The Budget Breakdown

by Erika Torres

So we can’t talk about being Broke Newlyweds without going over our budget. And at a glance, here it is.

Our biggest expense is Rent and Utilities, totaling 38% of our budget. Typically, rent is supposed to equal 30% of your budget. Our lease is up in October and we’re currently looking to move somewhere less expensive and more affordable—-for us, anyway. Affordable in Orange County is practically an oxymoron. We’re hoping to slash our rent by at least $200 and also move to a place that includes water, gas, and trash in the rent, thereby saving approximately $250 each month.

The rest of our expenses are pretty fixed, with food and gas being our only variables, but we pretty much stick to our budget on those.We could stand to cut a little from our savings, but we usually end up borrowing a bit from that account each month anyway.

I didn’t include extra money from Eric’s waiter job. We try to use his tips and checks from that job for spending money and to pay off our credit card debt.

Our financial plan for the next few months is to pay off our credit cards. Total, we currently have $3800 on two cards, one with a 0% interest until December. We hope to have it paid off by Christmas, but that may be a lofty goal around the holidays. We try and put at least $500 toward it each month, but usually unexpected expenses such as school costs, insurance, and car registration pop up and we end up falling behind.

After our credit card debt is paid off, we want to up our car payment so we can pay that off before the final payment is due on August 2012. After that, hopefully we can put in all the extra money into a savings plan and save up for a down payment for our very first home. Since homes in Orange County are super expensive (the minimum for a small two-bedroom townhome in a nice area is at least $400,000), we need to save a big chunk of money.

As for the savings account, we don’t have anything hefty, but its always at least a couple thousand dollars. We believe it’s important to have a lump sum of cash available for any last minute emergencies. So while we may touch it from time to time simply to make ends meet, we always keep at least $2000 on hand.


  1. Slash Rent/Utilities by $250
  2. Cut cable $100/month
  3. Pay off $3800 credit card debt by Dec. 25
  4. After credit card debt paid off, pay off car payment
  5. Begin to save for down payment


Clarice October 24, 2010 - 5:30 am

We cut our cable and internet down a few months ago and now we’re saving $75 a month. Sometimes it’s annoying to not have ESPN or TBS, but overall it’s been worth it. Good luck.

Natalia Simmons October 19, 2010 - 6:50 am

I love the budget thing. We are ona really strict budget trying to pay a bunch of things off. I just wrote a post about budgeting for groceries. It is encouraging to hear other people do it too! Keep it up, it is a great way to learn to leave.

Lulu September 15, 2010 - 10:35 pm

Just found your blog via Make Mine a Mojito, look forward to following along! We’re (not so) newlyweds ourselves, and defenitely on a budget. I commend you for putting the numbers out there for all to see- that’s very brave of you! I’d love to do something like that myself, but feeling very ashamed that our credit card debt amount has 1 extra digit than yours… : / Baby steps…
Can’t wait to read all your frugal tips!

IntrigueMe (Quarter For Her Thoughts) September 13, 2010 - 10:35 pm

I know that having a plan has made me feel much more secure & sucessful in my finances. I have a list of my annual goals and I have a very detailed excel spreadsheet where I track all of my expenses as well as my salary. Some days I feel like that spreadsheet runs my life, but it has helped a lot in staying organized and paying off any debts I had. Now it’s all about staying on top of things and continuing to put money away for my own house in the next couple of years.

Something that’s really helped me a lot in recent months, is increasing the amount of “extra” money I budget for myself. I used to just say whatever was left over was mine to spend but it wasn’t usually even enough to do the little things like go for dinner now and then, and I ended up either getting behind or never leaving the house which made me feel really depressed. Since I allocated myself a bit more monthly spending dough, I’m more realistic about how much I can afford on bills every month and if I needed to cut back, and I don’t get behind because I have to “borrow” from other boxes on the spreadsheet 😉

Ahh…. finances. The joys.

Oh, P.S. the good thing about cutting cable is that you can watch most shows/movies online now. Yaaay!

missentregate August 27, 2010 - 6:09 pm

I wish I was this organized…. well I am, I’m very organized but we both have incomes that change constantly (Im a waitress for example) so it makes it tricky. With the baby on the way and so many things to buy the idea of saving seems like a joke. I’m hoping in the next couple months we can really tackle our debt and start our little nest egg too. Good luck!!


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