disappointing in this area, but May may look pretty grim if I don’t get some side hustles going….
May your April be full of financial opportunities to pay down your debt! Anything big in the works for your budget or debt repayment plans?