This chapter is about other essential expenses that should make up the other half of the 70% budget for living (in Step 4 the other 35% was for housing costs). I don’t feel that the information she was telling me was applicable to my life right now, but it might be helpful in the future.
Step 5: Essential expenses: transportation, food, health insurance, bills and other utilities.
I think I spend the most money on food. If I had to pick, that’s what I would continue to do forever. I don’t have a set food budget, but I probably should. It’s easily the most flexible part of my spending. I estimate that I spend about $50/week on food and that doesn’t include weekend brunch or take-out (infrequent).
Transportation costs for me consist of the $116.50 monthly metro card that allows for unlimited rides. Last month I couldn’t pay the $116 in the beginning of the month so I paid per ride, which is $2.75. It didn’t hurt my wallet right away, but I ended up spending $60 refilling the card in a 2 week period. Overall, it’s more economical for me to get the card. And (fortunately) this is the only transportation expense I have to worry about. If I were to go out with my friends for drinks or travel to the airport (infrequent), I splurge on an Uber, but I would consider that an “extras” expense, rather than part of my transportation budget.
My monthly utilities are included as part of my rent, thankfully I don’t have to worry about that.
Insurance is provided through my employer, out of my paycheck. Though I am reluctant to make appointments because I know there’s always a hidden cost whenever I go to the doctor, dentist (pay up front! what a rip-off!), or eye-care provider (get contacts through insurance, pay for glasses out of pocket). Instead of these expenses being calculated from my “insurance” budget, it’s probably better suited in the “extras” budget, under “health.”
I didn’t really feel connected to this chapter because most of what she was saying didn’t apply to me. There’s no way for me to budget based on her percentage rules because of my income and rent. Again, I feel stuck with trying to budget for the future when I make so little to begin with.