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Made Progress on Budget...

September 22nd, 2006 at 12:13 am

I just did a quick annual budget and it was pretty depressing...

I put in everything month by month for the year, and I know Oct - Dec is off, because I pretty much went off my 9 months data in Quicken. I didn't even put in christmas - too depressing. IT is just possible christmas cash received will be greater than christmas purchases, so we'll wing it for now.

With that I had a $1k loss for the year, but lately the in-laws have been pretty generous and throwing $1k at us here and there. It will cover it.

It's super depressing because rates on everything seem to raise come January. Just hope I get a raise to cover inflation.

I didn't detail the clothes and DVDs, etc. we buy every year and just threw in $300/month. THat is just for everything I didn't have categorized really - probably more than sufficient. Throw in vacation to that category too. I put 0 on the vacation budget because this last year we went to Vegas and HAwaii (Hawaii was paid for but we still spent $500 - on food mostly). If we can't afford to go anywhere to stay in budget, so be it. We had a good run this year.

I skimmed through the budget and all I Saw was insurance and gas (to drive to work) and stuff that just can not be cut. I decided in the meantime we just can't save a dime. Yes, the gardener, the preschool, and the cable all stand out as not necessity. BUT they are necessities to our sanity. There is just no way. IF we couldn't pay the bills, fine, but for now it all has been working out.

On the flip side, we were looking to move this summer and we are paying $56/month to storage. That can go... So by the end of the year I Want to make it a priority to clear out the space. & give up on moving - we just can't afford it right now.

As far as eating out, we can scale back. Maybe go from $100/month budget to $50.

Looking at the budget those 2 things popped out. I hadn't even really thought about the storage until then...

Beyond that I am paying $215/month on that personal loan. When that is paid off it is $200/month to build up our emergency fund. & if I get a raise in January, the same. So there is some hope.

I didn't even include the extra money we receive here and there from other work and other windfalls, etc. So it probably isn't as dire as it seems. We usually save all of this above and beyond the norm.

That's about all I can see for now. Hubby has to get a job, plain and simple. Something steady. We'll give it a whirl next summer probably. Another $200/month steady income would be pretty sweet right now, doesn't have to be much...

So what happened here??? I can narrow it down to 1 thing - preschool. I looked into it last April and found something for about $300/month. Just M/W/F 4 hours each day. But in this area that is about as cheap as it gets. I had some money saved, and figured we'd give it a try. IT was a bad move - LOL. No, it was a great move for my family, but unfortunately we absolutely fell in love with the place and there is no going back. We are now paying closer to $365 so he can stay all day Wednesdays. HE just loves it so dang much ... Plus gives the baby some one-on-one time with daddy. When I look at the budget it glares at me, but it has crossed the line to necessity. My son has just blossomed there like you wouldn't believe in such a short time. & cutting back would no less than break his heart. So yeah, before this and the loan we were doing pretty good. & since then things have been pretty dang tight.

So what do we do, we will go find more income. & we are working on cutting little things as well. Every little bit helps...

I just wanted to clarify that this is a pretty temp budget. We are just trying to bide our time until the baby turns 2 next summer and childcare options are more abundant and cheap. Thus the reluctance for hubby to get a job before then. Work is crazy for me December - April because of tax season and with a sleepless teething baby I am not sure we can handle much more.

I realize I am pretty stubborn on a few things in our budget, but we have a lot of untapped earnings potential and I Want to tap those first before we start cutting out certain things.

I am working on saving $300/month on health insurance which would kind of wash out this preschool predicament we have gotten ourselves into.

Regardless of our savings my boss is adding 10% of my income to retirement. An extra bonus as the more overtime I work, the more goes in retirement. I really just need to work more...

A strategy I am looking into is a PT job for my hubby with full health benefits. There are a lot around (state jobs & healthcare jobs). Full benefits would save us upward $600/month. This is the worst part of our budget I Feel. It really bugs me - we are not even 30 yet and I shudder to think what our premiums will be next year when I hit 30. Imagine if any of us were actually sick or something!! : ( Oh well, we officially can no longer afford our healthcare...

8 Responses to “Made Progress on Budget...”

  1. koppur Says:

    I know the overwhelming feeling of the budget! Smile It may seem a necessity right now, but do you HAVE to have a gardner? Especially in the winter(don't know where you live and if you have plants year-round or not). Id your garden too big to do on your own? And what about not eating out at all anymore? That's another $50. Could you downgrade cable? From Premium with movies channels to basic? Do you put the cheap gas in your car or a giher grade? Do you use coupons when you shop? Can you cut back on buying clothes? These are just ideas I used to make my budget more manageable. Good luck! Smile

  2. monkeymama Says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    On the gardener, we have a homewonwers association and I Really do not have the time, and my hubby won't do it. If the yard is not picture perfect we get nasty letters, and then I get stressed. I have been so stress-free since the gardener. Plus at $80/month I just need to work 3 hours overtime every month to pay it. IT would take me at least 4 hours to do the work myself and I just don't know what I am doing. I know this is a BIG luxury, but it is one of the few I have allowed myself over the years. Winter is when it gets out of control (California).

    My hubby and I have been round and round on the cable. HE refuses to give it up. But he is resigned to the fact he needs to bring in more income to keep it. I have been waving the budget in his face all month and he is waking up. ; )

    We use cheap gas, coupons, and not much on clothes. I Spent $50 on a fall wardrobe (thrift shop) for my son and the younger one is getting hand-me-downs. IT is stuff like this why I Can not see cutting out any more. Not a lot at once anyway, but I am working on whittling it down...

    No eating out, eh?? I can not see entirely cutting it down, but maybe we could survie on a $50/month budget. That would be one pizza a month, and maybe a few $1 fast food meals and a couple of buffets with friends. As a working mom this really cuts my social outlet, but luckily I have a couple of friends who do the cheap lunch route with me (Taco BEll, etc.). The moms night out, will have to go for a while - which is a bummer. But you are right - we can really whittle this down.

    On the way to work today I Decided that I will work more hours and build up the overtime. I also talked to hubby about the Christmas temp job, which we previously wrote off. We will probably need the money to not dip into our emergency fund in December. But as for me, I Certainly have the work, and it is another resource for extra income. I am no so confident he will step up to the plate, but he seems to be getting the point.



  3. monkeymama Says:

    Also just wanted to say I am working on saving $200-$300/month on health insurance. All that money will go to a fund for higher deductibles, BUT after a year or so it will free our budget up a lot.

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    Haha, you remind me of a very good friend of mine. Right now, he is a SAHD to their 3 kids, but he Loooves his electronics. Not too long ago, he bought a large plasma TV on credit cards. Bad! His wife is a MBA though, and is also the major bread-winner. Good!

    He's my best friend and all, but ...his lack of grasp of money. That part's tough. I mean, sometimes, we would talk about our problems, and on one hand, I really want to be on his side and sympathize with him. On the other hand, in my mind, I'm thinking, "You bought WHAT?"

  5. monkeymama Says:

    I think that is why he is so set on the cable, we haven't bought any electronic toys in a long while. HE has been pretty good. As long as I give him that!

    But really he isn't that bad. Honestly, he is pretty dang frugal - probably more so than me. HE could buy something fancy for $1k and then buy NOTHING the rest of the year.

    & he would never waste his money on a Plasma - ; ) HDTV is another story - LOL. But he has been waiting patiently for a very long time. A few more years...

  6. monkeymama Says:

    I have to clarify I am not giving up on that $300/month that I Said was clothes/DVDs/vacation. It includes a lot more stuff than that, I just didn't have time to whittle it down. I threw it all under Misc. in the past and I have to go back and categorize it a little better...

    Maybe a lot of it will be expendable... There is still hope...

  7. LuckyRobin Says:

    Preschool really is a luxury. Sure the kid likes the preschool, but kids like lots of things. In our area, you can get a month's worth of dance classes (yes, for a boy, my son loved it) for $45. That's an hour a week. We can also get tumbling for $50 a month. That gives the child a chance to do something with other kids, gives hubby a breather and one on one time with baby and comes to $95 a month.

    We had other things available free in our community. One morning a week the parks and recs offered a morning coffee break where you would bring your little ones and their little ride on scoot around things or big wheels. It was 2.5 hours. We had a toddler skate at the skating rink for $3 for 1.5 hours one morning a week. It included a 20 minute lesson and then you skated around with the child (parent was not charged for skate rental) or the parent could walk. Look for the free and the cheap. The child will adapt, you will not scar him by taking away preschool, and you really don't want to be running your whole budget based on what junior wants anyway. That's a bad habit to get into and will only get more expensive as your kids grow older. Without preschool you'll have the $200 you need and your DH won't have to get a job. Of course, it may be that DH loves preschool more than junior does and that is a whole other issue, LOL.

    As for cable, we are doing just fine without it since mid-July. I thought it would be harder, but it frees up so much time not being tied to the TV because such and such is coming on. We borrow a lot from the library. Right now I've just finished 24 season one and have Lost season one on hold. So I don't see stuff when it comes out, but I do see it. It's all out on DVD eventually, anymore. But, it is a hard decision to make. Especially for the stay at home parent, who tends to use it as a bit of a baby-sitter to get a bit of peace or to do something completely mindless after a day of baby talk. I don't think I could have done it before both kids were in school full-time.

  8. monkeymama Says:

    I totally understand what you are saying but this is so beyond that. I have a very unique boy and yeah daddy does need a break - for both of these reasons it is priceless - LOL. Usually my philosophy is work less and buy less, but this is the one situation where I just do not agree. Work more because it is worth it. & I rarely say that!

    What you don't understand is preschool is his 2nd family and it would break his heart. If I honestly could no longer afford it we could work something out where he could pop by once a week or something, they have been really great and worked with me. But we're not going into debt over it, 2nd job or not, so we'll make it work.

    Anyway the overall benefits to everyone in my family has led to my willingness to work more for it. So I stand by my decision. The baby has plenty of free/cheap options. But my son is really unique and he needs more than just an hour or 2 a week with other kids. It has been really important for his social development. Mentally he is well prepared for kindergarten, we believe in teaching at home. But he has been really missing something and he is super-social child. I am not sure I will feel the same about my younger child. He may not go to preschool until he is 4, and his older brother started at 2. I Would have started him earlier if I Could have afforded it. Every kid is so unique.

    There are some decisions only you can make for you. ; )

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