Photo by Brooke Lark via Unsplash.com
Happy 2020 everyone!
So many exciting things are happening this month. I’m starting my second semester of grad school, a new semester of teaching (our classes change half way through the year, so I get new students!), and perhaps most excitingly, I’m beginning a new online course!!! I haven’t shared about this here yet, but once this blog post comes out, I’ll be working in a course called Startup CEO, created and led by Tasha from One Big Happy Life. I couldn’t be more excited to start learning everything I need to expand my business, and I absolutely love everything Tasha stands for as a business owner and personal finance expert.
All that being said, there’s a very exciting thing happening in January budget-wise, also, and that’s because it’s a 3-paycheck month for me!
The beauty of budgeting monthly is that you tend to think in terms of 2 paychecks, but then you get thee magical unicorn months where you earn more than is typical. Still, I believe this money should mostly be put towards savings goals, because although it’s not a normal monthly amount, it is by no means “extra” money– you earned that s***! And once you’ve gotten more on top of your money life, you should be thinking of your budget in terms of annual expenses as well as monthly, so these 3rd paychecks are just a part of that system.
Here’s my budget breakdown for January, from my own budget spreadsheet template (scroll to the bottom of this post to get your own copy for free!):
Here’s the big picture, including my sections for running totals and my notes. Let’s dive in to the specifics.
My savings, as you can see above, are all being seriously beefed up by this third paycheck. In fact, they’re the only section of my budget that’s being affected. While my retirement contributions are usually $500-550, I’m increasing them to $650 this month.
I’m also replenishing my gift budget from the holiday season. For the rest of the year, the goal will be $60/month, but I upped it to an even $100 this month. I’m keeping travel to $150, my car sinking fund at $300, and put the majority of the money toward my emergency fund.
I’ve been feeling really stuck trying to make progress on my $5,000 emergency fund goal, but only being able to put $200/month into it, so I decided to really get serious this time. I want it to be full so I can focus more on my other sinking funds and retirement. After this month, I estimate it will still take about 5 more months, assuming I maintain a $200/month savings rate. It’s still a long time, but it’s been cut in half by this third paycheck.
Fixed costs are all the same, except you’ll notice I have to put $334 towards grad school for my second semester. I definitely feel like this expense is being mitigated by the unusual paycheck. It still feels like a lot at the moment, but when I realize how affordable it truly is with tuition reimbursement (thanks, teaching!), I know that I am blessed. Overall, I estimate that I will pay just over $2,000 for my entire Master’s degree, which is kind of unbelievable.
I also remembered as I was making this budget that January is the month I pay for Amazon Prime for the year, which I believe is $120. Again, this definitely feels better when it comes during a three-paycheck month.
And, finally, all of my variable expenses are remaining the same. I’ve found a good balance with keeping groceries around $180 and going out around $200. You’ll also notice that I’m not allocating every single dollar– having a small buffer has given me much more peace of mind with my budget.
If you want to try out this budget system, click the button below!
See you all next week 🙂