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Hope’s Winter 2019 Budget


I have settled on a Winter budget. I anticipate sticking to this budget for the first quarter of the new year.

I really appreciate your comments and suggestions when I posted my first draft. And I really considered them all.

Without further ado, here is my budget for the beginning of 2019.

Hope's Winter 2019 Monthly Budget

DescriptionMonthly Budget
Total Personal$2,769
Household (hygiene, cleaning, etc.)$10
Auto - Gas$120
Health Insurancemedicaid ($305)
Auto/Rent Insurance$100
Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash)$290
Life Insurance$23 (paid quarterly)
Kids Activities$50
Auto - Maintenance/Fees$30
Debt Payments - minimum payments
Car Payment$400
Collections #2$246
Credit Card$0
Collections #3$0
Student Loans$100

Things to Note

  1. I’ve cut my personal hygiene budget after reviewing my numbers from this past year.
  2. I left my Kids’ Activities and Entertainment and Clothing budgets as they were. I looked at the numbers, what is coming for us all in this coming year and feel they are reasonable.
  3. I cut the Auto Maintenance numbers after reviewing this past year, and with continued hopes that my car will hold up with minimal expenses this next year.
  4. I removed the budgeted money toward my credit card debt as I continue to use it as a revolving line of credit.
  5. BIGGEST CHANGE – I have decided NOT to payoff  the tax debt (Collections #2) this month. Instead, I am adding that $1,000 to my existing EF, bringing the total to $2,000. This means, I will have to continue to pay the $246 for 4 months (unless I have a fantastic month during the first quarter.)
  6. Finally, I am going to pay a $100 towards my student loan debt. It just doesn’t make sense to me to be decreasing all my debts, but this one grows by $70+ per month. It seems counter-productive.


My hope is that as my business continues to grow in the new year, I can stick to this budget and pour any additional income to paying off my debts. But worse case, I will have Collections #2 paid off before my full payments for my student loans kick in. And will hopefully, also have Collections #3 settled and paid.

So my debt priorities as we start the new year are as follows:

  1. Grow EF by $1,000 – done
  2. Pay off Collections #2 – no later than April, possibly sooner.
  3. Pay off Collection #3 – as soon as Collections #2 is closed out.
  4. Credit Card.
  5. Car.
  6. Student Loans.

Christmas Plan


I have really struggled with Christmas spending this year. Not overspending as you would expect, but not wanting to spend at all. What a change in mindset for me!

But the debt numbers going down and the larger debt payments lately have really been inspirational. And I keep wanting to push harder.

That being said, I really appreciate the recent reader advice on Christmas presents. While Princess and Gymnast are pretty easy to buy for, the twins are much more challenging. But I have finally come up with a plan!


Gymnast will be spending Christmas with his dad this year. Don’t get me started on the emotions that rile up anytime I think about this. But with that being said, I have finished shopping for him early and am getting a box in the mail to him next week so that will be done.

I spent right around $50 on his presents and while shipping will bump that a little bit, I feel good about what I am sending and hope he enjoys it. (Can’t reveal what I got him as I’m not sure if he has ever stumbled upon this site.)

I do realize this is less than I am spending on the other three, please don’t crucify me for it. There are two reasons for this: 1) he has been quite spoiled since moving to his dad’s and wants/needs little to nothing and 2) the other three kids just have me, while he will be getting presents from his “new” family as well. I did put thought into this. Any parents who have dealt with this know what I mean. In no way am I trying to “short” my youngest son.

New Christmas Tradition

Last year was our first year in our home, in our new state and I really wanted to create some new Christmas traditions after the years of hardship. With my dad’s sponsorship, we played the Saran Wrap Ball Game, it was so much fun!

I have decided to add that as part of my Christmas budget, not tied to a particular child. As you can see from the video above, the items don’t have to be expensive. I’m budgeting $40 towards the creation of our “ball” this year.


Stockings are one of my favorite Christmas traditions from my own childhood. I have debated on what to do about Gymnast in this regards and have finally decided that this is one tradition I will not be able to share with him from a distance. I am keeping his stocking here in hopes that he will be home again someday. But I’m sure his dad and girlfriend will have some traditions that will take it’s place this year.

As for the three oldest, I am budgeting $5 10 per stocking (had to revise this number after some browing and idea gathering,) but am also putting some of the presents from their uncles and aunt in their stockings as they are gift cards. This serves two purposes, it will bulk up the stockings a bit and more importantly, keep me from losing the gift cards that came back from Texas with us!

Christmas Presents

I have decided on a budget of $100 per child. And as mentioned previously, I feel pretty good about what I’m going to get Princess, but the twins are still a mystery. I hope they reveal some needs/wants that aren’t over the top in the next couple of weeks.

I know they are all going to get cash from my parents so I will not be giving any cash or gift cards (other than the saran wrap ball.) I love this time of year. I love giving gifts. And I’ve been trying to think of a way to implement the “gift a month” idea one commentor posted recently – maybe a stack of “coupons” by month. I don’t know, I’m still thinking about it.

Christmas Total

This brings my Christmas gift total to $350 plus shipping + stockings $30 + saran wrap ball $40 = $420! Yikes, that adds up quickly. And now I’m back to wavering on these numbers again. Well, let’s say this will be my max, but I’m hoping to spend less than this. I will let you know how it goes!