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Revised Budget


Now that I no longer have a car payment and our auto insurance and fuel cost has been reduced, I figured I should redo my budget for the summer. And I also needed to add a line item for a car savings account.

I also took your notes on my last budget into consideration and separated the groceries and entertainment. And I added an income line item.

Hope's Summer 2019 Monthly Budget, Rev 2

DescriptionMonthly Budget
EF Savings$100
Car Savings$800
Household (hygiene, cleaning, etc.)$10
Auto - Gas$60
Auto/Rent Insurance$150
Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash)$300
Life Insurance$23 (paid quarterly)
Kids Activities$83
Auto - Maintenance/Fees$30
Debt Payments - minimum payments
Student Loans$100
Credit Card$62
Sea Cadet & History Buff's Contribution($307)
Total Personal$3,504


  • My income varies greatly from month to month, but this is a good average. Any excess goes to debt payments.
  • I figure if I can save $800 a month towards a car…well, it’s a start of a plan in that respect.
  • I think our grocery budget will go down a bit more, but don’t want to assume until I get a good feel for a new normal with the change to the summer schedule. And Gymnast will be here for the month of July and part of August.
  • My travel budget can probably be cut a bit more. I’ve already booked our trip to Texas in June/July and was able to get flights for less than $80 each way. Score! More on that in a later post.

I welcome any constructive criticism on this new budget. It’s definitely not been as thoroughly thought through but I think it’s workable.


  • Reply Laura |

    $6,000 a year for travel is a lot when you’ve got debt to pay off. Do you stay with family in Texas? I just wonder why it is so high. I know with your family situation it is important but I would try to get that down. $100 a month in student loans won’t get you very far, I think you still owe $30k+? I would like to see that increased.

  • Reply debra |

    1) Why do you need $800 a month to save for a new car when you got 1.5k more than you owe from the insurance company? You can’t afford a new car. If you must, spend the 1.5k on a beater. But I think you’re better off making it work with two cars. You’re the mom, you get one car period. The kids can share the other, and they should be grateful to have even that.
    2) $6k for travel per year is more than my $230k household spends on world travel even, not trips to Texas to stay with family.
    3) What do you spend $200 on for entertainment? Netflix is like what $15? Books are free at the library.

    • Reply Hope |

      1. Considering the twins both purchased their own cars and they are titled in their names and insurance is paid by them, I will certainly not TAKE one of their cars. Even if I am the mom.
      2. Considering it is a four days of drive time each time we go to Texas (roundtrip) and we do not own a car that will make the trip now since mine was totaled. I will be happy if we can stay under this for 3 trips to Texas a year and 2-3 roundtrip tickets for Gymnast to visit us. It definitely does add up. This number is not random…it’s based on taking this same trip yearly for the past 5 years. (Although we are increasing the frequency of visits because of my parents health now.)
      3. You are right, that is probably my only “extra” in the budget…and we don’t have have Netflix right now. I cancel it at the beginning of the school year and will probably get it back for the summer months.

  • Reply SMS |

    I agree the travel seems high. I think you said earlier that the travel budget is for three trips to Texas and a couple of flights forGymnast. How much does a trip to Texas cost?

  • Reply Walnut |

    I think this looks pretty balanced. Definitely beef up your car and emergency fund for awhile. I still very much support buying Sea Cadets car from him and driving that until he returns from his year away. That’ll give you plenty of time to save up enough to buy your next car with cash. It would be a great accomplishment to never take out another auto loan!

  • Reply Lisa |

    Hi Hope! Glad you’re figuring things out. I’m wondering what your current credit card debt total is. Would it be beneficial to pay that off before you save 800 a month for a car, or even a portion of that? Same with travel- could you pay your card off within months using those funds?

  • Reply Laura |

    By the way this post isn’t snowing up on the main page. I only saw it in my reader.

    • Reply Rrr |

      Just to clarify, we are not “hating” on Hope. We are trying to offer helpful advice which will go unfollowed yet again. She is supposed to be on a journey to blog about getting out of debt. She has made no effort to get out of debt. She doesn’t follow any advice given because she thinks she is way smarter than others. Spending $6000 annually on travel expense while you have collections and credit card debt is INSANE!!! She justifies it though the same way she has justified for overpaying for kids’ activities. This is just annoying to read. We need a new blogger since Ashley really can’t blog for legal reasons right now.

  • Reply Jessica |

    You have more budgeted for clothing and activities than you do for your student loan payments and credit card. I would try to cut any extras down to bare bones and start throwing your money at the credit card. Saving for a car would be a priority to me, too. Car sharing sounds easy in theory but I would personally want my own car, especially in a rural area like yours

  • Reply Cynthia |

    Hope, in December, you said your goal was to be out of debt by 2021 so you could purchase a property. Does this budget help you accomplish that goal? Or are you currently prioritizing other things above that?

  • Reply Kate |

    I think it looks good but one suggestion would be to pay off the credit card more aggressively. Maybe $400/month to car savings and the rest to the credit card debt?

  • Reply Anonymess |

    Hi, Hope. I’m glad no one was hurt.

    I also think it could be a good idea to buy or rent Sea Cadet’s car for the year he’s away, but I’m also concerned about your credit card.

    In December you wrote you had the balance down to $3,700. If I understood your post, that’s the balance you carry month-to-month, and you pay off additional charges as they come. I don’t recall reading what the interest rate is, but my guess is ~24% and the $62 minimum payment is just the interest, so you’re paying almost $750 a year to rollover that balance. If you took Kate’s suggestion and added $400 from the car savings to the $62 credit card payment, you would be able to pay off that card in 9 months. And you’d pay almost $400 LESS in interest charges!

    If you paid Sea Cadet $200/month to rent his car for 12 months, you could still save $3,600 toward a replacement vehicle in that time — $200 a month for 9 months while you pay off the card plus $600 for the remaining three after it’s paid off. That’s over $5,000 with the balance from the insurance payout.

    Going after your highest-interest debt is the fastest way to improve your finances, and I’m sure in your case that debt is the credit card. I really hope you’ll consider focusing more attention on that.

  • Reply Lisa |

    I agree with Kate; more to debt, reduced funding for vehicle for now. That said, I am impressed with how low you’ve gotten some expenses, especially insurances, household and utilities. I understand you moved the eating out for events to entertainment, right? That explains some of that.

    Have you included anticipated increases with adding BF to your household?

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    It’s not a bad budget. However, it isn’t going to get you debt free except for the student loan by year end though it really does not give you much towards that goal. I still wish your emergency savings was higher(even though I know in an emergency you could pull from future car line item I really want you to establish a decent baseline so you aren’t having to rob Peter to pay Paul. It’s a bad habit that will keep you poor.) And I would still like to see that credit card number a little higher. If it were me I would pull 250 from the 800 dedicated to car savings and put $150 more to savings(it means you would have $250 a month in reserve for if you need it for medical or if a contract fell through or if you had to move. By year end it would give you $2000 in savings vs $800) I would also put $100 of that $250 into paying down my credit card. As it stands right now only around half of your card payment is going to principal. You owe $2500 so it will take you around 100 months(8 years and 4 months) to pay it off this way. If you put $162 towards it you would be paying around $125 to principal. While this would not pay the card off by year end it would mean the card would decrease by $1000 or so. You would have $1500 left on it setting you up to have more available should an emergency arise. If you did as I suggest you would still have $550 a month for car replacement and it would still give you $6200 by year end for your car replacement category(that includes the $1800 payout) and if you did as others suggest and use Sea Cadets car(paying him the insurance payout for it which would allow him to fund his phone and have some savings)for the year he is gone(July 2020) than $550 x 15 = $8250 for a replacement car in July 2020.

  • Reply Christopher |

    When is your boyfriend moving in? Will be be helping with expenses or will he be a dependent? If you are paying his bills as well, you might want to plan for this in your budget.

    $6,000 seems high for travel. Is there a bus you could take for your vacations to Texas?

  • Reply Sarah |

    How much do you owe on the credit card? I really think you should get that paid off. $400 to a car fund and $400 extra to the credit card. You would save all that interest.
    The insurance company is starting you with a great car fund.

  • Reply Katie |

    There is solid advice here to save less for the car and throw more at the credit card. In the end, a car loan is going to have a much lower interest rate than that credit card. Plus, you will likely boost your credit score by getting rid of that balance. If you could get down to having just a car and student loan, it would be a huge accomplishment.

  • Reply Rrr |

    Why don’t you take the train to Texas? You can sleep and work on the train. Since you can work from wherever, this would be ideal. Renting a van and paying for several hotel rooms seems foolish given your current financial situation. I would rather see you pay all collections and pay your credit card in full than save for a new car. You think very much like a poor person with regards to car expenses.

    • Reply Drmaddog |

      Yes! I have thought often that there is a lot of poor person thinking in how Hope manages money – keeping expensive debt and paying off low, ignoring small collection balances, putting disproportionate amounts of income towards depreciating assets (car, which is likely to get damaged anyway), spending disproportionate amounts on kids activities. And she has no line item for health insurance.

      I would suggest if they MUST go to Texas this year, only once. Take the rest of that, budget for health insurance, put a couple hundred a month in savings for a car (a cheap car to get from point a to point b) and take the rest and put it to the debt. That collections should have been gone long time ago. Wasn’t that the last months rent check she then cancelled? The then credit card debt. When that’s gone, add it to the student loan and emergency savings.

      • Reply Jessica |

        I’m new to IG and not to sound stalker-y, but it looks like there is a lot of eating out happening. Hope, you can certainly spend your money how you like, but it feels like you arent presenting the full picture. You say you go to the cafe for a $3 bowl of soup but post on IG soup, sweet tea and chicken wings. You have a decent income and could be debt free so easily

  • Reply Deb |

    I thought this blog goal was to take readers on a trip about getting their debts paid off and living a lifestyle that promotes the debt payoff? I would put 400 dollars out of the 800 in your emergency fund, take the 200 and put it towards the credit car din addition to the minimun payment, and put the other 200 left towards the car fund since the insurance company is giving you the first 1000 or more towards a new to you vehicle. Dave Ramsey would tell you to save for your emergency fund first and then start attacking debt when “you are sick and tired of being sick and tired”. I wonder when you will reach that point. It gets frustrating to keep reading about the journey to become debt free when you are not keeping yourself accountable for paying off debt.

  • Reply jp |

    What about healthcare? I assume that you are on Medicaid but does that renew yearly or quarterly etc? Are there any co-pays? At your income I would try to figure out how long/if this is going to last and try to get ahead of it.

So, what do you think ?