I have updated my debt balances and now I provide a rundown of my basic monthly expenses. I’m sure there will be places I can still cut but I have to say that looking at where I came from just 9 months ago, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve cut out on the homefront.
Today’s post will tell you what I pay to keep my household running and meet consistent monthly obligations. This does not include groceries or the incidental spending money I carry (which I have reduced as well).
I currently bring home $3282 per paycheck, every other Friday. Please bear in mind this will reduce after January 1 because of new withholdings for insurance and taxes and such.
Utilities: $150 (budgeted amount but it is running around $80-$100 right now, peaks near $300 in the summer. I have been rolling over the extra.)
Life Insurance: $32 ($500,000 policy)
Insurance (Renters and Auto): $75
After School Care: $195
Piano Lessons: $90
I will explain my automobile situation when my divorce is final.
My minimum credit card payments on the three outstanding debts totals $1070. I paid an additional $1,100 this month. I had way too much debit card bleed in the month of November (like $500 worth of bleed :-( ) It all comes from not planning, not being prepared and then just plain ol’ frivilous spending. I hope to do better in December. That’s going to be a challenge and not b/c I go crazy buying gifts but b/c things get SO busy with the kids, family AND at work (everyone wants settlement $ for the holidays) that I do not have time to plan well. That is the KEY and in these final days of November, as I’ve dissected my spending, I have to focus on planning for December!
So, taking the $2,514 and adding the $1,070 in minimum payments we have a total of $3,584. I have about $2,000 in my checking account right now and tomorrow is payday. I am currently hesitant to sink that into debt b/c of the divorce situation. That checking account money is separate from my emergency fund. I just moved it to an account that I do not have a debit card for b/c I am NOT doing well on the debit card front!!!
Now, talk amongst yourselves.
Today was a double dental appointment day for DD and DS (the two from my previous marriage). Our first stop was the oral surgeon for DS who is 12 1/2. He’s been under orthodontic care since Kindergarten having had a severe cross bite that was caught early. We’ve done 2 rounds of the palate expander, one round of braces and a good year with a retainer. Now we move to the extraction phase with a crowding issue up top and two missing permanent teeth on the bottom. We will have the baby teeth pulled on the bottom so that the permanent teeth can move into place. I had never heard of permanent teeth missing below the baby teeth but the orthodontist says he sees it on occasion. We could have left the baby teeth but then as he aged he would likely face problems asking baby teeth to do the job of permanent teeth for life.
Dental professionals—particularly specialists–always have that little “financial room” that you go to after seeing the doctor. I always laugh in those little rooms as I picture someone elsewhere in the office calculating the financial damage this is going to inflict. We have excellent health insurance and with all of the recent talk on this issue–we do not take that for granted. I was bracing myself for the worst as DS opted for IV sedation…instead of “laughing gas.” Imagine my excitement when the news came back at a total of $60! For four teeth?! I still can’t believe it but the dental insurance covers extractions at 100%. The $60 is our portion for the IV sedation. We are blessed.
Our next appointment was with the orthodontist for DD. It appears that she got all of the worst dental traits from both parents! She too has a cross bite but because her upper teeth are “still erupting” we won’t start treatment until early 2013. Now…the orthodontist’s office REALLY amazes me when it comes to several things. First of all…it is the only medical provider that runs on schedule almost 100% of the time. In the near 8 years we’ve been going to this orthodontist, they were running behind ONE time. Why is it that I know it has been only one time? Because they called me and told me to come in 30 minutes later b/c they were running behind! I almost hugged the receptionist when I walked in the door. I’ll save my rant regarding “professionals” making patients/clients wait for a Friday rant…but talk about a pet peeve! And I don’t just bark the bark about this issue…I am vigilant about NEVER having someone wait on me at the office or otherwise. Loathe tardiness….LOATHE.
The other great thing about the orthodontist is how they approach finances. Now, we might have about $1,500 in insurance coverage to put toward orthodontic care but for today’s discussion we did not consider that (because my ex needs to look into some issues surrounding the plan). So, worst case scenario for her top teeth only (the lowers look very manageable and likely won’t need treatment until she’s much older) is about $2200. Now, that’s a lot of money certainly but here’s what I love…it’s all inclusive! There are no additional charges for however long the treatment takes to accomplish what the doctor said (and we agreed to) would be accomplished. They offer no interest payment plans but we’d get a 5% discount if we pay in full. I split that $2200 with my ex-husband 50/50 so we are looking at $1,100. The payment plan (again divided by 2) is a $590 deposit and then 12 payments of about $135 per month. The treatment is going to take near 2 years they think.
I share this not really because of the financial aspect–we have 6 months notice and can make adjustments to the budget and hopefully pay in full and get the discount. Instead I share because I just like the system that orthodontists have going on! I know an orthodontist office is no primary care physician’s office and the two are oranges and apples (really! I know this!)—but it is so refreshing to see things so organized, well-managed and known.
Through a series of tragic events, my dad’s sister has entered her late 70′s without any of her 5 children willing or able to take care of her (2 passed away and the other 3 for unknown reasons). My Dad and his sis are not close and the fact that she ended up retiring to SA after visiting here only once from the Bronx, NY (where Dad is originally from) is still somewhat a mystery. I met her one time prior to her moving here when I was in the 8th grade. Without sounding harsh, I have to say that I am not particularly close to my Aunt. I do, along with the rest of my immediate family, want her to be taken care of and in a good situation. Over the course of the 15 years she has lived in Texas life has brought her unthinkable challenges. The worst of these challenges was the loss of the three family members she moved to Texas with…in three consecutive Decembers. She lost her husband, her daughter and then her son one after the other…each December for three years.
For the next few years my elderly parents did their best to care for my aging aunt. She was not in good health and the stress was taking its toll on my sweet parents. My two sisters and I along with my parents then handled another few years working all together to get her what she needed and to keep her in her own home. Ultimately we had to move her to a “senior apartment” where she lived well for about 5 years. Then–last year–things got to the point that we knew we had to put her in a nursing home. I hold power of attorney to handle financial and legal issues and I knew it fell to me to make this tough decision. I say tough not because my aunt was objecting (really–she was pretty cooperative but sadly somewhat unable to fully understand) but instead because of my own mother. At 80 years old herself the task of putting a loved one in a nursing home while facing her own physical limitations was very stressful for my mom. We all got through it but not without a lot of tears, frustration, disagreements….etc.
Aside from the emotional impact that this had, I was ASTONISHED at the financial impact! My aunt worked much of her life as a Registered Nurse and her husband worked for the City of New York. Her monthly income was right around $2500 a month and as some of you know I’m sure…that won’t touch the monthly cost of a nursing home. I was forced to do a spendown of her accounts so that she could receive assistance for her long term care. She didn’t have a lot of money in her accounts and no longer owned property but it was SO SAD and felt just SO WRONG to have to handle it this way. After months and months of getting everything in order things are okay now and she is well taken care of and doing much better overall. The kids and I visit as often as possible. I think this is both good for the kids but I also love brightening the faces of the nursing home residents!
So I am writing this post because this experience made me stop and think about long term care. I have done no research at this point but am curious if any of you have insight on the topic of purchasing a long term care insurance policy. I’m not going to run out and get this tomorrow but after seeing what this did to my aunt and to my parents (thankfully they DO have their long term care plans in place…as well as their funeral arrangements DONE…thank you Dad for saving your five children that stress!), I just want a timeline in my head at this point. Feedback welcome!
There’s so much to share! We’ll get there with time but after reading some comments today I do want to let everyone know a little bit more about who…and where…I am! I live in the San Antonio, Texas area…so urban to answer that question…even though it IS Texas and many people think that Texas is synonymous with rural.
My husband and I both work outside the home and make a very good combined income. I don’t know that I am ready to share the number just based on what milk and ramen created in the comments! If some of you see our combined income I really may have to go into hiding for a few weeks while the cyber-tomatoes are thrown at me!!! I’ll get there….I promise. I am battling through some shame on that front at this time.
Thank you for the cell phone comments and insurance queries b/c these are two areas that I can stand up and say we are getting the best possible deal out there! My husband works for a major telecom company so our cell phones cannot get any cheaper courtesy of his employee discount. Yay! Thanks for the reminder that this is a big area to give thanks in! I tell my hubby that his employer was absolutely in the top 10 reasons I fell in love with him…because I never have to deal with a cell phone customer service rep again! I have horror stories of battling them on billing errors or a malfunctioning phone and I am thrilled that now I can just hand the phone to hubby and not deal with that mess! As for insurance–that’s my industry so we are good on that front too! I don’t sell insurance mind you–I am employed by a major insurance carrier so I am confident in my understanding in this area and confidence creates better decisions, doesn’t it?
That’s it for now–while I can’t respond to each and every post, I am definitely reading them and thought these issues warranted this post!
Did you recently have a child? Get a divorce? Get married?
If so, it’s time to change that beneficiary on your life insurance policy.
Your life changes a lot. Make sure to update your life insurance policy (and your will).
Don’t be like us. Baby boy was born 6 months ago and we haven’t updated either one. Oops! But we are updating them today!
Get to it!
I’ve been hanging on budget wise by the hair on my chinny chin chin. Added healthcare and daycare eat up everything we were applying to debt. Add diapers, wipes, and therapeutic wine, and the budget is pretty tight.
I’d been holding on, waiting to hit my milestone year at work. Once past the milestone, healthcare costs are greatly reduced – we’re talking a couple hundred a month.
…Until they released the 2012 rates and took away milestone benefits for longtime employees. My benefit package is nearly $200 more than I budgeted each month.
Sure, I get it. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing and I can’t expect my employer to cover it, but I was oh so sad to hear about the rate adjustment.
Hubby and I have to sit down and take a hard look at what we can adjust. I’m just hoping for a raise to clear the difference so we won’t have to cut the food budget. I’m not ready for a season of Ramen… again.
I was called by our HR department to review my latest health insurance information for the new year. They like to confirm everything is correct before the new policy begins. She checked off my information and then asked, ‘Is your beneficiary the same for your life insurance policy? We haven’t reviewed that in a few years.’
‘Life insurance policy?’ I asked.
‘Of course. I have your husband listed. Is that OK?’ she asked.
‘I’m sorry. Remind me. How much is this life insurance policy?’
Click. Type. Click. Pause.
‘We have a policy on you for $98,000.’ She started rattling off the salary ratio that determined that amount and explained how it changed with each increase in pay, and I stared at the floor, trying desperately to remember when I signed up for insurance… and how I was paying for it.
As if reading my mind, she pulled my application from her files and showed it to me.
There is was, the policy I signed up for on my very first day… and paid for by my company.
Of course, I called my husband to share about the unexpected policy and he said, ‘Well yeah hon, I have one at work too. It’s like $50K or something.’
Well, I guess we’re a little over insured. Something to keep in mind when deciding on additional insurance – know how much you already have!!
I think that no matter what we do it will be important to get a variety of quotes from the Internet to compare. Sites like http://www.lifeinsurancequotes.uk.com are a good place to start, at least to get a feel of what is out there.
My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $27,305
- Paid: $70,796
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1500
- IRS Savings: $
- Broken Down:
CC #1: $0 ($64) CC #2: $0 ($240) CC #3: $0 ($650) CC #4: $0 ($785) CC #5: $0 ($1,500) CC #6: $0 ($1,886) CC #7: $0 ($1,984) CC #8: $0 ($2,135) CC #9: $0 ($7,145)
- CC #10: $8,570 ($14,561)
CC #11: $0 ($24,388) Credit Line #1: $0 ($182) Credit Line #2: $0 ($182) Auto #1: $0 ($16,579) Auto #2: $0 ($25,819)
- Cons. Loan: $18,735 ($20,000)
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