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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Income
Me: $2650
Wife: $1600

Should bring in around $10,000 this tax season (second job) to put toward debt.

Bills
Mortgage $(2,192.16)
Electric (PUD) $(100.00)
Natural Gas (PSE) $(130.00)
Cell $(90.00)
Comcast Internet only $(45.00)
Student Loan $(220.70)
Car Insurance $(97.00)

Necessities
Food $(300.00)
Gas $(200.00)
Date $(100.00)
Blow $(100.00)
Maeberry $(70.00)
John Danz $(100.00) (Giving pledged through April)
Giving $-

Sinking Funds
Water/Sewer $(60.00)
Garbage $(30.00)
Car Maintainence $(50.00)
Bday/Anniv. $(100.00)
Christmas $(75.00)
Birthdays $(30.00)
Vacations
Haircut $(35.00)

This leaves about $125 at the end of the month for right now.
 

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Hi, welcome to the forums. I'm in Silverdale. :)

IS there something specific you were looking for input on?

I noticed that you are going to one income soon and I'm curious what you're planning on doing about that mortgage. It takes up almost your entire monthly income.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry for not being more specific. Just looking for general ideas on some areas to cut. The mortgage stays (bought the home in March, definitely not selling unless I am about to go into forclosure), so I would like to find some other little areas to cut.
(Also, mortgage includes PMI, property taxes, and homeowner's insurance).

As for going to 1 income, this probably won't happen for another 12-15 months or more, so that's why I have a $25,000 cash reserve, and am starting a tax prep business on the side. Just about to finish my final test to become an Enrolled Agent this month.

I will be working for a CPA firm, and getting clients handed to me, as well as bringing in my own. This is my first year, but have projected a $10,000 income. I hope to increase that year-over-year until I can go full-time tax prep. I just got a 3% raise at my current position, and am in-line for a promotion, just not sure exactly when (hopefully this year).

I would like to kill my student loan before going to 1 income if possible.

Thanks again.
 

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Your mortgage would be unreasonable at twice your income, Jacob.
 

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Well, since you asked about ideas on how to cut and I'm bored; I'll give my two cents..


Bills
Mortgage $(2,192.16) WHAT?!?!?!? No kids right? This is the time to be SAVING!

Electric (PUD) $(100.00) This seems high for 2 people, but I don't know about WA rates either.

Natural Gas (PSE) $(130.00)

Cell $(90.00) Wow, cut it down. Don't need text or intrnet.

Comcast Internet only $(45.00)

Student Loan $(220.70)

Car Insurance $(97.00)

Necessities
Food $(300.00) WOW!!! I have a family of 5 (3 of them being "adults") and this is my budget. Crockpot needs to become your BEST friend and prepping on the weekends.

Gas $(200.00)

Date $(100.00) Wow, seems like a lot too. How many dates is this? You can probably google your area and find some free stuff to do.

Blow $(100.00)

Maeberry $(70.00) Does your dog have cancer? This seems like a lot of a dog.

John Danz $(100.00) (Giving pledged through April)
Giving $-

Sinking Funds
Water/Sewer $(60.00)
Garbage $(30.00)
Car Maintainence $(50.00)

Bday/Anniv. $(100.00) I'd do away with this until I didn't have debt besides the house. Maybe your "date" could be the "gift"...

Christmas $(75.00)

Birthdays $(30.00)

Vacations- Not until your debt free

Haircut $(35.00) Have your wife do it. You might have to go back to the barber until she gets the hang of it, but she'll get it and then will be able to cut your kids hair too ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Lindsey.

Cell bill is for 2 lines and minimum amount of minutes. We do have text, but communicate with many, many people using it and get it at 50% off due to work discount. I'm pretty sure it's about $85 or $88, which is the lowest I can get with texting.

The electric is usually around $70, but went to over $100 because of Christmas lights. My wife is really pushing to unplug things because of phantom power, maybe we can start doing that and keeping more lights off. Savings = possibly $30-40

Food budget is definitely one we could work on. It's been very tiring for my wife to prep meals with us both gone 12 hours a day, and my wife works Saturdays, but she is determined to bring our food budget down, so I'll keep you posted :) Savings = possibly $50 to start

Dates are huge for us. I really want to go on one date a week, but I agree, we could do some cheaper stuff and still have fun. I'm going to use groupon, and our entertainment book this year, and we have some sweet coupons. I bet we can get that down to at least $60 or maybe $50 a month. Savings = $40-$50

We've done tons of research and spend about $65 for about 50 days worth of dogfood. We keep $70 in the budget, but usually only spend the $65 every other month. So it's actually about $32.50 - $40 a month. Savings = $30

The Bday/Anniv. budget is for just us a one or two weekend getaways for the year. Since we are not going on vacation, this is needed to stay sane. I will chat with my wife about other alternatives, though. Savings - ?

The haircut fund is for my wife, she already cuts my hair :)

Thanks for the input, and hopefully can put another $150 - $170 toward the snowball!
 

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Ok ideas...

I think your grocery seems a bit high for the two of you. Use coupons, watch for deals on your favorite items, choose less expensive brands/items when possible. Meal planning helps save money. Freeze some meals sometimes. The leftovers or whatever. Choose to eat a less expensive meal a couple days a week. I know you could save money here. Might need to get used to but it'll be worth it for your plans. I'm not saying go without, just be aware.

Electric does seem high. Using Compact fluorescent bulbs? Unplugging cell phone chargers when not in use? Or anything else that you are not using, They still suck energy and add up. Shutting off lights when not home, tv, radio, etc?

Cell, Shared minutes? No home phone? My husband and I pay this and have text. I justify it. We don't have home phone, we have 750 minutes to share, free overnights, free weekends. We mostly text these days.

Date. I agree, how many dates in a month is $100? Start finding free stuff to do. get creative without money. Have fun, enjoy but this is a lot for a date night or a couple. Bye bye money for date nights and hello to creative and fun thinking date nights. I think it's more fun and brings more memories than the average dinner/movie etc stuff anyway.

Again with the birthday/anniversary. Time to get creative with gifts. I think this should be cut in half, if not gone for what you both want.

Haircut, I know you could probably find a cheaper haircut somewhere that is just as good.

Vacations. I haven't had a vacation in years. That's not saying much in my situation but these may need to be put on hold if you can't afford them and well, you can't. Your vacation is camping, or something less expensive. Again, creativity.

I don't know how big your families are but $75 a month for xmas seems like a lot too. You have no kids. How much do you spend on each other? Limit the amount you spend on others.

Which reminds me I listened to a Dave Ramsey Podcast last night while at work and I heard a mother say she wrote her kids letters saying they weren't getting xmas gifts. She was serious about getting out of debt... that serious! You have to get serious and with a house payment (etc) like yours.. you may need to be tough on yourselves for a bit if you want someone home soon or kids in the future. The same woman said her and her husband ate beans and rice twice a week. Eeek. That's when my mouth dropped. Laugh. of course, I couldn't imagine telling my kids they were getting nothing but the truth is when you're trying to get ahead.. most people understand.
 

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You might look into StraightTalk cell phones.
It is $30 for 1000 minutes, 1000 txts, 30mb of mobile web. So that would save about $25/month

I use straight talk and I have been very very happy with the service. You do have to purchase a phone, but there are some reasonable choices.
 

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I'd try to get out of that house.
 

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Ok I read some of your post above. I was too busy thinking and typing and didn't know you posted..


But I also wanted to say... It does sound like you and your wife are on the same page as in what you want and getting it. I struggle with my husband being on the same page as me when it comes to this stuff. I commend you for working together and you helping make a plan. Is she on board as much as you are? I wish my husband would be concerned more about this stuff. Laugh.

So, Cheers to the both of you. I have no doubt you'll get what you want!
 

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If your wife is working 12 hours a day and on Saturdays too then I think it's time you helped her out in the kitchen. Whatever prepping that needs to be done shouldn't be too hard for you to handle. Maybe you can split the duties on the meals. You be responsible for 3 each week and the same for her. The 7th day can be leftovers or one of your date nights. It's not that hard to come up with cheap and easy meals and like a previous poster said....use the crockpot! You'd be surprised how low you can bring down that grocery budget.
 

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I would use all your savings and the money you have coming to get out of that house. :)

You're 125 a month away from the edge as a DINK. That house is going to bleed you dry. I'd be willing to bet that it's way too big for you and that's why it's costing you so much for heat and electricity. You're not even taking into account other expenses, like what it's going to cost to replace furniture, to repair or replace appliances, or any other household expenses that it will take to maintain a home. I bet it's going to be rough maintaining a frugal lifestyle in a 300k neighborhood, too. You'll either drive yourself into debt trying to maintain appearances or you'll be like those guys in the movie Boiler Room. A big nice house that looks like a bunch of college guys live in it.
 

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I'm interested in finding out more about the house. I make the same amount of income as you do and my house payment is $585/month. I could never bring myself to spend over $2,000/month on a house payment, especially when it sounds like neither of you are there that often. I know you just moved in, but it will suck you dry quick, especially if it needs repairs and maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@ Lisa: Thank you. We slacked the last few months on coupons and such, and are definitely getting back into the swing of things. We have had the budget as low as $240 a month at one point. I agree again on creative gifts and dates. We have a very large (over 20) immediate family and friends group we buy gifts for. I think baked good could cover this Christmas :). We have have florescent lights as of now. My wife and I are definitely on the same page, and both work together to reach goals, so that is huge. We got on the same page before marraige, and that has helped tremendously in all aspect of our life :)

@ bridge: I will look into that. Seems like a great deal :)

@ Nishu: I appreciate the feedback, and understand the risk of carrying this mortgage, and we have decided that this is the home we are supposed to be in for a long time to come.



@ Gotonenerveleft: Sorry, I meant we are both gone for about 12 hours a day (2 hour commute, 9 hour day, so 11 hours I guess). She has Wednesdays off, but works Saturdays. I agree that I should probably learn how to help out in the kitchen. I am pretty inept when it comes to cooking, so maybe I can just do some meal prep work on weekends to help.
 

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I'm interested in finding out more about the house. I make the same amount of income as you do and my house payment is $585/month. I could never bring myself to spend over $2,000/month on a house payment, especially when it sounds like neither of you are there that often. I know you just moved in, but it will suck you dry quick, especially if it needs repairs and maintenance.
I know, right? I don't mean to be a jerk but really, I don't even know how you get approved for that much house on this income. OP, did you used to make a lot more or something?

I guess we can sit here and tweak the budget all day, but OP has got so little room to work with that if he doesn't get those pay raises that he expects he'll be down a creek. Eating beans and rice because you want to live in a 300k house on a 30 income is just crazy to me. This isn't a lean times situation. This is permanent.

@ Nishu: I appreciate the feedback, and understand the risk of carrying this mortgage, and we have decided that this is the home we are supposed to be in for a long time to come.
You were meant to be in this house? That's so weird. Your solid income is only 2600 a month and your wife is working crazy hours in order to make up the difference. I mean, you say you understand the risks, but I really don't think you do.

Where is Greebo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@ beks37: The house was purchased for 329,000 with a very low down payment (about 3.5%). It's 1500 sq. ft., so not a mansion. The real estate prices in WA are some of the highest in the country, so getting into a single family home starts a about $250,000 - $300,000 in our location. We feel this house is where we are supposed to be, and have seen the fruit of community and relatioships being in this home. The risk is worth the rewards we have seen and anticipate.

I perform all maintenance on the home as needed, and most things are in great shape (built in '89, appliances pretty new). If things break, we have many resources to reach out to (family and friends, craigslist, google..) to fix without draining our EF too much.

I also am starting a tax business which will replace my wife's income in no more than 2 years, so we shouldn't have to touch our EF anytime soon.

I am justifying this house, I know, but would like to be very frugal in other areas of life to still be smart with our money. This house was our goal from the beginning, and we are grateful to be here, and will sacrifice in other areas to stay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know, right? I don't mean to be a jerk but really, I don't even know how you get approved for that much house on this income. OP, did you used to make a lot more or something?

I guess we can sit here and tweak the budget all day, but OP has got so little room to work with that if he doesn't get those pay raises that he expects he'll be down a creek. Eating beans and rice because you want to live in a 300k house on a 30 income is just crazy to me. This isn't a lean times situation. This is permanent.



You were meant to be in this house? That's so weird. Your solid income is only 2600 a month and your wife is working crazy hours in order to make up the difference. I mean, you say you understand the risks, but I really don't think you do.

Where is Greebo?
Ok, to clarify, we both work 40 hours. I am going to be working a side job in taxes this season (Feb thru April) and will bring in another $10,000 gross. By season 2, I will have made up my wife's income. (These figures are based on a person who did the same as I am doing, working for the same CPA currently). Our financial goals include buying a house, getting out of debt, and putting some away for retirement/savings. We have our house, and though it might seem crazy to you, that is our most important financial goal right now. We are willing to live frugally to stay here, and we don't feel that selling our home right now is an option.

I know our plans are based on anticipated income, and that is where the risk is, but as of right now we don't feel the need to sell the home to alleviate this risk.

That being said, I would love to hear of other ways (besides selling the home) to save some money to get this student loan knocked out in the next 12-18 months.
 

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I am concerned about the house payments too. I think they are high for your income. I do think however, that you might be able to pull this off. I wonder if the stress will be worth it. Only you can say.

However, My thought now is if your wife stops working, that's a lot of money and stuff you'll cover. That's a lot of stress, and you're staring your own tax business. I think it could be a recipe for disaster. Is there a reason why your wife would like to stay home in the next 12 to 18 months? To start making a family?

On the flip side, I didn't see anything for savings...?? Or did I miss it. Or for emergencies.... If something happened to you.. Illness...etc.. how would you be prepared?

Yeah, that house payment is high. I hate to say it but your wife may end up working longer than you both want her to. If you're starting a family in the next 12 months to 18 months.... Have her work through pregnancy. Is there another option where she could work from home doing something? So many options out there.

I don't know that taking out an income is going to work out as planned.
 

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You may be "inept" in the kitchen, but any help you can provide would be appreciated (believe ME!) lol Dice, chop, even grocery shop so that you can bring your grocery amount down. Try different foods (that are less expensive) Go veggie one night a week. Have breakfasts for dinner. ETC....

Also- I LOVE date night, but sometimes the budget doesn't allow it. You have no kids at home: make date night at home. Pop in a movie, grab some snacks, cuddle under a blanket by the fire. DH are so busy right now (we have 3 kids) that our "dates" are grocery shopping! lol We grab a coffee or smoothie and go shopping. Make the best of your situation, whatever it may be.

Good luck. :)
 
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