Hey everyone! My name is Emily and my husband Kyle and I blog at Evolving Personal Finance. We are PhD students in the sciences/engineering at a university in North Carolina and we are (crossing our fingers) getting to the end stages of those degrees. We are both 26, have been married for almost two years, and have no children or pets yet.
Our blog is about the periodic re-equilibration of a family’s money management that happens when the family goes through transitions. We anticipate many financially-related upheavals in the next few years – getting real jobs, moving, buying a home, having a child – and we want to document how we navigate those transitions. We are particularly trying to keep lifestyle inflation in check and the blog provides some accountability for that. In between transitions, like right now, we write about financial situations that arise in our lives and how we live a fun lifestyle on a smaller income (in comparison with most other PF bloggers!).
We are fortunate to have our tuition paid for by our advisors and our yearly stipends for the research we perform combine to about $52,000, which is close to the median income in our city. Our monthly expenses total around $1800 (rent, utilities, food… the usual) but we save an additional $850 for large, irregular expenses like flights, parking permits, season tickets to our university’s men’s basketball games, and our CSA subscription. The remaining $1250 of our take-home pay goes to our tithe and retirement accounts.
We only sort of have debt, if that makes any sense! I have some student loans from undergrad but they are in deferment, and we have invested the money we set aside to pay them off to try to get a bit of a return before I graduate.
The only long-term financial goal we are working toward at the moment is to fund our Roth IRAs as aggressively as possible – we are not quite fully funding them as of now. When we finish our degrees and get real jobs (with real salaries!), we will start saving for our next car and a down payment on a house. Our ultimate goal is to live in southern California so we will probably rent for a while yet while we save up.
One aspect of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff that I love is the community Crystal has fostered in the comments and through guest posts. There is a great diversity of perspectives. I enjoy participating over here and I hope to have a similar community on our blog in the future!
My question for the readers is Do you have any financial goals that you are not currently working toward? What are you waiting on? I look forward to your responses and thanks for reading!
Crystal’s Comments: It sounds like you two are just on the right track. Congrats on your upcoming PhD’s! Is Southern California the expensive part? Is all of California the expensive part? No matter…good luck with your goals and congrats on your progress!
If you would like to participate in this series, please follow the guidelines found at BFS Reader Profile and submit your own story. Everyone is more than welcome and you can stay anonymous if you’d prefer. Thanks!
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!