Yeah, if you have never lived on your own before and been responsible for all of your own expenses….you really need to listen to everyone here. There are so many more expenses than what you are probably counting on in your head. It’s the unexpected, one-time expenses that come up EVERY month without fail that are hard to predict/plan for that can make all the difference.
When Darling Husband and I made our budget, we listed all of our fixed expenses (mortgage, gas/electric, car payment, phones, insurance, water/garbage, Internet, gym etc). then we estimated our variable expenses (groceries, pet/household stuff, fuel, eating out, birthdays/gifts, etc). We estimated those by going back through several months of bank statements and adding up what we’d spent in each category and then taking the average. Next, we added a line for “miscellaneous” expenses..for expenses that come up at any given time but are not regular payments or for unexpected things that happen (car registration, medical bill, car maintenance/repair, vet bill, house repair, someone’s wedding, traffic ticket, flea meds, clothing, etc etc). We started out designating $400 to this category but finally just bumped it up to $700 because we overspent there nearly every single month. That’s $700 worth of unexpected expenses nearly every month! Just keep that in mind because that is the reality. Stuff just happens.
Also keep in mind things like medical insurance and retirement savings. These things come directly out of Darling Husband and I’s paychecks before we even get them so we don’t even count that as money we earn. But if you are not set up like that, please consider adding these important items to your budget plan.
Finally, add up all of your expenses and subtract the total from your total monthly income. Hopefully there is a little left over. Commit to putting the leftover amount into a savings account to start building up an emergency fund. An ideal emergency fund is 6 months worth of your expenses, but 3 months is the minimum.
If there is nothing leftover or you are in the red, that’s when you’ll need to either go back and comb through all of your expenses to see where you can cut and save or figure out how to bring more money in. Cut out anything unnecessary like a gym membership or eating out. See if you can lower any bills like your car payment (sell your car and buy something cheaper?) or your phone bill (get on a combined plan with DH?), groceries (live on the basics) or even your rent (move to a cheaper place).
Considering you have 2 maxed credit cards I think it’s pretty safe to assume that your DHs income is not enough to pay all of your expenses and probably never has been. You are also accumulating a lot of interest on those cards so you need to make it a priority to pay them off as quickly as you can. You definitely need to get a job asap. Get something crappy while you continue looking for a good job in the meantime. Do NOT get a puppy. Make today the day you start turning things around by making responsible choices. Let your decision to return the puppy even though you REALLY want it be the first of those. It will give you a boost and set you down the path of continuing to make good decisions as you start to see the profound long-term benefits of making small necessary sacrifices. You’re really at a cross roads here, and I’ve seen SO many of my peers go the other way (i.e. Get the puppy anyway and continue to turn a blind eye to their financial reality) and they are just struggling sooo much years later. With money, once you get into a hole it becomes extremely difficult to get out. It just compounds on itself. Don’t go there. When you are a few years older you will be so incredibly glad.