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    Survival budget

    It's common in threads to see people who are struggling to make ends meet but do not cut there budgets to the real bone.

    It reminds me of my brother who has filed BK at least twice, but has never given up cigarettes, cable, beer etc.

    This is my idea of a survival budget, with one exception, the existing house. IMO, a dire circumstance would involve selling the house.

    House payment
    Electric (conserving as possible)
    Gas (Same)
    Food ( Normal budget-50% due to cheap alternatives)
    Auto expenses as needed for work or necessity trips only(Liability ins.)
    No credit card use at all

    No cells
    No cable
    No internet
    No cigarettes,beer,dingdongs etc.
    No eating out
    No driving to unnecessary destinations
    No Golf (Ouch)
    No latte's
    No books,movies etc.

    This would be considered an extreme budget to most in america, but still lavish compared to a majority of humans on this earth.

    It is not likely that many would have to resort to this budget, but ask yourself how much you could pay down debt or save under these circumstances. I personally keep a basic budget to revert to if needed and a plan at which it will be implemented.

    Do you have a basic and if needed, survival budget plan in waiting?
    Last edited by maat55; 01-02-2009, 08:01 AM.

    #2
    Originally posted by maat55 View Post
    Do you have a basic and if needed, survival budget plan in waiting?
    No. And I hope I don't have to ever have one. Isn't that what an EF and savings are for? I agree with you on the down-to-the-bone budget and how most people don't do it when they need to. Now, If I ever lost my job, had other financial set-backs, I am sure we would dump a few things (golf - ouch!), but because we have saved and funded those sort of funds, I don't see a need for us to go to the bone immediately.

    Comment


      #3
      No Ding Dongs?! But but but... Ding Dongs man!

      I think I am already operating on a bare bones budget. Ahhh, but yes, that's what everyone says, regardless of of whether they really are or not eh?

      I decided to look through my budget to be sure. You know, I think I really am. Basic utilities, gas for car, food, cellphone, and internet. Even the last couple of items are a necessity I think because these would be valuable tools towards finding and maintaining employment.

      About the only thing I can slim down is my food budget. Though I need to eat, I admit it's bigger than necessary to get by.
      Last edited by Broken Arrow; 01-03-2009, 08:06 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        When I was first married, dh was in the Army and I was still in college and unemployed. If anyone wants to learn to live on a survival budget, I suggest you try to live on military income! As I recall our barebones budget included:

        1)basic cable which was included in the rent
        2)monthly grocery shopping on post only with coupons in hand. Lots of rice and Kool-Aid (something I'd never drank before or since): NO snacks of any kind. No chips, no cookies, no little Debbie, none. No soda. No beer.
        3)no eating out ever. not even McDonald's once a month.
        4)dh packed his lunch every day
        5)1 dollar movie twice a month. no popcorn or snacks
        6)no cell phone or internet but that was back in 1990 so it doesn't count
        7)our long distance relatives had to call us if they wanted to talk. no outgoing calls
        8)minimal air conditioning. coincidentally this was the same summer the temps were >100 degrees for a week in Texas


        I do not look back on those days with fondness. Now with two kids, I guess we could employ some of the same measures if need be but it would be a miserable existence.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by maat55 View Post
          Do you have a basic and if needed, survival budget plan in waiting?
          No, for the same reason as Snave stated. We have savings. Right now, we've got between 3 and 4 year's income (not expenses) in savings. That is easily 5-6 year's of expenses.

          Of course, I know in my head what would get cut if cuts became necessary. Back in 2000 when I quit my job and was unemployed for a few months, cuts definitely got made. We didn't cut to the extent you are talking about, but there wasn't a financial need to be that drastic. Also, while I was out of work, I was ebaying full time which didn't replace all of my income but did replace a portion of it.

          There are 2 things on your list that I probably wouldn't cut unless it was a dire situation: cell phones and internet. I know I'm the one always posting that cell phones are a luxury, but at least in our case, they are also a contracted service with a hefty fee for cancellation. Plus, if I was out looking for work, I'd want to be sure that potential employers could reach me any time if something came up.

          As for the internet, I think that has become an indispensable resource in so many ways. Again, when I was unemployed, the internet provided my only income via ebay. The net is also the prevailing way that people find work these days through online job sites and networking sites. The internet is also an endless source of entertainment, recipes, cost-cutting measures, discounted shopping, and plain old support at sites like this one.
          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


            #6
            We are currently living *almost* bare bones budget, and I agree with Steve that we need a cell phone and Internet to job search (our cell phone is prepaid and our Internet is free through DHs school). I mostly hate this situation right now, but I'm thankful to be able to see what's important and how far money really will/won't go when it's down to the wire.

            So, in answer to the original question - no, we didn't have a survival budget spelled-out, but it is developing as we speak! Lesson learned. Really.

            Comment


              #7
              I agree that having an EF is meant to be a cushion period. At the same time, I know that if I use the EF I will have to replace it.

              In my plan, I will drop to the basic budget to avoid using the EF or to slow it's usage.

              Survival comes in when the EF is gone and there is no anticipation of income. This is the point where many will rack up credit cards or other debt before thinking of a survival budget.

              Steve, your an extreme case of preparedness.(Congrats on that) I consider my car fund and eventually, if necessary, my roth a backup. But I would go to a survival budget and pull my teeth to avoid using my investments.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by maat55 View Post
                I if I use the EF I will have to replace it.

                In my plan, I will drop to the basic budget to avoid using the EF or to slow it's usage.
                I agree. As I said, when I was out of work, we cut a lot of things. In fact, the size of the EF is based on making those cuts. If not, we'd all need a larger EF.
                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
                  We are pretty bare bones. We only have cable cause that is the only way we can get any tv at all. I would be glad to give it up. I have a long distance phone plan that runs less than $5 a month. It was $3 this month. I don't get my hair or nails done. I rarely buy clothes or make up. I have no cell phone and I don't like to shop!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Im definitely not on a survival budget. There is room for fun things and good eating. I suppose if we cut more expensive food, alcohol, car stuff and clothes, and cable we could save $300-350 a month.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      When I was in college a long time ago I worked two jobs and went to school full time and pretty much paid for my education that way(don't ask me how). I was on a survival budget that was as bare bones as it gets. I certainly don't want to revisit that period but I know it's possible if needed.

                      I remember eating ramon noodles and mac and cheese only for two weeks. I cringe when I see either at the grocery store.
                      "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        This may be a cop-out, but I do think it is easier for a single person to go on a bare bones budget than it is for a married person with a family as different people have different needs. For example, I would happily put the thermostat down to 67 or less, put on a sweater and put up with being a little chilly. My wife can't tolerate anything less than 70-71. Even at that temp, she is wearing thermal underwear, sweatpants, fleece top and two pairs of insulated socks and sitting under a blanket, still complaining that she's cold.

                        If I was single, I could live happily on far less than I currently spend. It would be much easier to cut back. If things were really dire, we wouldn't have a choice and I'd put my foot down and make the cuts, but short of that, having other people to keep happy, safe and healthy does make things tougher.
                        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


                          #13
                          Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                          This may be a cop-out, but I do think it is easier for a single person to go on a bare bones budget than it is for a married person with a family as different people have different needs. For example, I would happily put the thermostat down to 67 or less, put on a sweater and put up with being a little chilly. My wife can't tolerate anything less than 70-71. Even at that temp, she is wearing thermal underwear, sweatpants, fleece top and two pairs of insulated socks and sitting under a blanket, still complaining that she's cold.

                          If I was single, I could live happily on far less than I currently spend. It would be much easier to cut back. If things were really dire, we wouldn't have a choice and I'd put my foot down and make the cuts, but short of that, having other people to keep happy, safe and healthy does make things tougher.
                          I agree Steve. We all have a personal comfort zone. I can do without most things that the average person "has to have". I went 3 years without a tv at one point and got quite used to it.

                          My point is that you really don't know your limits until you test them. I would live quite a different lifestlye if I lived alone but I make sacrifices because I don't. I think men are better at the "bare bones" thing(I'll apologize in advance ladies) but everyone can live with a lot less than they may think.
                          "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I didn't see any mention of automobiles.

                            If I got laid off tomorrow we'd drop the gardener and preschool/daycare immediately (about $400/month). Commute costs would go down, etc.

                            If we were in some extended fiscal emergency we'd sell the second car. The car is about 3 months of expenses and complete luxury if you ask me. Particularly if no one in my house was working. (layoff or disability). (& I'd sell both cars before the house probably).

                            I'm not sure if I would drop cell phones or cable early on. May be our only form of entertainment for a while, and the phones really aren't that expensive; we only use for emergency. Would be more likely to drop the land line. I'd find cheaper internet, but you can get it for like $10/month. Think I'd keep it.

                            The rest of our budget is pretty bare bones. I think we'd skip vacation too. But yeah, it's pretty clear in our budget what is luxury and what is not. We are young enough we have had too many recent years we could not afford eating out, cable, etc., etc., that it wouldn't be that big of a deal to us.
                            Last edited by MonkeyMama; 01-02-2009, 09:55 AM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              [QUOTE]
                              Originally posted by MonkeyMama View Post
                              I didn't see any mention of automobiles.
                              It is mentioned at a reduced expense. I didn't list it as a sellable item which is certainly doable in an survival situation.

                              House payment
                              Electric (conserving as possible)
                              Gas (Same)
                              Food ( Normal budget-50% due to cheap alternatives)
                              Auto expenses as needed for work or necessity trips only(Liability ins.)
                              No credit card use at all

                              Comment

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