Okay friends! This is the budget you’ve all been waiting for (okay, maybe not everyone, but I know there are lots of you who have been eager for us to get a house payment so we’ll be more relatable).
Well folks, we’ve got a mortgage now, and it’s no joke!
What’s also not a joke is our current internet situation. We knew that getting internet to our new house would be a challenge, but we felt good about the house and were confident that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
We knew that “way” might require spending $5K to build a tower high enough to reach fixed wireless or paying thousands of dollars to extend the cable internet line so it reaches our house. In addition to the cost, there’s also the time factor. Right now the current rough estimate is $6K and 4+ months of construction time (mostly waiting for permits) after we have the cash to put down.
So now I blog from my car. Your heard that right. I sit in my car and use free internet around town so I can continue to blog. All because I love you. (And we’ve got to pay for internet somehow!)
Back to February’s budget.
As expected, it was a little bit of a doozie, with moving and all. Without looking through the three and a half years of budget archives here, I’m going to guess that this was our highest month for our grocery budget and for eating out.
Plus, there were moving expenses, albeit small ones since it wasn’t too involved.
Here are all the details!
Our total income for February was $14,581. 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 during March.
Attorney Income (Day Job)– $5,509 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 was $4,407. 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)– $6,960– On top of working full-time, my husband has his own private law practice on the side (crazy, I know!). He started it last year to help speed up our debt payoff. His income fluctuates greatly from month to month. This was a higher month. After an estimated 30% for taxes ($2,088), that leaves $4,872.
My Income (Blog)– $2,112 The income that I report is the income that I received this month minus all of my blogging expenses. This was one of my lower months, as the past months of taking time off in December and being sick in January are catching up to me. Of this, I set 30% ($634) aside for self-employment taxes and the remainder ($1,478) goes into the family budget.
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’re looking for a tool to track your own blogging income and expenses, check out the Blog Finance Spreadsheets. And if you’re looking to increase your own blog income, check out 7 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Blog Income Overnight.
Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. When we started doing this, it literally changed our lives–in a big way! 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 February came from the income we earned in January. Here’s how we spent money in February:
Tithing– $1,075 We happily pay a 10% tithe on our total income from the previous month (January). You can read more about why we paid tithing even when we were in debt. Since we pre-paid a big chunk of tithing at the end of 2016 (for tax reasons), this didn’t actually come out of out pockets this month, but we’re keeping track so we know when we’ve reached the end of our $8,000 of pre-paid tithing.
Other Giving– $80 Other charitable donations this month.
Mortgage/Rent– $2,500 Here it is! Our first month of paying this mortgage! Our payment is actually slightly less than this, but I like round numbers, so we decided to just pay a nice even $2,500 each month, which shaves some years off the mortgage, even with such a small adjustment.
Electricity– $38 There were only a few days of the billing cycle on our first bill, which was nice to ease us into having an electric bill.
Water– $30 We haven’t had a water bill yet, and have no idea what it will be like (my in-laws have a well), but we set aside $30 in a sinking fund (aka category in our YNAB budget) to soften the blow for when the bill comes.
Internet– $200 This is kind of a sensitive subject, like I mentioned in the beginning. We’re setting this aside for a hefty installation charge that will be coming in the future so that out internet-less new home can get connected.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $30 We’ve been using Republic Wireless as our cell phone carrier for over two years now. This covers the cost of service for both our phones, including all taxes and fees (we’re on the Republic Refund plan). If your cell phone bill is killing you, I definitely recommend that you check them out!
Health Insurance– $408 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– $169 We are currently paying insurance on three vehicles (we will be retiring our old van soon thankfully). 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 last month of paying renters insurance! If only homeowners insurance was this cheap! 😉
Food– $395 Like I mentioned in the beginning, it was a bad month for groceries. Part of the problem was living at two houses. On the weekends we were at the new house and during the week we were in the basement. I had to keep both houses stocked with the essentials, which also meant more trips to the store. We also bought some convenience foods that we normally don’t ever buy. I was surprised to get some real pushback from my kids about it too. I thought they would be excited (and at first they were, as it was such a novelty), but then they complained that it was gross and homemade was way better.
Gas– $483 While my husband’s commute is down to just under an hour, I have a commute now too—taking the kids to school, which is an hour round trip. Some days I go hang out at my in-laws, so that I don’t have to go all the way home while the kids are at school. It’s worth it to us, though, to not make the kids switch schools mid-year.
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.
Clothing– $49 I made the mistake (or I scored big, depending on how you look at it) of walking by the clearance end-of-season clothing clearance racks. I found some great deals for my kids for next year. I also got some clothes for my older daughter’s birthday, but some will be returned depending on the sizes and colors that work best.
Household– $162 This is another category that got out of control. For example, I bought new tire chains before my husband went on a winter camping trip (which can’t be returned) because I couldn’t find the chains from our old van (and we weren’t sure if they’d fit the new van). Hubby came home found them right off the bat and they fit. That was $74 that we didn’t need to spend, for example. Some of these are minor “we just got a new house purchases” like additional bathroom trash cans from the dollar store. All major new house purchases are in another category below.
Fun– $30 As a special treat, we took the kids out to eat at a buffet for lunch one day when they got out of school early. Another time, we got a Redbox movie once for the kids to watch while we painted.
Car Repair– $739 We got new tires on the van and got some random problem with the power steering fluid reservoir fixed (it was making a terrible noise).
Car Registration– $83 The van’s registration was due. It was a little less than expected because there was money leftover from the title transfer that was applied to the registration.
Medical– $0 We definitely recognize this as a blessing that we are all healthy and generally have very, very few medical expenses each year.
Moving– $180 This includes renting a Uhaul, paying for its gas, and buying a much deserved dinner at In-n-Out after a long day of heavy lifting.
Home Improvement– $453 We put new door knobs on our exterior doors, painted the walls in most rooms, and hired a chimney sweep for a cleaning and safety inspection.
Furniture– $471 We got some great second-hand furniture including a couch, two loveseats, armchair, three wooden stools and a desk. I also got this vacuum and this stove pipe thermometer new on Amazon. They’re not exactly furniture, but that’s how I’m categorizing it for the budget!
Retirement– $539 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.
Here’s a quick look at our progress on our current savings goals.
In February, we added back $2,000 of the $3,000 that we borrowed from our emergency fund when we closed on our house.
Right now we have a little over $2,000 in our tax savings account. Yikes!
We have LOTS of work to do!
How About You?
- I’d love to hear about how your budget and/or debt repayment went in February!
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