January 2012: Where did all our money go?

by Erika Torres

Time to find out where our pennies went last month.

Where did our money go in January 2012?

25% on Rent

5% Student Loans

3% Cell phones

10% Savings

8% Groceries

6% Gas

3% Allowances (for both of us)

21% Debt Repayment

18% Other

2% Leftover

Eric and I are bringing in about 10% less than last year, due to an increase in our health insurance and flex spending account. And that 10% was pretty much cut from our savings. Last year, we were saving up to 20%, and now we can really only afford to save 10%.

I am very disappointed in how much we spent on misc expenses (the OTHER category). We had some unexpected expenses, a few extra gifts to buy, and in the end, we overspent in this category.

However, my biggest excitement is that we actually spent LESS than what we made this month. We had 2% of our income leftover at the end of our budget cycle (which is determined by paycheck cycles) so this was rolled over to help pay for our upcoming deposit.

We are seriously doing some major maneuvers to put together this ridiculous amount of money we have to front for our new place. But I’ve crunched the numbers so many times, I know we will be okay. It’s just a lot to think about.

For February and March, Eric and I are on a serious money fast. As in, no frivilous spending and only spending on items that we need. So far we’ve been doing pretty good, and we’re trying to live off our pantry until the move (except for staples, like milk, eggs, and bread).

February and March are going to be crazy budget months as I try and juggle our savings, deposits and moving the cheapest way possible.

Goals for February

Limit OTHER Category to 10% of our budget.

Pay deposit on new place without taking money from our travel fund.

Move the cheapest way possible–friends and a U-haul truck.

Earn at least $400 in side hustle income.

Lose 4 pounds. That’s a pound a week.

How did your budget go last month?


Paul @ The Frugal Toad February 6, 2012 - 8:11 pm

I ask myself that question every month! Our biggest expense? After the home it is our daughter’s passion: dance. Don’t ask how much. Brings tears to my eyes when I watch her dance so it is worth every penny!

Aloysa @ My Broken Coin February 6, 2012 - 7:16 pm

10% in savings is REALLY good, especially taking into account how much you spent on debt.

Hack @ Smart Money Hacks February 6, 2012 - 4:28 pm

Our biggest expenses last month were rent and student loans. They were about equal in their amounts! Hacking away…slowly but surely

Jane February 6, 2012 - 3:51 pm

Well I did all I had to do and had $50 left at the end of the month so I tucked it into my Sealed Pot! It was a nice surprise to have a wee bit left! Moving is so expensive, especially the deposit. Will you get any of the deposit back from your current place?

Newlyweds on a Budget February 6, 2012 - 4:08 pm

Well, we made a deal with our landlord that they would use the deposit for our rent this month. We hope there will be a little bit left after we move out, but who knows.

Ashley February 6, 2012 - 2:08 pm

All our money goes to the miscellaneous category too… so frustrating! But that is awesome how much you are able to prepare for your upcoming move. I’m so excited for you!

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter February 6, 2012 - 11:19 am

I think we all have those months where we look at our expenditures and say ouch. We are headed overseas for a month soon so that alone will put us on a financial fast for a little while.

American Debt Project February 6, 2012 - 9:43 am

Any time you spend less than you make and put over 30% towards debt and savings, I am impressed! Great job!

Newlyweds on a Budget February 6, 2012 - 4:09 pm

I totally didn’t think of it as 30% toward debt and savings but that’s what we did!! Wow, I didn’t realize how much we were contributing.

Stef (City Girl) February 29, 2012 - 4:47 pm

I agree! Even though you have some tweaks to make for February, you should be incredibly proud of yourselves! xoxo

Tanner February 6, 2012 - 8:41 am

That is an interesting way to put things, into percentages. I think I should try that next! And overages are always pretty nice. Mine are usually automatically rolled into snowflakes, but I think I’ll eventually add them to become an allowance type money. You did pretty good overall, so nice job!

Michelle February 6, 2012 - 6:46 am

Good job on having money leftover!

SWR February 6, 2012 - 6:15 am

I think our February budget is going to look a lot like your January recap. There are so many February birthdays in my life – lots of gift spending and dining out.

I read an article a while back that said how Americans spend 8% of their income on groceries, while Europeans average 15%…which I found really interesting. I’m sure that we make up the difference with higher expenses in other areas (health care, cars, etc.)

Weekly Roundup 2-6-12: Best of the Best! February 6, 2012 - 6:07 am

[…] Newlyweds on a Budget details their monthly expenses.  I enjoy these types of articles because they give insight to personal finance bloggers and their actual finances! […]

jackie February 6, 2012 - 6:06 am

Just a couple moving tips – I have always found Penske to have the cheapest rates with moving. I think U-haul may price match though. Another expense with moving – and maybe not for you if you’re moving locally is setting up new services and utilities. Sometimes, if you have good credit, they will waive the deposits. I have found TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, etc to have the best boxes – you can either ask them or check out back near their dumpsters. Buying boxes is a big time rip-off!

Melis February 6, 2012 - 5:59 am

Great job!! I am so impressed!

I know it can feel like a bummer to be putting less into savings, but you should give yourself a giant pat on the back for putting to much toward your debt. That’s amazing! And just think how much you’ll be able to save once that’s paid off, since you’re already used to not having that money to play with.

Jai Catalano February 6, 2012 - 5:34 am

Do you know where my money goes? Daycare. I pay more in daycare than rent because of the 2 kids but my wife and I work so it makes sense. Rent in NYC is crazy but I got lucky in my place and I hope we can stay here for a long while to save a nice savings.


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