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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.


  • Reply Walnut |

    This budget looks like it gives you plenty of opportunity to save up a really robust emergency fund and fill up any other savings accounts. Have you been tracking your spending to come up with these numbers? If not, you’ll want to track it carefully to make sure the nearly $3k in excess each month doesn’t erode away on “one time” expenses.

    Also, OUCH on that cell phone bill!

    • Reply Maureen |

      I don’t think it’s quite $6K because that is pre-self employed expenses and taxes. The excess is likely closer to $1500-$2000.

      • Reply Hope |

        You are correct. Now that I’ve paid a few months of utilities am just starting to track everything down and create this budget.

    • Reply Hope |

      The last few months I’ve been adamantly saving to create an EF and give me some cushion, but I’ve also spent some to furnish our home, had a sitter for a couple of months for the kids and paid for some summer camps. Saving has been #1 though. Just giving myself some breathing room after 2 1/2 years of being strangled by finances.

  • Reply TPol |

    I do not see any debt payment in this budget. How much total debt do you have and how do you intend to tackle it? I also believe, your groceries will go down in time as you stock up on some stuff. With your schedule, I am sure it is difficult to make home-made meals but, may be the kids can help. Cooking from scratch will definitely reduce your grocery category.

    I cannot help but think, where is the debt in this budget? Since the blog is called Blogging Away Debt, I think we should see your progress with regards to that too.

    • Reply Hope |

      My primary debt left are my student loans. I mentioned that they will come out of deferment in September. For the last few months, I’ve just been trying to get back on my feet, create some cushion and furnish our house. I will have an debt update in the next couple of weeks.

    • Reply Walnut |

      Don’t make assumptions on the healthcare based on a buzzfeed article. I know people who have used it for 15+ years. Many people in my neck of the woods are seriously considering it after the ACA providers left the exchanges and traditional policies skyrocketed due to the ACA.

      • Reply Kerry |

        My opinions are not solely based on a Buzzfeed article. The fact is, they are underregulated, discriminatory, and thrive on preying on others good Christian feelings and superiority complexes, convincing people that if they are holy they will be healthy.

        Hope is in her 40s. That’s when the need for recommended health screenings and attention to small health changes can mean catching a problem early to ensure continued health.

        Her youngest is a competitive gymnast. That’s a sport with a toll on the body, particularly as he approaches puberty and his ligaments essentially “loosen” up accommodate the final growth spurts of the musculoskeletal system.

        Sea Cadet is driving, and I believe has ADHD.

        That’s a lot of health care needs.

  • Reply Lizzy |

    Hope, this is amazing! You have come so far this year. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Shauna |

    HI-congrats on your amazing progress and hard work! I agree with Kerry, you are exposing yourself to financial ruin by not having actual health insurance, even if it is just catastrophic. I hope you are able to get on your company plan.

  • Reply Susan B |

    Hope, you’ve done so well! I hope you’re very proud. I’m very happy for you and the kids.

  • Reply Alice |

    Yay! I am so excited for you and your income!

    I recently accepted a wonderful new job with extraordinary benefits! My health insurance costs me $28 per month. For the last year and a half, I opted for the Christian based cost sharing plan. It was far less expensive than the five health insurance quotes I received.

    I’ve seen some comments above about the negatives of these types of programs, but I never experienced any problems. I also loved the fact that they offered tele-health as a free alternative to a traditional office visit. I did that a few times for a sinus infection.

    I like your plan to build up some savings, just to have some breathing room. You’re on the right track! God is good!

So, what do you think ?