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What Does My Budget Look Like?

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Yes, I know I’m opening myself to quite a bit of scrutiny here but I wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain of our budget. This isn’t a ‘pie in the sky budget’, this is literally our budget every month. We make adjustments as needed and learn to roll with the punches. We’ve been using YNAB for 6 years and it’s fun sometimes to look through budgets from years ago to see how our spending has changed.

What isn’t included:
Charitable Giving – We give to our church and to World Vision monthly and that amount is personal.
Healthcare – That comes straight from my paycheck.
Retirement – We invest 15% into retirement. That also goes straight from my check.

Let’s break it down! I’ve left out the self-explanatory items.
Music Subscription – I make silly videos for the kids several times a month. This is my creative outlet and I share the videos with family (sorry, you won’t see them here). I like using non-copyright music.
YNAB – Budgeting software.
Homeschool – Our kids attend a private/homeschool hybrid program. We pay for tuition, books, extracurriculars, etc.
Southwest Fee – Yes, we use a credit card. Would I recommend others use one? NOPE! But, we haven’t carried a balance in 3 years. We haven’t paid for a personal flight in years.
Zoo/SeaWorld Memberships – We go to the Zoo or SeaWorld every weekend we aren’t camping. When things are tight, we cancel one or both.
Amazon Prime – We use Amazon Prime for TV. We don’t have cable.
Bekah’s/Chris’ Money – We both get $60/month to spend on whatever we want.
Healthcare – This covers anything not covered by insurance. We let the amount build each month and have figured out the sweet spot of how much we usually need.
Amazon Subscriptions – This usually includes snacks for the kids, shampoo, deodorant, etc.
Gas/Car Maintenance – We spend about $150/month on gas. The rest builds up for oil changes and repairs.
Restaurants – We go to dinner 4 times each month. Chris and I each get one weekend by ourselves (we go out with friends), one weekend the entire family picks somewhere to go, and one weekend Chris and I get a date night.
Groceries/Diapers – This includes anything we buy at the grocery store or Costco. Diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, food, etc.
Misc. Money – Anything that doesn’t have a category above comes from this line item.
Christmas Trip – We take a couple weeks off at Christmas for a long camping trip. Camping fees, gas, and misc spending will run $2,000 this year.
Christmas – We spent $100 per person (our family of 6 is $600). We leave an extra $300 for gifts for family and any special dinners in the month of December. We’ve learned that December bleeds money so we try to prepare for it.
Technology – We have 2 cell phones and a laptop. Every year or two, one of them needs to be replaced. This also includes software.
Camping – We average our yearly spend and split that amount by 12.
Replacement Vehicle – We try to add $350/month. Sometimes that’s just not possible. If we get extra money, we usually drop it here. Our current vehicles are a 2008 with 175K miles (Toyota) and a 2013 with 70K miles (Kia).
Homeschool Camp – Every year we go to a homeschool camp. Lots of homeschool families attend each year (nerds unite!) This is one of the highlights of our year. This covers our gas, lodging, food, and activities.

You’re probably thinking, “Geez, if they spent a little less on camping/travel, they’d have a better retirement fund, newer cars, a nicer house, [insert whatever you think we are missing in our lives here].” Here’s the thing, we are passionate about enjoying these special moments with our kids. We don’t buy them a lot of things but we invest a lot of time. We fish, we hike, we explore. When my husband and I plan our year, we run through our options and we always fall back on travelling with the kids. I look back at all we’ve spent on camping and I have zero regrets. Seriously. None. We are adventurers….adventurers who live in a tiny house…and that’s OK.

Closing Out the Month in a Good Place

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the Month in a Good Place

In early May, I set forth my plan to tackle my smallest student loan. In addition, Princess got her first job and her driver’s license this month. And what I haven’t yet revealed because it just happened is that History Buff purchased a car…a $1,000 beater truck in cash. I am one proud mama!

And now that we are at the end of this month, I’m leaving it behind and feeling very good about it!

My Financial Wins

  1. Not only did I succeed in paying two months of minimum student loan payments, but I paid $1,000 towards my lowest balance student loan. That’s $1,000 total, not $1,000+306+306, but since there are no required payments, all $1,000 went to the smaller loan. Woohoo! I’m only $178 of my monthly goal needed to pay off this particular loan in one year.
  2. Princess’ senior year tuition…paid 1/2 of that. I also paid $1,500 towards Princess’ school tuition for the year. There is no penalty if I pay her full tuition by December 1st, so I decided to just pay 1/2 right now.
  3. Thanks to a fantastic month at work, after a miserable month, we are back in the black as far as living on last month’s income.
  4. I was able to cut down Princess’ insurance cost from the original quote of $1,800 for 6 months to $1,500 for 6 months. It’s not much, but every little bit helps.

What is Next

Phone Service

This coming month, in addition to my continued goal of tackling my student loans, I am dealing with my phone service. After years and years with Verizon as a business account, I am intently pursuing a cheaper option but with as good service. My phone is a key tool in my business so I can’t chance service issues. But I am done with the outrageous pricing and more specifically done with the “dangling” carrot of a “new” phone every two years which just keeps us tied up and my bill too high. More to come on that.

Auto Insurance

I’ve been nose deep in auto insurance the last couple of weeks with History Buff buying a new car and Princess getting her driver’s license.  I love our service with USAA. I’ve had my insurance with them forever and been banking with them almost as long. But it’s time to put some due diligence in and see if they are the best fit for us. I’m also going to explore moving the twins off my policy since they are both now working full time and paying their own auto insurance bills.

My next post will be a debt update…and I am so excited about it.