Bare-Bones Monthly Budget
My basic monthly expenses are $821 (Line Item 16). Yes, you read that right – about $800. That ain’t even that extreme. Lots of vandwellers run a van life on that kind of money, some for even less than $600 per month (see below).
3. Auto, Insurance – This is for full coverage under GEICO. Besides being older than 25 and having a good driving record, Vanholio set up his official residency in a cheap ZIP code. Why the fuck pay more? I live everywhere, so I can live anywhere, so far as The Man knows. Compare costs at “Average Car Insurance Rates by Neighborhood” on the Carinsurance.com website.
9. Groceries / Household – This is a bit high but not crazy. First off, Vanholio is a big man. He also likes to eat out once in awhile, gets drinks and snacks at convenience stores, and indulges in a few luxuries. I could be more frugal, but fuck it. Also, this line item includes my OTC drugs, laundry soap, grooming items, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and dog food – basically all that shit I get at a grocery store. Don’t have any fucking idea what you spend on food? Start guesstimating using Official USDA Food Plans price data.
10. Internet / Phone – $20 is pretty goddamn amazing, huh!? It’s actually a bit less, but I have a buffer for equipment replacement. I spend $11.20 per month for a Page Plus flip phone on the $12 plan, but I get a little discount for automatic payments. For internet, I got one of those flashed MiFis off Ebay that give you unlimited 3G Verizon wireless for $5 a month (Google ‘em!).
13. Medical, Out-of-Pocket – Vanholio is living under the minimum for expanded Medicar, $16, 394, so his medical insurance and deductibles are pretty cheap.
17. Federal Income Tax / FICA – It’s one thing to budget spending, but I also needed to figure out how much I need to earn before Uncle Sam gets his cut. Otherwise, I’d be short. It takes $899 in gross earnings to have $821 left in my check. SmartAsset.com’s tax estimator does all the crazy math. Play with it. My figures are based on no state or local income tax, income from a job vs. self-employment, and just one deduction (myself).
Advanced Monthly Budget
You need money for extras and emergencies. Plus, you need to save for the future. So this budget works all that in. And again, it figures what I need to earn gross before the taxman takes a cut.
18. Savings, 30% – Looking around the ‘net, most personal finance experts recommend you save 30% of your income for “retirement.” Don’t know that I’ll retire as I’m halfway outta the game already, but I figure saving and investing at a decent rate is just smart. At the least, I gotta replace the rig someday and need cash saved up in case I’m unemployed, by choice or not. Plus, I figure I can eventually live off investments instead of work. And I won’t need to worry about what the fuck happens to Social Security!
Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.