Jump to content

I'm about to move out but my budget makes me scared. Can you help me?


Recommended Posts

I'm in North Texas and I make $3200/month after taxes. Health insurance and retirement covered by my job.

Rent: $1300 for 650 sq ft., 1-bedroom apartment
Phone: $40 (I have a cheap Cricket Wireless plan.)
Car Insurance: $130
Renters Insurance: $15
Food: $400
Toiletries (Hair/Skin products, soap, toothpaste): $100
Gas: $250
Internet: $50
Water: $40 (I estimated high-end.)
Electricity: $70 (I estimated high-end.)
Savings: $250

Expenses Total: $2645/month
Funds Remaining: $555, which means...
Fun (gifts, movies, clothes, beauty treatments, supplements, dates): $138/week

Do you think this is a realistic budget?
Are there any items I am missing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you tried tracking your spending? not budgeted and planned expenses but what you spend on entertainment, gifts, treats, movies, coffees.

look at what you're spending now.  that will tell you if your allowance of $138 is enough

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Have you tried tracking your spending? not budgeted and planned expenses but what you spend on entertainment, gifts, treats, movies, coffees.

look at what you're spending now.  that will tell you if your allowance of $138 is enough

The pandemic skews this because I've mostly stayed at home the past few years, but I think the most my spending will be is: going to the movies 1-2x/week; buying cute clothes I see at Target or thrift stores, lol; whatever dates cost because I want to invest in my romantic life, etc.

It seems tight. But, I understand I'm poor so I'm willing to stretch and squeeze.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recommend the book Stacked and there are some good on line calculators to figure out how much of your salary should go to rent.  

In looking at your list - I'd reconsider the "beauty treatments" if you need to budget.  Also consider co-pays for medical stuff and keeping 3-6 months of savings in case you could not work or lost your job.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

$400 per month for groceries and $100 per month on toiletries seems high IMO. I spend about $65-70 per week on groceries and about $50 per month on personal care items. Hair styling products last me about a month each and cost about $15-$20 for both, and I buy soap at a specialty shop for $25 for 4 bars. Each bar lasts me about two weeks, so I only need to buy every two months. And these are luxury handmade soaps.

One thing you're doing that's very smart is including savings in your budget. I do the same thing. I have my direct deposit setup so a certain amount goes into an account that I have at a different bank so I don't even touch it.

I usually spend about $175-$225 per month on "fun", meaning take out food, a rare bottle of wine or some online shopping items. I don't go out really, so I don't need a movie budget.

I think your budget looks quite good overall, with just a couple of tweaks that I would make (doesn't mean you should!) in your grocery and personal care purchases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Needinghelp101 said:

The pandemic skews this

This is a good observation. There will be times when your budget gets skewed in a bad way.

I see your budgeting for savings and retirement. What about emergencies? Do you have 6 to 9 months of expenses saved?

And moving expenses? Even if you move yourself, on the cheap, remember there are deposits and set up fees to get utilities turned on.  As well as, the expenses to get the house started with cleaning and paper products. Those can cause a shock the first time you have to buy everything. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, Lambert said:

This is a good observation. There will be times when your budget gets skewed in a bad way.

I see your budgeting for savings and retirement. What about emergencies? Do you have 6 to 9 months of expenses saved?

And moving expenses? Even if you move yourself, on the cheap, remember there are deposits and set up fees to get utilities turned on.  As well as, the expenses to get the house started with cleaning and paper products. Those can cause a shock the first time you have to buy everything. 

When I move out, I will have 15K in savings. That's about 5K to buy furniture/appliances/move-in stuff (is 5K too much, too little?) with 10K left which is the equivalent of 3 months of expenses in case of job loss. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You also have to plan "unplanned expanses". You would get a traffic ticket. Or have to travel somewhere. Or to call a repairman. Or be on USA famous health insurance and pay couple of grands for a treatment. Its always something that goes unplanned from time to time. But you can always dip in into savings for those. As far as regular expanses goes, it seems fine.

Also do you count food as groceries that you would prepare or do you also count orders, maybe buying lunch at work break, buying coffee or some other form of drinks at the cafe and stuff like that? Because you would have to account that you would spend some money outside of just groceries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Needinghelp101 said:

When I move out, I will have 15K in savings. That's about 5K to buy furniture/appliances/move-in stuff (is 5K too much, too little?) with 10K left which is the equivalent of 3 months of expenses in case of job loss. 

I've heard most people don't have the 6-9 months of expenses saved.  So you probably could be fine with only 3.  I would just try to make sure a portion of savings is set aside for the emergency fund. 

5k on moving and furniture? depends on how much you have to buy. You might not need movers but you'll probably have to pay a delivery fee for furniture or rent a truck to haul it away.

What's your time line? I'd try to wait to save more money. 

When I was first starting out, I was broke and although I look back at that time in my life with great fondness. it felt great to be on my own. I was doing my own thing etc. my little apartment with curtains my mom made for the kitchen..  but it wasn't easy. 

What about laundry? Will you have to pay to do it? 

Edited by Lambert
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Western Europe so I don’t know the cost of living in your area, but here are a few thoughts you may want to consider.

I see you have a car, but I don’t see any car maintenance expenses in your budget, like oil / filter change, car wash, new tires (not an annual cost obviously), repairs etc.

Given the current world economic situation and energy prices, I would probably put a higher number for electricity, just to be on the safe side.

I would put money aside for an additional retirement/pension plan.

Are you planning an annual vacation and does this come out of the FUN budget?

I always prepare an annual budget for myself and I do track all of my expenses. Since a few months, my washing machine is making loud noises during the spinning cycle. Now it’s more than 15 years old, so yes, at some point of time it will need to be replaced. Should it break down this year, I have enough funds on my current account to buy a new one, but otherwise I will put it in my budget for next year. When I buy new appliances like this, I do buy good quality, which may be more expensive, but I have learned that buying good quality is cheaper in the end.

For grocery shopping, I look at the special offers, and if there is something that I need anyway I buy more. I love cooking, so I cook all my food and don’t do take out / delivery. I have been cutting my hair myself for over 25 years. I tend to live a more frugal life style and I have always been a saver, but that’s not everyone’s choice.

How are you planning to use your savings account? I only dip into my savings account if I need to buy a car, have major works on my house, for investment purposes or in case of an emergency (fire, flooding, job loss etc.). As soon as I transfer to my savings account, it is “gone” so to speak and not available anymore for daily expenses.

Good luck with the move!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would go very minimalist on the furniture other than a good mattress -new one.  For the rest check nextdoor and facebook marketplace and do used/gently used. Start looking for coupons/deals now for paper products.   I see so much of that (not that I buy it but it's there).  Good luck!

Edited by Batya33
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Kwothe28 said:

You also have to plan "unplanned expanses". You would get a traffic ticket. Or have to travel somewhere. Or to call a repairman. Or be on USA famous health insurance and pay couple of grands for a treatment. Its always something that goes unplanned from time to time. But you can always dip in into savings for those. As far as regular expanses goes, it seems fine.

Also do you count food as groceries that you would prepare or do you also count orders, maybe buying lunch at work break, buying coffee or some other form of drinks at the cafe and stuff like that? Because you would have to account that you would spend some money outside of just groceries.

You are all so incredibly helpful. Thank you. 

So first, I have developed a habit for years of never getting take-out and eating only groceries. So that food budget is truly for only the shopping I would do in a grocery store, accounting for also 1-2 monthly supplements. (I have minor but legit health ailments where I need them.) I WFH, so all my lunch and snacks are coming out my grocery budget. 🙂 Any types of restaurant expenses has to come out that FUN budget.

Yeah, the unplanned expenses is what has me worried. I'm looking at a place with 1170 rent (but with more bad reviews -- eek!) so I could bump up my savings allocation a bit more, like 320. 

3 hours ago, Lambert said:

I've heard most people don't have the 6-9 months of expenses saved.  So you probably could be fine with only 3.  I would just try to make sure a portion of savings is set aside for the emergency fund. 

5k on moving and furniture? depends on how much you have to buy. You might not need movers but you'll probably have to pay a delivery fee for furniture or rent a truck to haul it away.

What's your time line? I'd try to wait to save more money. 

When I was first starting out, I was broke and although I look back at that time in my life with great fondness. it felt great to be on my own. I was doing my own thing etc. my little apartment with curtains my mom made for the kitchen..  but it wasn't easy. 

What about laundry? Will you have to pay to do it? 

I might not even need to rent a truck? Maybe I could store as much as possible in my parents home and use my trusty car to haul it to my new place? I'm going to stop by IKEA and Home Depot today to get a good idea at furniture/appliance prices. (Of which, all these apartments have washer/dryer connections. Will just have to do a one-time purchase of buying my own set.)

I wanted to move out in September. 

That's what I'm looking forward to, being on my own. I know it won't be easy, just don't want to make it impossible for myself, lol!

3 hours ago, Blue_Skirt said:

I see you have a car, but I don’t see any car maintenance expenses in your budget, like oil / filter change, car wash, new tires (not an annual cost obviously), repairs etc.

I would probably put a higher number for electricity, just to be on the safe side.

I would put money aside for an additional retirement/pension plan.

Are you planning an annual vacation and does this come out of the FUN budget?

How are you planning to use your savings account? I only dip into my savings account if I need to buy a car, have major works on my house, for investment purposes or in case of an emergency (fire, flooding, job loss etc.). As soon as I transfer to my savings account, it is “gone” so to speak and not available anymore for daily expenses.

Good luck with the move!

I bought out my parents' leased car which is still under warranty. (Believe me, buying out their 2019 expired-leased car was the best option in this economy. It cost me 18K out my savings, but I spent MONTHS looking for a cheaper used car but all were so, so bad...and barely out there, chip shortage and all.) So free repairs and oil changes for at least another year! Hopefully, by that time, I've switched into a higher-paying job.

Higher for electricity? Why so? I asked the woman at one the apartments what's the highest range one tenant pays for electricity here, and 70 is the number she gave me. Surely it can't be more than that.

Retirement already covered. It's 100/month which is being matched by my job.

Vacation? Um... LOL. Not sure.

Savings is for emergencies and major repairs. And living expenses in case I lose my job.

2 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I would go very minimalist on the furniture other than a good mattress -new one.  For the rest check nextdoor and facebook marketplace and do used/gently used. Start looking for coupons/deals now for paper products.   I see so much of that (not that I buy it but it's there).  Good luck!

Sorry, I don't know what you mean by the bolded?

Edited by Needinghelp101
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, Needinghelp101 said:

Higher for electricity? Why so? I asked the woman at one the apartments what's the highest range one tenant pays for electricity here, and 70 is the number she gave me. Surely it can't be more than that.

I pay an advance on my electricity consumption every 2 months. Once per year in November, there is a meter reading and my actual consumption less the advances is billed. With the increasing energy prices, I do expect a higher electricity bill for the true up and thus higher advances for next year. Not sure how this is done in Texas, but this popped up in my mind when you asked for advice. I don’t like bad surprises.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally would never buy used furniture or appliances. You never know what people have done in or to them. Plus, they're getting rid of them for a reason and it's not because they're working perfectly or they're in great condition, no matter what they tell you.

You can get deals at furniture and appliance warehouses, which is where I bought my fridge. It was a scratch and dent (about a three inch scratch on the side) so I got a deep discount. The scratch was on the side that was against the wall so I totally didn't even care. It still worked! And as for food, there are always weekly deals. Sign up for emails so you can see what's on sale that week.

I think you're going to do just fine. You seem smart and have a good plan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would never buy used appliances or used mattress.  Furniture -yes -we have two office chairs - one I bought from my neighbor for $40 -worth much more - and one I found in the garage here downstairs- great condition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

I personally would never buy used furniture or appliances. You never know what people have done in or to them. Plus, they're getting rid of them for a reason and it's not because they're working perfectly or they're in great condition, no matter what they tell you.

You can get deals at furniture and appliance warehouses, which is where I bought my fridge. It was a scratch and dent (about a three inch scratch on the side) so I got a deep discount. The scratch was on the side that was against the wall so I totally didn't even care. It still worked! And as for food, there are always weekly deals. Sign up for emails so you can see what's on sale that week.

I think you're going to do just fine. You seem smart and have a good plan.

I'm about to be a couponing queen, believe me, lol! 

In terms of appliances, I think I only have to buy a washer and dryer. 

For furniture, to start, a bed/mattress, desk/chair, a small couch, and things to stock bathroom/bedroom.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always opted to buy new, even if it was on the cheap side for upholstered furniture. I don't like the idea of not being able to disinfect someone else's funky-ness. LOL

List out what you need to buy and research low and high end price points.

Prioritize what you will need to buy based on your needs. Spend the most on the most used items- bed and sofa. Get cheap tables and stands.  Consider what you can do without for awhile... Maybe look into a furnished place, use the laundromat at first.

Get the car tuned up and oil changed if it's due around when you move.  Being proactive and preventive is how to live within a budget. if you wait for something to break or need done, it will cost more. 

Start small. Don't try to plan out too much. You'll have to live in a place to see what you'll need to make yourself comfortable- more lighting or a bookshelf a different size table.

Your first place doesn't need to be top of the line.  Moving out on your own, you'll learn a lot about yourself how to do things and your tastes well change. Not committing too many of your resources will make it easier should you need to change course. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Needinghelp101 said:

I WFH, so all my lunch and snacks are coming out my grocery budget.

It's good you're planning, estimating and saving. That means you'll have success. Buy what you need first then fill in as you go along. Also consider a side hustle for some extras.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just want to say that my takeaway from everything you're writing is that you are going to be just fine. More than that: you're going to thrive as you step into this new chapter.

I believe you're 26, from your other thread? That you're thinking this clearly and methodically about everything, in and of itself, puts you in a whole different class from much of the population. Take half a second and smile about that. Hand clap emoji and so forth. 

There's great advice here, about the specifics of the numbers, all of which add up. You're likely to find moments when they get a little tight—when the fun budget dries up with two weeks left in the month and you realize you want more fun, say, or when something conks out on the car and needs addressing and you realize you need to factor that in differently moving forward. So it goes—and goes and goes. That's life.

You'll adjust, learn from that, which I think is what this moment is ultimately all about and not something you can budget for so much as live, learn, grow, and keep living. With what you saved up and the $250 you're already saving monthly you'll be prepared, are giving yourself some insurance for those moments of growth.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Lambert said:

I always opted to buy new, even if it was on the cheap side for upholstered furniture. I don't like the idea of not being able to disinfect someone else's funky-ness. LOL

Totally agree.

One of my former coworkers had colon issues and had accidentally "messed" her office chair.  That put me off used furniture for sure!  I can't even imagine what people have done to or in their furniture, whether it's sweating all over it, their baby or dog peeing on it or "doing it".  Ick.

There are plenty of bargains out there.  But like you said, you'll regret going super cheap on a mattress set.  And don't make the mistake of not getting a bed frame.  Setting the boxspring on the floor can end up with all kinds of issues including bed bugs!

OP, I think you have a great handle on things. Best of luck!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the budget for furnishing your new place, I myself would never buy used bedding (bed bugs are making a come-back I understand), but on craigslist, or other places you can often find furniture, lamps, etc., etc. for very cheap prices.

Wipe them down, spray them with lysol, etc, etc., and many things like coffee tables, end tables, etc. do not have fabric surfaces so they will clean up safely and quickly.

You mentioned IKEA - to me mind, and just my opinion - they sell disposable, overpriced furniture that gets scratched, banged-up and looking very used quickly - crap furniture, but NOT cheap.   I'm not an IKEA fan myself.

On figuring out what expenses you're maybe failing to take into account, do you have a computer?

If so, for free you can search the web for an alternate to the expensive Microsoft office suite, called Apache OpenOffice.   I've used it for free for years now - it has a Word processor, and for what I have in mind regarding budgeting, a spreadsheet that's a replacement for MS Excel.

What you could do is enter all your KNOWN budget items (as you've already listed) on one spreadsheet tab, and then add to that as you think of more things over time, and use the spreadsheet to total your known budget items for you.

On a separate tab, if you wanted to take the time to do so, you could then you could start actually logging all your expenses, as you incur them.

That way, expenses that you sort of forgot about, might start appearing.  In other words, they aren't unexpected surprises perhaps, just expenses that you missed thinking of when you were filling out your budget.

In this way, as you "discover" expenses you're actually incurring, you can then ask yourself "okay, is this an expense that I want or need to continue paying for when I move out?", and if so, you would then add it to that other spreadsheet tab that lists your budget items.

Anyway, just some ideas, hope this is useful.   Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Stargazer2 said:

You mentioned IKEA - to me mind, and just my opinion - they sell disposable, overpriced furniture that gets scratched, banged-up and looking very used quickly - crap furniture, but NOT cheap.   I'm not an IKEA fan myself.

I totally agree. Ikea is expensive cheap furniture. And I promised myself a long time again to never buy things I have to put together.  Ugh. That is not something I enjoy at all. lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Visited IKEA yesterday and had the same opinion. But my experiences with Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp in the past has been horrible. I don't know where else to find furniture. Goodwill? Thrift stores?

I visited Home Depot yesterday and saw a full washer/dryer set for $1000 total. Nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Needinghelp101 said:

Visited IKEA yesterday and had the same opinion. I visited Home Depot yesterday and saw a full washer/dryer set for $1000 total. Nice.

Don't overbuy. Get the basics. Avoid used junk as far as sofas, bedding, etc. Do you really want someone's dust mites, urine etc.? Stick with what you need right away first to move in. Once you have the basics you can take your time to shop around. Also wait until you have a specific apt in mind. Consider total cost including whether they deliver etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...