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Posts tagged with: planning

Hope’s Fall 2017 Monthly Budget


Without further ado, my new monthly budget.

DescriptionMonthly Budget
Health Insurance$305
Auto (gas & maintenance)$300
Auto/Rent Insurance$130
Gym Membership$50
Bill (paid annually)
Life Insurance$22

Some important things to note.  This budget does not include my business expenses, or rather bills I pay out of my business account and use for tax purposes including but not limited to my cell phone bill ($286 monthly,) Adobe Suite membership ($29 monthly,) Microsoft Office ($99 annually,) Dropbox ($99 annually) and so on.  I have completely separated my personal and business expenses since I am working full time as a employee while continuing to work as a contractor.

My income is still pretty variable but the bulk of my income comes from my full time corporate job and a steady consulting job where I work 25ish hours per week.  I currently have 4 sources of steady income and continue to pick up odd jobs. My  income since March of this year has averaged about $6,000 per month.  This is post-deductions for my W-2 full time job and pre-deductions and tax for my consulting jobs.

Now, with that being said, I already know there are changes coming to this budget…first, my deferment ends on my student loans in September at which time I will start paying a minimum of $305 per month AND per my last post, I am beginning to invest in my company sponsored 401K beginning this next pay period.

I did read all your advice and while I get more educated and review all options, I did cut back my 401K from my originally planned 20% to 10%.  I am going to look at Roth IRAs, etc. over the next couple of months, and continue to build my local savings account.

I think most of my budget is self-explanatory, but here are a few notes:

  • I now have to pay for Little Gymnasts training. Ouch!  No more barter. The monthly cost is not quite $300 but I put some buffer in there to help cover the meet fees which will run most of the winter while he is competing.
  • While my commute to work is only 12 miles, I have a two hour round trip 3-4 times a week for gymnast training, thus the higher gas cost.
  • I opted out of the company sponsored health insurance due to its cost and limitations and instead chose to go with a Christian based medical sharing company.  That is the month healthcare cost for the four of us (History Buff is now working full time.)  I do have dental and vision through my corporate job for a very reasonable cost for the entire family.
  • I know $200 is a lot for entertainment. It’s really more a buffer for odds and ends right now.  Sports for the kids and misc housing costs as we continue to settle into our new home. (For instance, I have to buy Sea Cadet a bed this month before he returns from being gone all summer, working at summer camp.)

I will try to be responsive to questions. I know I have tightening up to do. I’ve recently pulled all my credit reports – ugh! So will get a debt update up in the next couple of weeks.

Question of the Week – Long Term Goals


This is our Sunday series where we all respond to reader questions. If you want to submit a question, please go to this post.

Question of the Week

Beyond paying debt, what are your long-term goals? posted by TPol


First, I want to say Happy Easter!!  I am so thankful that I can spend this day with my family, celebrating Jesus and the sacrifice He made for me. I hope ya’ll are with your loved ones, as well!  Ok, so our primary long term goal is to be prepared for retirement as early as possible.  I don’t necessarily mean full on, staying home retirement. My husband has a great job that takes care of our needs but it’s not what he loves to do.  Cars are his passion and we hope that with a few years of hard work, and getting our debt down, that he can leave his job and do what he loves. This is also the reason we have an investment property and may add more as we go.


Beyond paying off debt, there are many goals I have for the long-term.  I like to break them into three sections, financial, business, and personal.  Funny thing is though, a lot of them still have something to do with financial.  Financially I would like to start planning for my retirement and put money away for my children’s future education.  I thought I was going to be able to pass down my GI Bill to my children, but for some reason I think I only have 10 years to start this.  I have to ask someone at the VA.  Business goals – I want a real living breathing lifestyle business.  At one time I thought this would be getting into the food truck/vendor arena.  I had a dream to sell homemade italian ice at festivals and fairs, especially music fairs.  And I would still love to do this at sometime, especially once my children are old enough to help me run this business.  But my current long-term goal, is to make use of all this internet marketing education I have been learning since 2007, to make even more money than I do now.

Personally I would love to be able to remarry my wife, I feel as I ripped her off and getting a quick marriage. She was very unhappy with her dress, and we were both unhappy with how our pictures came out.


My ULTIMATE long term goal and by that I mean 10 years…would be to have my home paid for and be in a position that I could either 1) work far less and/or 2) be in a position to help my children as my parents have helped me over the young adult years.  I have that time frame in mind as that is the year my youngest will graduate from high school and hopefully, head to college.
Other than that, I would like to be able to travel, not huge trips so much, as just be able to get in the car and go when the travel bug hits.


I’m not sure if this is supposed to be “financial” goals or otherwise, so I’ll give a bit of both. Financially, I’d love to be stable enough to be able to “retire” early. I enjoy working so I imagine I’d probably continue working for fun rather than necessity, but probably only a part-time job that allows me some freedom and flexibility. Instead of having to work to survive, I’d love to be able to develop some hobbies I’ve always wanted to cultivate. I would love to garden, for example. Hard to do when we don’t own a home and have been moving about every year or so. I’ve been making more food products home-made for health and financial reasons (cheaper and no “gross” unnatural ingredients), but I would love to get into this more and in additional avenues (beyond food). A friend of my mom’s makes beautiful soaps, for example – I’d love to learn to do that! Having more time to do my scrapbooking/crafting would be fabulous. And being able to spoil my friends and families with little trips or thoughtful gifts! Basically, I’d just like to be able to do what I want without feeling like a slave to a job out of necessity. 

Step Away from the Debit Card!


I had a slip this weekend….well, more than just a slip…several slips.  It was, once again, the result of poor planning!  I was so enjoying this weekend doing pretty much nothing but hanging with the kids and I just did not want to plan!   Well, I literally paid the price.  How do those swipes happen so easily and add up to such a high number so fast?   Frustrating.

I’m going to give myself a break and accept that I spent $150 on total needless crap that I can’t even readily identify.  I guess if that is my only slip during the very tumultuous time….I’m doing okay.

26 day until my divorce can be final!!!!  I think getting back to my regular blogging style is in the top 5 things I am looking forward to with this chapter closing!

Rough start for May…


This is the first weekend of May and I can already tell things are going to be extra challenging on the financial front!  Historically, May is a very challenging month.  The end of the school year brings so many activities for us and the kids and that means more time away from home and…being away from home and on the road has a tremendous impact on spending.  We have tried to prepare but after today I see that we need to prepare even more.  I don’t know what to do yet but recognizing the potential for spending out of convenience is the first step.

Today I just felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  There were errands that needed to be made involving small purchases–and I think b/c I went about running the errands without a real plan in place AND had the 2 youngest kids with me I somehow ended up spending more money than I thought I would.  The kids didn’t ask for anything and I can’t identify anything that I bought simply b/c they were with me but there IS something to be said for that distraction factor.  I feel a bit incapable for some reason that I don’t stay on budget or task b/c I have the kids with me while shopping.  Is it that it involves a lot of talking and explaining on this and that so that my attention is divided and then I end up just buying what I first find so I can move on?  I’m not sure at this point but I definitely see the difference.  Saying that I can and will only shop alone is not an option–so I need to figure this out.

I caved on the way home tonight and we stopped for fast food.  It was not at their request or suggestion but totally mine.  Frustrating but I guess it is bound to happen and I can’t totally freak out.  This is the first fast food we’ve had in a very long time. It stung to hand over $17.00 for 3 of us to eat and it wasn’t even good tasting or good for us food.   Meanwhile hubby was home with the 8th grader and 2 of his classmates as they worked on a school project.  After the friends went home hubby spent $12 on fast food for the two of them.  That’s $30 right there…GONE….Blah.

Tomorrow is a new day…

Cheap Vacations…


My husband and I wanted to take a nice vacation this year but our debt diet prevented us from going on our annual trip to Hawaii.

These are the times when I hate the fact that I’m finally living below my means – even though it’s good for me.

But, that didn’t stop us from booking a great place just steps from the Pacific Ocean. The gentle sea breeze and the sounds of the ocean will caress us as we drift off to sleep.

How did we fit this into our budget?

Hello beach camping.

Sure I’ll have sand in my ears and hair for a week straight but… I’ll be soaking up the sunshine, grilling 97 cent chicken while spending $90 for the weeklong campsite.

As San Diegans/Californians, we are fortunate to have beach camping sites within a few hours of home. With very careful planning (6 months in advance through ReserveAmerica.com), a great California vacation can be very inexpensive. Didn’t reserve 6 months in advance? A lot of these campsites have last minute cancelations. Sometimes you can get an unclaimed campsite for the same day.

I know California isn’t the only place with good, inexpensive campsites.

Name your state and share the best cheap vacation spot. America is a BEAUTIFUL place. Let me know what your neighborhood has to offer. I want to know where to go next year!

Looking for a good California beach site? You can’t go wrong with Carlsbad State Beach, San Clemente State Beach, and Doheny State Beach. All three will put you steps from the ocean and run about $35 a night. You can put multiple tents on each site and can split the cost like we did. You can (and need to) book the sites 6 months in advance. Sign on to the Reserve America website at 7:55 am on the 1st day of the month. Example: We booked a site for a week in July on February 1st a 7:55 am. Happy camping!