Budgets

Money Money Money!

Ah, adulthood.  I’ve been learning recently that adulthood involves a lot of balancing competing interests.  The biggest part in my life where this comes to play is my budget.  I have so many things that I want to accomplish, including:
 
  • Living an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle
 
  • Saving for the future
 
  • Taking advantage of living in a great city and everything that that entails
 
I’m finding this HARD to manage all three of these things.  This month, my husband and I are getting serious about starting a couple budget and sticking to it.  We decided not to merge all of our accounts when we got married. It seemed like a giant hassle for very little upside.  In a world of venmo and paypal, it’s easy to reconcile our budgets if one person is overspending.  This led to some laziness about how much we spend on things, and it’s time to fix that.
 
I’m not going into all the details of our financial life on here, but here are a couple of goals that I’ll keep track of:
 
  • Our groceries budget is $450/month.  This does not include S’s lunches during the week. He bikes to work and biking + leftovers = sure disaster.  I also gave myself $100 a month for various breakfasts and lunches out.  S usually eats a kind bar for breakfast (~$30 a month) and I generally have two hardboiled eggs, an apple, and a bar (~$70). That leaves $350 for 14 dinners and 9 lunches a week, or approximately 90 meals that we eat at home. That gives me a little less than $4 per person per meal to make us healthy, gluten-free, sustainable meals.  This will be a challenge.  Think I’m up to it?  In future months, I will test out the USDA “thrifty food plan” to see if that works with our food preferences. 
 
  • I gave us $100 for house shopping and $100 for clothes/other shopping TOTAL.  This will be a challenge. I love techie house gadgets and random purchases “for my health”.  We will also need to communicate about what we’re spending that pooled money on.
 
  • Our entertainment budget is….significant. We like to eat out, meet friends for drinks, and go to concerts. Right now, we don’t have any kids so I’m ok with it being high. Except we still go over it 🙁 I’m working on finding us cheaper ways to have fun in the city.
 
  • Finally, I budgeted $1,500 for savings.  We’ve both been saving for retirement through our companies’ 401(k) options, but our individual savings has been lacking. So I’m trying to get that into gear.
 
I’d love to hear your feedback.  What about this is unattainable? Are we still OVERspending on any of these categories? What’s your biggest budget challenge? Let me know!

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