2014 Budget: Getting Serious

Based on my aggressive financial goals documented here ($500k by 1/1/18), and my 105% increase in monthly rent starting this month (le sigh), I need to stop my shopping trips to the mall and get serious about my budget. The time for fun comes when I obtain a larger percentage of my bonus or if the stock markets start to track faster to goal then planned. Right now, it’s time to be relatively frugal in the first-world-I-still-think-I-get-paid-too-much sense.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 12.10.59 PM This chart documents my budget plan for May going forward. I don’t actually think it’s reasonable but in order to hit my goals I have to focus on sticking to plan. If I force myself I know I can, and my bf is on board with figuring out how to save each month and help me achieve my goals as well. We’re going to start cooking together so it will be interesting to see what sharing household costs 50/50 does for my budget.

This budget plan keeps me above water monthly while also enabling $3k to be invested into the stock market and $1.4k to go to – also stocks – in my 401k. It’s a little off balance because I’ve actually already maxed out my 401k this year, so in reality I’ll be putting $4.4kish into the stock market (Vanguard funds mostly, maybe 80% ($3500) Vanguard (split between dividend growth fund and international fund) and 20% not-too-risky individual stocks for the fun of it. I’d like to get to $10k in my Vanguard funds ASAP to get their lower cost ratios (just turned my mid-cap fund into admiral going from .26% expenses to .1%, woohoo.)

Anyway, knowing me the chart above is completely unreasonable (as someone who spend $1k last month on clothes alone) but I also was spending $650 / month on rent, not $1350! That’s going to change things quite a bit as I’ll have to take enjoyment out of my home vs buying new shoes. Perhaps now that I’m living with the person I love and will be able to cook with him and be healthy, I’ll find enough happiness in that where shopping will no longer be interesting to me. Besides, I want to lose a ton of weight anyway before I go shopping again!

Well – this month I’m incredibly behind goal this month, but I also paid $300 in prorated rent this month, so it balanced out.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 12.34.49 PM


So in April things are a bit wonky. I have less rent to pay since over half the month I lived rent free, but I also put a lot of liquid cash into investments to hopefully get that month working for me sooner than later (that reminds me, I need to write a post on why I don’t believe in emergency funds for people who don’t have children.) In any case, I’m not doing so poorly this month, if you remove the $12200 transferred to my investments.

It probably makes more sense to look at March as an average budget month to compare to the new budget plans. I think March was a relatively standard month – heavy on the food costs, regular on rent etc. On to that chart…

Well, it turns out March wasn’t exactly a typical month either. I changed jobs mid month so my income was not regular, plus other things that made it a weird month for my budget. I ended up with more income then I’m listing, but I’m using my previous standard take-home pay for the March budget to analyze what I’ll need to change in my habits:

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 12.46.50 PM

So, in March I put about $2k into stocks (in April I move $12k into stocks, as noted above, so I’m still ahead of my $3k/mo plan.) Rent was cheap and included costs of credit check for my next apartment. Dining out was RIDICULOUS at $800 per month, that’s where the drastic change of budget is going to really come with cooking in our nice new kitchen (though I will need to buy some more cookware for that to happen.) I got my hair cut in March, so that was $80, and still spent too much on shopping with $480 there. Bought my boyfriend a relatively cheap $100 birthday gift and still owe him a nice dinner. 🙂

In any case, I’ve got to get serious about my budget now. No more $800 dining out months (what’s more ridiculous is that my boyfriend’s dining out bill is about the same, and we generally eat out together and split the bill 50/50 or switch paying for meals – so we could both save quite a bit there living together.)

Next month the game begins!

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