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    Help with my budget

    Okay, I am finally trying to re-work my budget and wanted to get some feedback. First I will start off by saying this this is just my half of the bills. Husband and I have separate checking accounts and each pay certain things. He has more of the fixed expenses - mortgage, car payments, most utilities, his student loans... I carry the credit card bills, daycare, my own student loans, and a bunch of other things. I also do the bulk of the grocery shopping. So here is my monthly budget and then I'll explain a few things.

    Expenses Amount
    Chase 144
    Discover 226
    Citicard 92
    Capital One 390
    Bank of America 454
    Sallie Mae 361
    Electricity 152
    Camper 122
    Newspaper 10
    Car insurance 123
    Cell phone 127
    Busch Gardens 16
    EZ Pass 35
    Son's school lunch) 40
    ADT (home security) 40
    AHS (home warranty) 46
    Daycare 1141

    Total 3519
    Income 3562


    Gas FSA Reimbursement
    Groceries FSA Reimbursement


    I got a 2nd job that brings in at least $600 a month, and I am trying to keep that out of my budget and put it all towards my credit cards. I am paying Chase off first, current balance of $7600 at 12.49% and if I stay on track it will be paid off before Christmas, possibly sooner if I can pick up some extra evenings at work.


    Okay, so the first 5 bills listed are the minimum payments on my credit cards. My student loan, electric bill, car insurance, and pop-up camper payment are constant amounts. Selling the camper isn't really an option, it's only a year and a half old, so we haven't paid enought off yet to be able to get rid of it. The newspaper subscription saves me a ton of money by couponing. I already have my cell phone package down to the lowest plan I can. My contract is up in September and I have no plans on upgrading to a new phone as long as mine continues to work.

    My monthly "income" doesn't include my flexible spending account reimbursement of $416 that I get every month. I have recently opened a Capital One 360 checking account and my plan is to have that money deposited into that account, and use that debit card for gas and groceries only. My biggest problem there is that I don't think it's possible for me to only spend $416 a month on gas and groceries for a family of 4. My gas alone is usually about $230 a month. $186 a month for food and paper products for a family of 4 seems nearly impossible to me. Right now I am easily spending over $100 a week.


    One place I think I could save a little bit of money is making my son's lunch instead of letting him buy it, but it wouldn't be much. His lunch is $1.85 a day and I'm not sure I'd save that much making it, as obviously it would increase my grocery bill. Also, we are not renewing our Busch Gardens pass when it is up in September, so that is some savings too. I will probably be getting about a 1.5% raise in July (that's what it's been the last few years), so that will be another $53 a month.

    Currently, my Busch Gardens, cell phone, ADT, AHS, EZ Pass, and school lunch all get automatically paid on my Discover card ($304), and then I pay it off each month, just enough to make room for the next month's expenses. Obviously it costs me less money per month doing it like this, but I never make any progress on the Discover card like I would if I made the minimum payment and then didn't use it (this card is #2 on my payoff list).

    I did this budget broken out like this so I could see if I could pay everything without ever using the credit card again. I'm not sure I can at this point... obviously this "budget" doesn't include anything like clothes for my kids (which luckily I have 2 boys so the younger one almost never needs anything), clothes for me (I almost never buy myself anything, and ask for Kohls' gift cards to birthday/Christmas to use for that purpose), any of the little school things that come up (field trips, school pictures, etc), or pretty much anything else. I get my hair trimmed about once every 3 months ($25), don't get my nails done or any of that kind of thing, and have been super cheap on gifts and do mostly homemade things.

    Okay, now my post is super long, bring on the sugestions!!

    #2
    What are the interest rates on the different credit cards? Do you have a snowball set up for them?

    Comment


      #3
      Just a few savers tip.

      ADT monitoring: most likely not needed. Just set up your alarm, make sure your neighbors have your cellphone number, and stick a ADT sign up in the front yard (can be bought on craigslist or use your own if you don't have to return it). Statistics have shown that the sign alone wards off 80% of intruders.

      Cellphone: Perhaps try switching to the new Sprint's Framily Plan. Find a forum in which people are recruiting to get 10 people in their Framily plan, and pay only 25 dollars/month per line. My friend is doing this and is working great.

      Of course if you can live without a smartphone and not use a lot of minutes, there's a current deal on a Tracphone for 19.99, 90 days expiration, 600 minutes (texting use up minutes). (Yes you get the phone AND the minutes). Then sell off both of your current smartphones for $$$.

      Newspaper: Use Cnn.com
      Buy just the Sundays paper if you are couponing, or google Printablecoupons for the blog.

      Total savings: 150/month, 1800/year (if going with the Sprint plan, cnn.com, no ADT monitoring).
      Last edited by Singuy; 04-09-2014, 01:39 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        We do only get the Sunday paper, strictly for the coupons. I do print a lot of coupons online but the grocery store I got to the most has huge coupons only available through the paper, or else I wouldn't even get Sundays!

        Just re-signed with ADT, so we're stuck for 2 years with that. I should mention that my husband is a major worrywart, and saving $40 a month isn't worth him worrying himself sick Same reason we always have relatively new cars - as soon as a car goes out of warranty he freaks out, like it is all of a sudden going to burst into a fireball with me and the kids inside. Some things just aren't worth the fight.

        I might shop around for cell phones when our contract is up in September. I've always had great service with Verizon, but it's definitely worth asking around to see what other people in my area use.

        Here are my credit card balances and interest rates:


        Card Balance Interest Rate
        BOA 22416 12.74
        Chase 7600 12.24
        Discover 11000 13.49
        Cap 1 24320 7.9
        Citibank 5676 6.99


        I am sort of doing the snowball, but doing highest interest first instead of lowest balance. I'm paying off Chase first because that is the card I charge the kids daycare on, but then I am doing Discover, Bank of America, probably then Citibank since the balance will be so low by then, and then Capital One. According to my snowball spreadsheet I'll have it paid off in 4 years.

        Comment


          #5
          Sigh, I know what you mean. Some people wants to cover all the basis no matter how low the probability of that thing can tragic event can happen.

          Sometimes you have to ask him, what is more likely to happen next month? Your out of warranty car exploding while you drive, or not having enough money for groceries? From my standpoint, both contributes directly to the well-being of the family.


          Also looking at your CC debt, there's quite a bit. Is your husband also living paycheck to paycheck? You may want to borrow some money from him and pay off some of those high interest CCs. Better yet, pay him 4% interest as you borrow for your 12% CCs. Why give the bank all this money?

          Comment


            #6
            He is also living paycheck to paycheck, unfortunately. He pays the mortgage, car payments, gas, water, trash, cable, and his student loans.I should mention that part of upgrading our security system was going to a wireless system (for $2 more a month) which means we can drop our home phone. He's not willing to give up his live sports, so we're going to see what the cheapest package is that we can get down to. He also takes care of one of his own credit cards, so any extra he has goes towards that. The interest rate on that one is about the same as my two highest, so he's working on that one. He does currently have a balance transfer offer that he's going to call and inquire about, so we might move some of my higher interest CC debt to that if it makes sense to do so.

            I did some research and can definitely make my son's lunch cheaper than what we pay for school lunch (and healthier too!) He didn't like the idea until I mentioned that I could pack him carrots and hummus, then he was sold on it.

            I have a bunch of stuff, including a fairly expensive saddle, on Ebay, plus we're having a neighborhood yard sale in a month that we are putting a ton of stuff out for. I've also sold a lot of my kids' old clothes/toys on a local moms Facebook page. I am doing everything I can think of to make extra money to get rid of this debt!

            Would love to hear any more ideas!

            Comment


              #7
              Does your husband contribute to an Emergency Fund? Do you each have a retirement Fund? Honestly, I'm alarmed at the amount of interest you're being charged. Can you add up the amount of interest you have paid thus far 2014 between you and DH? Mortgage, Autos, DH's SLs, Chase, Discover, Citi, Cap.One, BOA, Camper, Sallie Mae etc.

              If I'm reading your post correctly, you are paying interest for disposables like groceries, gas and DS's lunch. Have you looked into the possibility of getting a 0% interest card and transferring that high interest CC? Is there anyone DH trusts who can convince him that buying a new car every two years is not smart given your current debt. I hope you have adequate term life insurance. It's likely prudent to review every insurance policy currently held.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by snafu View Post
                Does your husband contribute to an Emergency Fund? Do you each have a retirement Fund? Honestly, I'm alarmed at the amount of interest you're being charged. Can you add up the amount of interest you have paid thus far 2014 between you and DH? Mortgage, Autos, DH's SLs, Chase, Discover, Citi, Cap.One, BOA, Camper, Sallie Mae etc.

                If I'm reading your post correctly, you are paying interest for disposables like groceries, gas and DS's lunch. Have you looked into the possibility of getting a 0% interest card and transferring that high interest CC? Is there anyone DH trusts who can convince him that buying a new car every two years is not smart given your current debt. I hope you have adequate term life insurance. It's likely prudent to review every insurance policy currently held.

                Snafu-

                We do not have an emergency fund, I am going to establish a small one with my next 2 paychecks from my 2nd job. I'd rather not put too much in it when we have so much CC debt that is accruing interest. I have not added up the amount of interest we pay total - honestly, I don't see the point. We know we have a problem, we are addressing the problem by attacking the highest interest rates first, and we wouldn't change the way we handle it anyway, so.... I have looked into getting a 0% credit card and I have too much debt to qualify. I am hoping that as I pay off my cards one by one, balance transfer offers will come up on the ones I already have.

                We just bought me a new vehicle when my old one was 4 years old (I have never heard of a warranty that expires after 2 years) and we are paying less for it that we were for the old one. We also never pay interest on our vehicles; we've qualified for 0% interest on both. My husband puts very little mileage on his vehicle, so his is definitely one we will keep after it is paid off. But I have a long commute and we use the minivan for all long trips, so it gets a LOT of mileage.

                It's not quite true that we are paying interest on things like groceries and gas... I can either use my $400 flex account reimbursement for those things, or put them on my credit card and immediately pay the $400 on the credit card. Now that said, using the card makes it easier to spend more than I want to, which is why I want to stop using the card for that. I do wind up paying interest if I go over what I have the funds to pay off! I am still going to put my kids' daycare on my credit card and pay it off every paycheck, because I earn cash back on the card I use for that.

                We do each have retirement funds and excellent life insurance. Obviously I'd like to be contributing more to my 401K, but put in at least enough to get my full company match.

                Thanks for all of your ideas!

                Comment


                  #9
                  You are paying interest on everything you buy just as long as you have CC debt.

                  Think of it this way.

                  I have 400 dollars from flex spending, and 400 dollars left on my BOA CC card at 12.5%

                  If I put this 400 dollars toward my BOA CC, I'll pay no interest on the 400 dollars I have put in. But if I used the 400 dollars toward gas/groceries instead of paying toward BOA, then I will have interest on the 400 dollars due to the existing balance. So EVERY DOLLAR YOU MAKE HAS INTEREST IF YOU DON'T PAY OFF YOUR CC or anything WITH INTEREST.

                  I have been telling my wife that everytime she buys food with her money, it's like paying 6.8% interest on it because she still has a student loan balance.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by frugalredhead View Post
                    I have a bunch of stuff, including a fairly expensive saddle, on Ebay, plus we're having a neighborhood yard sale in a month that we are putting a ton of stuff out for. I've also sold a lot of my kids' old clothes/toys on a local moms Facebook page. I am doing everything I can think of to make extra money to get rid of this debt!

                    Would love to hear any more ideas!
                    Welcome to the forums!

                    1. Things you are doing well:
                    a. You want to change your financial situation. This is good!
                    b. You are selling stuff. This is good!
                    c. You got a 2nd job. This is good! (I. Has your husband considered getting a 2nd job?)
                    e. You are starting an emergency fund (try to get to $1000 as quickly as possible) This is good!


                    2. Things you guys aren't doing so well:
                    a. You have $61,112.00 of consumer debt. This doesn't include your husband's debt. The national average household credit card debt as of April 2014 is $15,191.00. That is nearly 4 times the national average! This is bad. But with changing your spending habits, increasing your income, decreasing your expenses you can get out of this hole!
                    b. From the numbers presented in your budget, your credit card debt, and the "extras" not included in the budget it's clear you are spending more than you make. This is bad. Need to put all potential expenses in your budget.
                    c. How much debt does your husband have? Instead of looking at it as "his" and "her" debt consider sitting down and talking about your debt as a team. This is challenging but with some work you guys can work together to beat this debt thing.
                    d. What is the balance and interes rate of your mortgage?

                    3. How do you track your expenses? Have you considered using www.mint.com ?

                    4. Some questions to get you started about your expenses…
                    Consider this thread: Tips to Save Money

                    a. How often do you eat out?
                    b. When was the last time you got a car/home insurance quote?
                    c. How much data do you use monthly on your cell phones? Possible to get a lower monthly $ plan? Who is your provider and do you have a contract?
                    d. Do you guys have a home phone? How often do you use it?
                    e. Have cable/satellite? Consider using Netflix, AmazonPrime, or Hulu for a time instead... Consider asking your husband if he’d consider watching sports on free TV for a time while you guys get out of debt. “Live like no one else {today} so you can live like no one else {tomorrow}.” – Dave Ramsey
                    f. How much soda, coffee, etc. do you guys consume monthly? Consider drinking water instead.

                    Hope this helps. You are on the right path. You are thinking these things through. Hang in there and keep up the good work!
                    Last edited by Eagle; 04-10-2014, 04:27 AM.
                    ~ Eagle

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by frugalredhead View Post
                      We do only get the Sunday paper, strictly for the coupons. I do print a lot of coupons online but the grocery store I got to the most has huge coupons only available through the paper, or else I wouldn't even get Sundays!

                      Just re-signed with ADT, so we're stuck for 2 years with that. I should mention that my husband is a major worrywart, and saving $40 a month isn't worth him worrying himself sick Same reason we always have relatively new cars - as soon as a car goes out of warranty he freaks out, like it is all of a sudden going to burst into a fireball with me and the kids inside. Some things just aren't worth the fight.

                      ...

                      I am sort of doing the snowball, but doing highest interest first instead of lowest balance. I'm paying off Chase first because that is the card I charge the kids daycare on, but then I am doing Discover, Bank of America, probably then Citibank since the balance will be so low by then, and then Capital One. According to my snowball spreadsheet I'll have it paid off in 4 years.
                      Saving $40 a month here or there all adds up. Also, having an emergency fund will help your husband and you worry less about emergencies...

                      Paying off the highest interest first is often called the "debt avalanche method." It's a good method too.
                      ~ Eagle

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Eagle, I just wrote this whole response to you and then it kicked it out because I had a link!

                        There's no way I can type it all again, so I just want to say thanks for the advice and hit on a couple of your questions.

                        Hubby can't get a 2nd job because there would be nobody to watch the kids, plus I work in a field that is much easier to get a 2nd job and can make a ton more than he could (which is ironic because he makes more than me at his full time job!)

                        Mortgage is $240K at 3.875%. Cell phone is already at lowest package. Just upgraded (for free) home security system to wireless so now we can get rid of our landline. Still trying to talk him into seriously downgrading our cable package. The kids and I wouldn't even notice the difference, but he would suffer

                        We haven't gotten any insurance quotes in probably 10 years. Hubby is a veteran and USAA has always been the best prices around. Wouldn't hurt to check and see if that's still the case! We don't have any Starbucks addictions, don't drink soda... We eat out more than we should. I try to convince hubby to plan our days around eating meals at home, or if we're goig to be out around lunchtime to pack sandwiches and go have a picnic. He's not as willing to make sacrifices as I am (eating out, cable tv, etc...)

                        We'll have some changes coming - I get my raise in July (although it will only be about $50 a month), and daycare costs only go down as the kids get older, so all of that will help as we go through this. Plus my 4 year debt avalance spreadsheet doesn't account for any of that (income increases and expense decreases) so hopefully we'll stay right on schedule.

                        Total credit card debt is actually $86K - $71 in my name and $15K in his. The good news is that we've paid down $4K of it in just 2-3 months. We can do this! I am going to treat the family to a half gallon of the cheapest ice cream at the grocery store when the first card gets paid off (I might splurge on rainbow sprinkles, haha)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by frugalredhead View Post
                          Eagle, I just wrote this whole response to you and then it kicked it out because I had a link!
                          So sorry about that... Yeah it's happened to me before too. For long responses I try to type things in a Word document first. Then copy and paste it wherever it needs to go. Also helps cuz I'm a pretty bad at spelling haha.
                          ~ Eagle

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by frugalredhead View Post
                            There's no way I can type it all again, so I just want to say thanks for the advice and hit on a couple of your questions.

                            Hubby can't get a 2nd job because there would be nobody to watch the kids, plus I work in a field that is much easier to get a 2nd job and can make a ton more than he could (which is ironic because he makes more than me at his full time job!)

                            Mortgage is $240K at 3.875%. Cell phone is already at lowest package. Just upgraded (for free) home security system to wireless so now we can get rid of our landline. Still trying to talk him into seriously downgrading our cable package. The kids and I wouldn't even notice the difference, but he would suffer
                            I understand re: not typing again. No worries. At least you thought through the stuff and hit the high points.

                            So are you already working a 2nd job then? So he can't get a 2nd job cuz of the kiddos. Can he ask for a raise?

                            Getting rid of the landline should reduce some costs. That is good.

                            As far as the cable package we haven't had cable TV or satelite in over 4 years. At first I thought I'd loose my "man card" by giving it up. Does he have a neighbor he could watch particular games with? I go to my uncle's or in-laws house when I really want to watch a particular game. It's a sacrifice we made in order to get out of debt before buying our house.

                            Re: "He would suffer..." I guess the question I'd ask your husband is... What's more important your family's financial well-being or some team/sport you enjoy watching? For the me it was a tough but good decision. I keep up with stuff on my phone and honestly it's done nothing but improved my family's financial situation. We've saved on cable satelite alone estimating a $100 a month bill $4800. One of the reasons we were able to buy a 2nd vehicle cash. We also spend more time as a family together - both with my wife and my kiddos. Less distractions.
                            Last edited by Eagle; 04-10-2014, 10:12 AM.
                            ~ Eagle

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by frugalredhead View Post
                              We haven't gotten any insurance quotes in probably 10 years. Hubby is a veteran and USAA has always been the best prices around. Wouldn't hurt to check and see if that's still the case! We don't have any Starbucks addictions, don't drink soda... We eat out more than we should. I try to convince hubby to plan our days around eating meals at home, or if we're goig to be out around lunchtime to pack sandwiches and go have a picnic. He's not as willing to make sacrifices as I am (eating out, cable tv, etc...)

                              We'll have some changes coming - I get my raise in July (although it will only be about $50 a month), and daycare costs only go down as the kids get older, so all of that will help as we go through this. Plus my 4 year debt avalance spreadsheet doesn't account for any of that (income increases and expense decreases) so hopefully we'll stay right on schedule.

                              Total credit card debt is actually $86K - $71 in my name and $15K in his. The good news is that we've paid down $4K of it in just 2-3 months. We can do this! I am going to treat the family to a half gallon of the cheapest ice cream at the grocery store when the first card gets paid off (I might splurge on rainbow sprinkles, haha)
                              I was paying with Farmers Ins for nearly a decade and my car insurance climbed $160 a month for insurance on one vehicle. We found Progressive and our payment went down to $100 a month for 2 vehicles last year. Good idea to check on insurance quotes.

                              That's good that'll you'll get a raise. Have you considered asking for a promotion or working for a different company to increase your income? At 3.5k net a month you probably make between the two of you what 65-75k?

                              86k. Ouch. Paying down 4k in 2-3 months is good. Focus on increasing your emergency fund as emergencies will and do happen. And with kiddos it's gonna happen.

                              Here's some tips for making extra money while in debt.

                              Here's also some advice about getting out and staying out of debt.

                              Don't forget to celebrate the victories for sure! We love ice cream in our house!
                              ~ Eagle

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