Our 2015 budget

January 20, 2015 · 13 comments

New Year. New Budget.

Things are about to get a whole lot less exciting with this year’s budget. We’ve been growing our net worth by $50,000+ per year over the last four years, but with Girl Ninja no longer working, we’re definitely gonna be slowing things down in the “getting filthy rich” category. What else would we expect when we voluntarily walk away from an extra $35,000/year.

Fortunately, we value family over finances, so although we might not make as much this year, I have a smokin’ hot wife and an awesome kid. Look at this little ball of fat…

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at Jan 20, 2015, 11.43.57 PM


Below you’ll find a screenshot of our 2015 budget coupled with our 2015 financial goals/predictions.


Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at Jan 20, 2015, 11.24.16 PM

If you want to view the spreadsheet at normal resolution just give it a little click.

Before Tax Income:

I still think it’s stupid we have our gross income included in our budget. But yet again, I leave it anyways.

It’s only purpose in my budget seems to be to remind me how much of “my” money I don’t get to keep thanks to taxes and other deductions.

You’ll notice below my gross income, I have a section titled Side Hustle. This is money I think I’ll make from random opportunities (puppysitting, odd job, etc). As you can see, at $100/mo I’m not expecting anything too crazy. A few years back I sold my PF soul and brought in five figures per year from this site, but I decided to bring it back to my roots and say “no thanks” to advertisers.

I hate when other bloggers host “guest posts” that are clearly articles they got paid to publish. Or when they mention some product or service and include a billion affiliate links to said service.


Still planning to throw 10% of my income towards my 401k. As a government employee I have access to some of the cheapest funds in existence so it would be silly for me to not take advantage of the virtually non-existent expense ratios.

I’m planning to make our annual Roth IRA contribution here in the coming days. It’s always painful parting with $5,500 from my bank account, but then I have to remind myself that $5,500 is going to be worth a heck of a lot more down the road. I

Retirement isn’t going to pay for itself and there’s no better time to start investing for the future than yesterday now.


Pretty self-explanatory. I include a 10% “other” category at the bottom of the expenses section as it seems most months have unexpected or non-budgeted things come up (household stuff, a weekend trip, birthday parties, etc). Instead of making random guesses how much we spend on cleaning products or clothes each month; we just try to keep all those miscellaneous expenses less than 10% of our net income.

We also tithe/donate to charity monthly, but didn’t think it was necessary/appropriate to put those numbers in the spreadsheet.

Left Over:

This is the most important part of the budget, the green box titled Total Cash Savings Ability (to the right of the expenses section) is how much I anticipate we will be able to add to our cash reserves on top of our retirement contributions. Some years we increased our cash position by $30k or more. Nowadays we’re hoping to add just a smidge over $10,000 to our liquidity. It’s a good thing we don’t use our Net Worth to measure our actual worth.


In the top right of the spreadsheet you will see a section for my annual financial predictions. In 2015 I’m hoping our overall Net Worth will increase to about $315,000. This would be a $27,000 increase from our current position. For my retirement accounts I’m estimating 7% growth over the year (2013 had like 25% growth while 2014 had 6.5%) and a 3% appreciation on our house. Obviously, if the markets do way better (or worse) these figures will be off. All I can do is guess.

We’re going on six years of solid improvement and as long as the Big Man upstairs continues to grant us a generous income, we’ll do our best to be responsible (and generous) with it. That’s really our only goal after all.

How do you budget? You do budget right? Anything I do with mine that you think is weird? What’s your preferred budgeting tool (Mint, Quicken, Excel, Paper/pencil)?

Oh and check out this awesome video of Baby Ninja and I beatboxing together…


1 Taylor Lee

Oh my god, your baby is so adorable! I almost died from the cuteness during that beat boxing video. Also, 35K is still a sizeable increase and great when you have a spouse at home with the kid.

2 TPol

Baby Ninja is so cute! No wonder Mom Ninja wants to stay at home with him… She will not miss the best years of her baby. My mom was a SAHM for 10 years and I think that made a big difference in our lives. She started working later on and loved it. We were no longer cute by then:)

3 SavvyFinancialLatina

Great plan for 2015! Baby is super cute!

4 Larry

If you are convinced that social security and Medicare will no longer be around when you are 62+ (and obviously no one really knows this for sure), and/or you are convinced that your money you pay in taxes does not benefit you in any way, then perhaps you can make this statement. But let’s assume that SS and Medicare will survive 50 years from now, in which case your FICA deductions most certainly will benefit you during your retirement period.

I think it best to assume that built in to your gross is a provision for income and payroll taxes, which are simply a percentage of your gross apart from your actual earnings. As a case in point, many years ago my small company was acquired by a larger company, and as part of the deal everyone was given a 10% raise. I was also asked to relocate to NY from NJ, which at that time had a far lower state tax rate. I argued that given this differential, I was actually being given a pay cut, and the company was apparently sufficiently impressed by my reasoning that it made up the difference.

5 Larry

By “this statement,” I meant the following:

“It’s only purpose in my budget seems to be to remind me how much of “my” money I don’t get to keep thanks to taxes and other deductions.”

I was trying to edit my original comment, but it didn’t work.

6 Ninja

You’re right. I was being dramatic. Obviously i know my health insurance provides me a benefit as well as the other payroll deductions.

I just forget there is such a large difference between my take home and gross pay, and this spreadsheet seems to be the primary thing that reminds me.

7 Larry

Think of it this way: let’s say hypothetically that you’re now making $100K in the private sector and your tax is 20%; and then suddenly the government eliminates all taxes so that you get to keep all of “your” money. Do you think your employer will be willing to keep you at $100K, or wouldn’t they more likely reduce your gross to $80K because your salary no longer requires a provision for taxes?

8 johnh

I see that your taxable account will go down in 2015. Are you planning on liquidating most of your taxable account, or was that a typo?

9 Ninja

Typo. Should read $20,000. Good catch!

10 David S.

Excel all the way. It is powerful enough to do some really crazy things, while having a UI simple enough that I could see and edit things at a glance. Though I still think your worksheet is too simple. 😉
I like the financial goals so much that I create some equations that calculate where I should be and those become my goal for the year and then I can see how I do at predicting.

11 Angie

Your spreadsheet confuses me. Mostly because I can’t tell if you’re numbers on top are based on 24 or 26 paychecks. And that you are adding income on the bottom after deductions but somehow with taxes taken out. I guess it really doesn’t matter I’m just very particular on spreadsheets so seeing missing/confusing information drives me crazy!

Curious to know if you have dialed down your taxes so you don’t owe/receive too much at tax time or if you just go with it. I find that’s a huge benefit to having detailed and exact spreadsheets so I know if we are on track or not. I always have to adjust my W4 to withdraw additional federal taxes so I don’t get a surprise at tax time. This year the auto-calc is under-withholding by $170 a paycheck!

12 Ninja

The Gross pay is my annual pay, or monthly pay (meaning annual divided by 12).

The section titled “Actual take home pay” is how much I ACTUALLY bring home after all deductions (taxes, insurance, etc).

I am paid every two weeks, so ten months out of the year my take home pay is spot on with this section. Two months of the year, I receive a third paycheck.

This is why at the bottom of my spreadsheet I have a little block for “Plus two 3 paycheck months”.

Essentially I budget all of my monthly living expenses around my two paycheck salary (since that is what I get 10 months of the year). And I just plan to bank the extra paychecks the two months I get them. Make sense?

As for your tax question. I’m usually pretty good. Some years I’ve owed a couple hundred dollars, some years I’m owed a couple hundred. I think for 2014, however, I’ll be getting about $2,000 back since Girl Ninja quit her job and we get to take advantage of the child deduction, as well as a full year of mortgage interest.

For 2015, I should be within $100 of my tax obligation.

13 SP

Seems reasonable, but baby ninja really doesn’t look so impressed with it 😉

$430 month for “other” intitially struck me as a lot, but I am a lot more detailed in my categories and have more (that probably add up to way more than 430 anyway, ha!), so it makes sense. Good luck in 2015!

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