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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read a few threads and there are some people here that are great at budgeting. I was just wondering if anyone want to help me out? I budget every month, and track every cent. I'm just looking for some input! It's me and my daughter, a full time daycare child and two part time, a cat and a dog. I take in around 2200 a month sometimes a bit more. My bills, bank fee, car/tenant/life insurance rent, small savings Internet and cell total around 900 a month. I have no debt but it doesn't seem like I'm getting ahead very fast, after groceries, misc expensices, Christmas (I wasn't smart to save up), gas, clothes, etc there's not much at all left over. So I guess I'm just wondering how you'd split the rest of the money after bills? I have an EF of 3050 with a goal of 5000, and about 800 in another savings but I might need to put that towards a car next week. Anyways any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated!
 

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I've read a few threads and there are some people here that are great at budgeting. I was just wondering if anyone want to help me out? My remarks are in red.

I budget every month, and track every cent. Excellent!

I'm just looking for some input! It's me and my daughter, a full time daycare child and two part time, a cat and a dog. I take in around 2200 a month sometimes a bit more. I'm assuming you are a single mom? And that this is the only household income? Sounds like you are making about $25000 a year (I assume before taxes??). That's not a lot to live on. Is there anyway you can supplement this?

My bills, bank fee, car/tenant/life insurance rent, small savings Internet and cell total around 900 a month. Can you give us a breakdown on each of these? The experienced FV folks can then give you wonderful ideas to cut each category.

I have no debt YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but it doesn't seem like I'm getting ahead very fast, after groceries, misc expensices, Christmas (I wasn't smart to save up), gas, clothes, etc there's not much at all left over. Again, give us a list of how much you spend in each category. In fact, it would be very helpful to even list what you buy as groceries. Just a beginning suggestion is to give Christmas gifts of service rather than "things." Don't buy clothes for yourself until there is nothing left in the closet. Get only used clothes for your child at yard sales, thrift shops, etc. I have always found that I could make the biggest and easiest cuts on food and clothes when things were tight.

So I guess I'm just wondering how you'd split the rest of the money after bills? I have an EF of 3050 with a goal of 5000, and about 800 in another savings but I might need to put that towards a car next week. Can't tell you how happy I am that you have an emergency fund! As far as how to use the rest, could you tell us your life goals? Also think about taxes and insurance. And I'm a tither on my money, so I always suggest that (not everyone will agree with me on that part, but so it goes...)

Anyways any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated! Detail some lists for us, and I'll bet that FV readers will come out in force to give you suggestions!!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! Here's some more information! Here is my October budget,
Rent: 500 (includes heat/lights)
Bank fee: 12.95
Cell:90 (my only line)
Life insurance: 48.38
Internet:40
Tfsa:50
Savings for my daughter:25
Rrsp:25 (just started last month)
Groceries:400
Gas:100
Misc:175
Eat out:100
Out:80 (was going out for Halloween but decided not to so this wasn't spent)
Sitter:30 (same as above)
Work out:40
Clothes:50
Extra savings:100
Then extras for this month:
Christmas:100(was way over)
Halloween: 75 (included dds costume and candy for trick or treaters) only spent 38.
Car expense: 185
Pictures-75

Just writing that out here you can really see how much money I'm throwing away. My car insurance will be different next month I called around and switched companies so a double payment totaling 107.2 will come out but will save me over 400 in the long run. I am a single mom and it's just my income, I can't really up it cause by the time I got a second job, paid for childcare and extra gas it wouldn't be worth it. I may look to take on one more child though. My goals would be to fill that emergency fund, then start on a down payment for a house and up savings for retirement. I'm only 22 so I have a bit before I'll be retiring. I'd also adventually like a newer car and to possibly go back to school.

At the end of every month I sit down and ball park my budget for everything I know I'm going to need to spend. I usually find it hard to stay under on certain parts of it though. Thanks again :)
 

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OK. So here goes. Just so you know, I am rather rough on budgets, and try to cut cut cut. And also so you know, I hold myself to the same standards that I set before you.

Rent: 500 (includes heat/lights) In a way, rent is taking about 25% of your money. But not quite, since your heat and electric is figured into that. So this is probably not too bad.
Bank fee: 12.95 For what? Insufficient funds? Low balance? Try to eliminate this. Multiply that by 12 months, and you have a sizeable amount.
Cell:90 (my only line) I commend you on only having the one phone. Is it a bare bones phone? Can you drop any features? For example, I refuse to have texting, or applications. Just a phone that I can call with or receive calls with. Don't use it for games, or anything else.
Life insurance: 48.38 Good. This is needed since you are a single parent. The question of what kind of insurance can be handled later.
Internet:40 Is it possible to use the library internet for free? I know that sometimes it's not possible, or becomes expensive in just driving to the library. But when it comes down to it, you can live without internet.
Tfsa:50 What is this? I'm not familiar with the abbrev.
Savings for my daughter:25 Good. How do you invest it? Bonds?
Rrsp:25 (just started last month)What is this?
Groceries:400 Whoa Nellie!!!! This needs to be dealt with. Try to cut it down to $250 or even lower. No processed foods. No junk food, treats or snacks. Buy nothing that you might end up throwing out. Be strict on portion control. Does this include meals for your daycare kids? You might consider asking the parents to contribute their snacks, if you do snacks.
Gas:100 Not hard to run up this amount, with the price of gas. But try to limit your excursions, and bundle them so that you can do several errands at once.
Misc:175 Ahem..... Exactly what goes into this category? Often it contains items that can be sacrificed.
Eat out:100 This one has to go, completely.
Out:80 (was going out for Halloween but decided not to so this wasn't spent) Does this mean like entertainment, movies, concerts, etc? If so, cut it out completely. Find absolutely cheap, or free ways to entertain yourself.
Sitter:30 (same as above) And same answer as above!!
Work out:40 Like gym fee? I suggest cutting this out, also. Work out at home. Swing your child. Lift canned goods. Run and dance in place. Take walks.
Clothes:50 If for yourself, cut it completely. If for your child, I seriously doubt that he/she needs $50 a month in clothes.
Extra savings:100 Good!!!!!!!
Then extras for this month:
Christmas:100(was way over) Don't give things for Christmas. Give of yourself.
Halloween: 75 (included dds costume and candy for trick or treaters) only spent 38. And that's $38 too much. No more!
Car expense: 185 Such as maintainence or repairs? Start a separate fund to cover this.
Pictures-75 No No No.....

OK. I told you this could be ugly. I've been slammed before for being too frugal, for asking too much in the way of sacrifice. Just want you to know that I think that at your age, you're not doing too badly in thinking about savings. But you also are spending a chunk of money that could also go into your savings. It's not like it's forever. Button this stuff down for a year or two and then reevaluate. Think of what you absolutely need to survive: house, heat, water, food. Think of what must be paid: taxes. And then try to save the rest. Final thoughts: I imposed this very strict guideline on myself, and fast forward to being able to retire early. It's possible. Are you willing?

 

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Do you have any debt?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright,
Cell: not bare minimum at all.. I hardly talk on the phone so I text most of the time it's also a smart phone so I have a data plan. I do a lot of my stuff online off of it and just use the wireless at my place.
Internet: I would be super sad to lose this it's what I do when dd goes to bed.
Tfsa: tax free savings account. So just savings
Dds money: goes into a registered educational savings account so we get all the government grant money.
Rrsp: registered retirement savings plan. So savings for retirement.
Bank fee: is monthly fee to use the account/debit. I don't think I can't get rid of it
Groceries: this is where I suck! I'm almost always over. I provide all meals/snacks for daycare kids. I started meal planning and think I'll be a bit under this month.
Misc: Is anything not included. So gifts, stuff for dd kinda like blow money. 9 times out of 10 it's unneeded things.
Eat out/out/ sitter. I need to cut. I Just find it hard to say no when friends invite us out.
Clothes are for me and dd
 

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Oops, you said no debt. THAT TOTALLY ROCKS!!!
Thanks! Here's some more information! Here is my October budget,
Rent: 500 (includes heat/lights) 25% of income for rent/utils is AWESOME
Bank fee: 12.95 I'm with fhg - what is this?
Cell:90 (my only line) This can be lower. We have 2 lines at $130 and one is high end data
Life insurance: 48.38 GOOD
Internet:40 Not bad
Tfsa:50 What is this?
Savings for my daughter:25 Lets come back to this
Rrsp:25 (just started last month) Retirmeent savings - good! 1% of income. Not good enough.
Groceries:400 Awfully high for 2 - I know you're a single mom but you can do better here.
Gas:100 That seems high - what kind of car and what kind of miles/month?
Misc:175 ???? I get $100/month for "misc" on much more income than you have.
Eat out:100 LAZY PANTS! C'mon - cut this in half. :) We did!
Out:80 (was going out for Halloween but decided not to so this wasn't spent) Entertainment - very good
Sitter:30 (same as above)
Work out:40
Clothes:50
Extra savings:100 VERY GOOD
Then extras for this month:
Christmas:100(was way over) Watch this - stick to your guns
Halloween: 75 (included dds costume and candy for trick or treaters) only spent 38. $38 is much more like it
Car expense: 185 What, exactly?
Pictures-75 One time only expense?
Ok, all that aside, can I just say:
YOU TOTALLY ROCK!

You are 22, debt free, and you are saving money for your child and for retirement. I know you feel like you're not making much progress right now, but hon you are KICKING IT given your situation.

BUT - I'd like to see a few adjustments.

First of all - since you have a daughter, I'd like to see you target an EF of 6 months to a full year of expenses. (Mandatory expenses not the fluff). Lets call it $8,000 as our starting target. That's your *I WILL NOT TOUCH THIS UNLESS THERE IS A REAL GENUINE EMERGENCY AND THAT DOESN'T COUNT THE PIZZA GUY* fund.

UNTIL you get that $8,000 (you may adjust that but I like $8k for you as a minimum) stop the RSRP and saving for the daughter. I know, I know, SAY WHAT? But you need a nice large war chest to take care of you and your girl JUST IN CASE. Having a big retirement you can't touch won't help if there's no money in the bank.

Ok - now once you get there, I'd like you to start putting 15% of your income away for retirement. Yes, I do mean $330/month. Don't scoff - knock $150 off of food (groceries & dining combined), your extra savings and $75 off your misc and you're there. Once you start, stick to 15% to retirement no matter what your income. In 40 years you won't know what to do with that much money, I promise.

Why that much? Cause darlin, one day your little girl is gonna grow up and go out on her own and your job #1 is to teach her to fly - and flying does NOT mean depending on mommy for everything when times get rough. Baby girl one day is gonna have to get out on her own, and YOU need to be taking care of YOU for when that happens. You don't want baby girl to have a bad role model for life when it comes to finances - teach her by example to prepare for her own future like you prepare for yours.

After the 15% is going into retirement, then put extra money towards her future.

Now, you're 22. Keep this kind of discipline in your life and apply it to work, and good things ARE going to come your way. Your income will go up as you get older and more valuable to your employer (and remember to shop employers from time to time - you market yourself out and boost your value!). As that income goes out, take that extra money and save it for a house, while you keep living at your current level (with SMALL adjustments as rewards for raises).

Stay out of debt, follow that plan, be disciplined with your money, and you will be AMAZED at how well you do with yourself in the long run.

And damn, I'm jealous. I wish I had your discipline at 22.
 
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Alright,
Bank fee: is monthly fee to use the account/debit. I don't think I can't get rid of it
That's utter crap.

Shop around.

CANADIANS! What bank can a 22 yr old single mom go to and not get attached on a helical plane around an axis? (Screwed)
 
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Ashley, you are one refreshing young lady. I hope to hear good things about your journey!!! I LOVE your attitude!
 
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Ashley,

Can you do your banking through PC Financial at your local Superstore? That would save the bank fees.

I actually think $400/month is fairly reasonable for groceries depending on where you are in Canada. All-prices vary across Canada -I was able to feed a family of 5 in Southwestern Ontario for ~500/month. I'm in PEI now with 2 more children and easily spend ~1000/month because prices are much higher here. We are on special diets for health reasons. We garden and either can or freeze any extras and I cook mostly from scratch. Beans cannot be a staple due to food intolerances.

That being said, how often do you eat out? Is it for a break? A treat for your child? Could you make it dessert only? When hubby and I were first married, we used to go to McDonalds for ice cream and water-cheap, but a break.

Is your tfsa your emergency fund?

What goes in your Misc category?

Can you combine internet and cell phone into a cheaper overall plan?

The RESP is actually a good investment everyone. The OP should get 30% of her contribution from a Savings grant as well as the Lifelong Learning Plan ($500 initial year +150 each additional year put into the RESP for her daughter) based on her income so personally I would not stop this.
 

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That's utter crap.

Shop around.

CANADIANS! What bank can a 22 yr old single mom go to and not get attached on a helical plane around an axis? (Screwed)
It sounds like she's with TD Canada Trust. As far as I know, the only way you can get an account with ANY bank in Canada is if you're in a joint account with someone who is a senior or your own bank account if you're a student.

DH has his account through TD Canada Trust and pays that fee. There's no way he can get out of it.

I have my account through Scotiabank, but it's a joint account with FIL and as such, I don't pay a fee.

Check all of the large banks. I don't even know if there are credit unions here.
 
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Ashley you are doing great and I agree with the advice given so far. Keep it up girl and you will be one very well off one day! I wish I would have joined this site at 22! Of course I know I am older than Gabe and Sara so I guess that couldn't have happened! :laugh:
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Car expense was to register my car and to fix a leak in the gas time, my car can seen WAY better days and think I'm getting another one next week.

Pictures are a once a year expense and I think SO worth it, they turned out amazinng :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ashley,

Can you do your banking through PC Financial at your local Superstore? That would save the bank fees. The closest PC Financial is over 30 mins away

I actually think $400/month is fairly reasonable for groceries depending on where you are in Canada. All-prices vary across Canada -I was able to feed a family of 5 in Southwestern Ontario for ~500/month. I'm in PEI now with 2 more children and easily spend ~1000/month because prices are much higher here. We are on special diets for health reasons. We garden and either can or freeze any extras and I cook mostly from scratch. Beans cannot be a staple due to food intolerances. I'ma actually in PEI to! Small world :)

That being said, how often do you eat out? Is it for a break? A treat for your child? Could you make it dessert only? When hubby and I were first married, we used to go to McDonalds for ice cream and water-cheap, but a break. I'd say I eat out about once a week, sometimes for a break away with friends and other time its cause were in town all day. I was eating out 3-4 times a week but really cut back!

Is your tfsa your emergency fund? Yes it is!

What goes in your Misc category?Every else not included, gifts, anything for dd, if something run outs that I need ex:lotion, um just random stuff I could probably do with out but..."its only x$"

Can you combine internet and cell phone into a cheaper overall plan?No I can't im through two different companies

The RESP is actually a good investment everyone. The OP should get 30% of her contribution from a Savings grant as well as the Lifelong Learning Plan ($500 initial year +150 each additional year put into the RESP for her daughter) based on her income so personally I would not stop this.
It sounds like she's with TD Canada Trust. As far as I know, the only way you can get an account with ANY bank in Canada is if you're in a joint account with someone who is a senior or your own bank account if you're a student.

DH has his account through TD Canada Trust and pays that fee. There's no way he can get out of it.

I have my account through Scotiabank, but it's a joint account with FIL and as such, I don't pay a fee.

Check all of the large banks. I don't even know if there are credit unions here.
I'm actually with CIBC, we only have CIBC, Scotia and Credit union here

Ashley you are doing great and I agree with the advice given so far. Keep it up girl and you will be one very well off one day! I wish I would have joined this site at 22! Of course I know I am older than Gabe and Sara so I guess that couldn't have happened! :laugh:
Thanks :)

Thanks so much everyone! You are all so supportive and have great idea, i'm going to try really hard to increase my savings and decreace my wasteful spending!
 

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Scotia has as account for $3.95, includes 15 self-serve transactions. Just combine transactions (cash back in store) and use cash, 15 is enough.

You don't make enough money to benefit from an RRSP. You probably get most if not all of your taxes back anyway if you are a single parent making under $25K. What you are paying is in the lowest tax bracket, there is no benefit to deferring taxes until retirement. Save your contribution room until you have a higher income and put that money in your TFSA.

You can work on the menu planning, keep an eye on the flyers, and keep note of lowest prices for items you buy regularly - stock up when they are on sale with enough to get you through to another sale. Although, $400 a month isn't bad for the Maritimes, especially if you are buying milk. What groceries stores do you have? Just Sobeys?

Your life insurance premium seems high for your age.

The easiest way to increase your savings is just to pay yourself first. Take 10% of everything that comes in and put it straight to savings without even looking at it. Then that money just isn't there to fritter away.
 

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Car expense was to register my car and to fix a leak in the gas time, my car can seen WAY better days and think I'm getting another one next week.
Not that I want you to have a bad car, but if you borrow money to buy a car, I will have to come and smack you in the head.

Never pay interest on something that loses value.

What kind of car and what other problems has it been giving you? Don't let yourself succumb to new car fever - that's the fastest and most common way people get sucked into ruining their futures.
 
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