Author Topic: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget  (Read 754 times)

Gin1984

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We already max out my HSA, put $36,750 into our 403b/401k (to optimize our taxes) so I'm happy there but I'd like to optimize my budget to save for a house.  I'm pretty pleased with my budget but there are a few places where I can't seem to get better, like groceries. 
So unlikely most case studies, can you help me figure out how to improve those categories?  All the numbers are annual.
Groceries $6400- want to improve
Rent $10,200- already below market
car insurance $720- already have decreased
renters insurance $170 - already decreased
gas $3900- this a max amount and any extra goes to savings, being in a rural area this driving distance cannot be changed
car $2400- this is for repairs and saving for a new one (cars are 2001 and a 2013)
utilities $2340- I'd like to cut this but I have not found a way to do so.  We already hang dry etc.
phone $455- on ting, includes some savings for next phone
internet $720- this is the town's internet, lower prices are not possible and my husband and I both need internet for our jobs
misc $700- hair cuts, clothes for the adults, any furniture etc.
cat $500- vet appointments, meds, cat liter, food etc.
life/dis $452.8
1st daughter expenses $636- clothes, shoes etc
Gifts/xmas $640
hockey $350- replacement supplies
travel $1000- most of this is being saved for a large trip in 2020 but two small trips are planned this year
fun $1171
0% auto loan $2700- will be done in 16 months
2nd child $1290- includes clothes, shoes, diapers, wipes etc.
Daycare $9100- lowest we can find
school $5000- we are not willing to be flexible with this.
Summer Care $1800
Wrap Around Care $3300
electronics $300
medical $1000
house savings $1350
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 09:06:32 PM by Gin1984 »

Freedomin5

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Re: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2018, 06:37:04 PM »
Your groceries are high. Check out the sub-$200 grocery spend thread on the forum here for ideas: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/have-a-sub-$200month-grocery-budget/?topicseen

Look at each receipt and figure out the high-cost items. Then see if there is a way to cut out/substitute that item to lower the bill.

Also, given your high gas costs, is it possible to move closer to work to reduce work-travel-related costs?

You're also spending $12000 on travel each year. We live on the other side of the world and travel internationally at least twice a year, and we spend around half what you spend. Is there any way to travel hack to reduce this? There are several threads on the forum on how to use credit cards to travel hack.

Also, what is "summer" and "wraparound"? And why do you have to pay $5K for school?

Gin1984

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Re: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2018, 06:45:10 PM »
Your groceries are high. Check out the sub-$200 grocery spend thread on the forum here for ideas: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/have-a-sub-$200month-grocery-budget/?topicseen

Look at each receipt and figure out the high-cost items. Then see if there is a way to cut out/substitute that item to lower the bill.

Also, given your high gas costs, is it possible to move closer to work to reduce work-travel-related costs?

You're also spending $12000 on travel each year. We live on the other side of the world and travel internationally at least twice a year, and we spend around half what you spend. Is there any way to travel hack to reduce this? There are several threads on the forum on how to use credit cards to travel hack.

Also, what is "summer" and "wraparound"? And why do you have to pay $5K for school?
I think you missed that these are annual costs.  And I already addressed your comments in my post. 

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2018, 07:06:20 PM »
A suggestion, if you want help, maybe make this readable and break it down monthly?

Gin1984

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Re: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2018, 07:07:43 PM »
A suggestion, if you want help, maybe make this readable and break it down monthly?
I am not sure what you mean by readable, this is readable to me.  And why change it to monthly?

reeshau

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Re: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2018, 04:15:59 AM »
A suggestion, if you want help, maybe make this readable and break it down monthly?
I am not sure what you mean by readable, this is readable to me.  And why change it to monthly?

I would simply answer:  because that is the established norm.  As a writer, you are making your readers work harder to answer your questions, because they have to learn your way of thinking.  Regardless of the complexity of the situation or questions asked, the purpose of the case study format, for me, is that I can review things I have expertise in, and I don't have to do mental math to understand the numbers in a different way.

In addition to that, by taking this shortcut, you are cutting off opportunities for people to suggest things you haven't thought of--you are exporting your blind spots to us.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 06:59:49 AM »
I kinda like the annual format. Not everyone thinks the same way. And it makes sense if a lot of your expenses do not occur every month.

I agree on cutting down the groceries. I have found it worth the time to use coupons to save on diapers and pet food as well.

You mention a house saving fund. How close are you to being able to purchase a house? When you do so, could it be closer to work to cut down on transportation, or in a better school district to cut the private school? Maybe those two non negotiable items might go away. Reread the true cost of commuting article.

What are you driving? Is the $2700 the annual payments or the amount remaining on the loan? Can you get something with better mileage?

And the elephant in the room: what is each of your incomes and would having a SAHP make sense after subtracting childcare and transportation from the lowest one?

Gin1984

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Re: Happy with retirement but looking to optimize current spending budget
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2018, 07:18:20 AM »
I kinda like the annual format. Not everyone thinks the same way. And it makes sense if a lot of your expenses do not occur every month.

I agree on cutting down the groceries. I have found it worth the time to use coupons to save on diapers and pet food as well.

You mention a house saving fund. How close are you to being able to purchase a house? When you do so, could it be closer to work to cut down on transportation, or in a better school district to cut the private school? Maybe those two non negotiable items might go away. Reread the true cost of commuting article.

What are you driving? Is the $2700 the annual payments or the amount remaining on the loan? Can you get something with better mileage?

And the elephant in the room: what is each of your incomes and would having a SAHP make sense after subtracting childcare and transportation from the lowest one?
My husband makes $50,700 and I make $63,000.  At this point both of us like our jobs and neither want to be a stay at home spouse. And private school is one of those things I am not willing to cut.  I'd rather not retire early and place my daughter's in private school. I am driving a Toyota Corolla and my husband drives a Honda Fit. Most months we have left over in the gas budget and put it in savings as gas prices keep lowering.  I might cut that back soon if it keeps up.  The $2700 is the annual amount of the loan.
I would like to cut the groceries but cannot seem to.  I've been on here for years and have been on the keep your groceries under $200 and we keep failing to keep our groceries low. We do go to aldi (which costs more than when we were in WNY), and use coupons when I can.  The diapers are on Amazon autopsy (5% off) but I try to look around and will push them off when I find better deal.
Honestly, we could buy a house at any time if I was willing to pay more in taxes.  I don't like that and therefore am trying to save more with our current budget.  We will buy when we find a house that works for us. The cat food is prescription cat food as the cat some stomach issues but we do order online to save bit with discount gift cards etc.
We are looking for houses closer but again, because of the rural area in which I live, my employer is always going to be a bit of a commute.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 08:33:58 AM by Gin1984 »