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A New Budget – Hope


To make it easier for find the history here, I am starting this with links to my original money posts:

The Nuts and Bolts detailed my monthly budget. That’s changed.

Hump Day is Hope Day gave a pretty thorough explanation of my debt as I started this journey at BAD and my plan of action for tackling it. Then I updated my debt numbers as I evaluate a new plan.

I Got a New Job details how I started a part time job in order to increase my income and expedite this pay off journey. Still going strong though I have cut down to 8 hours per week for the summer.

Then, I wrote about how I have decided to change my plan of action after evaluating comments from the BAD community and looking at my near future (next couple of years) and housing situation.

So here we are, summer plans are in full affect and we have already returned from our first of two long road trips planned for this summer.  This week all four kids are involved in FREE activities: vacation Bible school for the little ones and robotics camp for the twins.  Not only are the twins volunteering their time running this robotics camp but it will fulfill their fundraising obligation for their competitive team next fall.

So let’s start with the new budget numbers:


Rent 1325
Groceries 600
Utilities – Gas, electric, water & sewage 350
Life Ins 23
Auto & Renter’s Insurance 150
Netflix 8
Verizon 211
Internet 57
Dropbox 10
Car Expenses 300
Kids Activities 100
Kids School 175
Landscaping 120
Kids Spending 240
Total Monthly Budget 3669
Student Loans 0
Car Loan – NV 696
Line of Credit 218
Retail Card 99
Credit Card 150
Joint Account 0
Car Loan – Honda 0
Total Minimum Payment 1163
Total Monthly Output 4832

You’ll notice some changes between my initial budget and this one. I’m just going to point out a couple:

  1. I am no longer paying my ex-husband’s life insurance so that bill got cut in half.  Granted it’s just 20-something dollars, but every little bit helps, right?
  2. The item that once was kid’s allowance is now kid’s spending money.  They must now earn it with work around the house, outside of their family chores so that may flux a bit.
  3. As you’ve seen with my kids’ activities/school, that money is collected from month to month and then spent when needed.

One last note, I have decided to take the BAD community’s advice on our landscaping line item at the end of this summer. With all the travel already planned it just not practical right now.  So this will 1) give me time to research the tools we need and 2) save the money to purchase them.  Any suggestions on lawn equipment would be greatly appreciated…remember I am not mechanical so we really need to start off with something that doesn’t need work to work.  We have about 1/2 acre to maintain every week and a HOA who will make sure it is done every week so I’ve got to get mentally prepared to make that happen.

Note: I’m still working on my debt pay off plan and should have that up next week along with estimated pay off dates.


  • Reply Kili |

    Hi Hope,
    thanks for the update.
    The $211 Verizon bill, is that cell phone minutes + data plan? for you, the ipad and the kids? Has it gone up, b/c back on your March post the phone bill was “only” $180?

    • Reply Hope |

      Hi Kili,

      I have added my iPad to the account for data for this summer of travel. It’s a month to month thing rather than a contract since I own my iPad outright. I anticipate dropping this coming fall again when travel is over.

      • Reply Walnut |

        Why not drop it now? Your iPad will still run on wi-fi and tons of places have free wi-fi now.

  • Reply Scooze |

    Does your output match your income? I see that number but may have missed as I’m reaping on my phone. Is there any cushion in yiur budget for misc expenses? Are you saving? You’re definitely trending up. Good job!

  • Reply Hope |

    With my regular income + child support and this budget, allowing for $100 towards savings, this leaves me about $600 for misc (see extra debt payments.)

    I am not including my part time income in this budget at all…currently 1/2 goes directly to my EF savings and 1/2 to my general fund but it varies with my travels so right now just leaving it as is and being pleasantly surprised as it grows in my EF account (which I have no access to unless I go to the bank – out of sight out of mind!)

    • Reply Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore |

      Out of sight out of mind is something I am practising as well! It really helps me to not “see” that money sitting there. When I see it, I just want to spend it. Afterall, its just sitting there earning practically no interest, I might as well spend it right?! That’s my mentality and I’m working to change it. My EF has saved me a few times now.

      • Reply debtor |

        this sort of addresses the point i was going to make. I think savings should be a line item in your budget (separate from your EF which i think of as “touch under penalty of death). This savings account would be used to pay for things like, unexpected travel, unexpected car repair and stuff like that that is not really an emergency (or maybe i should say catastrophe).

  • Reply Marzey doats |

    Gas push mower + teenagers = 120 dollar savings per month. Score!
    A basic mulching gas push mower should be about $200 new. You pay yourself back in two months. Are there any older folks in your neighborhood? They might be open to allowing your sons to use their mower in exchange for mowing their lawn. Win all around.

    • Reply Financial Fan |

      You can also look into a self-propelled gas mower. You still have to push, but it’s easier. Get those teens crackin’! 🙂

    • Reply Walnut |

      Check Craigslist for a used mower! Don’t automatically assume used means tons of maintenance. Plus, learning a few maintenance skills would be good for everyone in the family. Google is pretty helpful when diagnosing a blown spark plug.

  • Reply Mary |

    As for lawn equipment, I think a push mower would be pretty hard work. My friend just bought a new mower that he loves. It’s a Kobalt electric mower, 20 inch, 40 volt, dual cut. He got it at Lowe’s for $399. While that is more expensive, the advantages are: 1) Because it’s electric, there is no oil or gas to change. No spring tune up needed:) 2) The mower is really lightweight, made mostly of plastic and is 40 pounds lighter than a regular mower so it’s easy to use in case, ahem, you might have to use it. 3) It runs on a battery up to 90 minutes then you plug it in to recharge. Once it’s charged, you unplug it and you are ready for the next time. 4) It’s real easy to put together right out of the box. You just have to attach the handle and charge it up. He’s used it for 3 weeks now and loves it. At first, he wasn’t sure if it would cut as nice as his gas mower since it has 2 sets of blades but it does. I haven’t done any price comparison and I am sure he didn’t, lol, but here’s a link to a You Tube video so you can see it.

    As for any kind of tools, whether kitchen, household or yard, I tend to spend a little bit more since I use them for a long time and I’ve found that a great tool is better in the long run. I’ll leave that up to you. But as a woman, I need tools that are good quality, easy to put together and easy to use. I know it will take a few months to see your ROI however if you are going to do it yourself, this might be a nice option.


    • Reply Marzey doats |

      They don’t usually recommend an electic mower for anything bigger then 1/3 of an acre, I’m assuming because off battery life. How big is your friends yard?

  • Reply Mary |

    OK one last video…this shows how to attach the lawn bag (you have to remove the mulching part first), how to install the batteries and how to attach the mulching piece. It’s pretty simple but you can see how it mows. I didn’t see this in the other video. Good luck!

  • Reply ND Chic |

    You could probably find a used mower on Craigslist for $50. I think you don’t need a fancy electric one.

  • Reply Kristina |

    At bare minimum you’ll need a push mower and a weed trimmer. I highly recommend a battery operated weed trimmer–there is no threat of tearing a rotator cuff starting one (unlike a gas powered version). The majority are also edging capable, which is a must. Only thing you have to remember is to keep the batteries charged.

    I live on a postage stamp so an electric mower works for me (gasoline would probably go stale before I used all of it,)…I don’t know about a 1/2 an acre. I’d prolly go gas.

    A “spreader” will be needed if you want to throw down fertilizer or weed n feed.

    And of course…rakes. A leaf blower comes in handy for cleaning off the driveway and porch, but rakes get the job done in the yard.

    • Reply emmi |

      Brooms work pretty well to clean the driveway too. And your neighbor will love you for the quiet. (I have an infernal hatred of leaf blowers.)

  • Reply emmi |

    I was going to suggest an electric mower, but a 1/2 acre may be tricky. I do about 1/6 an acre and I love the electric. But you need a partner to handle the cord (downside 1). You can do it alone, but it requires having a lot of one-handed strength. BUT, it never needs gas and so far never needs maintenance. And it’s much lighter than a gas one so easy on the arms.

So, what do you think ?