Budget With Me February | Teachers Talk Money

Hey reader,

New month, new budget! This month, my next grad school class is starting up and I’m dealing with a few professional deadlines in addition to my normal teaching & content schedule. When things get added to my plate, I’m all the more grateful for my consistent budget. I might also be getting my stipend money for virtual “coaching” this month, so this is definitely subject to change. That being said, the plan for my coaching stipend is to put most or all of it into my Roth IRA. It’s only $1,050 before taxes, over $2,000 less than I would typically earn in person, but still a good chunk of change.

There’s another shift, though: my rent has decreased! As you guys know, my agreement with Brian has always been to pay for rent as a percentage of our salaries. With both of my stipends, I typically make about $58k before taxes, while Brian makes $60k. Because our incomes were so close, we didn’t bother differentiating the rent to make it equitable– it would’ve been a difference of less than $20. But recently, I brought up my lower stipend income to Brian, and we sat down and did the math to see if that would change the percentages by enough to make a difference. When thinking about it more, we decided it would be more equitable to base the rent payments on just my base salary versus his base salary. I may have nearly kept up with his salary all this time, but it took taking on two extra positions in addition to my normal teaching schedule, while he’s done the same one job year to year.

Reader, I was lit! I always get excited for Brian’s annual review, because I anxiously await the moment he’ll get a raise and therefore take on more of the rent. Christmas came early for me with this decision– even if it just lowers my rent by $72/month. The other exciting possibility for this is that Brian’s annual review will happen sometime in the next month or two, and he may be able to get a raise. It depends on a lot of factors since he works at a startup, but here’s to hoping for the best for him & for me.

As you can see, I’m still using my most updated template and absolutely loving it. There are a few adjustments aside from my rent: my variable expenses shifted slightly, and my savings look a lot different.

I decided move $10 from dining and put it toward groceries. This is after reflecting on my spending last year and noticing that I went over my grocery budget often and almost always went underbudget for dining. This should be more accurate to my actual expenses now and give me a little more breathing room when it comes to groceries. This is why I always harp on the point that budgets are living, breathing things: even after budgeting for almost 3 years now, I’m still making adjustments all the time as my needs and wants evolve.

Then, there’s the bigger shift in my savings. My grad school estimate was slightly off last year, because I was budgeting for just one course per semester. My program is accelerating now, and in order to get my masters in the shortest amount of time, I need to double up on courses where possible. I had to take some money from my summer payment to cover my courses this Spring, and so I need to save a bit more for summer now, too. So, now that my car fund is rebuilt and my rent has decreased, that money is going mostly towards grad school and summer payments. I also added $40 to travel, $10 to business expenses, and $5 to gifts. I’m keeping my car fund & Roth IRA as line items to add any leftover money too, or extra money from stipends or my tax refund.

Thanks so much for checking out this month’s budget! As always, watch the video above to get more commentary from me on each and every category.

🙂 Rachel


If you want to use this template, I have it available for free.

If you need more guidance in your money journey, I created my Money Map Workbook just for you.

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