Being poor is a disease, gotta hustle up a cure

We did it. We had a real budget talk. It sucked, but we got through it (with a little wine). October is ugly. We had to trim a lot of things to compensate for the big expenses (namely rent, credit card payment, and student loans). I’m going to be 100% open here and show you what we have:

So basically I bring home $2,662 every month guaranteed. I do get tiny reimbursement checks for mileage and such, but we’re talking maybe $50 total. My husband also works sporadically, and his income is really important, but since it isn’t a dependable amount, we are budgeting entirely based on my take-home. We are tracking his money separately (since he doesn’t have a bank account, he cashes his checks, and we keep it on hand), and it helps to fill in some major holes.

Anyway, Mint has an annoying glitch that doesn’t let you roll your income over from month to month. Since I get paid on the 15th and 31st, it is counting that last check as September money, even though I clearly think of it as the only way I can make rent every month. So ignore where it says that I have $0 in income right now. I started the month with $1,543.71. Let’s talk about the non-negotiables.

  • Rent: $1,000 at the first of the month.
  • Student loans: Mine are $104 and his are $344, both due at the end of the month.
  • Credit card: The minimum balance varies a little, but I’m currently in catch-up mode for some past due. It sucks. Don’t ever let that happen to you. It’s due at the middle of the month.
  • Car insurance: I got it down to $140 from $156 (RIDICULOUS), but I will be canceling and switching to a cheaper provider as soon as possible. It’s due at the end.
  • Utilities: They vary, but generally my gas bill is $30ish a month and due at the beginning (already paid for October), and the electric bill is $60 every other month (at the end). We will come under in this category since I just paid the bill in September — yay!

And here are the other necessities that vary a ton but we still have to deal with:

  • Groceries: Eating is good. We spent $145 in September.
  • Gas for the car: I hate this category so much. I feel like I give away a little piece of my soul with every stop at the pump. We spent $190 last month.
  • Laundry: We have machines in our building and spent $22 last month.
  • Parking: More ugh. We spent a lot — $36 — last month, but $30 of that was at the beach.

Finally, these are the non-essentials:

  • Restaurants: This category is always out of control. We way overspent already this month, so I guarantee November will be better. We spent $140 last month.
  • Alcohol/bars: I swear we aren’t alcoholics, but we had people over last weekend and stupidly spent $50 on booze that no one touched. Then I attended a bachelorette party and bought one overpriced drink that I didn’t even finish. There went $65 perfectly good dollars. We only spent $20 last month, which was pretty low.
  • Wine club: This category makes us sound like assholes, but I don’t care. Our membership is two bottles of red every other month, and it’s always right around $65. October is a shipment month.
  • Internet: Our Time Warner bill is $47 at the middle of the month.
  • Business services: AKA my husband’s account that lets him sign up for auditions and such. It’s $15 at the beginning of every month.
  • Movies/DVDs: AKA Hulu and Netflix. Both are $8 a month. As you can see, we are considering dropping one, though I think we will ultimately decide not to. In the long run, we pay $16 a month not to go out to movies or subscribe to cable.
  • Pharmacy: My migraine medicine is $15 a month, but I chopped this expense since it isn’t a necessity exactly, though it dramatically improves the quality of my life.

So there it is in black and white (and red, yellow, and green). Every dollar I earn is accounted for. So far this month, my husband has received one check for $57. We immediately set aside $15 to pay for my Imitrex, so don’t worry about my medical issue. The rest is set aside for expenses to be deemed necessary. That will be our new system with his money, at least for now.

I will do another budget post in the middle of the month to see how we’re doing. I hope this post is helpful (and not too depressing) for you.

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