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Ashley’s Long Overdue Budget

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This post has been a long time coming. I mean, a LOOOOOOOOONG time coming. Am I right?

The problem is, it’s hard to write a budget when all the categories are moving targets. It’s hard to project ahead when things feel shaky and there’s no solid ground from which to start.

I hope this is a step forward in the right direction. This is hard for me to write. But hubs and I are separating. I’ve already signed a 12-month lease at a new place and am getting the keys on 9/1.  While I don’t feel comfortable talking about specifics of what has lead to this huge decision, I want to cover some of the basics as they pertain to my financial picture.

Right now we are seeking a legal separation. I don’t know if or when a divorce might occur down the line, but we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

We want to fix a couple minor things in the house and then sell it. I’ve had many family and friends already try to convince me/us to keep the house but that’s really not an option either of us want to pursue. I’m moving out over Labor Day weekend. My long-term plan is to rent for 12-months to get my feet underneath myself and figure out some “life stuff.” Once the dust settles at the end of my rental lease, I plan to buy again.

Hubs will remain in the marital residence while doing some needed updates. The upstairs needs new carpet (it’s all literally the original 30-year-old carpet and it’s disgusting). And all of the cabinets (kitchen, kids’ bathroom, and master bathroom) need to be painted with some minor repair-work needing to be done. Our goal is for updates to be made during the month of September and for the house to be on the market by October 1st. We put a large down payment down for the house and had been paying toward the mortgage aggressively. Additionally, property values have risen steadily  in our area in the short time we’ve lived here, so we should stand to get a good chunk of money out of the house. We have not hired a realtor yet, so we don’t know exact $’s.

From the proceeds of the house, we will pay off a large amount of our joint debt. All of these numbers are up-in-the-air, as we don’t know what to expect from the sale yet and how much we’ll lose to commissions, etc.

Ashley’s New Monthly Budget

Housing

For the time being, I’ll be in a small rental house. Hubs will pay the housing costs for our owned home (mortgage, utilities, etc.) and I will pay the housing costs for the rental home. Currently, our cell phone bill is still together. Eventually that will be separated so we will each have our own account. Hubs and I will be sharing joint-custody of the kids. I will pay for the After-school care. I built in a “housing buffer” because the first couple months in my new place may likely include me also paying some bills at the old place (e.g., cable – I’m not planning to have cable at my new place, but will still have a bill from the old house.). This won’t last forever, but I’m trying to be conservative initially.

Housing
Rent1250
Housing Buffer150
Water150
Electricity300
Tmobile115
Garbage30
Childcare250

 

Medical

Separated, but not divorced, hubs will stay on our family insurance plan, which I will continue to pay.  I’ll also pay hubs’ monthly braces installment. I’ll pay for the girls’ medical care for the time being. Hubs will pay for his own co-pays and prescriptions.

Medical
Co-pays & Rx’s60
Braces116

Transportation

I’ll keep my vehicle, hubs will keep his.

Transportation
Auto gas150
Parking10
Car repair/maintenance75

Food

I don’t know what exactly to expect here. I anticipate the food budget going down dramatically, but I wanted to keep the estimate conservative. I’ve also wanted to include some money specifically for taking the girls out and for me to have money to have happy hour or brunch with friends. Having the social support now, more than ever, is incredibly important to me. Keep in mind, I have no family in the area, so my friends are the only form of direct support available in the area.

Food
Groceries400
Restaurants with kids100
Out with friends150

Lifestyle

For the time being, I’m expecting to pay for the majority of the girls’ direct needs, including clothing and kids activities (they’re currently in swim lessons, though that ends at the end of September). I’m building in some savings again – a semi-annual fee category (for car insurance, life insurance, etc.) and an emergency fund.

Lifestyle
Clothing75
Kid activities150
gift giving60
Houshold70
Entertainment50
Exercise (yoga, races)60
Semi-Annual Fees150
EF200

 

All combined, this comes to $4121. My monthly income is about $5,222 (after taxes, retirement, payroll deductions, and insurances are removed). That leaves $1101 for debt payments.

Our debts are all over the place. Again – we’re planning to pay off a lot with the sale of the house. In the meantime, I’m likely going to have to put the costs of a few things on my Home Depot credit card to get situated in the new place (e.g., I’ll need a washer and dryer, and I’m planning to pay for the home improvements to get the house ready for market on this credit line). Really, our debts are kind of a mess. I will reveal them all, in good time. But again, it’s tough to come up with a concrete plan when you have a moving target. I feel like step 1 is to get situated in my new place. It will be much easier to project ahead once the move is pulled off. I do have a budget for the move and moving-related expenses, too. I’ll share that (and my plan to pay for it) soon!

Thank you for your support over the past 4+ years! Many of BAD’s readers have been around through all life’s up’s and down’s. It feels, at times, like an extended family. I appreciate your input and advice on my planned monthly budget. Is anything missing? Anything I’m not thinking of right now that needs to be added?

~Ashley

 


Taking Control

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Last week I wrote about how my recent research into single moms and money, single moms and debt and so forth had really hit home with me. It opened my eyes to so many things.

I pride myself on being pretty smart, book smart, that is. But I’ve come to realize I am far from healthy as far as mentally and emotionally. The history of abuse, living in crisis mode and just the personality I was born with have created an unhealthy Hope as far as that goes.

But I’m proud to say, my eyes are open now, I’m aware of the problems. And don’t they say, the first step in recovery is acknowledging the problem.

Taking Baby Steps

I’ve got a lot of work to do. Work on myself, work on my finances, work on my decision making and so on. And I know I can’t do it overnight, fix it overnight.

But I’ve begun with some baby steps, some which I think will have far reaching affects.

Physical Self

I have diabetes. This is not really news, it runs in my family and bloodwork last fall confirmed it. But I’ve been ignoring it.

In fact, other than going to a neurologist for unbearable pain last fall, I haven’t been to the doctor in 10 or so years, I guess. Taking care of myself has not been a priority at all. It’s always been about the kids.

I now realize that in order to take the best care of them, and set a good example, I need to take better care of myself. So today I went to the doctor. And I told her, I need help with my diabetes.

Blood work and labs ordered, follow up appointment set. (The good news is that I am officially down 12 lbs since January, and that’s without effort other than changing my eating a bit.)

I am determined to get my diabetes under control, my weight under control and take better care of my physical self.

Mental Self

While writing about everything going on have been very cathartic. Doing it alone is not healthy for anyone. I am seeking counseling to address a number of issues…and I’m sure they will find more.

Readers here at BAD have really been instrumental in getting me to this place. Pointing out things that I didn’t recognize in myself. The tough love.

Things I know I need to work on especially are my: aversion to confrontation, being reactive instead of proactive and a slew of other issues that I have buried deep. I saw this image on Facebook this past week, and had another “aha!” moment.

Financial Self

My reality is that we are a single income family. I didn’t choose it, I didn’t prepare for it. But it’s what we are, and I MUST start learning how to embrace that, choose that and most importantly live within the constraints of that. No one is coming to save us, no one is going to bail us out.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 48% of married couples are two income families. While single mom homes, only 21% have a second income and it doesn’t specify but that may part time. (Click on chart below to see full report.)

Bureau of Labor Statistics on employed household members

The point is that many choose to be single income families despite the hardships they may face in this economy. While I may not have had that choice, it is certainly not insurmountable.

With planning and sacrifice, I don’t have to keep living paycheck to paycheck. Barely making ends meet, and constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Make sense?

I need to study how they do it, succeed at it. I referenced my current studies in my recent post about Financial Realizations.

My question for you, BAD Community, is how do you prepare for something like this when you are already in the midst of it? While the experts say do X, Y and Z before you take the leap…I’m kind of working backwards from that.

What resources would you recommend as I continue to study how to live abundantly as a single income family?  They say knowledge is power and I am ready to be powerful, I have lived far too long feeling weak and in fear.

 


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