Perhaps inspired by our single-income life, R and I decided to combine all of our income once he started receiving his paychecks.  I think we realized that ultimately, we are both responsible for one another.  If I lose my job, “my money” and “his money” no longer exist.  It becomes “our money” that we use to get by.

We set out to create a brand new budget for ourselves.  We divided our new budget into two sections: required expenses and non-required expenses.  Because of R’s contracting work, we don’t always have the same income every month.  The “required” expenses are not considered necessities.  It simply means that they are the recurring bills we have, in addition to our necessities (I will be talking about our Layoff Budgets later on).  The non-required expenses are items that we would like to fund, but we don’t need to.  If R’s paycheck is a little short, we will fill the required categories first, and let the rest trickle into non-required.  Here’s the breakdown:

Required Expenses

Budget Item


Monthly Deposit Current Balance
Rent Monthly rent for a 1-bedroom, near downtown apartment.  All but electricity is included in the rent. $925 $0 (just paid)
Taxes 30% of R’s paycheck is quarantined here in preparation for tax time. Varies $6,566
Electricity Average bill = $35.  Yes, we are overbudgeting here.  No, I don’t have a good reason for it. $60 $150
Internet High speed, at $29.99/month for 6 months.  It will likely go up to $60/month, which is the reason for our over-budgeting here. $45 $89
Grocery Includes food, household supplies, and other items purchased at the grocery store. $450 $273
Household Covers various household purchases, including cookware, bedding, furniture, etc. $130 $14
Savings General savings.  We haven’t established a delegation system for this money.  It will likely go toward our down payment, but we’re also discussing the possibility of funneling a portion into the stock market. $1,000 $3,661
Car & Renter’s Insurance Full coverage insurance on R’s SUV, and myself as a driver (I have a company car).  Renter’s insurance to cover replacement value of both of our possessions. $190 $399
Gas & Transportation Costs R has a 50 mile r/t commute to work.  My gas costs are covered by the company. $200 $246
Cell Phone R is on the family plan with his parents and siblings.  My cell is provided by my company. $30 $30
Gym Membership We are both members of 24-hr fitness.  My company reimburses the cost of my membership each quarter. $67 $71
Unemployment Protection A cushion to use in the event of a layoff for one or both of us. $500 $2,504
Personal Money $500 each, per month.  Transferred out of our account, into individual accounts. $1,000 $0
Student Loan Yes, part of combining income is combining debt.  Fortunately, this is the only debt R comes with. $240 $240

Non-Required Expenses

Budget Item Description Monthly Deposit Current Balance
Gifts Includes $50 for birthdays and $50 for Christmas for each of our 3 siblings and 5 parents, plus an extra $200 annually for friends, extended family, and miscellaneous gifting. $100 $382
Entertainment Includes nights out with friends, daytime activities, etc. $270  $246
Dining Out Eating out – we separated this out of our entertainment budget, because we felt that they were separate beasts. $150  $150
Liquor Includes liquor, beer & wine $60  $60
Recreational Equipment R and I enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, such as snowboarding, bouldering, hiking, camping, fishing, etc.  There is a lot of expense that goes into the equipment for these activities, which comes from here. $50  $28
Celebration To celebrate promotions, raises, anniversaries, etc. $20 $40
Travel For visiting R’s family in the NW, my father in the South, and vacations for just the two of us. $175 $206
Vehicle Maintenance For oil changes and maintenance on R’s SUV $100 $128
R’s Clothing For R’s wardrobe needs $30 $105
Braniac’s Clothing For my wardrobe needs $30 $115
Miscellaneous For miscellaneous and unexpected expenses $300  $13
Health & Hygiene Doctor bills, medicinal needs, etc. $40 $84