Help with Budget please!
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  1. #1
    Registered User lvmy2bys's Avatar
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    Arrow Help with Budget please!

    Hello! Im newish here (been lurking for a while), you guys have amazing advice on budgeting so I though I would post my sad little budget. My goal is to pay off the medical bills, start putting money in my dh 401k and to get off of food stamps ( I really dislike being on them but they are a blessing when you need them)

    Here it goes: take home pay $1240

    House:$421
    Savings(for christmas) $60
    Internet:$7
    newspaper:$6
    Water:$25
    Phone:$20
    Electric:$67
    Gas:$83
    Car insurance:$100
    Trash:$20
    Gas(car):$75
    persciption:$7
    Overdraft fund:$5
    Medical bills:$154($50 will go away in September!!!)

    total:1050 yikes anybody have any ideas or are we just broke?

  2. #2
    Registered User missmanny's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome - glad to see you posting!

    It takes a lot of guts for you to post your budget here, lord knows I haven't had the courage to do it yet.

    There are lots of number crunchers here that will give you great advice - I'm not really one of them (my budget is more then enough for me to handle unfortunatly)

    after looking at your figures though - I would say that you aren't broke - but you are pretty close to the line - in Septemebr when you pay off the medical bills then things will get a little bit easier for you.

    My suggestion to you is to start slow, you have a couple of hundred dollars wiggle room so it won't happen over night - but with some dedication and planning you should be able to get some money aside to have an emergency fund (like a buffer) so that if something come up you will have some money aside to cover it and then start t look at putting a little bit of money into a 401K (every little bit counts thats for sure.

    You didn't mention if you were interested in finding ways to cut back on your spending or if you are looking at ways to increase your income (or both) but there are plenty of good suggestions on the boards that would give you hours of reading.

    Good luck to you - and welcome to the village.

  3. #3
    Registered User ChristopherJ's Avatar
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    I think it looks just fine...your total with paying on the medical bills is still leaving you almost $200 extra, with $50 after September, that is indeed a decent amount of wiggle room in the budget... 20% of your take home.

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    Do you really need the car? We have survived for 3 months in rural Italy with no car, just bikes, legs, lifts and willpower. We don't intend staying carless but it has helped us save about 1200 Euros in that time, which we have used to pay off bills.

    Also we are growing lots of our own food from seed, you may do this already but having a supply on our doorstep has reduced the need for the car!

    Sha

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    Registered User Squirt's Avatar
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    I don't see groceries in your budget (because of the food stamps??)

    It looks as though all your bills are low, but the car insurance stands out as being high- is there a reason for that? Perhaps you can shop around. Barring any real reasons for a bill like that, I think you can cut that in half at the very least.

    It's a tiny amount, but you should either lose the newspaper subscription OR make a conscious effort to use enough coupons from it to offset its cost.

    Finally, I wouldn't save for Christmas if I couldn't put food on my table. Despite what anyone tells you, christmas gifts are not a necessity and your future (your present, too!) is MUCH more important than making other people feel good by giving them stuff. Give them love instead.

  6. #6
    Rude and Vile Master Greebo's Avatar
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    What I'm glad to see is what I don't see: Debt payments. In your situation, it would be very tempting to get credit cards or other loans to "help out". RESIST that temptation!

    Right now, your income can't go much lower, but it can go a lot higher. First priority, IMO, is to find ways to get that income raised. What kind of work does DH do? Do you work outside the home? Can you?

    That, and staying OUT of debt, are the two most important things you can do for your long term future (and yes, you NEED to be thinking about that, even now!). You already know you can live on next to nothing, so as the income goes up, you can keep living on nothing for long enough to save up a decent emergency fund, and then divert more income to long term investments.

    In fact, the fact that you're able to do that now is just awesome. I'm sure right now it feels like you're in an awful position, but believe it or not, financially speaking, you are better off than MANY MANY MANY people who make six figures or more.

    Hell - you're doing better than me in that regard. Just look at how MUCH debt I've got to pay off...
    If you could kick in the pants the person responsible for your problems, you wouldn't be able to sit for a month.

    Did you know that a 4 year student paying $20,000/year who finances their education graduates with over $103,000 in debt to start? But a student who works and pays cash and takes 6 years to graduate ends with $6,300 in their pocket! So much for "getting a head start by financing!"


    Greebo
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  7. #7
    Registered User TheRootedNomad's Avatar
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    I think your budget looks pretty good. I also agree with Greebo that increasing your income is probably the best bet for your budget as your expenses are really low.

    That said if in that situation what you choose to do, even temprarily is cut expenses, I would:

    ~ call around about the car insurance
    ~ go halfsies with a neighbor on the garbage
    ~ cut the paper (as the coupons have really not been worth it lately and you could always find an unfrugal person to bring you their coupon/ad sections when they're done reading the paper)
    ~ stick a brick or a couple of filled up, with water, 1 litter soda bottles in the toilet tank. You'd be surprised how much extra water & money we flush away.
    ~ Cut Christmas funding. You could cut it totally or just cut it back $10 a month.

    Then the question is what to do with the money you've skimmed and the extra $200 in your budget. How much total do you owe on medical bills??? Can you snowball all this extra money into them and get rid of them in a few months or are you looking at tens of thousands of dollars??? If your looking at tons of money than I might handle it differently and leave the medical bills payment as it stands and start budgeting for groceries and retirement with the extra.

    *****side note on the food stamps
    I love that you want to get off the food stamps. I think this is a great goal. I also think that while you are using this resource you need to prepare for not using it. Start budgetting and saving (not spending much of) an increasing amount for groceries each month until you get your budget working to see how much you can really afford to be spending on groceries each month. Keep the grocery stash money for groceries, period. I would also start slowly stockpiling some non-perishables and keeping my eyes and ears open here at the Village for grocery savings ideas. I would also locate a nearby food pantry so that you know where one is and are prepared with a back-up to your back-up if you get too tight one month. Once off the food stamps the goal is to not have to go back.

  8. #8
    Registered User FrugalMomof3's Avatar
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    I think your budget looks just fine, you have some wiggle room but I too think you should shop around for a cheaper car insurance.

    Also, who is working, just your DH? What about you finding a part-time job to bring in just a little bit extra money? Do you have things to sell?

  9. #9
    Registered User lvmy2bys's Avatar
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    Hello again and thank you for your replys! I would Love to look for another insurance company but I think I might be tar-and-feathered(my father is my insurance agent) also its for both cars(paid for) my medical bills amount to about 2,000.Would love to make that go far far away.I do have a very small job I do that earns about 100, though half of that goes towards my parents as I have a large amount of back owed school expenses that they paid for and Im paying them back. the other 50 goes toward food( we get 175 from the food stamps) Also of the 60 only 20 is for christmas the other goes toward our saving/ emergency fund that gets used alot also I know it doesnt make since but I really want to be able to get our 3 yr old a little something from santa,(the 6moth old doesnt even know where his nose is luckley!) I really appreciate your feed back!! Also does any one have any Ideas how much to budget for food froa family of 4? Were doing about 250 and its a little bit of a struggle( its for everything diapers, formula(dumb boobs) house hold needs clothing if need be then of course food) thank you guys again!!!

  10. #10
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    WOW!! You are doing great! That's an excellent breakdown, and as Gabe pointed out NO DEBT payments besides medical. That is AWESOME!

    Now, do you work? If not, are you able to do so? EVen taking in one child in your home to care for can help your family budget alot. That can mean $300 to 900/mo depending on your area. You can still be home iwth your own and earn a little to get some breathing room.

    What can you do to increase your family income? Does your dh have any special skills he can use on the side? Can he take courses and acheive a higher skill level, a better trade, etc? If he isn't willing or able for whatever reason, can you?

    I still say WAY TO GO on the no credit card debt thing. That is great.
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
    • FFEF 2/6months
    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce






  11. #11
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lvmy2bys View Post
    Hello again and thank you for your replys! I would Love to look for another insurance company but I think I might be tar-and-feathered(my father is my insurance agent) also its for both cars(paid for) my medical bills amount to about 2,000.Would love to make that go far far away.I do have a very small job I do that earns about 100, though half of that goes towards my parents as I have a large amount of back owed school expenses that they paid for and Im paying them back. the other 50 goes toward food( we get 175 from the food stamps) Also of the 60 only 20 is for christmas the other goes toward our saving/ emergency fund that gets used alot also I know it doesnt make since but I really want to be able to get our 3 yr old a little something from santa,(the 6moth old doesnt even know where his nose is luckley!) I really appreciate your feed back!! Also does any one have any Ideas how much to budget for food froa family of 4? Were doing about 250 and its a little bit of a struggle( its for everything diapers, formula(dumb boobs) house hold needs clothing if need be then of course food) thank you guys again!!!
    KNow what, if you can get a better deal your father would understand. But for 2 vehicles, that's not a bad rate. Better than ours..lol. And we're rock bottom in our area.

    But do you need the second vehicle, paid or otherwise? It's costing fuel, gas and maintenance.

    A nice Santa present doesn't need to cost much. When we had extra tight budget, we knew it, we extensively read the classifieds, garagesales and our kids got used. Cleaned it up, touched up if needed. They were NONE the wiser. Even now, with more wiggle room, they get some used stuff at birthdays and Christmas.

    Dont' beat yourself up that you can't breastfeed, it does happen. Have you signed up at the websites and get formula samples and coupons? I'm not familiar with WIC, but you should be able to get that.

    Good for you for being proactive and facing your challenges head on!

    BTW< congrats on the new baby!
    Mom to 4 wonderful kiddos. Homeschooling mom
    • FFEF 2/6months
    • Retirement savings to start
    • Mortgage


    DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave driver.
    - Ambrose Bierce






  12. #12
    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    Welcome to FV! I'm glad you came here and asked about your budget because everyone needs some help every now and then.

    1) Since you cannot breastfeed, have you looked into WIC? WIC takes care of a good amount of formula, baby cereal, etc. I was on WIC for my first son and was in the military then.

    2) How is public transit in your area? Is there any way that you can take the bus or even the train (we have a train line here)? Our family has one vehicle and that's for DH to get to work. I take both kids to the dentist and the developmental pediatrician because they're both easily accessible to the train line. I imagine that if you cut out one vehicle, and lowered your insurance, that would be a big help.

    3) If you want to buy for Christmas, I would shop the clearance stuff first. See if you can get anything good that way.

    4) Food budget wise, can you start even a small stockpile? I'd take all the stuff you can get via coupons for really cheap and save away. The forums have an awesome stockpiling section that you might want to check out. Our family of four spends about $480 a month and $80 of that is stockpile cash.

    I also applaud you on not having credit card debt and taking the initiative to get off of Food Stamps. I grew up with them and that was with a family of five. It's really tough but if you're in a situational bind where you need them, then I would use them. Your desire to stop using them and put yourself into a place that makes you even that much more independent is a big plus! What about local food pantries? I know alot of churches and non-profit organizations in my hometown were handing out food for people who really needed it.

    Your budget looks pretty solid and it takes some time after you've set up your first visible budget in order to find wiggle room to save more. DH and I have had to dip into savings but that was beyond what we had already saved. We had a $1,000 emergency fund with extra in it, so we evened it out to $1,000 and used the rest to cover stuff so we wouldn't have extra credit card debt. Sometimes, even $5 into savings really helps out for the time being.

    Once again, !

  13. #13
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    As others suggested, can you increase your income?

    babysitting, dog sitting, over night stocking (think grocery, WalMart, Target,) waiting tables... I'm trying to think of jobs that have flexible hours.... I banquet serve on the weekends sometimes for extra income.

    The three year old is not going to remember the gifts he/she receives... besides other family members may step up & give presents...

    I would focus on whatever tradition your family deems to follow. My mom always has all the kids over to help decorate the tree & we always have cookies & milk by the fireplace on Christmas eve.

  14. #14
    Registered User Cricketlegs's Avatar
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    Welcome to the boards!

    I too agree that it is WONDERFUL you have no debt. Just being debt free puts you in a great situation.

    While the rest of us blockheads are slugging it out getting rid of debt you are already there!

    You do have a little breathing room. I am assuming that goes into a fund to catch the unexpected that comes up.

    Get yourself a plan to pay xx on the medical debt and do it and it will go away.

    Good luck and gglad you joined us at the village.

  15. #15
    McD
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    The good news is that you are not in the red every month. Based on the numbers you gave us, you are left with about 190$ every month. Is that for your incidentals or are you saving it?

    I would drop the newspaper subscription, if you have the internet you can see the news online.

    What is the overdraft fund?
    McD
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