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Hope’s Winter Budget – Revised December 2018


As I mentioned in my debt update post yesterday, I am working on a new budget for the beginning of 2019. This is my first pass at it.

Hope's Monthly Budget - Rev 12/2018

DescriptionMonthly Budget
Total Personal$2,878
Household (hygiene, cleaning, etc.)$25
Auto - Gas$120
Health Insurancemedicaid ($305)
Auto/Rent Insurance$100
Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash)$290
Life Insurance$23 (paid quarterly)
Kids Activities$50
Misc - Entertainment/Clothing$150
Auto - Maintenance/Fees$80
EF Savings$84
Debt Payments - minimum payments
Car Payment$400
Collections #2$246
Credit Card$60
Collections #3$0
Student Loansibr ($300)

For the first time, I have removed all business related line items. With my new structure and organization, my business related costs are 100% covered by my business income/account. It feels so good to be a stable place again.

Budget Notes

With that being said, there are a few new things here that are worth pointing out:

  • Auto Costs – While my car is older, it is still pretty reliable. I decided to break out the monthly fuel cost from the maintenance costs. The maintenance/fee costs are not used every month and are growing a buffer for the time when I do need to put some money into the car.
  • Savings – This fall I did not save at all. I established a $1000 EF with my Self Lender account this summer and just left it, focusing instead on debt payments and getting back on solid ground. I have set a goal to save an additional $1000 in that fund this year. That is the $84 per month. I know a $2,000 EF is not much, but I’m taking baby steps I feel good about.
  • Buffer – I put several line items under the “Buffer” headline. These are items that are not spent every month or all the time, but I want to start creating a savings towards them on a regular basis. While we really have no activity costs right now, there are times when Princess needs money for school activities, etc. that don’t give me much notice. (This past week they went on a field trip to Medieval Times that cost $40.)
  • Debt – Unlike my last budget, I included my debt outlays in this budget. And I anticipate these number will change before this budget will take affect in January, but this is my jumping off point and where I am today.

Where can I trim?

I’m anxious to get our monthly spending below the $2,000 threshold. That just seems like a good number in my increasingly frugal mind. But I feel like we are living pretty close to the minimum with our spending as is. Do you see anywhere we might could cut out?

My eye immediately goes to groceries but with two grown, working, college attending men and a growing teenage daughter, I just don’t see that as going down while they are all still at home. But I’m been scouring recipe books and sites to come up with some ideas. Meal planning and prepping definitely helps me keep it under control.

We restocked the pantry when we returned from Texas with canned items and bulk items from Sams Club. I am waiting on a meat sale at our local Quality Food grocery store to stock the freezer. Perhaps a quarterly “eat through the pantry” month would be a good way to help with these. We took it down to almost nothing with our No Spend October and part of November.

Working with the Twins – Young Adult Budgets


The twins and I have met (individually) to discuss their budgets and goals. They are working with quarterly budgets and starting (really just starting) to think long term when it comes to their finances.

I am covering their room and board now, but they are responsible for all their own monthly bills, spending money and school expenses. It has been a learning lesson for us all.

How We Created their Budget

These are the categories we used to plan their money:


Individual subscriptions (Hulu, Xbox, Spotify, etc.) – these vary for each of them
Cell phone
Car Insurance

Car Maintenance – oil change and then a little extra for other regular car care items such windshield wipers, tire rotation, etc.
Special events (varies by season) – this quarter we discussed including extra monies for our Thanksgiving Trip to Texas, Christmas presents and a trip they plan to take over the Christmas holiday back to Virginia

Once we had these numbers, we divided them up into weekly/bi-weekly amounts based on their pay schedules with their jobs.

How the Money Works

Once we knew the number they needed to have available to them for these expenses, we made a plan.

  1. Every time they get paid, they put their monthly and quarterly monies into their personal savings so when those expenses/bills arise, they have easy access to the money.
  2. They also “pay themselves” their weekly money and put it in their personal checking or withdrawal in cash, whichever they prefer.
  3. The remainder of their paycheck gets moved into a shared checking account. (Each twin and I share an account.) This is not to be touched without a discussion with me. We call it their nest egg.

Because Sea Cadet has been working on this for quite a while, he has another account where we put $500 which is for car maintenance. This is for any major repairs, etc. that he might need for his car.

I plan to do the same with History Buff, but he’s just getting on his feet so it will take a little while.

What about an Emergency?

I believe this is a good jumping off point for them. They are responsible for making sure they maintain their personal savings with no oversight from me for the budgeted items and know that if it comes time for any of the pre-planned budgeted expenses, they will not be able to withdrawal any additional monies.

But having their nest egg allows them to have an EF of sorts. Sea Cadet has dipped into his nest egg a few times:

  1. When his hours got cut and he didn’t have enough to cover his budgeted needs. It was a small amount but really nice for him to see that savings at work.
  2. He had to purchase some medical supplies and uniforms for his EMT courses and clinicals. Again, not a significant expense but something unexpected. And it was really nice to be able to buy them without stressing at all.
  3. When his cell phone stopped working, he was able to purchase a new phone on Amazon quickly. (He later found out that his phone issue was a the result of an Apple defect and they fixed it for free and he got this money back.)

Long Term

They really are just starting to think long term and the money required for that. They both dream of better cars. (I just hope their cars make it until they are done with college.)

Sea Cadet has his eye on the prize of graduating with his Advanced EMT diploma next August and plans to move out. He’s really earmarking his “nest egg” for that move and possibility of being independent and  out of a job/income for a while when he moves.

We haven’t talked numbers for these long term plans yet, but they are starting to think about them. And they are definitely enjoying the freedom (from stress and otherwise) that having a nest egg gives them.

I’d love to hear ways you helped your young adults launch into the world post-college specifically when it comes to finances and planning!