current monthly budget

i’m about to get really transparent!  i’m excited to share our budget, as i’m almost constantly thinking about it! once our debt is paid off, i wonder what i’m going to think about…i look forward to that time.

i know this isn’t perfect yet and it’s still pretty cushy.  soon, i think i’ll have a comparison of what could go to debt if we stripped the budget even further.

also, i should mention that we haven’t ever got this budget right so far and we’ve been doing this since november 2014…we’ve always overspent most of our categories, but i know we can fit within them, so we need to keep trying.

net income: $6599.17 with 4 paycheck total.

total expenses: $4614.41

anticipated debt paydown: $1983.76

expense breakdown:

mortgage, insurance & taxes: $1471.42

HOA: $250, this includes water, trash, recycle, outside maintenance, roof maintenance, pest control and landscaping.

gas/electric: $50. we live in southern california, no need for air conditioning or heat, except for about 4 weeks a year.  we just battle through those relatively hot or cold times.

phone: $25, neil has a prepaid phone for $25 a month and i use google voice for free.

internet: $47.99

gym:  $35, two memberships and childcare included. neil uses it often, i haven’t used it since december 2014, but the childcare is great for us both to get a break.

compassion international: $38

groceries: $400

gas: $200

fun money: $200, i mostly use this for eating out at lunch time and starbucks…this needs to change and i am getting better.

arya: $40, mostly for diapers, wipes, clothes and snacks/toys

hygiene: $30 for haircuts, waxing, barber shop, soap, etc

date night: $25, this is new

clothing: $50, this is newer

house: $200

misc: $100, this is new

christmas: $45

birthday/holiday: $35

car care: $300

car insurance: $50

car registration: $25

shutterfly: $10

amazon prime: $10

travel: $250

sports equipment: $20, neil wants a beach cruiser and kayaks

technology: $20, i want a color printer and neil wants a smartphone, i also think i want an iPad.

daycare: about $400

preschool: $288





beautiful family photos on the cheap



compulsion took over me a couple weeks ago and after i saw an ad for a new photographer doing mini sessions for $30, i emailed her right away. i mean, i love when a good deal comes along, but now that we’re on our budget it’s hard to enjoy it when we haven’t set money aside for it.








when we moved to our new place, i joined several facebook groups relating to our area. that’s how i found out about the wild poppies.  they were great and really friendly.

after some thought of how to pay for it, i did some finagling and pulled out $30 from our shutterfly envelope. shutterfly deals with photography, so i thought that would be most appropriate. i also wouldn’t need the money for shutterfly for a while, so i’d have time to recoup the fund. i didn’t want to use our debit card, if possible, because i’d forecasted through the end of april and we don’t have that much of a cushion and i really didn’t want to use our emergency fund.

we decided to stick near our new place and had the photos taken at dog beach in ocean beach (san diego), ca. poor arya wouldn’t look at the camera and just wanted to run off the whole time, but the photographers were able to get some good photos regardless.  since it was only $30, we got high resolution prints that we can print off ourselves.  i may print one out to frame, but for sure they will go into our annual photo book.

we also got some good photos on our own that i’ve been posted to instagram the last couple of days.

so it pays to join local facebook groups to find good deals, but it would also pay to have a fund for these unexpected (or is it expected…) expenses.

what have you have saved money on that usually expensive?

our 2015 cash envelope system

cash envelopes 2015

if you are a follower of dave ramsey, then you probably know about  the baby steps. baby step #1 is saving up 1k as your starter emergency fund.  baby step #2 is the debt snowball.  we are currently on baby step #2 and with that, we needed to create a budget, stop using credit cards and use all our extra funds to pay down our debt (other than our mortgage) as fast as possible.

back in november 2014, we created our cash envelope system to use for 2015. basically, you try and figure out what you are going to need to spend money on throughout the year and then break it down into 12 and put money in every month.  so far, everything is going pretty well. like i’ve mentioned before, we’ve gone over budget on our food, but i’ve also been known to steal a little money from one envelope to pay for another envelope. i’m trying to stop that!  march is going to be the month for that.

we started using the plain old white envelopes and for some of our sinking funds, we are still using those.  for the categories we dip into more often, i started using the dave ramsey cash envelope system basic wallet that we got with our financial peace university kit. eventually, i think i’d like to get a newer system, but i’ll wait until my envelopes wear out.  my mom is a huge sewer, so maybe she’ll make me one! 🙂

The five envelopes in my dave ramsey wallet are:

food, my blow money, arya’s money, personal (haircuts, etc), and house. (my husband keeps his blow money in his wallet)

the plain, old white envelopes are:

car registration & insurance, car care, birthdays, christmas, amazon prime, shutterfly (for annual photo book), vacation, date night (new as of this month), & clothing.

there is one category that I’m not sure how to handle yet. every once in a while, i have to buy something for work and i get reimbursed as soon as submit my receipts.  its usually not more than $20 or so, so i usually just use the debit card and then deposit the check back into our account when i get it.  it hasn’t been an issue yet, so i’ll probably keep doing it that way.

i’m interested to see how everyone uses the cash envelope system! what categories do you have?