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Posts tagged with: budgeting

A Huge Oversight In My New Budget

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This is a religious, christian-faith post about my personal decision to start tithing. As this concept may not be understood by those outside of the faith, please note that I am journaling my personal decisions and walk.

In my journey to be debt free, I have been almost exclusively focused on saving money. I didn’t tithe because at its simplest theoretical level, I considered tithing as giving away money that I could allocate toward debt-reduction or saving. And this was counteractive to my goals. But theological principles explains that tithing is returning a portion of income that belonged to God to start with.  

Here’s the thing- none of this information was new to me. I simply disregarded tithing because I thought that it did not directly contribute to my financial goals. To be completely honest, I will admit that it has been months, years even, since I have tithed. Perhaps this was because I had let my relationship with God become less and less of a priority until it wasn’t one at all.

But at the beginning of this year I made the decision to return to God fully, giving my heart and actions. Two Sundays ago, I went to church for the first time in the city that I live in and I made a small offering of under $20.

I’ve also realized that despite my financial situation, I can still afford to be charitable and to have a giving spirit. I know that there are some people that would gladly trade me for my debt. So I strive to be more generous, which I’ll also admit that, as a tight budgeter, does not come naturally or easily to me.

But God reminded me of the power of giving without strings attached. I have been looking for a quality part time job for months and instead did odd things like substitute teach when it was convenient in the meantime. Last Friday, I was offered a part-time job for about $30 an hour. I got the offer out of the blue and I know that this was not circumstance. I will start this job in a few weeks and should have my credit card paid off even faster than my original plan.

Not only did this happen, but I just found out that I will also be receiving additional pay this month. I have been putting in many extra hours after the workday to work on a project. (That’s right! The day hardly ever ends after the students go home for the many people that think educators leave work around 3 p.m.) This is simply the culture of schools and no one expects to get paid overtime. In my years of being an educator, I don’t know if I ever have. However, I was informed this week that I would be getting paid for the extra hours that I recently put in. I already have that money earmarked. With the combination of this surplus money and the income from my part time job, I will have my Bank of America balance paid in full with my March paycheck and April at the latest. I will keep you updated on this payoff date.

I’m sure that none of this was by coincidence. After only planting a small seed, I have been given a great part time job and also received extra pay. I will give my full tithe ($300 or 10% of my $3,000 income) to the church this month. A key factor in monthly tithing is being intentional about it in my budget as I would any other priority so that it does not become forgotten. I will have to modify my March budget and will do so with a grateful spirit.


Ashley’s New 2017 Budget

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It’s been awhile since I did a full budget post. As I was working on this post, I was reminded of the reason – these posts always take sooooo long to pull together. I double and triple check everything 10 times to make sure there are no mistakes and to make sure I have solid footing on where all of these numbers are coming from.

These are good posts for me to do, though, because it always offers an opportunity for us to make subtle tweaks or changes to the budget. This time around, the big one was with our Roth IRA savings. We’ve only been saving about $100/month toward a Roth. But one of our 2017 goals is to fully fund a Roth at $5500 this year. In order to do that, we’re going to have to increase our monthly rate of savings for our Roth!!

At any rate, I want to show our budget and then offer some explanation below:

MONTHLY BILLS & EXPENSES
Mortgage $1250
Property Taxes & Insurance $350
HOA $40
Electricity $165
Water $75
Phones $150
Cable/Internet $130
Preschool & Childcare $1100
Gift-Giving $50
Personal Maintenance $50
Restaurants $300
Entertainment $100
Kids’ Activities $100
Groceries $600
Fuel $100
Household Goods $100
Clothing $50
Category subtotal $4710
SAVINGS
3-6 month expenses, Full at $5,000 $0/mo ($5,000 current)
Car Repairs, Full at $2,000 $200/mo; ($676 current)
Kids’ birthday, Full at $500 $50/mo; ($150 current)
Travel/Christmas; Full at $500 $50/mo; ($50 current)
Annual Fees $240/mo (revolving)
Girls’ College Savings $50/mo
Roth IRA Savings $460/mo
Home Improvement $350/mo
Summer Vacation Savings $500/mo
Category subtotal $1900/mo
DEBT
Student Loan Payments $2200/mo
Medical $25/mo
Balance Transfer $800/mo
Category subtotal $3,025/mo

 

TOTAL = $9635/month

 

The biggest “note” right off the bat is this: I do NOT make $9635 “take home” per month. I don’t make that much. So that’s a problem. But here’s the deal – we’ll make it work.
At least for the time being, hubs is still drawing a little bit of additional income, so that helps to supplement my income. But as the year progresses, assuming our income will go down at some point, we’ll end up having to cut back. Likely the cut-backs will occur in both the savings and the debt categories. Some of the savings categories are easy to cut (e.g., travel/Christmas or kids’ birthdays); some of the savings are short-term and will go away eventually (e.g., summer vacation savings). But some will be harder to cut out (e.g., girls’ college savings is set to draft automatically from my account and if we want to hit our fully funded Roth IRA goal, we need to be pretty consistent in that savings category). I hate to cut back on debt at all, too, but if faced with a lack of funds at the end of the month, we may have to dip below my projected number. To be fair, our 2017 goal is to pay $30,000 toward debt, which is “only” $2500/month, so we’ve got a bit of wiggle room if we need to make a slightly lower debt payment (though I’d LOVE to pay MORE toward debt and hit our goals early!!!)

In terms of the monthly bills and expenses, most of those are pretty “set” at this point. We did our 100% bare-bones blog days (a full 2 years) and have just started loosening up the purse strings a bit for the sake of our sanity and longevity with our get-out-of-debt plans. We may try to make our “entertainment” budget cheaper (which accounts for our monthly date nights and any family activities we do), and I’m always struggling to try to spend less on food (either/both in groceries & in eating out). I could skip or reduce the personal maintenance budget occasionally (which accounts for things like yoga/exercise stuff, eyebrow wax, hair care, makeup, etc). But for the most part, the monthly bills are going to be hard to see much wiggle room in at this point.

So all of this brings us to this point…. It’s kind of scary to see a budget that our projected income cannot cover. To accommodate for this, all savings and debt payments will be made late in the month. That way, we can alter payments (and savings) as needed so that our budget isn’t exceeding our monthly income.

There you have it! January debt update coming soon, too!

 

If you keep a budget, what are your proportions of monthly expenses, savings, and debt? Ours are 48% monthly expenses, 20% savings, 32% debt. Of course, that’s just the budgeted categories and things are subject to change as income decreases. But as budgeted, I think that’s pretty good! I’d be proud to pull those numbers! What are your numbers?


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