Monday, April 1, 2019

April Plan With Me (All Kinds of Changes!)

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April is starting a different(ish) plan and budget for the month because as of today, I am unemployed for two weeks and then starting a brand new job at a brand new income!  Let's dive into that a little more:

The details about everything I use can be found here.


Here's a short and sweet March spending recap, since my no spend year is still going strong:

Ways I saved?  I took Hawkeye with my parents two dogs for the yearly vet appointment and my dad paid for Hawkeye too (she only needed 1 shot and a checkup), so it was $86 saved.  I also opted out of March Madness brackets... and then John jumped in anyway and paid for them.  But that's it, it was a quiet month financially.  Which is absolutely not going to be the case for April.

Here's a look at April's budget:

That's what it looks like in the little budget book but I find that I prefer a digital system for budgeting because I can better track things and move them around during the month, particularly in terms of sinking funds (that budget doesn't easily reflect that I have $500 in my account for my dog's groomings or $10,000 for the new deck we're putting in.)  So going forward, I'll be showing you the numbers on my digital system.  This month, it's EveryDollar, which is the free system from Dave Ramsey.  I use this for day to day updates since there's also an app.  I also use a spreadsheet and I'll probably share that for the May budget, and we'll see which is better and go from there for the rest of the year.  Onward!

Income estimate, since it'll be just one paycheck in April and it'll be at the new job with new withholdings and contributions so I have 0 clue what this number will actually be.  I do believe I'm underestimating a little but I'd rather plan for $500 under than $500 over, right?  Our new deck is getting installed in the next couple of weeks, which is why I have the $10,000 sitting there, and other than bills, I just put all the money into a general 'emergency fund.'

Here are the bills all listed out.  FYI, although I budget with the income earned in that month, when I go to pay anything, it's actually using older dollars.  I always have a large cushion in my checking out, so I never have to wait for a paycheck to hit and time my bills to it.  Bills just come out and I know money is there.  Generally, this is called budgeting with last month's income, but I like to have the actual budget show what I made in that month, for tax purposes.

Super minimal budget for groceries since it's still Lent and I'm still eating off only $50 for 40 days.  That's mostly money I plan on spending on John.

Here's a look at some money I have set aside in sinking funds, for expenses that I know will come up.  Right now, Hawkeye and my haircuts are funded (I get my hair done Wednesday) and my mom put money in my account for clothes, though I don't plan on buying anything except possibly a new pair of flats for work.  After the deck is done and I can figure out what my actual paychecks will be, then I can put money into some of these other sinking funds for the rest of the year.  (It says which funds have money remaining even though I didn't put anything in there this month because on EveryDollar it tracks what you did the previous months.)  And of course I have no debt so that category is empty.

Since the pay at this job is a little different and the benefits and other things have changed as well, I'm not entirely sure what my paycheck will be until I get it (taxes, ugh.)  And they won't be the same each month, since I'll have to adjust to ensure that I'll be putting the max into my 401(k).  Thankfully, I spend only about 1/6 to 1/5 of my income in a given month, so there's no pressure to make sure things are perfect.

Here's my question for you going forward - what do you want to see in terms of finances?  What will help?  Those bills will remain the same throughout the year, which can't be too exciting to see over and over.  Do you want to see income?  I don't mind sharing my actual incoming numbers, if that helps someone.  Do you want to know what I'm doing in terms of savings accounts and retirement accounts, how I work on tax stuff, how I track things like net worth?  Let me know in the comments, and I'll figure out how I can share.


Here's a look at a few weeks of meal planning (I only plan dinners), since John is back to work.  F = firehouse, so I'm on my own!  I generally do those as fasting days.


My goal tracker for March was a bit vague since my main focus for the month was 'top secret' but now you know it was officially getting the new job offer, accepting, and giving notice at my old job.  And closing out a ton of work at my old job.  That took up a lot of my time and energy so I didn't get to a lot of the other things on my list.  There were definitely days that I didn't spend (most of them) and days where I wore my retainer (some of them), but I just did not track either of those things at all.

Which pretty much means that April's goals list is a doozy.  I don't have any big plans for my 2 weeks off (you know how I hate travel), just getting my hair done and spending some time with my parents.  Even John will be gone most of that time, since he's enrolled in a certification class he needs and he'll be putting in long days the first week of April at a place outside Frankfort (which is 45 minutes from Chicago in no traffic.  Why do people judge it by no traffic, as if that's ever actually the situation in a big city?  Anyway, an hour away at least.)  Which gives me a lot of time at home with Hawkeye, during which I'm very, very excited to check a lot of home projects off my list.  Nothing that's too labor intensive, just that it takes time and I haven't had any.  No excuse now though!


My big change here is that I'm using a Passion Planner instead of the Emily Ley Simplified Planner.  The Emily Ley was a mid year one that would be up in July, but rather than wait, I decided to start using this Passion Planner now.  I hadn't planned on using it this year (I sometimes get things to show/review), but since I got a new job that's going to have more things to track in a day, I decided to start using this larger planner.  I didn't want to purchase anything new since I'm in the middle of my no spend year, so pulling this one out made it feel new without the price tag.

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