Casual daydream planning has started to materialize into some cold hard figures.  You know, Asa and I have been on this wild ride together for the better part of 8 years.  And last Saturday, having coffee at SeeSee, we made our very first budget.

See See Motorcycles and Coffee

This was a home budget for us so that we can get a grasp on how much we’ll need to make to keep the ball rolling as well as helping us to get a good estimate for how long it’ll take for us to save for the boat.

Cost of Boat / Savings Per month = Months Until We Set Sail

As you can see… Rent is by far our largest fixed cost… by a long shot:

Our First Budget

The Budget Version 0.0.1

Some quick notes about our first attempt at a budget.  One thing that we discovered about budget making is that it’s not really all that bad.  By the very nature of the fact that you have no idea what you’re spending or needing, you can make some pretty good general guesses.

Then, as you log your real expenses over time, it basically does all the work for you.  That and I like computers, so I’ll see how I can automate the process as much as possible.

Oh yes, and I know about mint.com, etc.  But I kinda want to keep this out and away from the interwebs.

Transportation

Maxx tickets mainly.  $2.50 each way.  But we both like walking and biking this fair city, so we kinda made an estimate based on an occasional bit of laziness.  This amount is something that we have complete control over.

Entertainment

Entertainment is a hard one to budget for.  I mean, you can just go to free shows or join a meetup, or anything else that can cause this portion to swing wildly out of control.  Must be careful with this one.

Food

This is something that we’ve got a pretty good grasp on and have been practicing and talking about working out a system that’ll keep up full and healthy – but without breaking the bank for healthy.The solution?  Make as much of our own food as possible.  E.g. This past weekend Asa and I made lamb pita pockets.

Asa made the pitas from scratch as well as her most excellent cucumber dill sauce.

We didn’t spend more than a few dollars on vegetables, and the most expensive ingredient was the lamb.

End result:

  • 8 Pitas Breads for less than a buck
  • tons of left over salad
  • a lot of left over lamb that’ll last months in the freezer
  • leftover pitas were turned into pita chips
  • we were stuffed.

In goes the pitas onto a hot 350º pizza stone
In goes the pitas onto a hot 350º pizza stone

Bake at 350º and watch them slowly start to puff up
Bake at 350º and watch them slowly start to puff up

Almost done pitas
Almost done pitas

yes, looks like a pita to me.
yes, looks like a pita to me.

Generously Stuffed Pitas
Generously Stuffed Pitas

The SpreadThe Spread

Home

This is for home furnishings and any other random items we’ll need to be comfy in our new apartment together!

Medical

I know this is a pipe dream.  And yes, Health Insurance is still pretty expensive.  Even at around $150 a month for the bare minimum “Cheap” insurance for no-tobacco, that’s $150 X 2 of us = $300 a month.

Health Insurance Is Still Really Expensive
Health Insurance Is Still Really Expensive

We know that it’s not the most responsible thing to leave health insurance out of the budget, but at this point we need to choose between savings, food, having a life, and rent.

At this point, even the tax penalty for not having medical insurance is still cheaper than having insurance.  It gets its own line item because it is way more expensive than motorcycle insurance.

And it wouldn’t be fair to lump the two together.  It’ll mask the smaller cost while inflating what the whole insurance cost looks like.

I feel that by separating out insurance into different line items for health and all others, we can keep a better eye on our health care insurance costs as I’m SURE (hoping against hope) that suddenly having millions of new young healthy subscribers should bring down the cost (at least that’s how I understand insurance works).

Gifts & Entertaining

Because we love our friends, we want to make sure we can have them over to hang out and be comfortable… it makes no sense to be spending the lion’s share of our income on an apartment and then not be able to enjoy it with friends and family.  We purposely left this blank as we’re not quite sure yet how much it may cost, and we’ll re-evaluate after a month or two.

Travel

Hey, we love traveling.  Because it keeps Jack from being a dull boy.  So we’re not going to lie to ourselves that we’re not going to try to at least get away for the weekend every now and again.  I’m sure we’ll be able to optimize these costs with some rabid creativity as we get better at this.

Other

Always need a wildcard.  And again, we just made a guess.  It’ll be adjusted monthly.

Utilities

Water & Electricity.  We don’t have gas in our new apartment.  It’s actually not all too bad.  Water is a shared cost amongst our neighbors, so that helps to cut the cost down dramatically.  And electricity, we’re guessing about $50 a month average over a year is a good starting place too.

Rent

UGH.  STAB.  GASP.  DIE.  EXPIRE.

Insurance

I have a motorcycle which requires insurance.  But truthfully, this is not an expense that we need.  So I’ll be offloading an EXTREMELY low mileage and well cared for 2009 CBR 600RR.

Asa Flex & Phong Flex

Asa and I decided gave ourselves “Flex” accounts.  It’s a set dollar of $50 each.  So $100 total for both of us.  What does Flex mean?  Well, it means we can each spend $50 a month on anything no questions asked.  But if we don’t spend that $50, it’ll carry over to the next month.  We’ll see how that works out.  I think it’ll be fun.   It’s kinda like giving yourself an allowance.

Whew.  That was quite a bit.  And you know what?  It looks quite daunting and overwhelming.  And it’s kind of frustrating to see that we could be saving so much faster if we didn’t have to throw it all down the Rent money pit.  :-/

Terrified, we both asked ourselves privately and to each other… “Can we really afford this?”

The answer that we came up with: “We’re going to find ways make it work.  This is practice for sailing.”

I love you Asa.  :o)