Working on Our First Post School Budget

So, in Saturday’s post I mentioned that I have been scared to start dreaming or planning for the future because I don’t know where we are going to land yet. But I really really want to share my proposed budget. The hubby and I have a couple of dreams for the future. He wants to start his own business, but we need money to invest in it, and a good cushion if it goes south. This is a dream, who knows when it will happen, but we want to save up for it. Thus, for the next 3 years after graduation we need to save. We want to have fun, too though. So my job is to find the perfect balance of having fun and saving.

So, I know we need to invest in our 401Ks, max out ROTH IRAs, build emergency fund, build travel fund, build savings. So many goals, where do we even start? Well, since I don’t know how much our salaries are going to be, I cannot project anything on this part yet. Instead, I am going to work on our budget.

So my target maximum spend per month is $3,000. $3K is after taking out taxes, FICA, healthcare, 401K contributions, ROTH IRA, savings. This is how much I think we can spend and be happy. No more. Totally happy if it’s less.

Fixed Expenses: Rent, Renter’s Insurance, Car Insurance, Netflix, Cable, Internet, Netflix, LA Fitness, Cell Phone, Electricity (sort of..), Monthly Prescriptions.

Right now this is what I budget- Rent ($520), Renter’s Ins. ($14), Netflix ($9), Cable/Internet ($93-$140), LA Fitness ($33), Cell ($40), Electricity ($36-$90), Meds($115). Car insurance & my hubby’s cellphone is deducted from his paycheck. We also live in a really cheap apt. We want to upgrade. LA Fitness will increase to $50 once I am added to his plan. Cable/Internet has been weird. We need to get a better deal. ATT is really expensive. With a promotion we were paying $93 for cable and internet. Without promotion cable and internet is $140. We cut off cable, and kept the internet. But hubby wants cable again. My cellphone is a really cheap plan on a really bad network -MetroPCS-. It works, but I will need a better cellphone once I start working. 

Variable: Groceries, Take Out, Gas, Entertainment, Car Maintenance, Extra Medical Expenses, Gifts, Other.

Allowances: Monthly Allowance for Me & Hubby (We can spend our “allowance on anything”)

**There are no car payments because we will be paying for my car in cash, and my husband will own his car outright by June or July. No student loan payments either.

***I am thinking about taking out $50-$100 out every month for our Christmas gifts fund.

**** I also have an excel sheet where I used to keep track of our expenses. But I need more tools to make life easier. I just opened up a Mint account.

It’s good to have my thoughts on paper now. This is a work in progress, to be continued.

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. 15 Days To Go

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10 responses to “Working on Our First Post School Budget

  1. Sounds like a very good plan. We are trying to figure out our budget for the rest of the year, but it’s hard to do this because we don’t know how much of a raise I’ll get after my MBA in August. All my work said was that it was going to be “a big bump in your salary.” HOW BIG IS BIG? haha I wish I knew

  2. I’m trying to figure out a new budget too, and it’s hard when there are so many variables. Looks like you are off to a good start with a general outline.

  3. It’s so exciting to be managing a budget but it’s also scary! The first thing I did was write everything down too, so I’m sure you feel less stressed about it now. You’re smart so you got this! My first thought when I wanted to save and budget was exactly the same – so much to save for! 401k, maxing out roths, e-funds, travel funds, gift funds, I mean the list goes on. Looks like a good start though :)

  4. Does your employer match your 401k contributions? If so, (1) contribute the minimum % to get the full match (free money!), (2) fully fund the Roth IRA, (3) go back and try to max the 401k (if possible).

    My wife and I still work our budget at the beginning of each month on paper. We’ve gotten into a rhythm with the fixed expenses but the variable ones can be tricky! We also do the cash envelopes for food, going out, entertainment, clothes, etc. Good luck to you two, you’ll get your own system rolling and perfected soon :)

    • I think credit cards are fine with discipline. But it’s just so easy to swipe that card and pay extra since you don’t feel the pain like when you are spending cash.

      Check out Vanguard for your Roth or Traditional IRAs, they offer very low cost mutual funds that will save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Compare the expense ratios of Vanguard funds versus T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, etc.

      Hopefully your 401k will have solid, low cost options to build your retirement savings. If not, call your HR department and ask if they can make changes to the selections.

      I keep mentioning low cost funds, google ‘bogleheads forum’ for some really great advice from very knowledgeable and successful people. I’ve learned so much from them in only a few months.

      Take care!

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