Using Planned Savings

I have written a lot about my big tuition planned savings goal. I have written (and thought) much less about how I’m actually going to use this money I had saved up.

Obviously on tuition, but I hadn’t thought about all the little things that have to be taken care of before school even starts. ($6000 will not cover even one semester of tuition anyways.)

My plan is to track my spending as I withdrawal money from my planned savings account.

This is what I have so far:

Tuition for 2014 Date Activity Balance Reason
  2014-05-13 6619.7 6000  
  2014-05-16 -507.5 6112.2 deposit
  2014-05-19 -65 6047.2 first aid
  2014-05-20 -85 5962.2 immunizations
    -498 5464.2 trip to see mom/dad
    -90.28 5373.92 flowers for references
    -40.5 5333.42 agenda/file folder
    -144 5189.42 purse
    -85 5104.42 flats, two shirts

 

And yes, I’ve been a bad (but honest) personal finance blogger by tracking even the not-so-essential school expenses I’ve ‘expensed’ from this tuition account so far.

My theory is by carrying over this explicit spending tracking into the planned spending account I will be more honest about

a) Where the money is going and b) How much I actually have.

I have spent a good chunk so far.

Yes, I didn’t need a number of these things, but they do directly relate to school and I did not use a credit card or any credit to buy them, so I do not feel guilty at all!

I’m unsure about whether or not to use this money for living expenses in the weeks leading up to school or not, but perhaps I’ll write about that later.

Regardless, expect regularly spending tracking reports from this planned savings account in the future! I encourage you to do the same!

You counted every dollar saving it, you should also make sure you track where it goes!

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New Financial Goals

I’ve met both of my 2014 financial goals and it’s only half way through the year!It’s pretty good timing, even though I didn’t plan it.

This is all excellent and I’m very proud and excited, but the truth is that it calls for more goals.

Since this next 6 months will include my transition from full time work into full time school (debt), my priorities are changing for sure.

2nd Half of 2014 Financial Goals:

  1. Stay below a monthly living expenses budget of $1450.

  2. Stay on top of tracking all expenses, doing month-end, quarterly and yearly reports.

So not exciting, I know.

I’m sad to realize that this next part of my life will not be full of awesome, savings-goal-smashing months, but with all opportunities come sacrifices right?

I mostly just want to keep on keeping on with all of the great financial skills I’ve used this past year, and help keep me under budget and keep this line of credit living as minimal as possible.

This is the first time that I’m in school and not financially drunk, so this is going to be very interesting. I’m confident that I will be able to carry forward all my financial skills through school and not fall back into my ‘I’m too busy to do this I’m a student’ mode of yesteryear.

I will also aim to have monthly financial goals and perhaps once school settles in have some monthly challenges where I aim to spend as little as possible.

 

Bring on the next six months !

How to Make a Medical School Budget- Part 2

As I transition back to school I want to make sure that I’m not going into any more debt than I absolutely need, so I’m making a super school budget!
I wrote about the first steps here. I’m building on how I made my school budget based on my spending analyses.

From my spending analysis I was able to compare my spending in each category side-by-side:

Year End 2013 Year End 2013 Q1 2014 Q1 2014
Category Total Average/month Total Average/month
Debt repayment 4650.27 387.52 900 300
Savings 7530.13 627.51 3363.16 1121.05
Bills 2201.39 183.44 382.75 127.58
Housing 8285.98 690.49 2268.8 756.26
Transportation 3113.63 259.46 512 170.66
Entertainment 1524.09 127 257.76 85.92
Extra 6494.72 541.22 413.59 137.86
Life 2129.08 177.42 467.35 155.78
Spending 35929 2994.1 8565.41 2855.14
Income 35389 2949.11 9701.79 3233.93

This is a great first step, but let’s go deeper!

For each analysis I started stripping away the costs that I won’t have in school

Year End 2013 Year End 2013 Q1 2014 * Q1 2014
Category Total Average/month Total Average/month
Debt repayment 4650.27 387.52 900 300
Savings 7530.13 627.51 3363.16 1121.05
Bills 2201.39 183.44 382.75 127.58
Housing 8285.98 690.49 2268.8 756.26
Transportation 3113.63 259.46 512 170.66
Entert. 1524.09 127 257.76 85.92
Extra 6494.72 541.22 413.59 137.86
Life 2129.08 177.42 467.35 155.78
Spending 35929 2994.1 8565.41 (34261.64 for the year) 2855.14
Income 35389 2949.11 9701.79 3233.93
Minus Debt repayment 31279.02 2606.58 30661.64 2555.13
Minus savings 23748.89 1979.07 17209 1434.08
Half the transportation costs ** 22192.08 1849.34 16185 1348.75

*The total numbers for Q1 were for 3 months (by nature of it being a quarterly review), so I extrapolated these numbers to a yearly amount (I multiplied them by 4)
** I subtracted half of the transportation costs because I will have a bus pass in school, but I am not sure if I will still use car2go/car rentals. I’m hoping this is a high estimate

From these tables I have the most important numbers: 1849.34 and 1348.75, which represent my budget without debt repayment, savings and half the transportation costs.

I then averaged these numbers to reach a modest monthly budget: 1599.04

This number is a great estimate, but does include things like entertainment and ‘extra’, which contribute an average of $106.46 and $339.54 a month respectively. I feel like the entertainment budget is modest so I will keep that, but if you take away half of the extra budget (and again, I hope I’m high-balling it), you can knock off another 169.77 from the monthly living budget to bring it to:

1599.04-169.77=

$1429.27 a month.

Not too shabby I think. A number that is based in reality, my lived spending experience, and does have room for all of the things I am used to spending.

Most importantly, it feels doable. And a budget needs to be doable for it to have any purpose at all!

Considering even working full time I would put over $1000/month into dept repayment and savings I would only have about 1700/month to live in a swanky downtown condo and take a car2go whenever my heart desired.

I do plan on tracking my spending in school and post monthly spending analysis as I did before. It will be a bit different since it’s not exactly a spending analysis as it will be a ‘line of credit tracker’ as I will be putting most of my school and living expenses on credit, but I feel like being just as detailed with my credit will help keep me out of trouble.

I’ll post my sample school budget shortly- let me know if you think I’m missing anything! Except of course tuition, which is a story for another day.

How to Make a Medical School Budget-Part 1

So this med school thing is blowing my mind, particularly around the money stuff.
One of the first things I did was sit down and make a budget. Which sounds easy enough, but I added some extra-detailed personal finance steps for all of you to follow along!

How to make a kick-ass back to school budget

1. Before you even know what the future holds- track your expenses! I call these spending analyses.

For the past year and a half I have been tracking my spending by month- I post them up here and compare my intended spending with my actual costs. This is great for keeping you on track every month with your goals, but very helpful when you need to project a budget for the future.

Because I have a record of all of my expenses I can very easily go back in time and calculate just how much I spend on everything. This is so important for me because I’m going to be adjusting to a drastically cut income (read: no income), but this is also important if you have a dramatic increase in income so you know where that raise is going, or if your life situation changes: parental leave, being self-employed, etc.

2. Put together as many spending analyzes as possible to get the most accurate view of your spending habits.

I used my year end review (link here) and my Q1 of 2014 (link), because these were already averages of my spending for these time periods. If you don’t do year end reviews or quarter reviews- first start!- and second, use all your information you have, maybe its 2 weeks or 3 months, to take an average of what you spend per category

3. Use your spending analysis to determine your average expenses by category.

I already have my monthly, quarterly and yearly analysis broken into categories. I have spoken about this before, but I got these categories from Gail Vaz Oxlade.

Debt repayment: credit card repayment from the start of 2013 and after May 2013 all student loan payments
Savings: my emergency fund, tuition goals and retirement savings
Bills: my personal cell, internet, heat and electricity at my old place, and tenant insurance at my new place (heat was included in my rent as of August 2013)
Housing: mostly rent, but also any house improvements/decorations/furniture
Transportation: ground transportation- car rentals, car2go, public transit
Entertainment: eating out, alcohol, events, etc.
Extra: everything else- clothing, gifts, travel, mostly non-essential things that apparently I love to throw money at
Life: personal care, groceries, medication

These are my numbers:

Year End 2013 Year End 2013 Q1 2014 Q1 2014
Category Total Average/month Total Average/month
Debt repayment 4650.27 387.52 900 300
Savings 7530.13 627.51 3363.16 1121.05
Bills 2201.39 183.44 382.75 127.58
Housing 8285.98 690.49 2268.8 756.26
Transportation 3113.63 259.46 512 170.66
Entertainment 1524.09 127 257.76 85.92
Extra 6494.72 541.22 413.59 137.86
Life 2129.08 177.42 467.35 155.78
Spending 35929 2994.1 8565.41 2855.14
Income 35389 2949.11 9701.79 3233.93

This alone was a really good exercise for me. I’m very happy to see that I’ve really reigned in my discretionary spending and really did throw a lot of money towards savings!

This gave me great information as to what I spend and where. I used this as a foundation for my next step, which I will talk about later this week!