Drafting up a 2014 budget

nzmuse 2014 budget

At last, it finally feels like we’re back on an even keel! T is bringing in an income and now that the random payroll snafu that resulted in me missing my December paycheque (I got it in January) is sorted, we’re basically all caught up financially.

So, his new job. It involved a big initial outlay; that happens when you go from the kind of jobs where you have a uniform or can wear your normal casual clothes to a white-collar environment – particularly in face-to-face sales. As much as I hate to say it, those shirts and pants and ties and shoes were an investment.

The hours are long, though – 9-10 hour days and only three days off a fortnight. (Whether this is sustainable long-term is another matter – time will tell, I guess.) Now he’s past the training month, it’s entirely commission based, so his income is 100% variable.

The big bonus is the near total elimination of car expenses. Company car, a certain amount of fuel per week, not to mention the savings on insurance, registration and maintenance. I’m super stoked, because car expenses are ALWAYS what kill us.

The most logical way to manage our money seems to be to live off mine (the regular) and save his (the irregular) – even if that makes me feel a little uneasy. There is room to still save a little from my pay, which makes me happier. Here’s my projection for our weekly expenses (yes, we pay rent weekly in NZ, for any newcomers).

  • Rent – $280
  • Groceries – $130
  • Bills – $120 (I put this amount into my ‘bills’ account for power, water, bus fare, insurance, and all those boring things)
  • T’s allowance – $80 (spending money plus lunch money – their $6 subsidised cafeteria meals look amazing and are good value – this is a small luxury of convenience for the both of us)
  • Fun money – $80 (generally consists of us going out to eat, plus room to spend $20-30 on petrol for our own use)

The big hairy goal is saving for a house, but I’ve come to realise we probably first need to save for a second car, because we won’t be able to afford a house in a convenient suburb. Much as I would like to be able to save a 20% down payment, 10% is more realistic, and can be done through a Welcome Home loan.

Finding a house for under $485,000 isn’t easy (but at least they’ve updated their price threshold – they previously classed affordable houses as under something like $300,000, which was so far off the mark it wasn’t even funny). As for the income criteria, unless T turns out to be a total ninja sales star, or some flush-with-funding startup decides they need my wordsmithing skills like I need my weekly fix of Scandal and shower me with buckets of cash, we should be safe. I try not to think about one of my old classmates, an accountant who would’ve started out making roughly the same income as me, but then doubled that in her second job (I bet she’s into the six figures now) and is only going to go up from there. I try not to think about the fact that I will probably never crack $90k in my working life, and focus on the fact that I have the dream job that I actually enjoy going to every day. But why, oh why, couldn’t my talents and interests have had more lucrative leanings? Don’t answer that.

Femme Frugality

9 thoughts on “Drafting up a 2014 budget

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies January 31, 2014 at 12:49

    I hope T is liking his new gig – the environment sounds very much like the period when Mr PoP was in retail sales, though he was in a cellphone shop. But a lot of odd hours, long weeks, and few days off. On the bright side, he really only spent 6 months working there before getting recruited into a much more sane 9-5 office style sales job that is not only much more lucrative, but much more conducive to spending time with one’s spouse. =)

    Those home prices still astound me. Insanity!

    • Reply eemusings January 31, 2014 at 18:26

      I do wonder about the long term because T isn’t cut out to sit in an office, but more normal working hours would be grand eventually. Ah well it’s been six weeks, plenty of time to worry about that later!

      Sigh. On an absolute level, yes. But on a relative level? Auckland is like Sydney, NY, London, Tokyo. Overall it’s a desirable place to live. We have 1/3 of the whole population. We have lots of immigration, and lot of those migrants are flush with cash.

  • Reply Amanda @ MoveLoveEat January 31, 2014 at 16:23

    I’ve not long moved to Auckland and the hopes of buying a house any time soon have gone completely out the window, house prices are so crazy here! I guess we just keep saving away and hope they don’t get crazier! I was in Wanganui before, which granted doesn’t have a lot going on (which means you spend less) but you could get an ok house there for $150k (or less) $485k would be a mansion with land down there which up here would only get you something modest in an ok area. Le Sigh!

  • Reply Dear Debt January 31, 2014 at 19:02

    I could not do solely commission based! Good luck and glad you guys are more settled. I’ve always been able to wear what I want, so sometimes I think about how expensive it would be to buy a nice, corporate-ish wardrobe. I am like you — all my interests are in the arts and nonprofit and not lucrative at all! I would just like 50k at this point! I do hope to get at least that one day.

  • Reply Michelle January 31, 2014 at 19:33

    Ok, I still don’t get the weekly rent. Do you just have an automatic withdrawal system for payment? Or, are you dropping off a check every week? Is it easy to get out of your lease?

  • Reply Deia @ Nomad Wallet February 2, 2014 at 08:47

    The “clothes are an investment” spiel that fashion magazines print all the time really annoy me, but I have to agree in this case. I wonder why you have to save up for a second car if you already have the one car + the company car. Am I missing something?

    • Reply eemusings February 2, 2014 at 11:54

      We only have the one car – a company car (subject for another blog post…)

  • Reply femmefrugality February 11, 2014 at 15:11

    Budgeting with variable income is a major pain. (The fiance’s is variable, and we lived 100% off his [and my scholarships] while I was in school.) Now mine is somewhat variable, too. But at least we have more of it! :p That’s awesome that you guys have your stuff covered on yours alone…I’m sure his earnings will add up fast and you guys will be in a house sooner than you think!

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