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    Trying to figure out budget not sure what to include

    I am a single mother of 2, ages 10 and 15. I was unemployed 8 months out of the past 24 months (two separate times). I accumulated some credit card debt and I am very stressed out and scared. I am used to paying off credit cards each month and now I cannot. I do not spend on anything that is not needed (just had to fix car, clothing, food etc). I now have a job and I am trying to figure out what my best option is. Here is what I currently have for my budget but I am not sure what else to include, entertainment, eating out, clothing, kids sports etc.

    Monthly income after taxes: 4803

    Mortgage $1,745.00 (The houses and rentals here are very expensive) This is a modest 3 bedroom home, 1600 sq ft
    Groceries $500.00
    student loans $252.00
    Car/Auto $205.56
    internet $68.84
    cell $75.00 (2 cell phones)
    gas $250.00 (travel 45 miles each way to work)
    hulu/netflix $16.00
    energy $55.90
    gas $31.00
    credit cards $260 (current 0% apr which ends in April, 12K on the card)
    car insurance/homeowners $53.58
    water $101.79
    go to pass $100.00 ($5 toll to work each day)
    health insurance $351.00
    TOTAL: $3737.69

    This does not include any medical expenses and my dtr is at the doctor quite often (scoliosis, fibromyalgia, chiropractor, depression). I also did not budget for clothing or activities as stated above, no savings, car or house repair etc. I have no savings and no retirement fund. I also do not receive any child support and it is not an option to try to get any because their dad is incarcerated. Thanks in advance for the input.

    #2
    Welcome to the site.

    To answer your main question:
    Here is what I currently have for my budget but I am not sure what else to include
    You need to include EVERYTHING. Anything at all that you routinely spend money on needs to be accounted for so that you know where every dollar is going. Otherwise you're going to build a budget that doesn't work in reality because it fails to include everything.

    To dig a little deeper, you are spending $16/month on Hulu and Netflix. Those are not needed. There is endless free entertainment online between all of the network websites, YouTube, and other sources.

    You list 2 cell phones. One is yours, I'm sure. I'm guessing the other belongs to your 15-year-old. Have you looked into getting him/her just a prepaid phone for emergency use only?

    The budget you listed has a $1,065 surplus. You need to figure out what is missing (like medical bills, clothing, etc.) so you can determine your actual surplus. Once you do that, I would do two things with that surplus each month. 1) Start funding an emergency fund and 2) Increase the amount going to pay off the credit cards.

    What are the balances on the student loan and the car loan?
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    Comment


      #3
      Google Dave Ramsey and read about his perspective on debt.

      Like disneysteve said write everything down that you spend money on over the next 2-4 weeks. Having that ~1000 surplus on paper may not be your reality.

      If it is then you could do something like half to emergency fund and half to debt.

      For the credit card debt you will also need to pay more than the minimum required to get anywhere.

      If you provide more details we can give better options.

      Comment


        #4
        To dig a little deeper, you are spending $16/month on Hulu and Netflix. Those are not needed. There is endless free entertainment online between all of the network websites, YouTube, and other sources.

        I could make do without hulu or netflix for a while I suppose

        You list 2 cell phones. One is yours, I'm sure. I'm guessing the other belongs to your 15-year-old. Have you looked into getting him/her just a prepaid phone for emergency use only?

        I have looked into this but right now her phone is only about 15-20/mth, her and my son share it at home so that I can call them. They are home alone quite often since I am working full time. My daughter uses it when she is out and needs a ride or something.

        The budget you listed has a $1,065 surplus. You need to figure out what is missing (like medical bills, clothing, etc.) so you can determine your actual surplus. Once you do that, I would do two things with that surplus each month. 1) Start funding an emergency fund and 2) Increase the amount going to pay off the credit cards.

        I feel like it is very hard to figure out costs of sports, clothing, car and house repairs etc as they differ so much each month. Any ideas on how to determine this? I know that I do not actually have a surplus of 1,000 a month, I wish I did :/


        What are the balances on the student loan and the car loan?[/QUOTE]

        I owe around 52k for the student loans and about 2k on the car. I am planning on using any tax refund to help pay off the car. Should I keep the tax refund as an emergency fund or put it towards the car like I had planned?
        Last edited by dihahey; 01-29-2017, 11:59 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Jluke View Post
          Google Dave Ramsey and read about his perspective on debt.

          I filled out his zero budget form this morning but I was not sure how to determine those costs that fluctuate so much month to month.

          Like disneysteve said write everything down that you spend money on over the next 2-4 weeks. Having that ~1000 surplus on paper may not be your reality.

          This sounds like a good plan. Maybe I can do this and then post what I have found for more input.

          If it is then you could do something like half to emergency fund and half to debt.

          I do not think that I will have money for an emergency fund until my CC debt is paid.


          If you provide more details we can give better options.
          Thank you

          Comment


            #6
            I would actually read the Dave Ramsey books from the library, he is good about cc debt. Then I would read Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson. He explains things simply but thoroughly about needing to contribute to a retirement plan and having an emergency fund. He teaches basic financial info that everybody needs.

            I would take the two phones to Cricket and get $30 all inclusive plan, so it would cost you exactly $60. Plus, they give you credits for brining your own phone. Unlimited talk/text and 3 gb data. There may be cheaper plans available from other companies.

            For kids' activities, take the amt they cost during the months you do them, add it up and divide by 12 so you know how much to budget monthly. If you are paying for expensive lessons or sports now may be the time to cut those out and encourage after-school free clubs and intramural

            I would not pay off the car, I would start an emergency fund

            good luck!
            Last edited by FLA; 01-29-2017, 12:31 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              Sorry to hear of your situation. Yes you can get along without hulu/Netflix and the world won't end! If you don't have a landline (unless you forgot to mention it) I can see why there is a need for you to have the second cell phone at home for the kids to use, and the other posters have better advice than I do on cheaper plans since I don't have a cell phone.

              You do need to set some aside for emergencies before those credit cards are paid off, otherwise your next 'emergency' will have it going on a credit card instead of out of cash you have on hand. That is the point of an emergency fund. To help handle unplanned money needs, and no going out to dinner is not a money need. I don't know what you spend on clothes for yourself and your kids, but how many garments does anyone need? Have you checked out thrift stores? Pinterest has a great amount pins that show recycled clothes and how to make them from thrift store finds. As for you, as long as you have a decent working wardrobe, do you really need to add to it?
              Gailete
              http://www.MoonwishesSewingandCrafts.com

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by dihahey View Post
                Should I keep the tax refund as an emergency fund or put it towards the car like I had planned?
                I would set aside some money for an emergency fund. Do you have any idea yet how large your refund will be? It's not a perfect number but Dave Ramsey promotes having a $1,000 EF first before you do anything else. So just pay the minimums on all of your debts until that starter EF is established. Then start throwing every extra penny at the debt. He goes lowest balance to highest balance. Paying highest interest to lowest interest actually saves you more money and gets you debt free a bit quicker but overall, either method works and the difference between them isn't huge.

                The bottom line is to establish the EF then attack the debt aggressively, slashing expenses every place you can along the way to free up money.
                Steve

                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                Comment


                  #9
                  [QUOTE=FLA;449633]I would actually read the Dave Ramsey books from the library, he is good about cc debt. Then I would read Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson.
                  I will have to check the library and look into cricket

                  For kids' activities, take the amt they cost during the months you do them, add it up and divide by 12 so you know how much to budget monthly. If you are paying for expensive lessons or sports now may be the time to cut those out and encourage after-school free clubs and intramural

                  They do sports through the parks and rec department so it is the cheapest way to do it. Next year my son will play for the middle school team.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Gailete View Post
                    Sorry to hear of your situation. Yes you can get along without hulu/Netflix and the world won't end! If you don't have a landline (unless you forgot to mention it) I can see why there is a need for you to have the second cell phone at home for the kids to use, and the other posters have better advice than I do on cheaper plans since I don't have a cell phone.

                    That is the point of an emergency fund. To help handle unplanned money needs, and no going out to dinner is not a money need.

                    We rarely go out. The only time this happens is if we are gone all day and did not plan on being out. Even at that point though, I will grab something from the grocery store rather than a sit down.

                    I don't know what you spend on clothes for yourself and your kids, but how many garments does anyone need? Have you checked out thrift stores? Pinterest has a great amount pins that show recycled clothes and how to make them from thrift store finds. As for you, as long as you have a decent working wardrobe, do you really need to add to it?
                    I was referring more to shoes, socks, undergarments etc... I feel like my son grows out of his clothes monthly . When he does I will shop at goodwill or clearance at kohls and Old Navy. I have not bought clothes for myself in a very long time.

                    Thanks for the info

                    Comment


                      #11
                      [QUOTE=disneysteve;449646]I would set aside some money for an emergency fund. Do you have any idea yet how large your refund will be?

                      I am not sure what my refund will be yet. I am waiting on the unemployment tax forms before I can file.

                      It's not a perfect number but Dave Ramsey promotes having a $1,000 EF first before you do anything else. So just pay the minimums on all of your debts until that starter EF is established. Then start throwing every extra penny at the debt. He goes lowest balance to highest balance. Paying highest interest to lowest interest actually saves you more money and gets you debt free a bit quicker but overall, either method works and the difference between them isn't huge.

                      So, I said that my 0% APR ends in April. Should I try to find another 0% APR that I could transfer the debt to? I have found some that are 18 months 0%.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by dihahey View Post
                        So, I said that my 0% APR ends in April. Should I try to find another 0% APR that I could transfer the debt to?
                        If you can roll it over to another 0% deal, that would be helpful. Otherwise the rate is probably going to skyrocket to 16% or more.

                        Just don't fall into the trap of repeatedly rolling it over and not aggressively attacking the balance to get it paid off. If you can maintain it at 0% for 18 months, then go after the car loan first and get that out of the way.
                        Steve

                        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                        Comment

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