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Today is our first anniversary! I remember thinking the day would never come and now it’s been a year. Crazy. Our first year has been pretty great. I only cried a few times and they were both on our honeymoon so I got it out of the way early.
Related: 3 Habits for Blissful Money Management
I started this blog last month to keep me motivated and help people who want to get out of debt. When I started I didn’t even know what financial freedom was or what it looked like. I want to help you discover that there’s so much more to money than buying stuff.
So I’ll offer you our biggest asset right now, a transparent look at our budget.
As the nerd of the family, I’ve studied and refined this budget over the past year to get us paying as much debt per month as possible while not living under a rock. It’s tight and by no means sustainable but we’re comfortable and we have a good time.
I’ll start with a recap of September’s debt payment. We paid $3800 over 3 payments, that’s 55% of our total income for the month. I get paid weekly and Travis gets paid bimonthly so I set the payments set up to come out on the days his check gets put in our account and on the 28th, the random day the auto-pay is set up for.
I’ll be honest, we went way over budget this month, luckily Travis had unexpected overtime. Funny how that happens. 😉 I had a tire blow out and Travis needed tires so we just got 5 at the same time (from a guy off Craigslist.) And I knew I wanted to go to #FinCon17 next year so I snagged tickets at their early bird sale, an expense I wasn’t anticipating so soon. But thanks to a thin buffer and a little extra income we didn’t have to touch our emergency fund (which is $1000 we keep at a credit union.)
Now the fun stuff. The cash flow plan.
There are a lot of ways you can categorize the line items. We use EveryDollar, it’s a simple minimalist design, which appeals to me, and the free version requires you to input transactions manually. The inconvenience of manual entry is key to being intentional about your spending, especially if you’re not on the envelope system.
Related: Budgeting is a B Word – Budget Myths Debunked
I’m attempting my first shopping ban this month. Inspired by powerhouse minimalist Cait Flanders I‘m following her guidelines and nixing my “personal” line item this month. Since purchasing my FinCon ticket was double my normal allotted budget I thought this was fair. I’ll let you guys know how it goes next month.
We’re paying $3800 again on my student loan. That’s 57% of our income. Normally I would add a holiday sinking fund in October but we’re going to use the last of our wedding gift cards for present purchases so our expense will be minimal.
If you have any questions about the budget feel free to ask! We’ve done lots of research to get payments as low as possible so I love talking about sculpting budgets.
Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.