My New Budget Is Depressing (but still functional)

Now that I’ve switched to the super-scary reality of relying on my writing to get through each month, my budget has changed somewhat. This is my new bare-bones spending:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.25.59 PM

48% Housing + 7% Bills + 10% Food = 65% of spending on needs

Yikes! … or yikes at first glance, anyway. My reality is actually somewhat different. First of all, these numbers are just what I’ve planned for — it’s always possible (and I’m definitely making a concerted effort) to earn more than I need. For example, in September I earned a full 1/3 more than needed to satisfy the above budget pie. Not bad! And I will put all extra money earned towards fun, which will bolster that slice of the pie somewhat and compress the others so it doesn’t look like I’m scrounging to stay in my apartment. Ok, I’ll put some more towards savings too.

How weird is it to have a budget that doesn’t include debt repayment?

(read about how I cleared over $21,000 of student loan debt in 22 months)

Now the next thing you might notice is that I’m putting 24%+ of my money towards savings. This is largely for survival: now that my income is 100% variable self-employment income, I need a big buffer in case things ever get lean. Building a $10,000 Emergency Fund has become more important than ever, and I’m going ahead with gutso. I’m also still working hard to increase my stock portfolio and continuing to put a little bit towards retirement. Gosh, am I ever responsible now! No sign of the YOLO blogger here.

So is my new budget depressing? Kind of, but it works, and perhaps most importantly: it lets me live the life I want within my means — which, as you might know, is the real answer to life, the universe, and everything.

How’s your budgeting going?

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  1. I don’t really think the budget is depressing at all. Sounds like you have a really good plan of attack to handle both good and bad scenarios. I’m a little jealous of the no debt payments portion of your budget. I’ll get there one day though.

  2. Our budgeting is going well, but we’re still in student loan debt repayment mode. We’re making big progress toward the debt destruction. Hopefully the debt is behind us soon.

  3. I think your budget looks good! We are trying to save as much as we can also since I’m leaving my job next week.

  4. C The Writer says:

    Well, you’re doing really good. Much better than I am. But that’s nothing new. That’s been the case ever since I electronically met you. : )

    At least I don’t have to share my poor budgeting and disastrous balance sheet with the world anymore.

    • I don’t share actual numbers — I feel like percentages are enough. I do like to share my financial goal numbers though… but it will be more than a year before I get to a $10K EF so it’s kind of irrelevant too.

      • C The Writer says:

        You’re doing very, very good. And you’re smart to want to get a large EF. That’s definitely the way to do things.

  5. I think you are kicking ass as usual :). Cutting your fun back to 10%, yet saving 24%? Fab job, Bridget.

    • haha that’s the plan.. I need the savings; I feel totally UNSAFE without a huge buffer =\ I feel like I’m going to be paranoid until my EF is over $5K so I need to make that happen ASAP

  6. Your budget looks good to me. Especially looking at your savings and that you have leftover fun money :) 45% of what I make goes towards housing. It is what it is though.

    • Yeah I justify my huge housing expense with 1) all my utilities are included 2) I have 0 transportation costs so I can afford a nicer home 3) my apartment is rad

  7. At least your income still covers your expenses :)

  8. Mine is pretty bad now. We had a lot of unexpected expenses and it brought us to a 50% more expenses this month. I do consider that having your emergency fund well funded is a great idea. Whatever happens, you can make it and not go further into debt. The fact we do always save helps us not get into trouble now, so the savings are always a great idea.

  9. It’s cool to see someone else’s restricted budget. I’m also on a severely restricted budget this month because of a lack of cash flow due to a new job – it’s definitely an adjustment.

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