The Budget List

Day 2 of the financial path to debt freedom and I decided that I should outline some of the debts, bills, and relative income that is happening so that it’s down on paper (or a blog).

I’m going to take the advice of Steven Jackson and create a budget.

Relative Income

The majority of these numbers are loose considering both of my financial incomes are relative (serving and DJ’ing). However, after doing each for a number of years, I can at least estimate how much I will make per month:

  1. Serving ($600/mo.) – Here’s the breakdown, I work 3 nights a week. Each night I plan on making at minimum $50.00 in tips, which would result in $150 per week thus $600 a month. This is actually good news as it never seems like this much when I’m paying the bills.
  2. DJ’ing ($300/mo.) – This is a pretty low number considering the potential amount of money that I can make here. I am extremely low-balling this number so that when I do make more, it will be more revenue that I can put into paying off further debts or possibly starting a savings. The lowest amount of money that I can make on an evening of DJ’ing is $150 with the highest being $300. The $300 per month would be doing 2 events in the month for $150, which is the number that I make more often. The downside to DJ’ing is it is only on Saturdays, however it results in approximately $25/hr.

I’m looking at a modest $900 per month. Pretty good considering I am going to school fulltime as well. Now it’s time for the hurt.


It’s inevitable so let’s just dive right into it starting with the most crucial debt.

  1. Overdraft bank account – I just hit the jackpot on my bank account by obtaining 6 overdraft fees for $37.50 a piece. I normally would call my bank representative and ask him to help me out, but I have already abused that power twice. I highly doubt they will be so generous this time, so I’m going to bite the bullet. I also have this program called “Overdraft Protection” which gives my account an extra $1,000 in the event that I overdraw, but I have overdrafted on that. Essentially I have spent more than $1,000 of what I don’t have, and have been for quite some time now. Overall, I owe my personal account $1,500
  2. Credit Card – I have a Best Buy card, Kohl’s, Value City Furniture, and a Capital One card. The only one with a balance is my Capital One card, and it’s not maxxed out. $488.04
  3. Bills – I have some upcoming bills which is going to make my overdraft situation tough. The cell phone bill is due on this next week at $80 and I have water and electric a few short days after that resulting in approximately $60. I have a roommate in which we split utilites so those numbers are exactly what I owe. $140.00
  4. Student Loan – My student loans are ridiculous. My family and I decided that school was at the utmost importance no matter the cost. I still stand behind that decision but it is about to get ugly. With my graduation coming up I need to start forking over the money. Optimally, I would like to pay down my bank account and credit card and begin saving for my student loan debt. I am not responsible for these payments until after I graduate. Over the years each one of these loans have been racking up interest nearing the grand total at $120,000.00

Here’s my immediate situation, I need to come up with $600 quickly so that I may pay back my own account and work on my immediate bills. It’s not the best plan but I have a small solution. I’m going to temporarily borrow from my student loan account to pay the upcoming bills. The rest of the month will be dedicated to paying that account back so that I am even for Febuary.

CURRENT DEBT OWED: $120,629.54

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7 Comments on “The Budget List”

  1. What are your monthly expenses? Rent, utilities, other bills? How much are you spending on food? “Extras”?

    Call your student loan people and see if you an get your loan deferred for a little while after you graduate so you won’t have to make payments on that right away. I did that with mine (got it deferred for a year). I saved up the total amount in that year (though I know you won’t be able to do that because it’s such a big amount) and paid off the loan with one check, no interest paid.

    What caused you to overdraft your account? You mentioned that you’ve done it before, so it’s not a rare occasion to you… are you keeping a balanced ledger of how much is in your account at all times? Or are you just shopping and thinking/hoping you have the money? You need to find the cause so it DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN… you’re paying $1500 for your “little mistake”.

  2. thedebtguy Says:

    First off, thank you for reading up and your suggestions! I plan on taking them to heart!

    My bills often vary due to the usage of each utility but they are as follows:

    Rent – $345
    Cable – $28
    Electric – $38
    Water – $19.53
    Gas – $75.00 (winter weather on the east coast)

    The reason that I overdrew my account was for eating out. It’s a habit of mine to socialize with my friends that I plan on stopping. I’m going to try to think of other ways to hang out rather than doing dinner or lunch.

    My accounting skills have also been horrible so before all of this mess started I dug up a Monthly Bookkeeping ledger to keep track of my monthly expenses. I am going to use both that and the Quicken Loans web-based ledgers to see which one is more convenient.

  3. Your rent is very reasonable! How many roomies do you have? And will you be able to continue to live where you are (with your roommates, or find other roommates) when you graduate? Or will you have a different situation then?

    Do you need cable? My husband and I watch our favorite shows on the network websites as they come out, and we have a netflix subscription so we can rent DVDs and TV shows that way. My husband also watches football games on ESPN online. Canceling your cable would easily give you another $336 a year to put toward your debt. If you switched the cable out for a 15 dollar netflix plan, you’d still save 156/year.

    Water, electric, and gas are things you CAN change a bit by changing your habits if you’re willing to … Can you turn down the heat a bit and wear a sweater inside? Or when the spring comes, turn off your air and heat all-together and open the windows? Stuff like that will make little differences now, but add up in the long run.

    I have a dear friend who is extremely frugal, and if she meets me at a restaurant or goes out with a group of friends, she’ll eat at home and then at the restaurant, just order a drink and sit and chat. Everyone knows how frugal she is and how serious she is about her savings goals, so no one thinks it’s weird or is uncomfortable with it. Certain restaurants, like Chili’s, have “bottomless” appetizers (theirs is chips and salsa) and you can split the cost of one with a friend… your friend can get a meal and you can just keep noshing on chips.

    Having game nights at home is a great way to do frugal entertainment too… Taboo is a super party game, as are Apples to Apples, Cranium, and Balderdash. Have everyone bring a snack and just play games together. (Also, if you’re planning on drinking, it’s MUCH cheaper to drink at home than at a restaurant or bar… plus if people get drunk they can just crash at your place instead of driving home intoxicated.)

    Let me know if you want me to stop commenting… I just get REALLY EXCITED about people who are serious about getting out of debt and want to help as much as I can.

  4. PS It looks like you have about 400 “extra” a month… pay off that credit card, first thing, and stop carrying a balance on it! That interest is no good.

    Also… if you have very close friends (I mean VERY… they have to be really trustworthy) you may considering getting a family plan with them for your cell phone service. My sister and her friends do that and it’s cut their bill TREMENDOUSLY. Since each additional “line” only costs an additional $10 a month, for every person they add, they save money.

  5. thedebtguy Says:

    Let me begin by saying that I love your comments. Not only are they helpful and have insight, but this is exactly what I am looking for! I need some cheerleading and help with this project, and I was looking for people to help! (Not only that, but I hope I help some others too!)

    My rent is very very good for where I live, although the number I laid out is what I paid for my half. I am soon about to add another roommate to help him with his finances, and he will be contributing $150 overall (rent plus the extra utilities he consumes and some money towards groceries). That figure is tentative but I think it should cover it. The lease for my place will last me until November and we plan on living her for another term after that, so I’ll be here for a while, which is good for budgeting.

    The cable for my place only costs $10 extra since I have both internet and cable, and after splitting it, it only costs me $5.00 to watch the TV. With school, I absolutely have to have the internet anyhow, so that’s sort of a fixed cost.

    I am doing some things around the house to keep the heat down, turning off lights, etc.

    The games at home is also a great suggestion. I’ll give that a shot this week and let you know how it goes!

  6. thedebtguy Says:

    Once again, good suggestions JoyfulAbode!

    First I have to put some money towards my overdrawn account and the upcoming bills. Then I put some of those numbers towards that credit card. Maybe I can make it my goal to pay that off in Febuary.

  7. That is so excellent that you’re able to add another roommate, and keep living there for a while… that rent really can’t be beat.
    AND since your new roommate is also in a financial squeeze, it will be easier to do frugal things together (he won’t be begging you to go out to eat, or if he does, you can remind him of both of your goals).

    If that’s internet and TV that’s not bad at all… good points, and it looks like you have the right mindset about things.

    -Your #1 cheerleader

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