May Budget

What my budget should look like for May

What my budget should look like for May

May in my budgeting world actually starts on the 3rd and ends on the 30th (don’t ask). At the start of each month, I like to sit down and decide how much money I should allocate to each budget category, based on what I have written on my calendar and what I expect to occur. My income is not fixed, so I used an average of what I expect it should be, and I shoot for the lower end of the spectrum as far as pay cheques go.

Student Loan

My main reason for having a budget so I’m going to continue tackling this, the same way I have been for the last three months (not that you would know what I have been doing -_-).

Savings

Even though I have student loan debt and I put what I deem to be significant amount to it every month, I still want to save money. I don’t see the point in putting every penny to debt and then if something happens I’m cashed strapped. I love travelling, so I will continue to put $100 a week to that account and $60 to my Rainy Day fund. I know it probably seems backwards, but if something dire had to happen I would use the travel money. Simple. Plus, any extra money I save throughout the week goes to my Rainy Day fund.

I have set up my income to go to two different bank accounts every pay day, so the Other Savings category is what is left over when I have taken out what money I need for the week.

Gifts & Guilt Free Spending

So people decided to be born in this month and Mother’s Day happens to be this month as well as several outings I plan to attend. The money in these accounts is used for gifts (duh!) and clothing and other things I will need for my planned activities. I haven’t bought any new clothing since December, but I really need to buy a shirt or two and a pair of black flats (so I can wear them with everything. I’m such a cheapskate).

Transportation

My commute to and from work demands that I spend at least $40 a week on bus fare, but some days I can save money if I get a lift to work. I categorise this as a fixed expense and I don’t change it from month to month.

Allowance

This is just daily allowance to cover snacks and drinks and I have brought it down to $4 a day and even save it most days. I have the advantage of my employer providing lunch for us, so I don’t have to worry about either preparing lunch or preparing to buy lunch everyday.

Mobile

I have tried, and tried, and tried, to get my prepaid BB service on a monthly schedule, but to no avail, so now I budget $60.00 a month.

Utilities

I only pay one utility bill and I’m budgeting $80.00 for it this month as its usually that amount or less each month.

I could have just shut up and shown you this:

Monthly Breakdown (Major Expenses)

– Student Loan: $720.00

– Transportation: $160.00

– Allowance: $80.00

– Guilt-free spending: $160.00

– Gifts: $60.00 ($40.00 to be added that I saved in April)

These numbers aren’t set in stone and obviously some categories will have to be tweaked as the month progresses. The other savings category will most likely be that amount when the month ends, because as I said before, my income fluctuates.

What does your budget for May look like?

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Achilles Heel

Achilles Heel: Everyone has one or many and mine is junk food, but I’m getting way ahead of myself here, so let’s rewind.

I started budgeting on the 1st of February 2013, because I like to start things on a fresh page and January 1st had already gone, but like any normal person in this here 21st century, I decided to post my business on the internet, but  I digress.

One of the main reasons for starting a budget was to be able to pay way more than my minimum payment on my student loan and be able to track my money, so that I could save effectively. It’s no fun going to the bank and just randomly taking cash out and then one day realising your balance is not what you thought it should be. I started the process of working out how much I needed per week for my fixed expenses (transportation, loan payment, mobile payment [it shall remain] etc.), important variable expenses and savings. After jotting these down, came that all important category: Allowance. Now my allowance money previously went to, you guessed it, junk food. I could buy potato chips, gummy snacks and chocolates (the wafer kind) everyday with real hard earned money. If that wasn’t bad enough, I just went to the ATM at the beginning of the week and withdrew any amount of money I felt like using that week.

That crap would be no more!

I started off with a $30 weekly allowance ($6.00 per day), to cover junk food and other misc items and then after a few weeks chopped it down to $20 a week (4 frickin dollars a day!). I’m a master at trying to beat myself at my own game (slightly delusional but it works) so I would buy all my junk food at the beginning of the week for $6.00, ration it throughout the week and save the rest of the money. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even buy junk food everyday and I attribute that to three things:

– making sure I eat breakfast everyday

– not craving the snacks

– saving is more important than eating empty food, no matter how good it taste

Maybe I will walk into a store with $10 and walk out with a bag of junk food, later to be found hunkering down behind the sofa.

Here’s to seemingly overcoming my achilles heel and hopefully you can overcome yours too.

Small Victories

Delayed gratification is not something that most of us born in the last three decades are very fond of. We have become accustomed to this fast paced life and having things at our finger tips. No longer do we have stalk the radio to hear our favourite song or wait until we get home to tell our friends about something awesome that happened. So naturally, I don’t want to take 12 years to pay off my student loan. The thought of paying out money for 12 years is not a happy one, so I’ve created a goal to pay it off in 5 years or less. It is really daunting to look at my Student Loan balance and think I owe that much money to someone, so I’ve decided to create small victories for myself and my peace of mind. It is powerful, isn’t it, tricking yourself to make a situation more appealing.

The plan

The yearly payment required on my loan will be paid in a  four month period, therefore I will be paying off three years of my loan in one year. I will work with four month goals and subtract each payment from that goal amount and every time I knock it off, it will be small victory for me. My balance will still be high in the first year or two, but at least I will be meeting my goal, by cutting the large balance into smaller chunks. The amount for the payment will be one of the first things I budget for each month.

The Good News

My payments are not scheduled to start until June but I have started paying since February, so I’m ahead of their schedule. I have paid off all the interest that accumulates during the one year they give us to start paying back and have started the principal payments. Once I can keep this up, I should be able to pay off this debt by 2017 (gosh that seems so far away).