Adjusting My 2015 Budget To Accomodate Freelancer Estimated Taxes

Every month, I need to put 20 percent of my income towards taxes, 20 percent towards debt, and 10 percent towards savings.

Planning a 2015 Budget: Revised and Updated

When you ask Billfold readers to critique your budget, they critique your budget. With that in mind, here's a revised and updated 2015 budget, incorporating your suggestions.

Budgeting for Vacations, Other People’s Weddings, and Other Summer Stuff (Yay Summer!)

Mike: So Ester, it officially feels like summer! Maybe because it was 90 degrees the other day (but I still haven’t put in my air conditioner, perhaps to Josh Michtom’s delight). But I will! I did it in July last year.

Ester: We haven’t either! I always hold out ’til the last possible moment, til I feel like a wax person whose own skin is melting off my body. For environmental reasons.

Mike: I guess for me it’s part environmental reasons, but also because I don’t think it’s so terribly hot yet? I’m also not home very much, so that may be one reason. I’m at the office right now, and it’s usually on, but it’s quiet here today so I have turned off the a/c and opened the windows. It’s below 80! Who needs it? Okay, so, the thing I wanted to ask you is whether you have summer travel plans and if you planned for it financially in advance.

Ester: Last summer, as you may recall, my husband Ben, babygirl and I decamped for seven weeks — we stayed in Vilnius, Lithuania, in an AirB&B that thankfully did not burn down (the Lithuanian rain would have taken care of that right away anyway I guess), in a couple different places in England, and then in a family friend’s house in Spain. That was pretty amazing — and kind of ate up our travel budget for two years. So we don’t have anything planned for this summer, really, except to figure out how to have, entertain, and enjoy time with a kid in the heat without leaving NYC. How about you?

Mike: I have a savings account through Ally that is specifically for vacations. I just checked and there is $400 in it.

New York on $70 a Week

Think about the cost of living where you live. Think about what you actually need, financially, to live on. The bare minimum. Does it sound like $70 a week? Probably not. But I’ve done it three times—in New York City.

Planning a 2015 Budget

Have you figured out how much discretionary income you'll have every month in 2015? Is that something you consider when you plan your spending?

10 Days in California for $500

Last winter I returned to the U.S. after living in Paris for two years. I had spent almost all of my money and was plagued with doubt over where to build my life in America. With no plans, no job, and the glories of my home country intriguing me in a way they never had before, I got the itch for a road trip. I disregarded the fact that I don’t really, you know, drive, and decided to visit a few friends and relatives along the West Coast to see if one of those cities could be my new home.

Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

As requested, here is an open thread in which you can share your 2015 budgets.

My Spreadsheet Summer

I’ve never really put myself on a budget before, which I find kind of shameful. Fed up with constantly being a couple hundred dollars behind on my Visa, I’ve decided to do something about it. I set up a spreadsheet, planning my budget over the next few months and will be obsessively tracking my progress. I’ve got a pretty simple set-up: one column for the date, one for the balance of each of my bank accounts, one for my Visa, and one for notes. It looks like this...

Income Vs. Expenses: How a Freelance Writer Makes a Living

So now that you have an idea of my monthly income, let’s look at expenses.