March 2020 Budget Forecast

I promised I would start doing these post once a month at the beginning of the year but exposing your actual spending seems…hard. However, I realized, one more thing to make me accountable is probably for the best, AND February was a pretty decent month so relatively low embarrassment, so I might as well start now and force myself to stick to it.

Here is a screenshot of the budget I set up in Excel for March 2020. These are my actual numbers, so at some point I might freakout about this level of transparency and take this down. For now…

Some explanations…

Note: I get paid once a month, on the first of the month.

The (*) – My Federal Student Loans are currently in a deferment that will end in December. This is why it would be really great to get rid of Private Loans 1 & 2 this year because it would allow me to reallocate those minimum payments to my Federal Loans once they come out of deferment which would mean my minimum payment amount wouldn’t really change that much.

The (**) – I realized I don’t really use my Kindle Unlimited because of their current content, so I cancelled the service. After a Prime card credit I had, the remaining balance due was $1.05.

Paycheck from University B – This is a net amount after taxes and other deductions like health insurance, dental, and 401K.

Food, dining, gas, and miscellaneous – This amount is about $100.00 higher than it usually is due to the activity referee side money. However, I am still trying to spend as if I only have $222.55. At the end of the month I would hope to be able to push another $100.00 towards my student loan. But I have been too aggressive in the past, small things have come up, and then I have had to rely on credit cards to cover the difference. My goal is to try and leave a bit of a buffer in much checking account vs. my budget so that doesn’t happen. Also, I drive my car for work a lot this months as it is a peak time for my office at work. Unfortunately, this eats into my gas money which is also budgeted here. In May after the semester is over, I will get a reimbursement check from the University but until then my work travel chips away at my budget each month.

Any thoughts?

4 thoughts on “March 2020 Budget Forecast

  1. Wow, you are keeping it *super* low. I feel like $222 is probably not enough for food/gas/etc. I think you should try for $300 maybe — that seems a bit more reasonable. If the side hustle keeps paying, you can use that, but if not, maybe reduce your 401(k)? I know, I know. But this is *such* a strict budget, I'm worried you can't actually do this every month and keep making big loan payments the way you need to and still eat any vegetables at all! On the plus side it sounds like you'll get a chunk of money from the university reimbursement in May — hopefully you can start using that to pay yourself a bit of extra gas money each month going forward from there.


  2. I don't know where you're located as far as COL goes, but that budget feels a lot like my early 2000s budget which was awfully tight. You have exactly the right idea with creating a buffer using those small bits of side money until you have enough to cover a few of those times that you have small things come up. Perhaps you can split small payments between the FDGM budget and the buffer account. Then when you get the reimbursement check, split that too.


  3. Thanks you for the feedback!You are probably right…I think this bare bones budget is only possible if everything goes right…which is not the case more often than not. I was only encouraged to try again at the bare bones level because I made it through February but you are probably right and it should be closer to $300.00 normally so I have some breathing room for regular maintenance things like…washing my car lol.The side hustle is very, very sporadic and due to the nature of the academic activity. And because its the end of the season, I'm unlikely to get any more side gigs. However, recently, a moonlighting gig for the activity arose in which I could make $X,XXX.XX over a two week period while keeping my day job so I might squeak out a bit more early this summer. (I will post about this should it come to fruition).So…it is unlikely that I will reduce my 401K. I know! Hear me out…I currently only have to donate 2% of my salary to get a 9% match from my employer. I think you are absolutely right and that this budget is not maintainable long term. But I promise I eat my vegetables! (I'm a vegetarian :-)Again, I think you're right. I will use the university reimbursement to create a car gas and maintenance fund…and not use it to pay off debt like I planned *looks sheepish*Again, thanks for taking the time to comment.


  4. So…I live in a major city on the East Coast…more south than north. 🙂 The COL is not very low but I have worked for non-profits, traveled, or been in school so long I got used to not spending much. But you are right, it's pretty tight and probably not sustainable long term. I will probably tough it out until the balance transfers are paid-off and then ease up just a bit.That's a good idea. Instead of just allowing it to languish in my checking account to be eventually spent on who knows what, I should actually set it aside. The $50.00 in savings actually goes to a \”life savings\” account which is different than my baby emergency fund of $1000.00. I think splitting extra or leftover money between FDGM and \”life\” moving forward is a good idea and will help will be a stopgap to prevent me from putting those things on a credit card.Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm going to sneak on over to your blog now 🙂


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