March 2016 and April 2016 Update

March 2016 and April 2016 Update

Full disclosure: I came up with the budget in the previous post back in February. I used it throughout March and April and I wanted to document how it has been going. I hope you all enjoy reading my breakdowns as much I enjoyed tracking and analyzing my spending the past few months. Stay tuned for the May 2016 update in a few weeks!

 

 Budget  March  April
 Roth 401(k)         245        245      245
 Roth IRA         455        455      455
 Rent         900        900      900
 Electricity         120          30        11
 Gas           35            7          7
 Cable         120          55        53
 Car Insurance         125        122      122
 Parking DTLA         130        130      130
 Gas & Fuel           85        104        36
 Other Auto           75          80        56
 Entertainment           50          24      331
 Groceries         130          37      111
 Restaurants         110        100      252
 Misc Expenses           75          26      169
 Pets         125        245        77
 Shopping           50          41         –
 Additional Savings         550        780      425
     3,380     3,380   3,380

 

 

 

Roth 401(k) Contributions

Budget March April
245 245 245

This is an auto deduction from my paycheck, it’s going to happen every month, rain or shine.

 

Roth IRA Contributions

Budget March April
455 455 455

This is another auto savings device, it gets transferred from my direct deposit account to my IRA right after the first payday of the month.

 

Rent

Budget March April
900 900 900

Fixed expense, don’t anticipate much movement in the rent price, but should it change, the budget will update accordingly.

 

Utilities

Utility Budget March April*
Electricity 120 30 11
Gas 35 7 7
Cable 120 55 5

3

This is one of the budget items I’m anticipating will have a large variance from budget to actual every month. The three reasons why though are good ones!

  • I live with a roommate who splits half of the cost of these with me, but I budget as if he won’t pay. On the remote chance that he doesn’t pay, I don’t want to be left to pay for something I can’t afford to pay right away.
  • Goes hand in hand with #1, but the utilities are in my name, so usually I pay them first, then ask for money from my roommate. I could ask for money first, but I usually figure out how much we each owe as I’m paying the bill.
  • I budget for the highest amount that I expect to see throughout the year. We live in Southern California, so typically our heating and cooling bills are pretty small, but there are usually a couple of months during the year where they rise significantly. January is usually a month where our gas bill goes up (heating) to around $35, and then August and September is a month where our electricity goes up (air conditioning) to about $120. For almost every other month our gas is around $15 and electricity around $70. For cable, our bill rises to $120 during football season (see below), but most other months it’s about $110.

 

My roommate and I love watching sports, which is the main reason we have cable. It’s hard to watch the Dodgers and Kings without it! However, during the fall we do splurge (even extra) for the TWC Sports Pass so we can get Pac-12 Networks (Fight On Trojans!)  NFL Network and NFL Redzone. We love our fantasy football leagues, and we typically have people over every weekend to watch. It’s a luxury for sure, but when we split the cost it’s not too bad.

 

*Side note for April – Southern California Edison gave out climate credits in April for around $40. That’s why our electricity bill was soooo low in April. Its pretty much never that low!

 

Car Insurance

Budget March April
125 122 122

Doesn’t typically change from month to month. There’s a lot of advantages to being 23 that can help me keep my expenses low, but unfortunately when it comes to car insurance, being 23 sucks! I’ve tried plugging my info and desired coverage levels into every insurance provider I can think of, and this was the lowest I could find! Most other providers were somewhere around 150-210. I guess they really don’t want to insure young people!

 

Parking in downtown

Budget March April
130 130 130

I park downtown every week day and this is the cheapest monthly rate I could find around my office. It’s a few blocks away from my building, but it beats the $270 that my building was charging! I think they’re going to raise my parking structure to $160, but for now it’s still $130.

 

Gas (Auto)

Budget March April
85 104 36

Typically I fill up twice per month, but right at the end of March I had to fill up for a third time! It helped out with April though, so in the end it was pretty much a wash.

 

Other Auto

Budget March April
75 80 56

This includes the Fasttrack, Ubers, other parking, maintenance, oil changes, ect.

 

Entertainment

Budget March April
50 24 331

March was pretty good, used a gift card to go to see Batman vs Superman, rented The Big Short to watch at home, and paid for Netflix, paid for my Sirius XM subscription, and that was pretty much it.

 

April however was a different story, but I’m ok with the reason why. We had the usual suspects – Netflix, Sirius and a rented movie (Concussion). The big budget killer however came right at the end of April, when my girlfriend and I went to Stagecoach! It’s California’s country music festival and it was amazing! We got to see my favorite band (Old Dominion), and many of country’s upcoming and biggest stars! We have gone the past 3 years and it’s something we look forward to all year. Next year I’m going to have my $300 buffer saved up in this account so that it’s not the budget buster it was this year (not only in entertainment, but also in restaurants, and miscellaneous expenses as well, see below)

 

Groceries

Budget March April
130 37 111

Groceries have been pretty low the past few months. During March we’re really busy at work, and I’m staying at the office pretty late so my dinners get paid for. Keeps my food expenses low, but I’d rather be at home!

 

Restaurants

Budget March April
110 100 252

Like with entertainment above, Stagecoach was the big buster here in April. I spend over $90 at the venue throughout the weekend on food and drinks, but when you’re showing up around 2-3 and leaving after midnight, you gotta eat something! We did an OK job this year of eating our breakfasts and lunches at the hotel, but next year I’m going to see if we can do even better! There was one other big ticket item in April, when a few friends from college were in town and we went out to eat and hang out. It was about a $40 meal, but it was worth it to hang out with some good friends I hadn’t seen in a while. With some better planning going forward, I’m hoping to be able to absorb meals like that and events like Stagecoach without having it bust my budget.

 

Misc Expenses

Budget March April
75 26 169

I typically don’t like a “catch-all” budget like Miscellaneous, since its easy to just shove things there and not worry about them. So even though I have this line item, I’m going to list out each transaction to help hold myself accountable:

 

March – $26 at Home Depot – I bought a 6ft tall bamboo looking fence to put around the balcony so my dogs don’t try to jump over the balcony’s fence. I guess this could have gone under pets, but I was already way over my budget there (see below)

 

April – $23 for a haircut and $142 for the hotel at Stagecoach.

 

The last time this month Stagecoach will be a budget buster! Although it could have been worse. The hotel’s jack up the prices in Palm Springs around Stagecoach and Coachella, so I split the hotel cost with 3 other people.

 

Pets

Budget March April
125 245 77

 

March was a crazy expensive month for the 2 dogs, mostly due to one of the pups having a puncture wound in one of his paws L! It was horrible to see him limping around, but he’s all healed up now! He needed 2 trips to the vet, along with some antibiotics and a cleaning solution to soak his paws in. Those vet trips add up fast, so hopefully we don’t have many going forward! Our usual costs for the month are food/treats for about $60 and flea treatment for about $10. I budget a little bit more any toys, boarding, doggy daycare, vet trips, so if those things come up we have some cushion. It didn’t work too well in March, but I’m anticipating that over the next few months we’ll make up for that difference.

 

Shopping

Budget March April
50 41 0

I don’t typically think about my self as a really big shopper, but after analyzing my spending over the past few years, I find I spend around $50 a month on items. Most of the time its big ticket items that take up a few months worth of spending, or its gifts for family and friends, but it’s a pretty consistent line item so I wanted to separate it out of something like miscellaneous, but I’ll treat it pretty similarly:

 

March – I started playing soccer after work, and had been playing in my regular tennis shoes. I didn’t want to buy new cleats right away, just in case I didn’t continue playing, but after playing a few times decided it was time to buy some. I went to Big 5 and bought a pair on sale for $40, they wouldn’t have lasted through the practices and games I had almost every day in HS, but for once a week in an after work league with a bunch of accountants they’ll do just fine.

 

Additional Savings

Budget March April
550 780 425

My initial goal was to save $550 a month more than I had previously been saving. In March I was able to far surpass that, which is an encouraging sign. In April I didn’t quite hit my goal, but I still put $425 more towards savings than I would have last year. If I didn’t have a $535 Stagecoach weekend (tickets+food+hotel), I would have been even higher than in March! I wouldn’t trade that weekend for the additional savings, but it does tell me that there is room in other lines of my budget to ramp it up even more and increase my goal.

 

 

 

One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *