Post # 1
I am reworking my budget and I am curious how low I can realistically cut our ‘monthly spending’ budget. This is not bills (except I count ‘fun’ subscriptions like Sirius radio or other things we do not NEED) But it does include one off purchases like groceries, gas, things for the house, etc.
Right now we are trying to spend only $1,800 a month, but usually go slightly over
I know we are overspending because we go out at least once a week for dinner/drinks, we almost never say no to invites to do things with friends.. Just wondering if anyone else keeps track of this spending and how much you spend on an average month?
Post # 2
Our “fun” money includes meals out, cocktail nights with friends, unnecessary home purchases like a new blanket just because it is cute, clothes, personal care (haircuts, makeup etc) and any travel that isn’t our big trip. We are DINK and live in a big city so we socialize with friends a lot and probably every month we have at least one big thing each which could be a bachelorette, flights or train tickets to either set of parents, visiting friends across the country, a long weekend in a hotel. We spend about £1500 a month combined on that sort of stuff.
When we were hardcore saving for our home we went down to about £80/£100 a week each, so £600-800 combined. That was way too restrictive for the lifestyle we prefer so we’re both glad that is behind us.
Post # 3
stillnothing : we budget about $1,750 (we actually do it weekly so it’s a little over/under depending on the month) for everything besides fixed bills, gas and utilities (which are consistent enough that we treat them like set bills), and anything large that is saved up for separately like repairs, vet bills, annual premiums, etc.
Budgeting weekly is what helped us reign it in (and by us I mean my husband hahaha) so we each have $200/week to spend. I’m in charge of groceries, he’s in charge of dates/family outings, and beyond that the rest is ours to spend or save as we want. That $200/week covers clothes, haircuts, ubers, gifts, coffees, hobbies, basically everything that isn’t otherwise specifically budgeted for. If we’re out of money the budget resets within a few days so we just wait. I grocery shop on the day it resets so I never risk running out of budget and needing food lol. Our family of 3 humans and 1 dog costs about $350/month in groceries (and yes, that’s all healthy, fresh, some organic, unpackaged food!) so I have more than enough leftover for myself.
Post # 4
I’m a personal finance coach who reached financial freedom really early in her life so I read about this all the time. I strongly suggest that you gotta think about this the other way.
How much do you need to save and invest, in order to reach your retirement dreams? Rule of thumb says 20% of your pre-tax income. Your poll is not going to help you because you’re polling people who live in different cost of living areas, people with different sized families, and people with different incomes.
So put that amount away into savings and investments FIRST, and then spend what is left after bills.
For many many many years this meant for me, saying no to friends, coming up with alternative things to do (picnics, potlucks, ice cream instead of dinner, free walks around the park) to cut down on costs.
Post # 5
We spend around $900 max in “fun money” each month. Many months we don’t hit that number. I’m including gas, food, shopping, and pet costs. We’re living off of my income while my fiance’s in dental school, so we try to keep it on the lower end so he doesn’t have to take out loans for anything besides tuition.
Post # 6
I think it’s less than 1k, but we haven’t tracked in a while. We basically do what melonseeds described. We set aside money for retirement and fixed bills, and whatever is left over is free to spend.
Post # 7
don’t know, we don’t budget. we make enough to cover the lifestyle we want to live and some extra. after big trips, our extra is a little low and we reel back a little until things catch up again.
you can’t take it with you. so my goal is to experience life and enjoy. we’re not rolling in it by any means but i don’t deprive myself and my family. i do have investment accounts, 401k, and a savings account as well.
Post # 8
We don’t budget our fun money, per se. We just make sure we are putting enough money each month into our various savings, and then what is left is the fun money.
Each month, we pay our mortgage, pay my student loans, max out our 401Ks and my husband’s pension, put $3K into our “travel savings fund”, and pay the utilities, etc. We have a good emergency savings fund invested in two money market accounts as well but we don’t contribute to that routinely anymore. Everything else is discretionary “fun money”.
We are both professionals and don’t have kids yet, so our finances aren’t super tight. If/when we have kids, we’ll start a college savings fund and probably have less discretionary spending money each month.
Post # 9
A metric fuck ton isn’t one of your poll options.
Post # 10
As Melonseeds said, it’s less about absolute number and more about relative for us. We typically do 30% to house, 20% to disposable income, and 50% to savings (of various types both short term and long term).
In that 50% savings is things like vacation money, home improvements, baby needs (I’m 2 months pregnant), investment account contribution, annual membership fees (we put aside monthly for them), dog emergency vet care buffer, etc. So 50% seems big but many of these are expenses that we know will come up and we’re saving in advance for but they will become regular spend.
ETA: percentages are on net income (not gross)
Post # 11
LilliV : This is a good idea to break it down weekly instead of monthly. I think I am going to try this!
melonseeds : Yes, I have heard this and we do save quite a bit of our income. We save more than what we spend most months. Or saving is fixed and our spending is more based off of the remainder. For exmaple, if my husband is sick and doesn’t go to work one day and loses his overtime pay, we take money out of our ‘spending’ money before anything else. (I’m salary and have fixed income so he is the only one I can really pick on)
slomotion : HA!
Post # 12
Approx $500-$700. We don’t budget for it though. Our disposible income only covers groceries and gas. We shop at Aldi spending $60 a week and top up gas probably once a month, if that. We have a baby so spend about $30 on formula a week. Other purchases like diapers, wipes, general Target stuff add up the rest. We used to eat out once a week but now its more like once a month and we spend about $50 on that. We live pretty frugally off one income (60k) because i’m a Stay-At-Home Mom. We used to travel alot but haven’t since I got pregnant so were saving a lot there and we are trying to buy a house.
Post # 13
stillnothing : that’s awesome! If you’re hitting your savings goals then I think you can relax a bit!
Post # 14
stillnothing : I use a really simple phone app to keep track (I think it’s just called “Weekly Budget”) and at the end of the week anything I haven’t spent either gets rolled over to the next week or moved into a separate savings account (depending on the amount and what I know may be coming up the next week that could potentially put me over the $200 budget). Food is most people’s biggest budget buster so we’ve been trying to lay off the takeout and save eating out for date nights and cook the rest of the time.
Post # 15
melonseeds : I always feel like we should be saving more!! Hahah. My Darling Husband laughs at me with my spread sheets and over analyzing every penny we spend but at the same time understands. I was able to get nearly 30k in (HIS cough cough) CCs paid off AND save cash for our wedding in the year we were engaged. So now I am in charge of all the money.. he is spender.
LilliV : I am going to look into this app!! Thank you so much!