Spending Update: Mar-Apr 2012
I know most people make a budget from the first of the month, to the last day. I found it easier to create a budget based on when I get my monthly paychecks, which is on the third Friday of each month. Since I get paid hourly for both jobs I work, but monthly for one and bi-weekly for the other, my income is always a little unpredictable based on how many hours I work each job, even though I work the same number of hours each week.
Projected Monthly Income: $2000
Actual Monthly Income: $2018.39*
*I did not include my extra paycheck
Last month, I knew I had a lot less money to work with than usual, which meant I was going to have to be extremely disciplined keeping my variable costs low. Overall, I stayed pretty well within budget. I ended going over budget for housing since my roommates and I had to turn on the heat again; I was anticipating a heat-free month since January and February was abnormally warm. I guess I should always expect unpredictable weather here and account for it in my budget. To illustrate the unpredictability, this past month we had a deadly tornado that killed over thirty people one day, three inches of snow the next day (the biggest snow-fall all winter), and an eighty-degree sunny day after that. I also went over on my food budget. I’ve been running around town doing errands for my wedding so I haven’t had enough time/too tired and lazy to cook. I definitely want to cut the number of times I eat out for lunch next month. Normally I don’t spend about $200 on transportation (insurance and gas), but I knew that I had to make trips to Cincinnati and Peoria, IL so I reduced the amount of money I would normally spend on entertainment.
My usual routine is to have a new budget a week before I get next my paycheck. However, I’m getting married in two weeks and I have no idea what costs to anticipate next month. I don’t know how much to budget for food, gas, etc. Usually I look at my past spending history and make a list of expenses I’m expecting (ex. oil change, dentist appointment, gifts). I’ve tried getting my fiance to track his spending for the past year but he has been pretty unsuccessful keeping it up, so I can’t use his past spending history as a place to start. We’ve talked about our overall goals and priorities when it comes to finances, but we haven’t talked about the mechanics of combining our finances or how we are going to create a budget yet. My fiance is finishing up his first year of dental school and has been studying for finals, so he’s already stressed and finances are the last thing on his mind.
Have any of you made the transition from separate to joint finances. How did the first month look?