Thursday, October 28, 2010

The New and Improved (maybe?) Budget!!!

 I started all over with our budget.  Instead of trying to "fix" one, I just started all over.  Some interesting things came to light.
1)  When I added in everything but our "savings" of $150, and accounted for our medical FSA....we came to about $5400....which was higher than I thought.  How stupid is that?  I thought I knew what we were making.  These numbers are rough....G-man might have OT or holiday pay.  Sometimes his second job is a little more, sometimes a little less.  My check varies a little too.

2)  As much as I would love to not count either my job or G-man's second job....the number simply do not work.  I know that in theory we should be able to cut things back to make it work....but these numbers are using MINIMUM payments (we haven't even gotten to a real debt snowball yet).  If someone figures out where to find $800-$1000 to cut....let me know.

3)  We get paid 26 times a year from our main jobs.  This is a budget based on 12 months, 2 paychecks a month (G-man's second job is weekly).  Counting those "extra" paychecks, we have an extra $3800-ish per year.  In theory....that should all go to debt repayment, in addition to our monthly minimums, and any extra we have.

4)  As the budget stands, we have less than $100 extra per month, assuming I haven't forgotten something major.  If I don't account for the irregular expenses (car tax, water bill, trash bill), and just take that from the 3-pay check gives us about $168 to snowball.

5)  Which brings us to our "savings" account.  We put $75/paycheck in "savings" which may or may not get moved around.  I am considering redirecting it from the get-go....which gives us another $150 to snowball, or a grand total of $318.  With this idea....Student Loan 2 would be gone in just over 2 months (or by the end of the year if I push it).  Then I would be able to increase the next victim on the list by just under $400/month.

6)  Gifts....this current version of the budget doesn't include gifts.  Here's why....A)  we have been selling stuff on Craigslist to cover gifts, B) I am considering a slight revamp once we get further down the debt road to include an ING account for this, or possibly C)  Use "Savings Goal" as the gift fund (currently $60 a month).

7)  The Mortgage.......I am strongly considering a refi now that we are no longer underwater.  A 30-yr fixed would yield another $350-$400 a month in cash flow.  A 20-yr is about $200.  And if we did a 15 year....our payment would almost stay the same, and we would be shaving almost half of the life of the mortgage right off the bat!

This is by no means perfect.  For example.....the income amount includes medical reimbursement, which has run out for this calendar year.  And some months a ton of stuff clears and we get huge reimbursement, and other months, it is less.  Also, the income stream will change when the retirement loan is paid off.  Some of the $105 per paycheck will continue to go towards retirement....some might enter the main cash flow.

Life Insurance and saving for where to be seen yet.

I condensed the categories for simplicity.... but if something seems out of whack....ask me about it!

Other than does it look, my bloggy friends???????


  1. This looks about right to me! I don't know where you could shave off any extra money except for the cats...but if you're like me, our dog is our child and could never get rid of him!

  2. We have 3 the monthly cost is for food ($53/bag which lasts about 6 weeks), litter, and vet bills for yearly check ups x 3!

  3. Doesn't it suck that we have car payments that are like mortgages now days. We too are setting with about $1050 in just car payments. Now isn't that just crazy. I wish we didn't have them, but I feel like we need them. Only suggestion I would make is call your cable company, phone company, and cell provider and threaten to get service at different company. I did this and it saved me $25 a month just on cable, phone, and internet.

  4. Our car payment is actually $358. But we have $400 in gas, then insurance, and what we put aside for maintenance. I really never realized how much we spent on the CAR until I put it together that way.

  5. This might sound harsh, but trust that it is coming from a loving heart, who struggles with many the same issues....and, I would probably never make note of it except that I saw that LIFE INSURANCE is no where included in your budget....

    Get rid of the cat and sell the car(s) with payments! Your kids are still young and with the medical issues, et all.... you all could seriously end up $#$% creek without life insurance if, God forbid, something happened to you or G-man or both! For $458 a month you could have fabulous life insurance and knock out your snowball! To think that if something happened to one of you and there was nothing - but you had a nice car and a cat - I suspect the surviving spouse or guardians of the kids might have a wee bit of resentment brewing.... not what you want the survivors to be dealing with in addition to profound grief!

    As Dave says, you can drive a car without a car payment. As he says, " making payments on the most quickly depreciating asset is like driving down the freeway with the windows down throwing $20 bills out the window."
    I'm in the middle of Dave Ramsey's FPU right now and really convicted about some of this stuff....

    I understand the whole pet thing - its horrible to think about - but is it worse than thinking about your spouse/kids not having the means to survive in case of tragedy?

  6. Hi Mysti,
    I probably should have left a comment here to introduce myself before I linked to your blog. I'm glad you visited mine. It's nice to meet you!

    We have 6 children, the youngest two adopted from the foster care system with significant special needs from their prenatal exposure to alcohol (FASD). They also both have an autoimmune neuropsychiatric reaction to strep infections (PANDAS). Our lives can get pretty stressful at times and that stress has fed our debt over the years. We're working hard now to snowball our way out of this. Your blog inspires me!


  7. @Carazy - The car will be paid off in Dec 2011/Jan 2012. G-man and I have battled and battled over this, and he refuses to get rid of his car. He drove a beater car for years, and when the last beater died, we got the 2004 Explorer. He can tow his boat, hump stuff for work, etc. He won't get rid of it.

    As for life ins....I should clarify that we do have life ins through G-man's just isn't enough.

    Pets....for me, they are off the table. We hadn't planned on having 3 cats...the third one sort of adopted us, and it was love. I am home without another adult most of the time, and my cats are my company. I cried with them when my daughters died. My children love them. I can't do that.

    I know getting out of debt is about commitment and sacrifice. And we already have cut other things out. We just happen to live in a high cost of living area, so somethings are just "high" and can't do anything about it. And I have to live with the debt as it is.....we created it, and we have to deal with it. No matter how long it takes.

    @Kari - Nice to meet you too! I couldn't figure out what post you linked to, but I saw your blog on my "stats." We Special Needs parent have to stick together. :)

  8. Mysti, thank you for your commitment to your pets. I cannot understand how some think pets are a disposable item on a budget. Once you've taken in one (or three), that's it. Too many people think it's ok to either abandon a pet or make it someone else's problem. It's not ok. Sorry for ranting on your blog, but the advice to "get rid" of a cat or dog like he/she is an inanimate object truly drives me crazy. Kudos to you and good luck on your journey.
    Molly K.
    P.S. We have multiple cats who are all indoor. If yours are indoor only, you could save some $ by taking them in for physicals less often than annually. Our oldest two have lived long lives & are quite healthy with getting vet care only when needed and senior check-ups when they came "of age".

  9. If I were in your shoes, the numbers I'd be looking at are the house and utilities. Would you be able to refinance for 30 years and increase your payments when your debt is paid off? If so, I'd go for that option, which you said would free up $350. I probably wouldn't apply that to debt (at least at first) - I'd put it in savings so that if something happens (medical expense, job loss), you're not forced to use credit.

    Once your savings are at a level you're comfortable with (assuming they're not already, of course), then redirect that money to debt repayment.

    Utilities seem high to me, so I'd look at them and evaluate whether there is anything you can save money on there, but it's possible there's no major savings to be had.

  10. Mysti - so glad to hear you have SOME life insurance! Some is better than none.... we're in the same boat. We're in a super high cost of living area, as well.

    I get the whole pet thing - I had to put my dog down 2 days after I lost my daughter at 18 weeks. The dog had a stroke and we couldn't afford the costs to rehab her and pay for all my emergency medical bills, cremation,etc. Was a horrible choice, and our vet chewed us out big time. Thankfully we found another vet who could understand our dilemma and was compassionate and understanding about the difference between a pet and a child and that losing both in the same weekend was horrible.

  11. @Molly K - my cats are part of our family. They have Christmas Stockings and ornaments on the tree. They sleep in someone's bed every night (2 usually sleep with sleeps with the kids). They are on an expensive food because one had urinary issues, and this food has resolved it. They are all indoor cats, and I will think about spacing the physicals out. Thanks!

    @Collette - Here's the breakdown for utilities:

    Heating oil (also for hot water) - $207 (budget plan)

    Electric - $123 (a few years ago, they raised rates over 44%!!! Again, on a budget plan. We also have window a/c, so usage spikes in the summer)

    Cable/Internet - $87 (no premium channels, just basic cable and internet)

    Home phone - $29 (no long distance, no call waiting or caller id. Afraid to get rid of it because of our son, in case we have to call 911)

    Cell phone - $132 (2 phones, larger plan to cover long distance, since our family is out of state, small text plan on each).

    Believe it or not....this is better than it was. When oil prices soared in 2008...we were paying $517 a month just for oil!!!

  12. @Carazy - thanks for your concern. Trust me, the life insurance thing bothers me. Our hopes were to have decent plans in place in the next year.

    I am sorry for the loss of your baby. When we lost our was the worst, sickest feeling I have ever had, and probably ever will. In your case, I understand the hard decision to let your dog go. Sometimes you have to look at the big picture.

  13. I get high cost of living. I live on the north shore of Long Island, but "...He can tow his boat..."

    You have a boat but no life insurance? And living near the water...where in that budget is the upkeep on the boat, and gas (ugh the gas) for the boat?

  14. @Evan - the boat is paid for in full....and resale value of the boat is minimal due to its age. I have blogged about the boat before and how it is my nemesis.

    The boat is not in the budget per se. We took some money this year for him to do a few things, but that is it. In all honesty, he rarely takes the boat out due to his schedule. Gas money comes from some over time....or he and a friend go out, and the friend usually springs for it.

    Life insurance....we have some through G-man's job, just not our own private insurance.

    I didn't realize you were just across the sound from us! We are in Central CT.

  15. I know this comment is very I said, I am working my way from the beginning of your blog to the present...but I just had to say...
    I LOVE LOVE Anonymous Oct 29, 2010 02:07 PM!!!
    When you take on the responsibility of a furrybaby, then that means for life! My dogs are my girl (lab-mix) was the reason I made it through the death of my dad, mom, and sister. SHE was my comforter, companion, friend, and lifeline. No, they are NOT "just a dog/cat." I would live in a cardboard box before getting rid of my babies.