I recently received a request to breakdown my budget funds and what kind of things are covered by each fund. I am going to go in the order that they appear in my budget, so bear with me because I do a budget overhaul at least every year and at this point there is no particular order for the funds. Here we go!
My husband and I allocate 10% of our combined incomes to Giving. Giving could cover a broad range of things, but for us Giving covers tithe, charitable giving, and gift giving (i.e. birthdays, Christmas, etc.). Now, we don’t spend the 10% every month. Whatever we don’t spend at the end of each month gets rolled over to the next month and the next month and the next so that we have e money saved up come Christmas time.
This fund covers our current mortgage payments. It is a fixed amount, so the exact amount of our mortgage payment each month is what gets distributed to this fund. It is not a percent-based fund such as Giving. We have an escrow with our mortgage, so this fund technically also pays for our homeowner’s insurance and property taxes.
Currently, we only have 1% of our combined income going into Utilities. This is because our living situation is kind of unique right now. Our house that the Mortgage fund pays for is currently an investment property that we rent out (we lived there for a few years, there’s a whole story there). The tenants renting the house are responsible for the water, gas, and electric. We are in the process of building a home right now and currently live in a small apartment in which the only utility we are responsible for is the electric. So our utilities bill is much lower than normal right now, hence the extremely low percentage. Once our house is done, we will have to do a budget overhaul and increase the percentage going into Utilities. Utilities will cover gas and electric (we will have a water well which means no water bill). Typically, utility bills increase in the summer and decrease in the winter. In the winter, the money that we don’t spend gets rolled over and over and over until the summer when it gets spent to keep the air conditioner running. It all ends up balancing out for the most part.
We distribute 3% of our pay to use for our phone plans and to slowly save for buying new phones. We typically try to get at least two years out of our phones before buying new ones. Our previous phones lasted three years. They felt like dinosaurs, but hey, they still worked! Kind of. I always prefer to pay for our phones (and everything else for that matter) in full. I don’t mind the idea of a payment plan, but I have two problems with them. One, you have to make the payment every month and two, you likely have to pay a bit more to use a payment plan. It might be interest or it might be an additional fee, but either way I don’t like it. Paying interest or paying a fee for a payment plan is a complete and total waste of money and, in my opinion, should be avoided if possible. I will probably have an entire post on this concept later, so stay tuned!
Our streaming services include Netflix and HBO Max. These are both fixed-expense subscriptions, so we set aside the total of the two each month. These are the only two streaming services that we have accounts with, so these are the only two things that the Streaming fund covers. If we decide to get subscriptions to other streaming providers, we will have to adjust our budget accordingly.
We pay for our auto insurance on an annual basis and it is a fixed amount , so we take the total divided by 12 to get the monthly amount that we distribute to this fund. This fund covers insurance for my vehicle and my husband’s vehicle.
Right now, the Trash fund only covers the trash for the house that we are renting out. This is a fixed amount paid every quarter, so we take the quarterly amount and divide it by three (three months in a quarter) to get the monthly amount that we distribute to this fund. We will have to adjust it once we get our house finished and have to pay for that trash bill as well.
Groceries is a percent-based fund and receives 10% of our combined income. For us, Groceries basically covers anything purchased at Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Dillon’s, or whichever grocery store we happen to shop at for the week.
In this instance, the word “gas” is in reference to fuel for vehicles. Not the gas for your furnace or hot water heater in your house. That type of gas is covered under Utilities. The Gas fund pays for the gas we need, whether its for commuting to and from work or if its gas we need to buy on a road trip. We put 10% of our combined income into the Gas fund, just like Groceries.
Clothes covered anything from undies to tennis shoes. If it can be worn, we pay for it with the Clothes fund. A whopping 4% of our combined income goes to Clothes.
M. Vehicle and R. Vehicle
M. Vehicle and R. Vehicle covers any maintenance that my car or my husband’s car needs (oil changes, new tires, etc.) and also serves as savings for our next vehicles. M. Vehicle and R. Vehicle receive 3% and 6% of our combined income respectively. R. Vehicle gets more because my husband will be getting a new vehicle before me. As we get closer to purchasing vehicles, those percentages will increase as needed to increase our savings.
We use date night to cover anything from grabbing a cup of coffee together to eating at a fancy-pants steakhouse for our anniversary. If we are doing something together, we ask ourselves “can we pay for this with Date Night money?” More often than not, the answer is yes. We put 6% of our combined incomes into Date Night.
M. Personal and R. Personal
We use our Personal funds to pay for any random thing that we want that basically doesn’t fit in to any other category. For me? Typically coffee. My husband has a bit more versatility in his Personal spending, though. He has an Audible account that he pays for with his Personal fund, for example. I buy my wine and he buys his whiskey with Personal money. If I wanted a massage? Personal fund. You get the idea. We put 5% into each of our Personal funds.
The Vacation find pays for vacations, obviously, but it also pays for vacation equipment. My husband and I like to camp and hike, so we pay for tents, sleeping bags, hiking boots, etc. with money from the Vacation fund. We allocate 5% of our combined incomes to Vacation.
Currently, we are not putting any money into this fund. That is because we have saved up enough for our down payment with a $5,000 cushion for my friend Justin (you know, Justin Case? Ha). Before we had enough saved up, we were allocating 60% of our income to saving for the down payment.
My husband and I both max out our Roth IRA accounts (I will write a post on this in more detail later. I could go on and on about retirement in general, but that’s for another day). We take the current maximum that we can contribute and divide it by 12, then distribute that amount to each of our Roth IRAs. The sole purpose of this fund is to save for retirement.
Once we get our house built and we are moved in, we will build an attached garage, which will be paid with the Garage fund. We are not putting any money in to this currently because we have enough saved up for what I calculated the cost to be to build the garage plus an additional $5,000 for Justin, but we put the same amount into Garage as we did into New House (60%) until we had enough saved up.
Again, fairly self-explanatory here. The Furniture fund will pay for the furniture in our new house. We have what I expect to spend on furniture for the new house already saved up, so there is not currently any money going into this fund, but it was 60% when there was money going into this fund.
Our new house will have a basement, but it will be unfinished. We currently have 30% of our income going into savings to finish the basement. This will include framing, drywall, flooring, etc. for the basement.
Our Emergency fun has been established for several years now, so there is no money going into this fund currently. If and when we have an emergency that we pay for with the Emergency fund, it will be a top priority to replenish the Emergency fund. For us, an emergency would be something like a hospitalization or something major with one of the cars that hinders their ability to function (I’m not in to cars, so I can’t think of a specific car example). Honestly, though, in the past we have paid for emergencies with money from other funds. For example, my husband needed a CT scan which was about $1,200, but instead of paying for that with the Emergency fund, we paid for it with the New House fund. It makes me nervous to dip into the Emergency fund, so I avoid it. Literally at all costs.
What About Unspent Money?
Sometimes the percent-based funds have money left over in them at the end of the month. The money that’s left over simply rolls over to the next month and acts as a bit of a savings fund. On the flip side, sometimes the percent-based funds get “overdrawn” and go “in the hole.” When this happens, we adjust our spending to dig ourselves out of that hole. If we don’t dig ourselves out of the hole fast enough for my liking, sometimes I will take the surplus from another percent-based fund that isn’t getting spent and add it to the fund that is in the hole to either zero it out or put it back in the positive. I don’t like funds to be in the hole.
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I have not taken into consideration anybody’s unique and specific situation. This post is based solely on how I personally do my budget and on my personal opinions regarding budgeting. This is not intended to be used as personal financial advice. If you would like one-on-one personal budgeting advice, please click the Budget Coaching button below. Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter! I will be sending out exclusive content each month and you will get a free budget guide as a thank you for signing up!
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