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Hope’s 2015 Monthly Budget


Seeing what my new monthly expenditures should be is a good start to formulating my debt payoff plan.  So without further ado, here’s my estimated budget for our month to month living as of today.

DescriptionMonthly Budget
Life Insurance$23
Auto/Rent Insurance$75
Car Expense (gas, maintenance)$300
BE - Cell Phone$230
BE - Home Internet $66
BE - Client Expenses$10
BE - Online Storage$10
Debt - Retail #2 CC$39
Debt - Car Loan$96
Debt - CC$109
Savings - Emergency Fund$100

Those labeled with BE are business expenses that I am able to write off on my taxes and are primarily used for business.

A couple of things to note:


-Water Bill: I am still estimating my monthly water bill.  I’ve only received two to date…one was $30 and one was $80.  I’m going with the higher number to be safe.

-Electric Bill: Same with electric, we didn’t turn on the heat until a week or so ago, so haven’t really gotten an accurate picture of what the electric bill will be here with heat/air running, so again going with a hopefully too high number to be on the safe side.

-Car Insurance: I don’t know what my new monthly bill will be, but anticipate it to be no more than $75, will know for sure next month. (I just cancelled the insurance on the van this week.)

-Storage: I had no choice but to get a storage unit, but luckily was able to get one here on property so the kids have access to their bikes and it’s easy for me to store stuff that we use every once in a while without it being prohibitive to get to it.  The twins are actually riding their bikes to work almost daily so I’m glad this worked out.

-Cell Phone: This bill is still higher than I’d like.  I’m working on getting the business discount and still wavering on dropping my ipad coverage.  I really do use it…but so this may be a change that happens this month.

-Car Expenses: I left this category as is.  Even though I know I am going to spend WAY less on gas now.  With it being an older car, I imagine there will be more maintenance required.  (Had to pull the hazard light button out with a knife yesterday.)  And if it’s not used, well, it can be savings towards my new to me car down the line, right?

-Kids: I used to have this broken up into spending monies, activities and education, but I’ve decided to lump it together because every month is different.  I really only pay education expenses three times a year for our homeschool co op (Sept and Jan) and when I pick out curriculum for the next year (May.) And with the twins working now, they don’t get as much money from me.  So I lowered the amount a bit and lumped it in.  Any not used is rolled into the next month as it will all be spent.

-Emergency Fund: Now that I don’t have my part time job funding this account, I’ve decided to add a small amount to my monthly budget to make sure it continues to grow.

Now for my income…my steady income is down due to the loss of child support monies for the time being. (For those that were following that, he has caught up on car payments, but no kid money to date.)  As you know, my monthly income from work (<=link to my “what I do” post on my personal blog) fluctuates.  I did however get a bump in my adoption subsidy payment of $40 per month – woohoo!  (This is state or federal, I’m not sure which, amount, I was surprised when it went up, but grateful.)

For budgeting, I decided to only count on the monies that are steady every month.  (Like Ashley’s husband, I have super good months too, and thankfully have never gone below this number in the past 6 years now.)  So here is where we are at on a typical month:

Monthly Income$5247
Monthly Budget$3830
Extra Toward Debt$1417

Wow, I really like that site!  $1,400 extra towards debt every month…and on a good month for work and/or when I get some child support…that number will only go up!


Next up…the Plan!




  • Reply amy |

    woohoo! keep up the good work! I would suggest beefing up the emergency fund for a month or two, just in case and then getting hard core about debt.

  • Reply Den |

    Wow- $1,400 a month towards debt – that’s wonderful! And I’m glad you will continue to beef up your Emergency Fund with $100 each month. What a wonderful start to the new year!

  • Reply AY |

    Hope, that is amazing!! $1400 on top of the minimums to put toward debt? That is awesome. Very proud of you and all your hard work. I know it was very difficult to do but sure makes selling the car and downsizing from the house seem worth it to me!! You will be able to knock out the checking account and the refinanced loan in like 3 months, right?? Then moving on to your personal loan and last credit card? Wow, how amazing if you ended 2015 with only your student loans left?!

    Hoping all the best for you and your family in this new year!

    • Reply Hope |

      I know, right! End of 2015 with no debt but student loans that would be awesome! But what would be more awesome is if I can pay everything off in the 6 months that I’m gunning for. With the light at the end of the tunnel almost visible, well, I’m super motivated!

  • Reply Walnut |

    This looks great, Hope! I bet you’re going to beat your budget on the car expense with no problem. The dropping gas prices are definitely helping my budget out right now.

    I do think there is a danger in lumping normal monthly expenses with irregular expenses together. It’s all too easy to spend the full budget every month and then end up without cash in saving when the irregular items come up. I would really encourage you to put an actual number on both car expenses and kid expenses for each month and then establish savings budgets to account for the irregular things. I think it encourages be deliberate with spending rather than creating giant slush funds.

    On the cell phone front, when is your current contract up?

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, I think so too. I will definitely have to get a second car later this year, but will 1) make much better decisions when I purchase one and 2) hopefully have enough saved from not having to spend money on this one to pay a big chunk up front, something I’ve never done!
      Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Reply Jean |

    I drive a 2003 Accord with 209K miles on it. I just had the oil changed last week and the shop owner said that the mechanic commented on what good shape my car is in for its age/mileage. Part of the reason for that is I’ve always done the scheduled maintenance. My friend who owns the shop told me a long time ago that I can pay now to have my car maintained or pay MORE later to have it repaired. All of that to say that it’s important to have a mechanic that you trust, but also to have your scheduled maintenance done. Even Hondas will have their issues, but they will be much less if you keep them maintained. (I would SO like to have a newer car, but I can’t justify the expense when there’s nothing wrong with the car I have. Plus now it’s like a challenge to see if I can get it to 250K!) Looking forward to your 2015 journey to see what it brings for you!

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, after these first three days of driving I’m finally getting used to the stick shift. And the best thing is that this car uses NO gas!
      Ours is a ’96 Accord with right at 140K miles, and has always been well maintained, I imagine it should last my boys through high school and depending on where they go to college…there too.
      I know I will have to get a second car in the not so distant future, our schedules will just be super crazy next fall when they start community college classes in the town over, but for now, I am loving the savings! And will definitely make wiser decisions on car purchases down the road!

  • Reply Theresa |

    I am excited that you will have $1400 a month to put towards your debt. How are you planning on managing the fluctuating income?

    • Reply Hope |

      Just posted my current plan this morning…I’m super excited. And aiming for a 6 month pay off of all debt aside from the student loans! It will be a stretch but truly, truly one I want to shoot for!

So, what do you think ?