Monday, December 15, 2008

My 2009 Monthly Budget

Here is my monthly budget for 2009 based on my income after taxes. My retirement account (403b) and health insurance costs are not included for this reason. But I get about 3% taken out of each pay check for my 403b and get a company match. I am still evaluating whether I will open a Roth IRA/or start contributing monthly to the IRA account I have from rolling over my 401K from my last job in 2009. I am leaning toward paying off my credit card balance first since I am already contributing some money for my retirement and have a few decades to worry about retirement anyway. I have the feeling that one of my personal finance gurus, Washington Post columnist, Michelle Singletary would agree with me.

I definitely want to start tracking my spending more closely and will strictly adhere to the budget as much as possible. Any windfalls I receive over the year will be split between debt payoff and savings. Money leftover from any category can be used toward another category or applied to debt repayment. I've gotten a little lazy in tracking my spending by relying on But I find that the categories don't always apply my money to the correct areas, for instance, my purchases at CVS are very rarely a health/medical expense, but Mint often puts them in this category. The best thing for my to do is track my money daily with receipts and use Mint as a back up and a way to easily look at all my account balances at one time.

I just used the percentages in my budget below, but will be using dollar amounts that I am over/under in each category when I track this at the end of each month starting in January. It's kind of disappointing that I can't really afford to apply more money to debt right now so I can focus on my savings goals, but I'd rather stay within my budget on a consistent basis and save what I can, than save too much and be short on cash for other things I need each month. When looking at my housing/utility category, keep in mind that I don't have roommates, so I'm not sharing the costs of rent/utilities with others.

So here it goes:

Charity - (1%)
Saving - (2.1 %)
Housing - (37.1%)
Utilities/Cell Phone/Renter's Insurance - ( 13.8%)
Food - (6.2%)
Transportation (Metro/Amtrak/Bus rides) - (12.4%)
Clothing - (1%)
Personal - (5%)
Recreation/Entertainment/Gym Membership - (2.9%)
Debts (Student Loans/Credit Card Balance) - (20.9%)


Lady Dove aka Pheralyn Dove said...

Glad to see you are planning ahead! Will your summer travel/vacations be included under entertainment? Just a thought......