Monthly Budget Planning: February 2018 Preplan

I tried to start budgeting around November of last year but I just wasn’t able to make it work. I understood the theory of budgeting and started using the YNAB. I enjoyed looking at where my money was going but couldn’t seem to stop myself from breaking the budget. Not in one category. In all my categories. Apparently, budgeting doesn’t work if you aren’t 100% honest with yourself.

The problem?

I wasn’t 100% honest with where all my money was going. Little bits were being spent without being tracked. I didn’t have enough categories to properly account for everything I need and I even forgot to include a few reoccurring bills.

Between the end of November and now ( the end of January) I have just tried to not spend too much. With the great gray beast of February starting tomorrow it is time to get in gear so the rest of 2018 can move us toward our financial goals.

A little look back:

Good news is we came out of the Christmas Holidays with a nice bank balance. Which we will add to now, going into Valentine’s Day. We put all the income from Porter & Hazel into a separate account and take monthly distributions to live off of so we can be sure we can still pay for life during the slow months. One of our goals this year is to diversify our income so slow months are less of a problem. But for now, this ensures our future survival without having to get a regular job.

On Monday I deposited $6000 into my bank account to last through February. Somewhere around the last week of February, I’ll do the same thing to get me through March.  Though hopefully, I’ll be able to deposit less. We’ll see.

Category Breakdown

 

Housing: Budgeted: $2390.01

This includes my mortgage and all of the bills that it takes to run the house like sewer, trash, gas, electric. Unfortunately, there isn’t much room to save money in this category for the month of February. We have a 15-year mortgage so even though we bought our home for around $150k our mortgage is almost $1700 a month. High but a bit of perspective for this expensive category.

My gas bill is quite high this month. Probably means I forgot to pay it last month. December is crazy for us, so that is entirely possible. However, that does mean that I’ll be able to have this category be lower for March.

I do overpay on my mortgage every month including February (already made the payment). But I’m serious about debt relief so starting in March I’m going to pay the required amount and put that extra towards a credit card.

Health & Fitness: Budgeted $918.36

This category is a bit of a guesstimate. I saw a Get Rich Slowly review of YNAB and he used a health & fitness category which kind of blew my mind. Like Duh. Of course, medical expenses don’t just go in with regular expenses. Especially since this is a pretty big area for my family. Thankfully this area will go down quite a bit after February.  Spending $250 on an emergency room visit is a hard to swallow but sometimes those things are unavoidable. The other big guesstimate is what to set aside for prescriptions. We don’t spend $100 on prescriptions a month, but I put that into the category because I am on a pricey medication that will have to be refilled in the next month or two. So I’ll use what I need and put the rest toward future refills, and add to this category again next month.

True Expenses: 148.48

This category contains items that are important and non-negotiable. But this also means this category is flexible. This month my daughter needs a few things but hopefully, she’ll find a job soon and then I will be able to pay less for her life. This is where I also track my dwindling extra money. The oh so lovely “stuff I forgot to budget for” category is down to $25. While looking over the budget for this post I realized I forgot my the car inspection, my health insurance, gas for the car, and a few other things.

Credit Card Debt Payments:$413 minimum payment, $628.13 paid.

This was actually higher than I thought it would be. But that’s ok because it includes an additional $215 towards our lowest card paying it off! Woot!

Next month I’ll finish paying off our next lowest card (which currently has a balance of $77 and then throw the rest onto our Discover card which has balance (before this month’s payment) of $624. Hopefully, by then we will be pulling in some extra cash from side hustles and we can throw more money at the debt.

Other Categories

Automotive: $345.52 – car payment, gas, and maintenance

Phone Bill: $147.60

Student Loans: $463.33

Charity: $60.00

Travel: $100
After Valentine’s Day, we are going up to New York to see some family. This should cover the gas and other expenses while we are up there. Honestly, we might not spend this at all. So I might be able to apply this elsewhere in the latter half of the month!

Final Thoughts

Being this nitty gritty about my budget makes me feel responsible and very adult. So much so that I can’t see why everyone doesn’t want to do this. This is much less stressful than just ignoring my money all and hoping it works out. I feel a little like I should get an award for adulting.

My biggest struggle is not comparing my beginning to the current successes of other bloggers. I couldn’t run my house on $3,000 if I tried. My house isn’t 1500 sq ft. Sometimes looking at the budgets where people are saving over half of their income is crazy!!! I feel like I’ll never get there.

For now, I just have to accept where we are in this process and keep moving forward to the life we want.