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Budget Tweaks

March 18, 2009

First, the “Make Work Pay” stimulus went into affect, netting me roughly $40/mo.  Though I think my state taxes are going to take that away pretty quickly?  Oh sunny coast, what price must I pay for you?

Second, my company went ahead with raises despite the economy (and imminent layoffs!), and mine was better than anticipated.  Many people seemed happy after walking out of mangers’ offices, so… Who knows?  I’m totally happy with my raise, but I’m still unsure whether I’m being paid an amount that is on par with those of similar education/experience.   There is such a culture of secrecy about salaries!

From internet research, it seems I’m fairly compensated, but from what T said his friend was recently offered at a similar company (with M.S. complete), I’m less sure.  The company provided salary tables just don’t say enough — a ~40k range from minimum to maximum!??  Gee, thanks.  I wish everyone would walk around with post-its on their foreheads stating their salaries.  Not only would that be useful, it’d be funny.



Spending tweaks: There are a couple categories I’ve been wanting to increase, and the most luxurious change of all is increasing the misc fund by $25.  Yeah, I know, going wild, right?  I’m hoping to have leftovers in this fund regularly.

  • Entertainment:  $50 to $60
  • Home budget:  $20 to $30 (after laundry and home supplies, I rarely have much left)
  • Misc fund:  $100 to $125 (towards whatever!)

Savings tweaks: I go back and forth on what “fund” to put my money in, but honestly, it really makes little difference for my longer term stuff.  I’ll just continue on allocating that how I please, with my two highest priorities being the efund and car fund, even if my budget claims there is a fixed amount towards each goal.  The overall savings will go up, pretty much by the difference of the raise (minus the $45 in spending, minus taxes).

I’ ve been going back and forth on raising my 401k by 2% (roughly $80/mo take home, it seems).  For now, I’m keeping it, but… we’ll have to see.  Thoughts?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2009 11:08 am

    I wish there was more transparency too. I can tell you mine? I’m at P2, but my organization gets lower pay so it should be around what you’re getting. says the average is about $70K for 1-3 years of experience.

    If you’re going to raise your 401K contributions, I’d do it as soon as possible so you don’t get used to seeing the extra in your accounts. I’d give yourself a chance to enjoy the raise for maybe a month, though.

  2. March 18, 2009 12:21 pm

    Well done. You must be in the right place in the right industry if you’re getting a raise during these economic times.

    Congrats. 🙂

  3. March 18, 2009 1:49 pm

    @the financial nut – I really have no idea. My industry really isn’t booming, but i suppose it has been less shattered than others.

    Hmm, by “I’m keeping it” i meant that I implemented a 2% increase, and I’ll keep it there for now. But that was totally unclear based on my post. April is a 3 paycheck month anyway, so I shouldn’t miss it.

    I should be able to meet all my cash savings goals with the 2% increase, so… I’ll keep it for now.

  4. March 18, 2009 2:04 pm

    i’ll wear a sticky on my face @ work today if you do 😉

  5. March 19, 2009 12:32 pm

    Congrats on the raise!

  6. March 20, 2009 8:39 am

    Look at you getting a raise in a recession! That’s awesome. 🙂 I actually got a raise in December and I had the same dilemma (a good one to have). I ended up putting a little more in my misc to help with tight months, and then increased the debt/savings. Since you are debt-free, you could probably start with a 1% retirement contributions raise and then put the rest towards the E-fund. Congrats!

  7. January 19, 2010 7:26 pm

    I need more like complete revamps as opposed to budget tweaks. It seems like a completely different country that I live in these days.

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