I’m not really sure how much good this will do me, as every month is different, but now that I finally know how much income I’ll have every month, I figured it was worth doing some generalized thinking about how I should be dealing with it.
After taxes, health insurance, and $1000 a month deducted directly into my 401(k), my take-home pay per month will be (drum roll) $2147 and change.
Fixed Costs — the things that aren’t really adjustable.
$300–rent and most utilities (I know! living with a friend in a very cheap city is certainly a worthwhile financial decision)
$50–electric bill sinking fund (this is the only utility that’s variable, because there’s electric heat in the winter, so I’m setting aside $50 a month in the hope that I can draw on the excess during the winter)
$55–cell phone (at least for now; I am hoping to get onto a friend’s family plan and reduce this greatly)
Semi-fixed costs — the things that I could theoretically adjust a little, but these are fairly bare-bones numbers already so it would be hard to go lower
$50–gas and tolls
Everything Else–that leaves $1387 to allocate.
$250–emergency fund (until I get it up to $6000, which at this rate will be years)
$450–credit card debt (until it’s gone)
$50–cash for random spending (dry cleaning, postage, coffee, whatever)
This budget assumes I’m saving 31% of my gross pay (I’m only counting the retirement and e-fund there) which isn’t an awesome rate, but also isn’t as bad as it could be. Once I’m out of debt, I’ll have another $450 a month to play with, and while I could theoretically save the whole thing, what I’ll probably actually do is put half of that, $225, into a housing/car fund, and put the other half into slush. Slush is covering a lot here — gifts, clothing, minor car repairs, professional fees I can’t get reimbursed for, whatever. I’d like to feel less pinched in what I spend on things like that, even if it means I take longer to meet other goals.
What do y’all think?