HomeBudgetingI don't even feel like budgeting.

I don’t even feel like budgeting.

Screen shot 2014-01-07 at Jan 7, 2014, 9.44.56 PM



Every year, during the first week of January, I update my excel budget. It’s the tool I’ve used for 5+ years now to track how much I anticipate our financial situation will change over the calendar year. Last year (2013) I predicted a $50,000 increase, but with some massive help from the stock market we ended up $70,000 ahead.

Have you noticed today’s date? January 8th. Yeah… that means I’ve failed to update my spreadsheet. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care.

Like at all. 

This year is sure to be a doozy for the Ninja household. I don’t expect the markets will increase another 30% (although I wouldn’t be mad if they did).

Budgeting has always been easy. This year, it will be anything but. 

Girl Ninja will finish out the school year and pop a baby out 6 days in to summer. I believe she gets paid through the summer, but come September, we’ll be a one income household. That’s about $2,100 less per month in our pockets.

Oh and how about our roommate. She’s been the best tenant ever; we almost never see her because she works so late, she pays rent on time or early each month, and she’s super clean. Collecting $400/month from her has been awesome, but I suspect that after the baby comes, she might not want to live here anymore.

I mean, I sure as heck wouldn’t want to live with someone else’s whiny/poopy baby. If she does move out, we’ll be down $2,500/month between the loss of rental income and our single income status. 

That’s $30,000 in discretionary income gone.

Hold please while I go punch myself in the face and vomit everywhere.

And don’t even get me started on baby costs. We’ve never had one before so we don’t know how that will further impact our ability to save. Hopefully I can teach my baby about Roth IRAs before he/she turns six months. Never to young to learn right?

Long story short, making an annual budget is super fun when you are expecting to have your best year ever (like 2013). Making a budget is super sucky when you are expecting the year to be mediocre at best.

Anyone else expecting to have a less-than-stellar 2014?



  1. I am expecting a difficult year too. I work part-time and with all the political chaos lately going on in my country, there is quite a bit of volatility.

    As per your situation, it may not be too bad. Some couples do lose their minds when having a baby and basically throw away money on brand new stuff but I read many personal finance blogs and if you use cloth diapers, if Mom Ninja breast feeds her baby and if you are OK using hand-me-downs (with the exception of the car seat), you should be OK. It is all about making wise and frugal choices. Besides, people will be gifting you brand new baby clothes and other stuff. If I were you I would budget doctor visits and very basic stuff for the baby. I remember reading somewhere that human babies grow really fast during the first year of their lives so, all they need is lots of love, food and being comfy. You may want to check out some of those PF blogs where the writers have kids. They do provide good tips. Good Luck!

    • I agree with this! Ninja, babies can be as expensive as you make them. I don’t think we’ve spent a lot of money on our 2 year old over the past few years because of this. It will be ok, I promise! We lost my income when I became a stay at home mom, but it’s been worth it. Just wait until you see your little baby. 🙂

    • Doctor visits shouldn’t cost too much. Under the new health care laws (assuming you’re not on a grandfathered plan), baby well visits, immunizations, breastfeeding support, a breast pump, and a lot of other routine expenses are all completely covered.

      You’ll want to budget for the birth and unexpected complications and illnesses. Your insurance company might even have a tool on their website to help you estimate these costs.

  2. I would think you be excited for the challenge all these changes will bring. Wouldn’t it be wise to really review and update the budget often with all of these pending changes?

  3. To be honest, baby costs are very minimal. We had ours back in 2012 and I have been very pleasantly surprised by how little they actually cost when they are a baby. Buy used and don’t care what things look like and you will save a ton of money.

    Also, don’t worry about having a crib for the baby right away. They will not sleep in it, you will end up using a bassinet or one of the rock n’ sleepers until they grow out of it.

  4. I feel the same way about this year since we just bought a house. But I’m forcing ourselves to do a budget so we can save money, and not blow a bunch of it on random stuff.

  5. Ninja-

    Not gonna lie, I have been checking your site religiously for this budget post of the year! I’ve always had a budget but mimicked your setup last year, and was curious how yours would look like this year with a mortgage, baby, etc. I think as people interested in personal finance, we tend to compare ourselves to others constantly. It still boggles my mind how you and your wife were able to save so much in 2013! Incredible. My husband and I are on very similar paths as we bought a house this year and are now expecting our first baby in April! However, he just started making income in June as he was in grad school. Any who, we will keep plucking away at our short term and long term goals and hope to get there one day at a time!

    PS. Does this mean you won’t be posting a new budget at allll…or just delayed? : D

  6. “Less than stellar” — Come on, Ninja! Having a baby is going to be extremely stellar. My wife and I had twin girls last June, amassed a $500K hospital bill (thank God for insurance) and my wife has since quit her job. Has it been a huge lifestyle change? Of course. But the joy that comes with a child far exceeds that $3K per month we lost.

    Be encouraged! You’re in for an uncomfortable but joyful 2014 🙂

    • Exactly! I was so disappointed to hear you describe this year as “mediocre at best”. What’s the point of saving money if you can’t appreciate what the money gives you–like the luxury of having your wife home, a roof over your head, and money to support your child?

      • Mediocre in regards to an increase in our financial position.

        Baby Ninja will be anything but mediocre. In fact, I anticipate he/she will be a millionaire by the age of 8. If not, we have problems 😉

    • Oh yes… *snerk* the JOY of having a child. I think I’ll keep the joy of being free to do what I want, to not change diapers, hopefully see the world unencumbered, and have intimacy with my future partner that people with kids will never attain.

    • Less than stellar in regards to our financial situation. Wont be seeing a $70,000 increase like last year. But you bet your bottom I’m pumped to be a dad. CANT WAIT!!!!

      • Drink some more Haterade, “C The Writer”…

        Is the negative thoughts necessary? You go enjoy being free and those who want children can go breed.

        BTW, Congrats, Ninja!

  7. We had our first baby eleven months ago and my fingers are crossed that doing our taxes will be a lovely surprise. Because even by buying almost nothing new (moms at my church have rotating boxes of clothes we share since they outgrow them almost overnight! and baby showers are great for stocking up), our plan of frugal birthing and feeding came to naught. And by that I mean we had an unplanned c-section and I was medically unable to breast feed. Luckily we had saved in advance for unexpectedness as the best advice I got was that “no matter what your birth plan is, the baby will have a say” and my adorable little tadpole definitely did not come according to plan! So we never went into debt and I’m hoping we don’t owe too much on taxes. (The financially un-smart me would even love a little refund…LITTLE.)

  8. YES!
    While this year will be fun, we have some major expenses coming up, all planned for, but will take some budget wrangling to make sure it all goes well:
    – dog purchase $800
    – dog extras (training, food, leashes) $675
    – deposits for wedding (catering, photography, venue, extras): $5,800 minimum
    – property taxes (ugh): $890 x 4
    – trip to Ireland (purchased flights in cash before he proposed): $3,000 for incidentals in September

    Yah, this year is going to be a doozy, even with us both keeping our jobs. Exciting year, but challenging finance-wise.

  9. This just happens to be the time when you need to budget the most instead of the least. You are going into uncharted waters, might be better to have a map. 🙂 Anyway for actual costs for the kid if you are using disposable diapers then $30-$50 a month, if you are going the washable diaper route than just a greater increase in the utility bill then what you’ll already have with washing additional clothes. And of course the car seat as well. Maybe a stroller though you might be able to get one off of Freecycle as well. That is basically it for the first year as most of the time the baby will be sleeping, eating or wanting to interact with her parents.

    • Just missed the edit window…

      Also I wish to mention that this year will be more awesome in retirement accounts as I’ll be contributing more than 2013, but that means less discretionary expenses as well which is a slight bummer. Who knows maybe the side income will take off and I’ll have an awesome year all around. 🙂

  10. I suspect 2014 will see lots of unpleasant budget surprises for me. Things will break that should have years of useful life ahead of them and my debt paying and saving goals will be severely tested.

    The price of everything seems to go up but my wage will remain static for the year. I am just happy that my full time hours will be continuing for the foreseeable future.

    Children are wonderful and worth every penny. Make that every tens of thousands of dollars.

  11. Forgive the unrealistic optimism, but although we plan to have a really challenging year, we also really hope to still increase our net worth. We hope to add to our family as well, but don’t expect that we’ll be paying those expenses until next year (these things take time!).

    Now, I’m SURE you meant that “less-than-stellar” comment in the context of your finances, yes?! Because your baby will be one of the most joyous additions to your life EVER 🙂

    Keep us posted on your efforts to thwart the “buy new” and “spare no expense on the nursery” mentality of first time parents.

  12. We had our baby girl 21 months ago, somehow the budget is better than ever! Believe me when i say this, little babies bring good luck. Don’t worry about the money.


    • I so agree with you! Babies DO bring good luck or maybe maturity because the way we deal with our finances changed completely.

  13. Multiple dental procedures for myself and my fiance + paying for our wedding and honeymoon = just kill me now.

  14. Best advert for condoms ever! Even better than the French commercial with the kid screaming for candy and his dad being publicly humilated.

  15. I’m actually expecting a better than ever 2014. I have been budgeting, switched to cash (or debit) and I will have a fully paid off wedding fund months before the wedding.

    That, coupled with a government pension and in having demonstrated an ability to pay of debt I feel pretty confident going forward.

    I would strongly recommend anyone who reads this blog to also consider Dave Ramsey, who despite being religious (ouch), is a very good source of advice.

    Happy 2014

  16. Congrats Ninja! Very happy for you and GN, and I’m looking forward to a different theme of posts in 2014.

    2013 was a great year for me, and I was lucky enough to get a great bonus to end the year. Hoping 2014 should be an even better year. I just gave my notice to leave my job in NYC and move back home to Boston. Getting a nice salary bump (although likely a smaller bonus), and I just bought my first condo (2BR/2BA) in the city.

    Best of luck in 2014! P.S. Can you tell us what happened to Manteresting yet??

  17. This year will be financially better for us. We want children so if that happens that will change our finances.

  18. Considering that it’s only January 9, don’t you think it a bit premature to decide whether 2014 will be a good year or not?

    (Reminds me of my good friend Randall, who decided two weeks after Obama was first elected that he [Obama, not Randall] was the worst President ever. I said in reply that perhaps Randall should wait a month longer before making such a statement. Randall, who has no sense of humor whatsoever, didn’t get it.)

  19. Congratulations! Babies definitely change the budget. But mostly because of how much time they take, in the form of lost income, which you’ve already factored in. Things like toys and clothes are popular gifts and hand-me-downs – just don’t buy those for yourselves. You probably won’t need more than you get.

    You really won’t be able to budget until you get more information. One of our kids’ births was free, because we were in the Netherlands. The other cost $4000, because our insurance wouldn’t pay for a home birth midwife. So, home vs. birthing center vs. hospital, whether or not you need a c-section, and your insurance will all make a huge difference in the costs.

    As for stuff you need, it depends what makes you happy. We never bought a crib or cradle or playpen – our kids just sleep in our bed when they’re babies and then move to their own beds. A changing pad on a dresser is fine. We take them in the shower instead of using a baby bathtub. (Hmm, now I am really sounding like a hippie…) But the point is that we do these things because they’re easier, not to save money, but they happen not to require buying as much stuff. Don’t assume you’re going to need everything that’s out there to buy. Maybe try to borrow some stuff to try it out and see if you actually like it or if it’s just clutter…

  20. Money is but one piece of the pie in life. Baby costs are usually minimal. I am a stay at home mom with three school age kids now – that’s when the big costs come! lol Enjoy this time in your life. It does come with a lot of changes but hope it will be some of your most memorable years of your life!

  21. You seem to be quite structured so you probably won’t need to do this but you might consider only doing a quarter budget.

    Just make it go through the end of the spring and come back to it when you have the energy. 🙂

  22. You should go check out j money’s blog at budgets are sexy. He’s been tracking every cent spent on child rearing for a couple years now. That might help u get a better idea. Congratulations!

  23. I agree with Laura. Be careful about wasting money on stuff the baby will only use for a little while. And the bright side of GN staying home is that you won’t have to pay for day care. Two years ago we spent over 19k on day care. Now we’re down to about $800/month. It has always been our biggest kid-expense.

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