I like sharing my budgets and expenses because people are very interested in what others do with money. Last October I wrote about my planned monthly spending, but I never got around to figuring out how well I stick to those numbers. (My work situation and income have also changed since then.) In November I listed which charities I donate to, and how much each of them gets. In some ways this follow-up post is an accountability exercise.
This is how much money I spent in January, and what I spent it on:
Rent + utilities: $700
Gas + transportation: $77.37
Cafe outings: $44.02 (spread over eight occasions)
The total sum is $1,541.87. If you include the money I owe to my parents for health insurance, car insurance, cell phone service, internet, and Netflix, that adds another $463, bringing the total to $2,004.87. I typically reimburse my parents in periodic chunks rather than steadily each month — I should set up an automatic system. And I need to do something similar for savings. Right now I’m just letting extra money pile up in my checking account.
Caveats to keep in mind:
I live in a part of the Bay Area that’s less desirable than San Francisco or Oakland, but my rent is still slightly under-market.
One month is statistically insignificant and not wholly representative of all the other months.
My original post factored in expenses that I paid in lump sums (like my Gimlet Media membership); I simply divided the yearly outlay by twelve. In today’s accounting I only recorded money that was actually spent in January.
Let’s not even talk about taxes right now. Freelance taxes = ceaseless nightmare.
I want to share my new personal budget. My salary recently jumped $25k — I graduated from $30k per year with no benefits to $55k per year with insurance and other benefits. This triggered the necessity of re-budgeting, in a wonderful way! Having more money is great.
You can check out the spreadsheet, but I’m probably going to adjust that over time, so here’s how I’m currently breaking things down in terms of approximate monthly costs:
Rent and utilities: $750 (I live in Richmond, CA; soon will be sharing a one-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend)
Car insurance: $84
Health and dental insurance: $300 (I elected to stay on my parents’ plan and receive a monthly credit from my employer)
Cell phone: $52
Planned Parenthood donation: $10 (tax-deductible)
Saint James Infirmary donation: $10 (tax-deductible)
Total cost: $1,938.16. Since I’m drawing $4,583 monthly (approximately $3,070 after taxes) there’s about ~$1,000 of room for me to give more to charity, spend more on media, and save more! Woohoo. I’ll have to figure that out. At the moment I particularly want to focus on charity — I’d like to increase my donations to Planned Parenthood and the Saint James Infirmary, but PayPal doesn’t offer any immediately obvious way to do this. I’m also considering Compass Family Services.
Frivolous possibilities: The Economist for $13.33/month and Stack Magazines for $8.30/month.