Photo by Toa Heftiba via Unsplash.com
Back to monthly budget posts, and it feels so good! I missed giving you guys insight into my real monthly numbers. But recently, I’ve been feeling sort of stuck, money-wise. Take a look at my budget & thoughts below and let me know what you think!
Income is staying the same from last month, but savings have shifted a bit. I upped my Roth IRA contributions by $50 and my Emergency fund by about $30, because last month I was creating more of a buffer (I almost ran out of money in my checking account in between paychecks, so I’m working towards not having that issue again). I also added $20 to gifts, because I have my eyes on some pricier gifts for family members this year. Travel savings, while I’d like them to be at $150, are not the priority this month, so $100 it is. My car fund is staying at $300 because, as always, I am anxious about my car breaking down suddenly.
The only difference in my “fixed” costs is that I took $10 out of utilities. So far, the most I’ve had to pay is $60, but I want to keep some wiggle room in case they spike unexpectedly for some reason. I’m sure in future months I’ll be more comfortable with allocating the money elsewhere, but for now, I don’t want to risk anything.
As for my variable expenses, I’m adding even more to the grocery fund. Living with Brian— in an area with pricier groceries– has made this necessary. Going out money is staying at $200 and gas is staying at $110. Other costs are $90 this month, which I am planing on making my standard, because I don’t have any other random expenses in November like I did last month. This will all go towards things for Thanksgiving, myself, or the apartment.
I’m still about $50 under budget, because I want to increase that checking account buffer a little more– just not so aggressively.
I have to say, while I’m living much more comfortably than last year, and MUCH more comfortably than any time before that, I still feel limited by the amount of money I have to work with at this time. This isn’t because I feel deprived in my day-to-day life; in fact, I feel perfectly happy with the money I’m able to spend on groceries, going out, and other things for myself or others. But I feel limited in the amount I’ve been able to save. I worry about my car breaking down, but I want to have freedom and flexibility with travel and gifts.
And, most of all, I feel kind of behind in terms of saving for my future retirement. When I calculated how much money I’d need to be able to retire, I was looking at putting away an average of $800/month based on what I’d invest once my Emergency Fund was complete. Looking at my actual monthly expenses lately, though, it will probably be closer to $700, and it’s taking a super long time to build up my EF as well.
All in all, I just feel slightly behind. I don’t think I’m failing or overspending month-to-month, but I feel discouraged that my money habits are much, much healthier, but I’m still not exactly where I want to be. I attribute most of this to my housing costs increasing so much, but that has been a huge factor in improving my life.
I feel like I make enough to live well day-to-day, but not enough to do so and simultaneously be funding my future as much as I want to. I’ve been feeling stuck when I try to find this balance. Can anyone relate?
As always, thank you so much for reading! If you’d like to try my budget template for free, click below 🙂 See you next week!