For exactly three years now, we have shared the details of our family’s budget with the world. Making personal finance public has kept us motivated and accountable for reaching our financial goals.
Even though we’re debt-free now, we plan to continue sharing our family’s real budget as we work toward other financial goals. If you’re curious about our past debt repayment reports and budget reports, you can find them in the personal finance made public archives.
Last week I was interviewed on the His and Her Money show podcast. If you’re working to pay off debt, you’ll be encouraged and motivated by listening to all of their debt-free stories. You can listen to my episode here! 🙂
Okay… on to the numbers!
Now that we’re done paying off our debt, we are working toward some new goals. Before we really start saving for a down payment, we have some intermediate goals that total $33,000. Our pre-house goals address things we’ve ignored while on our crazy-focused debt payoff adventure, like saving for vehicle replacements, putting money toward retirement and taking advantage of tax-reduction strategies (more on that here).
You can read about our pre-house goals in detail here.
We started saving toward these goals after we finished paying off six figures of law school debt. This month we put an additional $5,116 into our pre-house goal fund, which brings our total to $13,774, or almost 42% percent of our goal. We’re hoping to reach our goal by the end of the year, so with only three months left, it’s going to be close.
Our total net income for September was $7,283. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we haven’t used yet. We will be budgeting and spending it in October.
Attorney Income (Day Job)– $5,141 Mr. SixFiguresUnder has been working full-time as an attorney for the state of California since the fall of 2015. His actual take-home pay is $3,762, but I add back in the cost of the benefits (insurance, dental, vision, parking, union dues and retirement) that are automatically taken out of his check so that I can show them to you in our budget below.
Attorney Income (Private Practice)– $0 On top of working full-time (and a three-hour round-trip commute), my husband has his own private law practice on the side which normally brings in a respectable income. In September, he worked less and was late in getting bills out, so we decided to just wait for next month to take a paycheck from the firm.
My Income (Blog)– $2,142 The income that I report is the income that I received this month minus all of my blogging expenses. Well, all of my expenses except taxes. We will deal with that one later (and it’s going to be painful).
If you’re interested in the details of my blogging income and expenses as well as other blogging tips and resources, you can sign up for my Behind-the-Scenes Blogging emails to get the scoop. If you want to start your own money-making blog, check out my complete step-by-step instructions for setting up a self-hosted blog.
Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. For more about how living on last month’s income works and how you can get started, check out my free Guide to Getting a Month Ahead Financially. Our spending in September came from the income we earned in August. In addition to the savings goal above, here’s how we spent money in September:
Other Giving– $80 Other charitable donations this month.
Mortgage/Rent– $0 Living in my in-laws’ unfinished basement is a huge blessing. I don’t expect everyone to do what we do, but for us, it’s worth sacrificing some comforts and privacy to make headway on our financial goals. If you are considering living with family, here are some things to consider.
Internet– $0 Thanks to some legal work that my husband did for our service provider, we will have free internet for a while. It’s nice to stretch our budget by bartering, though we will still pay income tax on the fair market value of Internet service at tax time next year.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $25 We’ve been using Republic Wireless as our cell phone carrier for over two years now. This $25 covers the cost of service for both our phones, including all taxes and fees. If your cell phone bill is killing you, I definitely recommend that you check them out!
Health Insurance– $739 We have insurance through my husband’s employer. This is the portion of the insurance premium that his employer does not cover. It includes health, dental and vision insurance premiums.
Car Insurance– $107 We insure two older vehicles (both 1997). Our auto insurance at USAA is fabulous! In addition to the wonderful coverage, they also give us dividends at the end of the year, which is always a nice treat. We’re able to get insurance with USAA because my husband’s father was in the service years ago. If you or your parents were in the military, you’re probably eligible for USAA too!
Renters Insurance– $14 Our renters insurance is also through USAA. It doesn’t cost much and it’s really great to have when you need it, like when my husband’s car was broken into a couple of years ago. Car insurance covered the car damage and vehicle related items, but it was our renters insurance that covered his personal property.
Food– $305 We had a pretty normal grocery month. We also ate yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, grapes, and blackberries from the garden. Our grocery budget also included ordering pizza after being in town late for a sporting event and going to Subway on a Saturday in town.
If you are struggling to get your grocery budget down, check out the Grocery Budget Makeover.
Gas– $332 Gas is sitting at $3.59 right now. Since my husband took several days off work to go to San Diego with me, then returned home to take care of the kids, he didn’t do as much driving this month.
Parking– $155 Working downtown means paying for parking. It comes straight out of my husband’s paycheck, which means it is paid for with pre-tax dollars, a small consolation I suppose.
Household– $75 This month we bought toiletries, disposable diapers (so my mother-in-law wouldn’t have to worry about washing diapers while I was gone), a bike lock, light bulbs, and a few other random things.
Entertainment– $71 Like I mentioned in my travel post from the other day, my husband joined me for two nights in San Diego at the beginning of FinCon. Since the cost of my hotel was covered, the only thing we had to pay for was his flight and parking at the airport. I was able to use credit card reward points for the flight (it was $118, for the record), so that just left parking at the airport, which was a whopping $58 for 2 nights (read more about this frugal flop here). The kids watched several movies on VidAngel during the month. Also, my husband and I ate at In-n-Out on an otherwise free date night earlier in the month.
Kids’ Activities– $150 Our 7-year-old and 8-year-old do one organized sport in the school year, which costs $75 for each of them.
Car Repair– $280 My husband’s car failed the smog test the when he tried to register his car last month, but with this repair he was able to pass. His car also passed the 250,000 mile mark this month! Let’s see how far it goes!
Car Registration/Smog– $168 Since his car passed smog, my husband was able to register it. It was late, so the registration was high.
Retirement– $484 With my husband’s state job, this amount comes directly out of his paycheck and into his state retirement fund. While we have some retirement savings from before law school, we hadn’t contributed for several years while in school and paying off student loans. It’s nice to see our retirement funds growing again.
College Savings– $100 We contribute $25 per month per child to 529 accounts. It’s not much, but it’s a start. More on our decision to start saving for college in this post.
And just like that, September is over! Now that October is here, my husband and I are hoping to take a look at some of the houses on our radar. Probably most of them will not be on the market by the time we have money, but we still want to look. 😉
How About You?
- I’d love to hear about how your budget and/or debt repayment went in September!
This post contains referral or affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. You can get details in my disclosure policy. I sincerely appreciate your support!
Free when you subscribe!
Get frugal inspiration and financial motivation in your inbox every week, plus you'll also get the Guide to Getting a Month Ahead Financially for free!