Budget Update

I'm expecting this will not be a regular post, but I figure until we get our budget figured out, I will share.

First thing to know (or at least acknowledge) is that we started our budget in the middle of the month already behind.

In December with Christmas cards, trees, gifts, and lots of food, we ended the month with much less money than we would have liked in Justin's account (which is our main spending account). Justin got his paycheck early (on Dec. 27) rather than getting it on the 3rd like we expected. So on the one hand it was nice to have the money early, but on the other hand it probably didn't help us stay on budget.

Then on top of the early paycheck, Justin neglected to tell me about a lot of January yearly expenses, which I have already discussed. All of that came from emergency savings. *sigh* It was okay, because we got quite a chunk of cash to put back into our emergency savings for Christmas. I still don't really like taking money out of that account, so that is when I decided to get on top of our budget.

I hate to provide another THEN statement, but that is exactly what happened. THEN Justin's boss neglected to pay him on time. He got his second monthly paycheck nearly a month after the last one. (In other words, Justin and I are accustomed to him getting two paychecks a month, one on the third and one on the eighteenth. He didn't get his second paycheck until the twenty-fifth.)

Just to make things even more confusing, I started playing around with Mint.com. I added my checking and savings accounts to the website, so that Justin could see how our emergency accounts were affecting our finances. The end result was confusion. (I also fixed one of Justin's loan accounts that was showing up twice indicating that we were in twice as much debt as we are.) Apparently, when you add accounts, Mint shows it as an increase or decrease in money for that one month rather than showing how all of the previous months of using that account have had an affect on your finances.

Justin and I knew we were going to be over budget this month since we had not saved up for over $500 in yearly expenses, but the confusion caused by Mint meant we weren't entirely certain how far over we were until... yesterday.

Unfortunately I'm still not entirely certain as to how far over budget we are, but the things I do know are:

- If Justin has money in his account, he spends it. (I do too; he's not alone in this problem.)
- Food is a real problem area for us. It's really shocking when you break down your food budget and realize you could have eaten one meal out every day during the month and still been at the same amount spent on food.
- Justin had a cut in pay this month due to the fiscal cliff or whatever that was. I won't talk about it like I know what I'm saying; I don't. All I am saying is that $150 less a month is a lot.
- Then I learned this morning that I was off in calculating our student loan pay off budget; apparently we needed to include $50 more than what I was told.

In other words, I learned a lot about our budget this month. I guess the one thing I am most uncertain about is the "over budget" portion on our mint account. I'm not sure if this is just how much extra we have spent out of Justin's paycheck or if this number includes my paycheck as well. (My paycheck is not included under the term "income", but my income is considered as extra money earned for the month.) On a positive note, Mint says we've spent less than we did in December. Yay! It also says our net worth is improving! Woo! The last positive is that we will be able to more accurately budget with my account information included on Mint's website.

Hopefully next month I will report that our budget has improved significantly. I'm wanting to drop our food budget by a few hundred dollars. (There is no reason we need to be spending as much as we are every month.) On the other side of the coin, that is our hobby since we can't really afford to spend our money elsewhere. (Plus, we have to put all of the kitchen supplies we got from the wedding to use!)

A few other things our budget does not show about our food budget: we spent more time entertaining friends this month than we have in previous months, more money was spent on medicine due to being sick, and a few meals were bought that will be paid for by Justin's work when Justin gets his next paycheck. (Yay for work compensated meals! And friends!)

Next month our income will increase quite a bit as I have at least one high paying side job and Justin is getting our tax return back plus the money he earned this year on his Amex credit card. All of this money is already accounted for, but it will still be nice having it! :)

So yes, now that you all know what our budget looks like, you can help me stay on track, especially if I have to update you all next month! Eek!

Wishing you all a happy and financially wonderful Thursday!

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