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Fall, 2015 Budget – Hope


We have been living on a pretty strict budget since last spring (see previous budget posts on this here: Summer Plan and here: Going Hardcore.)  We gotten lots of amazing things done on this budget including playing off most all my consumer debt (minus ex-husband’s car,) sending all the kids to their summer camps, having a mini-vacation at Great Wolf Lodge for the twins’ prom and just generally getting a better handle of our finances.

An important part to our success was budgeting on my “regular” income and saving “extra” income.  Regular income are long term clients who have hired me on a contract basis AND have proven reliability of paying regularly.  It also includes the adoption subsidy for the twins. Extra income are a variety of projects that I pick up at any given time.  That EXTRA is really what allowed us to live a little while going extreme in day to day finances.

So with that being said, I have decided to continue to budget that way.

DescriptionMonthly Goal
Monthly Total$3,108
Rent + Water + Storage$1,344
Life Insurance$23
Car Expenses$150
Car & Renter's Insurance$107
Kids (Misc)$400
Busch Gardens$50
Misc Business $20

Based on this budget and a reliable, regular income that varies little on a month to month basis of $5,261, this leaves with me $2,153 monthly to pursue debt pay off, savings and housing options.

At this time, only two things are for sure with how I will use this money…

  1. I will continue putting $100 per month into my EF account which I promptly forget is there.
  2. I will continue paying monthly minimums on my one remaining debt.

After my September 1 deadline for making a housing decision, I will come up with a more concrete plan for this money.


Follow a single mom's journey to be DEBT FREE while managing this crazy life's conflicted choices with regards to kids, pets, homeschooling days and self-employment!
The sorrow and joys of this roller-coaster overwhelm her at times, but she is committed to this course.
Hope plans to dig out of debt using any resource possible including her small business EPOH, her blog and any other resource that comes to mind!

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  • Reply Nan |

    Gifts? Clothing? Entertainment? Are those things in children’s category? Charity? I do a similar budget but I have pest control!!!, home owner dues (just $61 a month) and local newspaper I drop from time to time.

    • Reply Hope |

      Good points…I hope to pick up some extra jobs to cover gifts for this fall…which will be twins birthday and Christmas primarily. (We make all family Christmas gifts.)
      Entertainment and clothing comes out of food and misc budget…with $1000 a month with planning we are able have some fun and pick up an item or two as needed. (The twins are responsible for their own clothing purchases.)
      And I do have a little hope that the little kids dad will come through soon as he has normally helped with clothing, etc.

  • Reply Mrs. Crackin' the Whip |

    I think it’s awesome that you have a $2000 + surplus to pursue your other financial goals! Way to go Hope! I really admire you for making those tough housing decisions and choosing to live in a small apartment while getting your stuff in line. I can only imagine how tough it’s been.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Crackin’, it has been. I am actually working on a “small space anniversary” piece for my personal blog since next month will be a year since we moved. I’ll link it here in case anyone is interested in all the pros and cons we’ve experienced over the year.

  • Reply Den |

    Wow – if you continue to live on your hard core budget until the spring, you could have a sizeable chunk of money set aside for a house down payment – that’s great!

    And while I don’t mean to bring up a sore subject, instead of paying minimums on your one remaining debt, why not throw all your extra at it for a few months and get rid of it? You will be FREEEEEEEEE…….

    Great job!

    • Reply Hope |

      Hey Den,
      Good news is a housing decision has been made…so I’ll be coming up with a firm debt pay off plan by the end of this month.
      My student loans are still over $30K so it’s going to more than a few months.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Is the Busch Gardens a bit of fun that you’ve added back to the budget? Is this something you pay for once a year or is it a monthly spend? I think a membership like this is a nice trade off to living in a smaller space and everyone being a good sport about it.

    If I recall correctly, you recently were able to scale back your monthly phone expense. Is the $200 listed the new reduced amount?

    • Reply Hope |

      You caught me…after cancelling BG previously, I decided to add it back for these last two months of the season (September when schools go back so there are no lines and October for Howl-O-Scream!) I’ve already told the kids I will cancel it after that and if the twins want one next year, they will need to purchase it.
      You are right about the phone. I haven’t gotten a new bill with the new month amount yet, so I’m budgeting high to be safe. Once I know for certain the new monthly amount, I will update it. (Also, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, History Buff pays $30 towards that bill every month since he added a data plan to his phone.)

  • Reply Laura |

    do you budget for pets and medical expenses? Medical is a big one in my house , 2 adults with chronic diseases and a kid who catches everything.
    It looks like you upped grocery budget from $400. Smart thinking , with growing kids they will eat more

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, Laura, this budget is definitely not as extreme as the one we have been living on, but we still have to be careful.
      As for the pets, their monthly expenses, ie food, treats are in our grocery budget. We have been blessed that other than annual requirements, our animals are healthy. And I can typically get their annual shots done either free or super cheap. Princess and I volunteer at the local humane society a few hours a week training and walking dogs, so we hear about ALL the clinics and community days for those types of things.

So, what do you think ?