This is why you love bare budget reports: You like that I’m a normal guy with a 9 to 5 (more like 7:30 to 6, but who’s keeping track?) job who doesn’t make thousands of dollars online that you can actually kind of relate to. Reading the financial details of the “Personal Finance Joneses,” as I’ve heard them called, is inspiring for some but discouraging for others.
We here in the Bare Budget Guy household are grateful to be on a solid financial path as we make slow but steady progress on our baby steps, and we have nothing to legitimately complain about. We have everything to be grateful for. The trick is to not let my desire to amass more wealth diminish my gratitude, which isn’t always an easy balance.
The bare budget reports not only allow you to see what the finances of a normal family of 5 look like on paper, but it also holds us accountable for our financial decisions.
Worst month yet
May was was our least profitable month so far this year. Some of that was part of “the Plan,” part of it was unexpected, and part of it was due to being lax.
The lower than average savings results were driven mostly by a sort-of budgeted purchase of picnic tables, a car insurance full policy prepayment, brake replacement for the minivan, timing of grocery trips, a spontaneous overnight trip to Chicago, and my THIRTY SECOND birthday.
If you’ve ever wondered if people’s online budget reports are real or doctored, wonder no more. This is our completely bare and honest budget. (Read: I really hope we do better next month.)
Last month was an unexciting month for income. Amanda didn’t collect anything for violin but still had to pay her sitters, and I got my trusty paycheck.
Giving $1,055 (spot on): We give 10 percent of our income. I am usually able to budget the exact amount because it is usually based on the prior month’s income. A few weeks ago, I talked about why we give (rather than become bajillionaries).
Groceries $957 ($307 worse): It’s been a while since our mortgage has not been our second largest expense. In the case of last month, groceries claimed that spot. This was mainly due to timing. I think we had a big shopping trip on both the first and last day of the month.
Mortgage $950 (spot on): I pay homeowner’s insurance and property taxes separately, usually as a lump sum so I can earn credit card bonuses. If I paid them all together with our mortgages, our payment would be closer to $1,250 per month.
Auto insurance $910 ($5 worse): We usually pay around $150 monthly for car insurance, but last month I paid for the whole 6-month policy up front to help us meet the spending requirements for a $500 credit card sign up bonus.
Auto $274 ($274 worse): We didn’t budget anything for auto repair because we didn’t anticipate any repairs. We had to get our rear brakes replaced in the mini-van. It’s not as bad as the broken window expense from last month, but it’s all starting to add up.
Clothes $224 ($144 worse): Amanda is still trying to help me elevate my wardrobe and got me some clothes for my birthday. I didn’t budget for any of my own birthday presents. That will be a lesson for next year.
Gas & Fuel $238 ($38 worse): We took a trip to Chicago over the holiday. Gas was our only expense because we were able to use my Marriott points for our overnight stay and we were able to get free admission to the museums using a reciprocal membership.
If you haven’t ever taken advantage of reciprocal memberships, you may want to look into it. It’s an inexpensive trick that can get you free admission to hundreds of museums. I haven’t written about it yet, but you can read more about the general idea here.
Furnishings $200 ($150 worse): We stopped by Costco on our way home and bought some out door benches. Amanda had been looking for a good deal, so we just seized the opportunity.
Restaurants $118 ($68 worse): It was my birthday. That is all.
Overall, we basically broke even this month, depending on how you look at it. We did recently increase our 401k contributions to 15%, which reduces my net pay since it’s taken straight out of my paycheck. We just didn’t save much above that.
Over the past few years, I have embraced the idea of a “birthday month.” If I feel like I shouldn’t spend on something, I sometimes use it to rationalize. I say “hey, it’s my birthday month.” There was a little bit of that this time around. Even though we broke even with my net pay, it was still a great month.