Monthly Budget Dec 2013
After thinking and praying about it for over a year, Carrie and I have decided to start posting our monthly budget.
(Please read this before leaving comments or jumping to conclusions as to our intentions behind releasing our finances.)
We may or may not release our net worth and investments numbers quarterly. We aren’t sure how we feel about that yet. This is a big step for us so we thought we would take it slow. Is our net worth and investments something you are interested in seeing? I can see how that would be helpful for the larger conversation on money. Let us know, down below in the comments section.
Let’s get right to it. Here are the numbers for Dec 2013.
Further explanations are below for the categories that say SEE BELOW. I won’t explain everything, just the interesting parts.
|Income total (net)||7410||9627||2217||SEE BELOW|
|Church giving||230||180||50||SEE BELOW|
|Direct TV / Internet||90||139||-49|
|Cell phone||135||134||1||SEE BELOW|
|4- Mo expenses||35||0||35|
|Car replacement||0||8205||-8205||SEE BELOW|
|Vacation / Christmas||400||211||189|
|Car gas / Oil||300||327||-27|
|Investing / Retirement||0||0||0|
|Car insurance||30||220||-190||SEE BELOW|
|Car repair||100||310||-210||SEE BELOW|
|Wifi Hotspot||0||72||-72||SEE BELOW|
|Cricket hotspot||200||68||132||SEE BELOW|
|Subtract Total Spending from Total Income||0||-4112||-4112||SEE BELOW|
|Should equal zero||savings / overspending|
OK, it’s all out there, there is no going back now! Lots of things to “explain” this month. December is usually different from other months with bonus checks, traveling, gifts, and – not to mention – we bought a car. Actually, every month is different, isn’t it?
Let’s go through the categories that need explaining…
1. Income: We aren’t planning on getting specific with our different sources of income at this time. We have between 3 and 5 different sources of income depending on the month. Listing how much is earned from each source wouldn’t be right or fair to our different employers. Our income for December was about $4,ooo higher than the average 2013 month (no, we do not make $115,524/yr). Carrie got a bonus check at work and I got paid early for some work I did in December that normally would have been part of January income. (January income will be below average as a result.) Our average monthly income has increased by about 40% compared to 2011 and 2012. I quit my old job two years ago and we lived off of Carrie’s income only for most of 2011 and 2012. My income is starting to bounce back. We will see what 2014 has in store for me, my business, and my income.
*Also of note for income. We did not show gross income, taxes, 401(k) contribution, flex health savings contribution, income from investments, net worth, or cash savings. Like I said above, we may or may not share that information quarterly. What you see here is net income and budget/spending only.
2. Church giving: Yup, it is WAY LOW (as a percent of our monthly income). Let me (try to) explain…
When Carrie and I first got married we had several conversations about how much to give monthly to our church. Three years ago we were earning a LOT less than we are now. (And remember, this month’s income was a lot higher than normal.) You will notice that we planned to give $230 and only gave $180. That is because we have an automatic withdrawal from our bank account to our church each month. Our church was running a building fund campaign and we were giving $50/mo to the building fund. We must have set the $50/mo building fund giving to stop in Nov 2013. We haven’t increased our church giving since the original conversation three years ago. This month, we just happened to have a month with a huge income increase while dropping the $50 building fund. Carrie and I were both surprised by this and it lead to some serious conversations about increasing our giving. It is what it is, and I won’t try to explain my way out of anything. Carrie and I feel really good about the money we have given to our church over the past three years. With an irregular income and a fixed monthly withdrawal for giving, the % will go up and down each month. Next month the % will shoot back up, even if the amount we give stays the same. Previous months before December 2013 also had much higher % giving stats. I have a lot to say about giving, stick around and we can chat about giving on the blog and the podcast. So, not exactly what we wanted to share on our first public budget release on the giving side of things. But, this is the truth and as a result, we will be adjusting according to our new income averages.
3. Rent: Carrie and I aren’t homeowners (yet). A very long story made short…
A tree fell on the house we are renting and the repairs are taking months to finish. We are living rent free in an apartment that our landlord owns. Our rent is normally $950/mo. So, we are literally saving $950 a month while the repairs are made. While this is an inconvenience, saving $950 a month and living rent free is a pretty sweet deal!
4. Cell Phone: Yup, way high! This is for my phone only. Carrie’s phone is paid for at work. Carrie and I used to be on the same plan. We had two iPhones with AT&T. We were paying $180/mo for both of us. A few months ago, Carrie’s work started paying for her phone. When she was dropped from our plan, our bill went from $180 to $135. This feels really high for just one phone. I have been lazy about this and haven’t checked in to lowering my bill. Maybe I will get to it this month.
5. Car replacement: We bought a car this month! We saved and saved and bought a 2009 Dodge Journey. We paid $8200. We paid cash, no loan or payments for us! The tax was $715 (paid in Jan, not Dec). We did two repairs (heated seat and power lock repair) that cost $600. We sold Carrie’s other car in November for $3,200. So we basically had to pay $5,000 out of our pocket for the new car. Cars are what they are. Cars are a HUGE expense that most people will deal with their entire lives. Cars are a sinking cost. Cars are always depreciating in value. Cars cost money, they need repairs, gas, insurance, inspection, tax, title, and registration. Paying for a car with cash is always better than having a car payment. More about cars on the blog and podcast, so stay tuned.
6. Gifts: Christmas = gifts, travel, and extra expenses. We traveled from Kansas City to Oklahoma City for Christmas. Gifts, travel, gas, food… it all adds up. The holidays come every year, shouldn’t be a surprise. Plan for the holidays all year. Saving $100 a month makes all those expenses a lot easier. The holidays can be stressful enough without the added financial stress.
7. BABY! Carrie and I are expecting our first child in April 2014. We haven’t spent much money on baby stuff yet, less than three hundred dollars so far. We are lucky, we have been given almost everything we need from family and friends. We are planning a natural home birth, so I promise we will be talking about that a lot. More, much, much more on this subject later, stay tuned!
8/9. Car insurance / repair: New car = new insurance and a few repairs. We use Geico and we love it! 2009 Dodge Journey and a 1995 Toyota Camry cost $553.78 every six months for both cars. ($92/mo for both cars.)
10. Braces: Carrie only has another 2-3 months before she gets her braces off. Normally we get reimbursed 100% through Carrie’s work health flex saving account. We used all of the money in the flex account around October so we had to pay out of pocket for Nov and December. Jan, Feb, March 2014 we will again be reimbursed 100%. Braces will be off around March!
11. Business: We are still getting this business (Better Conversations with Derek and Carrie) off the ground (profit-wise), so some months we pull from our personal account to pay for things. This is happening less and less and we hope to not have to do this anymore during 2014. Anyone who has started their own business knows it takes a personal financial investment to get things started.
12/13. Wireless HotSpot: Because we are not in our house while it is being repaired, we got a hot spot instead of installing new Internet service at the apartment we are staying in (we are only going to be there for 2-3 months). The worst part about this is not being able to use the Google Fiber we are paying for at our house!
14. TOTALS: We earned $2217 more than we planned to this month. We spent $4112 more than we earned (because of the car). Without the car purchase, we would have earned almost $5000 more than we spent. The extra cash for the car purchase (obviously) came from our cash savings. Again, next month (Jan 2014) income is going to be a LOT lower. Oh the joy of an irregular income!
Read our reasons for posting our budget.
Download a copy of the same Google Doc spreadsheet that we use!
So, what do you think?
How is your monthly budget coming along?
Care to share anything?
-Derek, Carrie, Amelie
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