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Live on less than 1/2 your income


This is part I of my plan to be debt free by June, 2023 – Begin by living on on less than half of my income excluding debt payments. By summer, I’d like to cut that down to 1/3 or maybe even a 1/4 of my income.

Here’s how I came up with this budget:

  1. I took the spending reports from 2021 and created monthly averages for everything I spend.
  2. Looked at my plans and goals for 2022 and created a budget around every thing and then divided that by 12 and put it in the appropriate budget item.

Hope’s Winter/Spring Budget for 2022

Spending CategoryMonthly Amount
Auto - Gas/Main
Auto Insurance
Utilities - Water, Gas, Electric, Trash
Life Insurance (Qtr)
Groceries/Spending Money
Princess - Allowance
Amazon Prime (Yr)
Giving (Bi-monthly)
Buffer (Random)
Clothing (Bi-annual)
Pest Control (Qtr)
Monthly Total$3892

The details

I think many of these categories are self explanatory but these are some details you may want to know or have questions about.

  • Storage – plan to keep this until May, 2022 as we complete the house repairs, determine girls plans for fall and organize existing storage at house. This has been slowed down due to my health challenges.
  • Life Insurance – I am actually carrying 3 life insurance policies right now. This one I started when I had Princess and Gymnast. I did decide not to convert it, so it is only good for two more years. The others are carried through my job and come out before I see any income.
  • Princess – Allowance – this will end in May, 2022. And she has been advised that in coming years she will need to be prepared to handle her college expenses. She will get through this freshman year with no debt. She does plan to get a job on campus this semester and of course, during the summer. Her old job gave her some hours during this Christmas break but no where close to full time.
  • Gym – I’m not sure I’m going to continue this, but leaving it for now.
  • Gifts – this is essentially birthday money. It includes both gifts and family dinner out for each family members’ birthday.
  • Savings – I continue to save $300 in my local savings account. Just want to keep up the habit.
  • Dog – My puppy will be getting spade and such this first quarter of the year so this item will go down after I see what that will run. (She is such a joy to me, my constant companion and snuggler.)
  • Buffer – I originally called this kids, but decided buffer was more appropriate now. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, normally when it comes to the kids, but that’s becoming less and less these days as they are all becoming more and more independent. (Gymnast is working part time these days.) So this just gives me a little wiggle room each month for the just in cases.
  • Travel – this is a big one. And covers a couple of different things…as you know, we are going to Texas more frequently as my parent’s health continues to decline. My fiance and I are traveling monthly to see each other. Hopper has made this so affordable with planning, but it’s still more than I’ve spent in past years especially on just me. And the biggest one, is that for Christmas next year, I am planning to take all the kids to New York for New Years. That will be our Christmas present (notice there is no other Christmas line item.)

When my debt is gone, this is what my budget will look like. That is why I am keeping it separate from my debt budget/payoff plan. But don’t worry, that’s coming next along with updated numbers. Ugh!


  • Reply Lisa |

    Where is your mortgage, debt payments, and healthcare costs? $200 a month sounds like a lot for a birthday dinner and gift. There won’t be a birthday every month. Good idea having a buffer in there, stuff always comes up.

    • Reply Hope |

      My mortgage is included in my debt update/payment plan that will be published next. Health insurance and HSA come out of check before I see them so no monthly budgeted line item for that. Newly acquired bills from medical issues are included in debt update coming next.
      And you are very right on the $200 per month, I did that math wrong, I budget $200 per person and that should be $1,200, should half that for monthly cost. (Updated now.) Thanks for that catch.

  • Reply TENN |

    I think your minimum payments should be included in this part of the budget with the extra payments in your debt update. For example, my regular mortgage payment and property taxes would be part of my budget whereas the extra that I pay each month to pay down the principle would be part of my debt budget.

    • Reply Hope |

      I can respect that. However, I’ve decided to keep all my debt separate to make tracking how much of my income is going to “living” and how much is going to debt very clear cut. Since my property taxes are paid out of my escrow account by my mortgage provider, that will remain there as well, while I still have a mortgage. It will obviously have to change when the escrow account no longer exists, but I’ve got a couple of years for that.

So, what do you think ?