Breaking Down the Budget

Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve kept a budget. It’s undergone some changes throughout the years, the numbers have expanded, shrunk, and expanded again. It’s been written on paper, typed in an excel document, and even for a brief stint, recorded on an iPhone app.

Since this past January, I’ve reverted back to the good ole’ budgeting days of college (back when my grocery budget was $40 a month… oh boy!) and have been tracking my spending in an excel document. However, I must admit that the past few months, I ever been ever so reluctant to turn on my computer, open excel and to log all of my income and spending (first world problems, I know). As this blog is helping push me into ass-kicking ninja mode, I figured it was time to be honest, open and finally get back to seriously logging my cash flow!
My take home salary for the current budget cycle, October 18-November 19, is $3,296.52. This number will change next month, as $200 will be taken out for a 403B before it even hits my bank account. However, it’s what there is to work with now.
Currently, I pay a combined total of $1,223.52 a month on my loans on, excluding the extra payments I make using money from waiting tables. So essentially, this month I’ve got $2,073 to “play” with. My current budget break down is as follows:
Savings: 250
Gas: 160
Groceries: 120
Eating Out: 50
Fun: 50
Toiletries and Misc.: 100
Toll Tag: 40
CrossFit: 72.25
Extra Loan Payment: 300 (this comes straight from my salary)
Total Expenses: 1,142.25

Yikes! Right now I’m only saving a little over 7% of my take home pay (not including tip money)! Not only, but 37% of my take home pay (pre tips) goes straight to loans.  After subtracting my expenses from my “play” money, I’m left with $930.75. Not too shabby. Right now, I’ve got $1201.29 in my checking account. I like to keep a $500 cushion, just to be safe. This money is for emergencies. At this point in my life the only real emergency I can have is car trouble, but just keeping it there makes me sleep better at night. That being said, this month, I can ideally spend $701.29 extra on my loans. This coupled with the $535 extra I’ve already paid (from tip money), will be a whopping $2759.81 spent on loans! When adding in the $535 from tips, that constitutes 72% of my total income for the month. Holy. Cow. 
Here’s the only thing… I have yet to make that $701.29 payment. I’m not sure if I’m the only one like this, but it worries me to clear out my checking account so “early” in my budget cycle. What if something drastic happens? I know the chances of that happening are pretty slim, but let’s be honest, my car, a good, sturdy, faithful vehicle, suddenly broke down in August and needed $1,200 worth of repairs. And- this was only 3 weeks after having to replace the rear brakes and get new tires, which cost an additional $400. I don’t anticipate any other terribly major expenses. I know I need front brakes, but other than that, the car is in tip-top shape. However, that $1,200 cleared out my checking account and made it really tight to get through the month of September, so it just makes me leery to pay the extra amount so early.
Alas, I will wait to the end of the budget cycle to pay the extra amount. Additionally, by that point, I’ll have several hundred more to add in from tip money over the next few weeks. So fellow debtors, the final percentages and amounts are TBD. 
The last thing I’d like to note: this budget is by no means perfect. My budget “categories” and their limits are still a work in progress. Since I’m now on ninja mode, these will definitely be changing next cycle. There is certainly plenty of wiggle room within the categories (Fun and Eating Out to start with) that will undoubtedly be changed. This blog and this journey is a work in progress, something that will definitely be improved upon. Just bear with me as we get there. 🙂
Hasta pronto!
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