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Budget!

January 6, 2011

I am finally getting around to posting my monthly budget. I’ve had it done for about a week but the madness of the holidays had me a little overwhelmed and I had to spend a few days cleaning up the mess that my house became over Christmas vacation.

Without further ado…(Next time I post a budget I’ll figure out to do it up all snazzy and paste it Excel-style but in the interest of actually getting this posted it is what it is.)

Single Mom’s Monthly Budget

Income: $1850 ($925 bi-weekly)

Savings: $50

Rent: $575

Car ins: $67

Renters ins: $15

Gas: $120

Cable/Internet: $105

Cell phone: $100

Groceries: $250

Utilities: $200

Sinking fund: $85

Dining out: $36

Blow money: $36

Sallie Mae: $160

E school lunch: $51

Total: $1850

I’ve attempted budgets before but I have never had a zero-balanced budget, so this is brand new and I’m kind of nervous about it. There are some things to point out, though…

Income: $1850 is a tad conservative as my paychecks are usually a little bit more than $925 but I didn’t want to base a budget on fluctuating numbers. My plan is to funnel any amount over $925 directly into savings.

Cable/Internet: I know that so many people cut out cable completely, but I just can’t do it (well, not yet).  I have to have high-speed internet for my online classes, so that’s not even an option. I won’t get rid of cable, though, because as you can see there really isn’t an entertainment category to this budget. I also pay for a DVR box because I work a varied, night shift schedule and can’t watch my shows when they come on (again, pretty much my largest source of entertainment).

Cell phone: This is my only phone; there is no landline. I pay for unlimited everything as I have a tendency to talk and text quite a bit. And yes, I have a ‘droid and I pay for a data plan.

Groceries: I’m really not sure if 250 for the two of us is high or low, but it’s right around what I can guess I’ve been paying. This area may need to be renegotiated but we’ll see.

Utilities: This includes natural gas, electricity, water, trash, sewer.

Sinking fund: This category includes car maintenance, physician copays, prescriptions, gifts, and haircuts.

Dining out: I realize 36 isn’t all that much but the goal is to really quit the fast food lifestyle. I have to admit that with the schedule I sometimes have it’s just easier to pick up something than try to cook, but in November 2010 I spent over $150 on eating at restaurants. That’s just gross and way too much!

Blow money: Because I have to have a little money that I feel I can do whatever I want with. Realistically, this will more than likely be spent on E.

Sallie Mae: One day, this awful lady will be gone from my life. Can’t wait!

E school lunch: I’m ok with this as it saves me some work, and a lot of wasted food because my child is incredibly picky about what she eats for lunch. She can also eat something hot and nutritiously sound versus the cold junk she wants me to pack for her (I’m talking salami slices, dill pickle spears, chips, Kool-Aid—No way!!)

I’m sure this budget won’t work perfectly right off the bat…there are a lot of bad habits on my part that are going to have to be modified but it’s a start.

Now to get to it…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2011 10:13 am

    Well good luck from me, too.
    To me it sounds like you have a good amount of money to start with but I do not have that much debt to pay off like others (especially in countries with different educational systems like in your case) but somehow I never get out of the reds either.
    @E School Lunch: If the food is good I think that this is a very good option. I would not be able to cook a meal for my son every day for the same budget that kindergarden can.
    @Groceries: I have no idea how different the prices are but to me it seems like a good budget. I know that you could save more here but to be honest I think that especially with groceries you should be able to spend a little bit more now and again. It’s just good for you.
    During the last years I had about half of that for my groceries budget and that was/is hard. I started making an excel sheet calculating the costs of each meal down to a slice of bread. Figuring out an “essential to survive” budget helped me a lot during that time and I had like 10 bucks/month extra for a healthy treat.
    If I would live in the US I would try http://www.foodonthetable.com as well. That way you can do healthy stuff and maybe cut down a bit. Just a thought.
    But as I said … good luck! You will figure it out!

    • January 11, 2011 4:27 am

      I had been thinking of trying to do something like your excel sheet to figure out the cost of elements of meals. A handy “Essential to survive” spreadsheet could do wonders for my budget I expect.

      I’ll have to check out that site, it looks interesting!

  2. January 6, 2011 8:25 pm

    Good luck to you with your budget. I think the rule of thumb is three months to figure it out.

    • January 8, 2011 3:57 pm

      Thanks! I’m already finding it to be a challenge and starting to see which categories might need some tweaking. Three months sounds about right…

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