how much should i budget every month

Our Monthly Budget for October 2016

The budget this month is rough. Andrew and I had to face some hard truths this month and we realized we got way off track with our money management.
 
It’s true. We failed at our budget. Big time.
 
They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. So that’s what we’re doing this month. We have a problem. You see, a few months ago, we switched to using an online budgeting software instead of our cash envelopes.
 
As it turns out, the harsh reality is neither Andrew or I have the discipline required to manage our spending with plastic.
 
Without further ado, here is our atrocious October 2016 expenses:
 
ItemAmountMarvelous Mrs. Musings
Mortgage359This amount includes our house insurance and property taxes. Yes, we live in a humble home - nothing extravagant here - but it fits our family's needs just fine.
Electricity97.46I can't figure out how our small home uses so much electricity. I blame it on my husband's obsession with our 55" television. (Or maybe it's our electric stove, electric dryer, and electric hot water heater?)
Gas34Even though we live in a rural area, we are fortunate to have access to natural gas. Saves us a ton over others who rely on propane for heating and cooking.
Cell Phone5.99We are still using our credit from switching from Sprint to Verizon, so the only cell phone expense this month is a new screen protector that I needed for my phone.
Cable8.99After much deliberation, we cut cable in the spring of 2015. For now, our "cable" is a Netflix subscription.
Internet47.07Our rural area means high prices for low speeds when it comes to internet. This covers a measly 5 mbps bandwidth.
Grocery549.81We went the entire month without a menu or grocery list. Hopefully next month will be better!
Restaurant79.66Buffalo Wild Wings, oh how I love thee!
School Lunch35Nora prefers to have hot lunch at school most days, so this covers that expense.
Car Payments489.69Having two car loans at one time is rough on the budget.
Gas & Oil204.89Living in a rural area means we drive A LOT. Amy drives 30 miles every day and Andrew drives more double that - 70 miles daily. And that's just getting to work and back!
Car Insurance239.88Not bad for full coverage on both of our cars.
Other115This one hurts. Amy got a speeding ticket and this had to come out of our budget. Talk about a stupid tax!
Life Insurance94.48We're in the process of setting up life, accident, and disability insurance (among other things) with our Northwestern Mutual representative. If you're looking for a clear picture of your financial future, I'm happy to refer you to our money guy!
Child Care75Luckily Nora is old enough to be in school all day so our childcare expenses are minimal.
Chore Payments20Nora is on a commission system and this is the money she earns for doing chores around the house.
Kid's Activities73One thing Nora adores is gymnastics. I love that it keeps her active, though it is on the expensive side.
Gifts192.29We had a lot of birthdays this month. Normally we spend ZERO. Not even sure how this happened. Clearly it was poor planning.
Entertainment139.23See how quickly our spending goes out of control when we use plastic? This is waaaaay over budget.
Bank Loan155This is a loan I took out to consolidate my credit cards four years ago. It's "this close" to being paid off!
Best Buy1276.63We were able to make a huge payment to this credit card this month. It felt so good! We have ZERO percent interest through March and are looking to get it paid off before the end of this year.
Capital One68At 24.99% APR, this one hurts.
Citibank114.87Sigh. More debt!
Discover Card100Ugh. Did I mention I hate credit cards?
Student Loans390.63Between the two of us, we're paying on three separate student loans.

 

So starting November 1st, we went back to basics: we’re going back to the envelope system and using cash for our purchases.

We’ll still pay our bills online (we have most of them setup on auto-pay and that is a huge time + stress saver!) but the rest – groceries, gas, clothes, restaurants, clothing – will be paid only with cash.
 
That way, when the cash is gone, we stop spending. And there’s no worry of going over budget.
 
How was your budget for October? Did you do better than we did?
 
Interested in re-publishing this article on your blog or website? Awesome! All I ask is that you send me a quick note via my website so I can give you permission. Thank you!


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Amy Beardsley

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Amy Beardsley, the driving force behind Marvelous Mrs, loves personal finance and productivity hacks, Netflix, and everything chocolate. You can check out her favorite money-tracking tool Personal Capital and visit her freelance writing business, too. Thanks for reading the blog!