Our monthly budget update does not change much.
It is primarily fixed expenses, like rent, phone bills and car insurance, which remain the same month after month. Even the amount budgeted to our miscellaneous line (more on that here) stays the same most months.
So instead of giving a line-by-line breakdown for our monthly budget update, I do something a little different. Each month, I share five highlights from our budget, along with three goals for the month to come.
Here is the update for April 2020.
Monthly Budget Update: April 2020
In April, we…
- Finished replenishing our emergency fund!
One of my three projects for 2020 was to get our emergency fund back up to $5K…and in April, we finally did it!
I have a lot of well-documented feelings about the $1K emergency fund and how it’s not enough. Our household is made up of two adults and two cats, which means $5K is $1,250 each. Our account has fluctuated over the last year, but $5K feels comfortable. So glad to complete this project!
- Paid $118.94 to student loans (by accident)
How does one make a student loan payment by accident, you ask? By not paying close enough attention to the drop down menu. Ugh. I meant to send this money to the Tangerine card to cover groceries…and went down one too far. I didn’t realize this until I was looking through my transactions and wondering where my grocery transfer went. Not a big deal but not something I was planning to do this month!
- Saved $1,426 for the student loan
We’re not making student loan payments right now. I have a full post coming up with a bit more about how we landed on this decision, but that’s our plan until at least the end of September.
That said, we are still budgeting for the payments. The plan is to hold the cash for now and dump it all on the loan later. This total accounted for the regular monthly payment, plus the extra we would have put on it if we were still paying it off.
- Relaxed the shopping ban
While I did not go on a shopping spree (although my goodness, I was tempted!) I did spend a little bit of money outside the scope of my shopping ban in April. That said, I feel good about it — with the exception of one transaction, I focused on supporting small businesses I love. I will likely continue to do this in the weeks to come.
(and the one transaction? Was the Sephora sale, where I focused on restocking items I use regularly).
- Upped our weekly spending limit
Our budget doesn’t include lines like groceries, gas, clothing, etc. Instead, we use something I call the miscellaneous line. Essentially, after all the big bills are paid, I put aside a weekly spending allowance of sort, which we use to cover off more variable expenses.
For the better part of the last few years, it’s been about $200. But in April, I upped it to $250.
Why? Honestly, to give a bit of flexibility — especially with groceries. Our grocery store bill has been lower lately, but we have also been getting produce from a local farm and getting takeout more regularly. We don’t use all $250 every week, but I like that we have the option if we need it.
May 2020 Goals
Looking ahead, in May, we will…
- Finish my “quarantine clean”
I made a lot of progress in April getting things in order around the apartment. In May, I’m going to tackle the outstanding areas. Love having a clean and organized space!
- Figure out what to do for Jeff’s birthday!
Jeff’s birthday is at the end of May. Given how much uncertainty there is about…well, the state of the world, I want to spend some time thinking about options for celebrating this year.
- Continue supporting small businesses
Again, we’re not talking shopping spree here. But I anticipate I will be making a few more purchases in May from shops/businesses I love. Not exactly what I was thinking when I started the shopping ban but then again…I wasn’t thinking about a global pandemic, either, so.
Your turn! How did April turn out for you? What are your goals for May?
Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst
Katie Camel says
Good for you for getting your emergency fund back up to $5k! I agree that $1k isn’t enough. It’s too easy to blow through. One big expense and you could be wiped out. I aim for at least $6k and hover right around that number most of the time.
I’m excited to see your post about your student loan payments. Since I’m refinancing my mortgage, I want to see how your handling this savings and how making a big payment feels.
Keep up the great work, especially with all that cleaning! I did some of that too, but haven’t finished yet. Surprisingly, a lot of what I did 2 years ago resulted in a bigger cleanout than I realized. So it hasn’t been quite the job I thought it would be this time around. Happy early birthday to Jeff! 🙂
I feel SO much better when I have a more robust emergency fund. I think it’s because like, our rent alone is $1K. Now, to be fair, that covers all our housing and utilities…but that would be the entire fund. I know there are some folks who are hardcore about the $1K thing, but I just don’t think it’s practical, especially if you don’t have a safety net in the event the bottom falls out, you know?
It feels SO weird not making student loan payments right now. Is it weird that I kind of miss it? Kind of.
Today I finished the last “official” thing on the cleaning list so yay! That means there’s really only one other area I want/need to declutter…the kitchen. While it won’t require some of the cleaning the other areas needed (mostly because we try to keep it clean since we uh…cook…there), it definitely needs a decluttering. All I can think as I do this is how in the WORLD did we accumulate so much stuff?!
And I’ll pass on the birthday wishes 🙂 Gonna be weird celebrating in lockdown but hey, that’s the time we live in right now, eh?