I want my blog to be all about transparency. In a place where financial talk is considered classless or taboo, I believe we need to shift the narrative in order for everyone to learn about managing finances. That being said, I’m not exactly a guru (yet!), but I am a young woman who just began her teaching career, thriving (in my opinion) on a starting salary even while attacking my student loan debt intensely. I love the EveryDollar app and I recommend it to everyone! It’s free 🙂
My income is comprised of my main paychecks, which are $1,222 after taxes, union fees, and my 12% contribution to my retirement account (which is a 457). In addition, my dad gives me $100 each month to help out.
The first expense in my budget I list is my debt. I chose to put this at the top because it keeps my primary goal at the forefront of my mind. I put $900 ($450 per paycheck) into debt each month.
These are my fairly “fixed” expenses– housing and transportation. My rent is the same every month and I base my utilities budget on the previous month’s amount. My gas stays at or around $100 and I pay $135 in tolls each month (sadly). I take a toll road that saves me 20-30 minutes each way, but I pay a hefty price for it. I’ve been meaning to test out a better route on a lowkey day… But I’ve been lazy. If you couldn’t tell, I’m definitely not perfect.
Here are my non-fixed expenses: groceries, “going out,” miscellaneous, and subscriptions. While I can easily spend the $110 and $130 on food and alcohol every month, my goals lately are to save $20-30 in these categories to put more money towards my debt.
“Miscellaneous” includes everything else, like clothing or household items. I don’t often spend the full $54, and the excess goes to debt repayment.
My subscriptions are Spotify (music & podcasts), L. (tampons), and the $5/month I give to the Human Rights Campaign, my pathetic amount of charity for each month.
And now one of my favorite parts of my budget: my savings funds! I think putting a set amount of money aside for a larger goal is a beautiful thing– especially coming from someone who used to have no idea where her money went every month and would never feel like she was able to “afford” the car, travel, or gifts she wanted to buy. Now I understand exactly where my money comes from and where it goes, and I am blessed to be able to put money aside to work towards my goals.
Here’s the total breakdown of where every dollar goes in my budget. Seeing that intense amount of money going towards debt makes me SO EXCITED to think of all the ways I could put my money to use once I have that debt paid off.
When I look at these numbers, I also think of how I could cut down on certain things, like food or transportation (I really need to stop paying those tolls!).
You’ll notice that some expenses aren’t included, namely my phone bill and car insurance. This is because my parents are generously covering these costs for me right now. They’ve been alluding to giving me back these bills in the near future, though, so my budget may look a bit different in the coming months 😉
So there you have it, this is my actual December budget on $2,544/month. I hope this transparency is valuable to you! I may make more or less money than you do each month, or have more or fewer expenses, but I hope that my budget can give you some ideas or inspiration regardless.