Author Topic: anxiety over our finances  (Read 9336 times)

raffibomb

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anxiety over our finances
« on: April 01, 2015, 10:37:08 AM »
Hey guys!  I am new to this forum and would like some guidance regarding our financial situation.  We are both 30 years old and plan on working until we are around 60 years old.  Since retiring earlier than that is not a priority for us, I would like some help with our goals along the way. 

We have many things that we would like to do and do not have the income to support them. 

Combined monthly gross:  5269
Combined monthly net:     3816

Our bills account for 2484 of our income leaving us with 1332 for groceries, gasoline, and misc. spending.

The good:  We have no credit card debt and we have paid for vehicles.  We owe 186,200 @ 3.75  on our mortgage.  I consider this to be a good thing given the area.  We are putting 300/month in to our savings account. 

The bad:  We only have 15,000 in retirement and owe 9,900 on our SL's @ 4.25%  Our savings account is practically non-existent at the moment.  We are not contributing to ROTH accounts yet. 

I do not want to be irresponsible with our money, but we would love at least one more child.  We want to contribute to ROTH accounts and would like to build a 3,000 emergency fund.  We want to travel.  I would love to eventually quit my job.  The items listed are things that feel very important.  We have a long list of other wants, but we know we cant have it all. 

I feel like I am losing sleep at night and would feel secure if we had an additional 2,000 net income/month.  That is a large amount of money and it will likely be a long time before that happens.  My husband is going to be finishing his degree for a higher income potential, but more student loans will come with it. 

I am not sure what I want from posting this.  Reassurance?  Tough love?  Please help!



Fuzz

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 10:54:55 AM »
Your withholdings seem high. Are you getting a huge tax refund every year? Can you reduce your withholdings?

Also, break down your expenses. I'm not sure what you're including as non-negotiable in bills of "2484."  Also, one more child? How many kids? More details = more informed advice.

BarkyardBQ

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 11:15:25 AM »
You say you want to work til your 60, but that you eventually want to quit your job? Can you elaborate?

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 11:19:20 AM »
My husband contributes 4% to his 401K and carries all medical, dental, vision for our family of 4. 

I contribute 10% to my 401K, but work part time and make a fraction of what he makes. 

We usually get around 3,000 back and as lame as it sounds we prefer it that way.  I feel like it would be easier to fritter away the money each month as opposed to having a lump sum.  I am not sure how much money we would expect to gain each month by adjusting our withholdings.  The tax calculators confuse me.

mortgage PITI =1212
internet/phone/cable= 118
gas/electric average= 250
cell phones (2)=         60
life/disability on DH=  74
SL min payment=   140
preschool =140
water= 60
garbage=20
car insurance=90
savings= 300
TOTAL= 2464

Left over=1352 and that covers groceries, gasoline, kids' expenses, fun money (40 each=80) misc.

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2015, 11:21:01 AM »
I would love to quit my part time job while the kids are young.  I make 11,505 of our yearly income.  I work part time around my husbands job to eliminate day care expenses. 

BarkyardBQ

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2015, 11:32:34 AM »
Gasoline should be included here for your expenses, as well as groceries. Basically anything that leaves your pocket and you cannot keep should be listed here so that it can be picked at and prodded for optimization. Kindly of course :)

The 300 savings should not be part of your monthly expenses. Making your expenses $2164, leaving you with $1652 at the end of the month. Choosing to put $300 into savings is part of your Savings Rate, not your expenses.

$3000 in a tax return is an interest free loan to the government. If you are worried about burning $3000 and want it back in April... divide that 3k by 12, and increase your 401k contributions. This lowers your taxable income and effectively saves you more than 3k depending on your tax rate. This was conveniently just posted... http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-reasons-to-reduce-your-tax-refund-2015-04-01

Garbage is monthly, or quarterly? What else do you pay for quarterly, yearly that you should factor into either your emergency savings or your monthly considerations. Could you save by prepaying 6 months at a time with car insurance.

If you quit your job of 11k, all expenses can be covered by your husband? How secure is his income, is there risk of him being laid off? If he provides the only income, and he gets laid off, how quickly can he get a new job? Should your emergency fund be able to handle this period of unemployment... 6-12 months of expenses (not income).
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 12:05:10 PM by zdravé »

thd7t

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2015, 12:08:52 PM »
Gasoline should be included here for your expenses, as well as groceries. Basically anything that leaves your pocket and you cannot keep should be listed here so that it can be picked at and prodded for optimization. Kindly of course :)

The 300 savings should not be part of your monthly expenses. Making your expenses $2164, leaving you with $1652 at the end of the month. Choosing to put $300 into savings is part of your Savings Rate, not your expenses.

$3000 in a tax return is an interest free loan to the government. If you are worried about burning $3000 and want it back in April... divide that 3k by 12, and increase your 401k contributions. This lowers your taxable income and effectively saves you more than 3k depending on your tax rate.

Garbage is monthly, or quarterly? What else do you pay for quarterly, yearly that you should factor into either your emergency savings or your monthly considerations. Could you save by prepaying 6 months at a time with car insurance.

If you quit your job of 11k, all expenses can be covered by your husband? How secure is his income, is there risk of him being laid off? If he provides the only income, and he gets laid off, how quickly can he get a new job? Should your emergency fund be able to handle this period of unemployment... 6-12 months of expenses (not income).
That $3000 interest free loan is not nearly as dire as people make it out to be.  At 7% return (and assuming it was paid monthly), they missed out on $99 of interest.  Not ideal, but not an emergency.  It also funds their emergency fund as soon as they get the return.

Really, you have a very high internet/cable/phone bill that could have at least phone cut out of it (and cable should go, too).  It would make a bigger impact.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 12:11:46 PM by thd7t »

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2015, 12:09:31 PM »
Groceries/household-  550
Gasoline-  375
Daughter-100
son- 125
fun money 80
100-  savings account for the children

Water is quarterly (180ish) and garbage (37) is every other month.  I pay the car insurance every 6 months to get the discount and then transfer 90 dollars/month in to the savings account to pay the next one.

His job is secure as far as we can tell, you never really know though.  He should be able to get another one quickly, but perhaps with a pay cut.   We have no where near enough money to cover a period of unemployment by him.  I would much prefer to keep working if that means I can have another child.  Eventually quitting is just a dream. 

BarkyardBQ

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2015, 12:13:18 PM »
Gasoline should be included here for your expenses, as well as groceries. Basically anything that leaves your pocket and you cannot keep should be listed here so that it can be picked at and prodded for optimization. Kindly of course :)

The 300 savings should not be part of your monthly expenses. Making your expenses $2164, leaving you with $1652 at the end of the month. Choosing to put $300 into savings is part of your Savings Rate, not your expenses.

$3000 in a tax return is an interest free loan to the government. If you are worried about burning $3000 and want it back in April... divide that 3k by 12, and increase your 401k contributions. This lowers your taxable income and effectively saves you more than 3k depending on your tax rate.

Garbage is monthly, or quarterly? What else do you pay for quarterly, yearly that you should factor into either your emergency savings or your monthly considerations. Could you save by prepaying 6 months at a time with car insurance.

If you quit your job of 11k, all expenses can be covered by your husband? How secure is his income, is there risk of him being laid off? If he provides the only income, and he gets laid off, how quickly can he get a new job? Should your emergency fund be able to handle this period of unemployment... 6-12 months of expenses (not income).
That $3000 interest free loan is not nearly as dire as people make it out to be.  At 7% return (and assuming it was paid monthly), they missed out on $99 of interest.  Not ideal, but not an emergency.

$99 to the nth of whatever compounding plus yearly additional contributions... isn't that why we do this? Slow and Steady? Plus the fact that if they are in the 15 or 25% tax brackets, for each $100 they contribute they drop $15 or $25 from there tax bill. At 15% that's an extra $450 a year.
 

« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 12:18:53 PM by zdravé »

thd7t

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2015, 12:14:07 PM »
Groceries/household-  550
Gasoline-  375
Daughter-100
son- 125
fun money 80
100-  savings account for the children

Water is quarterly (180ish) and garbage (37) is every other month.  I pay the car insurance every 6 months to get the discount and then transfer 90 dollars/month in to the savings account to pay the next one.

His job is secure as far as we can tell, you never really know though.  He should be able to get another one quickly, but perhaps with a pay cut.   We have no where near enough money to cover a period of unemployment by him.  I would much prefer to keep working if that means I can have another child.  Eventually quitting is just a dream.
What are the "son" and "daughter" costs?  They aren't totally unreasonable, but what do they constitute?

Also, your Gasoline is costing more than almost anything!  Any chance to reduce this?

homeymomma

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2015, 12:20:52 PM »
Why on earth do you spend so much on gas?? We're a two car, long-commute family too, but we barely push $150 on a bad month. There's more to the story here?

dunhamjr

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2015, 12:28:08 PM »
Groceries/household-  550
Gasoline-  375
Daughter-100
son- 125
100-  savings account for the children

groceries for 4 doesnt look bad, but may be able to be trimmed.
gasoline.  holy crap!  that is a TON of driving or very low MPG vehicles.  i get that you have paid off cars, but maybe you have the wrong paid off cars.
i have two young kids as well.  what is costing $100-$125 per kid every month... above and beyond your already split out preschool and food costs.

also that $100/mo for the kids. not a killer.  but you are basically telling us you are worried about money.  why not put that $100/mo into paying down your SL.

and i get that whole tax return thing.  i just dont think its the best option.  $3k/yr is an extra $250/mo.  that money could at least be going to pay down your SL, getting put into savings, etc... instead of having to wait for Feb-April each year to have your own money back.

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2015, 01:09:22 PM »
My husband drives 25 miles to work each way.  I drive 25 miles to work each way, but only 2 days a week.   We have a '04 jeep that gets terrible mileage and then a 05 sedan that gets ok mileage.  We both drive the sedan to work since we work opposite shifts.  Our families live 45 miles away, we will cut down on those visits.

daughter 100-  that is clothes, activities, etc
son 125-  diapers, wipes, clothes, etc

We usually will go under on the gas budget and then use the leftover when we go over on the food budget.  We almost always go over on these 2 things alone.  We even use part of the kids 225 on accounting for overages for food.   We are going to make sure we have no food waste this month and also cut WAY back on eating out.

Would you suggest paying off the student loans before opening Roth's or saving money in general?

Like I said, the online tax sheets are confusing to me.  Is there an easy way to tell how to adjust the withholdings? 

MDM

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2015, 01:10:05 PM »
We usually get around 3,000 back and as lame as it sounds we prefer it that way.  I feel like it would be easier to fritter away the money each month as opposed to having a lump sum.  I am not sure how much money we would expect to gain each month by adjusting our withholdings.  The tax calculators confuse me.
Monthly cash flow gained = $3000/12 = $250.

Regarding "tax calculators confuse me," how do you do your actual taxes?  Is it the tax calculation or the W-4 withholding allowance calculation that is confusing?

MDM

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2015, 01:14:02 PM »

BarkyardBQ

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2015, 01:24:57 PM »
My husband drives 25 miles to work each way.  I drive 25 miles to work each way, but only 2 days a week.   We have a '04 jeep that gets terrible mileage and then a 05 sedan that gets ok mileage.  We both drive the sedan to work since we work opposite shifts.  Our families live 45 miles away, we will cut down on those visits.

daughter 100-  that is clothes, activities, etc
son 125-  diapers, wipes, clothes, etc

We usually will go under on the gas budget and then use the leftover when we go over on the food budget.  We almost always go over on these 2 things alone.  We even use part of the kids 225 on accounting for overages for food.   We are going to make sure we have no food waste this month and also cut WAY back on eating out.

Would you suggest paying off the student loans before opening Roth's or saving money in general?

Like I said, the online tax sheets are confusing to me.  Is there an easy way to tell how to adjust the withholdings?

This is going to be an odd face punch, but here goes. How old is your daughter that she needs $100/month for clothes and activities? Are you teaching your daughter that material things can buy her happiness? Does she earn that $100 with chores... k that wasn't so bad of a jab, here comes the left hook...

When you overspend on food by eating out as a product of poor planning and possibly laziness you punish your kids by taking their allowance? Since your son is in diapers I imagine most of the punishment lands on your daughter. Think of the money habits you are teaching her with your overspending and then immedaiate lean on her allowance. What if your employer did this to you when they went over budget on a project?

Do you make her save any of that $100 to teach her long term goals? Taking control of your spending will help you teach your kids how to utilized money forever.

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2015, 01:35:28 PM »
"This is going to be an odd face punch, but here goes. How old is your daughter that she needs $100/month for clothes and activities? Are you teaching your daughter that material things can buy her happiness? Does she earn that $100 with chores... k that wasn't so bad of a jab, here comes the left hook...

When you overspend on food by eating out as a product of poor planning and possibly laziness you punish your kids by taking their allowance? Since your son is in diapers I imagine most of the punishment lands on your daughter. Think of the money habits you are teaching her with your overspending and then immedaiate lean on her allowance. What if your employer did this to you when they went over budget on a project?

Do you make her save any of that $100 to teach her long term goals? Taking control of your spending will help you teach your kids how to utilized money forever"

How do you quote properly?  This is a good point.  She is 3 and does not know the money exists.  i think that when money in each category is gone we should just do without.  I am now wondering if it would be smarter to reduce the kids categories and put them to better use? 

MDM

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2015, 01:42:38 PM »
How do you quote properly?
You can click the "Quote" button at the upper right of each post, then edit away.

Within a post, you can highlight text and click the "quote button" (it's the one to the right of the "# button")
Quote
like this

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2015, 01:45:45 PM »
MDM-  the withholding calculator is my problem.  We usually use turbotax and it is easy.  I tried to fill it out and it says that I will get a refund of 15,000 back, so something is wrong.

BarkyardBQ

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2015, 01:52:13 PM »
How do you quote properly?  This is a good point.  She is 3 and does not know the money exists.  i think that when money in each category is gone we should just do without.  I am now wondering if it would be smarter to reduce the kids categories and put them to better use?

Right, so she has no clue. So if you allocate $100 for her, and you haven't bought anything for her at the end of the month do you go to Target and buy her $100 worth of clothes and toys... or do you put $25 in a savings account* for her and put $75 down on student loans? :)

* http://www.marketwatch.com/story/make-your-kid-rich-for-1-a-day-2014-08-13

IMHO, anything you have left at the end of the month should go to killing the student loan. Keep the mortgage. When the SL is paid off, increase savings for your emergency fund, when that is satisfied, start contributing to your retirement accounts. I don't think you should quit your job until the SL is paid off. It's 10k and you make 11k. It seems that if you quit, it will take twice as long to pay that off. If you can pay it off in 1 year (I know extreme!!!) , then it seems your husbands income can handle your expenses.

How long does your husband expect to work/career, how long do you want him to work? Is there any income you could generate being a stay-at-home-parent?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 02:01:29 PM by zdravé »

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2015, 02:07:55 PM »
How do you quote properly?  This is a good point.  She is 3 and does not know the money exists.  i think that when money in each category is gone we should just do without.  I am now wondering if it would be smarter to reduce the kids categories and put them to better use?

Right, so she has no clue. So if you allocate $100 for her, and you haven't bought anything for her at the end of the month do you go to Target and buy her $100 worth of clothes and toys... or do you put $25 in a savings account* for her and put $75 down on student loans? :)

* http://www.marketwatch.com/story/make-your-kid-rich-for-1-a-day-2014-08-13

IMHO, anything you have left at the end of the month should go to killing the student loan. Keep the mortgage. When the SL is paid off, increase savings for your emergency fund, when that is satisfied, start contributing to your retirement accounts. I don't think you should quit your job until the SL is paid off. It's 10k and you make 11k. It seems that if you quit, it will take twice as long to pay that off. If you can pay it off in 1 year (I know extreme!!!) , then it seems your husbands income can handle your expenses.

How long does your husband expect to work/career, how long do you want him to work? Is there any income you could generate being a stay-at-home-parent?

I go to target and buy her clothes, or we go out to eat :(  I will start giving her a portion of the leftover money and putting the rest away!

I think he would like to retire by 60, I would love that!  How much to put in the EF after the SL is gone?  I am going to put quitting my job at the very bottom of that list I made. 

I would love to hear about legitimate work from home jobs. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2015, 02:15:28 PM »
Stop going out to eat.

BarkyardBQ

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2015, 02:25:08 PM »
I go to target and buy her clothes, or we go out to eat :(  I will start giving her a portion of the leftover money and putting the rest away!

I think he would like to retire by 60, I would love that!  How much to put in the EF after the SL is gone?  I am going to put quitting my job at the very bottom of that list I made. 

I would love to hear about legitimate work from home jobs.

Starting some kind of savings for her is a great choice. There is a Mini Money Mustaches forum where you might find more options. 529 College Savings plans are cool if that's your thing. We'd rather start our kids with a taxable account, and teach them their options and let them chose how to pay for college.

When the SL is gone, with 1 income left, you might consider at least 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. Some people have different opinions but it really depends on your personal risk and whether your husbands job is secure. My wife and I keep approx 3 months expenses in cash, which could be stretched to 5 if needed, but we have 2 very secured incomes. Our emergency fund is really more of a AC died or the car we're driving into the ground died and we need to replace it. We can put it on a CC and pay it off with the savings instead of reducing our retirement plan contributions... it's a personal decision you have to assess for yourself.

There's plenty of threads on this forum, search for: side hustles, side gigs, and...
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/any-legitimate-online-work-from-home/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/any-legitimate-work-at-home-gigs/

And I second the eating out bit, that should be completely cut until your student loans are gone. You each spend plenty of time at home, you have enough time to plan and prepare excellent meals on the cheap, and you never have to pay taxes or tip anyone! There are tons of resources on this forum for cheap and delicious meals + download a free cookbook here http://www.leannebrown.com
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 02:29:35 PM by zdravé »

MDM

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2015, 02:34:26 PM »
MDM-  the withholding calculator is my problem.  We usually use turbotax and it is easy.  I tried to fill it out and it says that I will get a refund of 15,000 back, so something is wrong.
Each withholding allowance on the W-4 is "worth" the individual exemption amount on form 1040.  For 2015, that is $4,000.

One then needs to know one's marginal tax bracket to translate exemption to tax.  E.g., in the 15% bracket a $4,000 exemption saves $600 and in the 25% bracket that $4,000 saves $1,000.

To reduce withholding by $3,000/yr (and get that cash flow into savings every month), someone firmly in the 15% bracket would increase W-4 allowances by $3000/$600 = 5.  In the 25% bracket it would be $3000/$1000 = 3.  E.g., if one's current W-4 has 3 allowances the new one should have 8 (for the 15% bracket) or 6 (for the 25% bracket).

As the first quarter (and likely, given HR processing delays, the first third) of 2015 withholding will have already been done with the existing W-4, one could probably go to 9 or 7 respectively and still be ok, but some improvement is better than none.

Does that make sense?


raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2015, 02:39:43 PM »

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2015, 02:41:21 PM »
MDM-  the withholding calculator is my problem.  We usually use turbotax and it is easy.  I tried to fill it out and it says that I will get a refund of 15,000 back, so something is wrong.
Each withholding allowance on the W-4 is "worth" the individual exemption amount on form 1040.  For 2015, that is $4,000.

One then needs to know one's marginal tax bracket to translate exemption to tax.  E.g., in the 15% bracket a $4,000 exemption saves $600 and in the 25% bracket that $4,000 saves $1,000.

To reduce withholding by $3,000/yr (and get that cash flow into savings every month), someone firmly in the 15% bracket would increase W-4 allowances by $3000/$600 = 5.  In the 25% bracket it would be $3000/$1000 = 3.  E.g., if one's current W-4 has 3 allowances the new one should have 8 (for the 15% bracket) or 6 (for the 25% bracket).

As the first quarter (and likely, given HR processing delays, the first third) of 2015 withholding will have already been done with the existing W-4, one could probably go to 9 or 7 respectively and still be ok, but some improvement is better than none.

Does that make sense?

Yes, thank you!!

ysette9

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2015, 02:42:53 PM »
For me, knowledge helps alleviate anxiety. If I were in your shoes, I would start by carefully tracking where every dollar that comes in is going. In our case, just looking carefully at our spending was enough to build awareness that allowed us to make painless changes to reduce spending. Think about your long-term goals and compare that to the purchases you make: is that purchase filling a true need or just taking you further away from your long-term goal?

In our case, I found we were spending ridiculous amounts on clothing even though we only went shopping a few times a year. Simple change: just stop going to the outlet mall. That made a dramatic difference and we barely noticed a change. We were also forced into giving up most eating out because with the baby, there just isn't time. Set a goal for yourself of eating at home more, meal planning, or whatever may work in your case and see how that goes.

I like to check our finances online all the time, so back when we had a car loan, I would see it on the screen and it would bug me. Whenever there was a little extra in the checking account, I would just make an extra payment towards principle. I kept doing that until the balance got down the point that my husband said "why do we have this loan? Let's just pay it off already!".

Other tricks that work for us: automated savings. Savings/investments get pulled out automatically the same day that paychecks hit. I bump up the amount each time we get a raise. Occasionally I have tried bumping it up just because, and then sat back to see if we could live within our means. Each time we have managed to make it work. YMMV, but put some time into building up your knowledge, tweak a few things, and see if that puts you in a more comfortable spot.

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2015, 02:46:33 PM »

Starting some kind of savings for her is a great choice. There is a Mini Money Mustaches forum where you might find more options. 529 College Savings plans are cool if that's your thing. We'd rather start our kids with a taxable account, and teach them their options and let them chose how to pay for college.

When the SL is gone, with 1 income left, you might consider at least 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. Some people have different opinions but it really depends on your personal risk and whether your husbands job is secure. My wife and I keep approx 3 months expenses in cash, which could be stretched to 5 if needed, but we have 2 very secured incomes. Our emergency fund is really more of a AC died or the car we're driving into the ground died and we need to replace it. We can put it on a CC and pay it off with the savings instead of reducing our retirement plan contributions... it's a personal decision you have to assess for yourself.

There's plenty of threads on this forum, search for: side hustles, side gigs, and...
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/any-legitimate-online-work-from-home/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/any-legitimate-work-at-home-gigs/

And I second the eating out bit, that should be completely cut until your student loans are gone. You each spend plenty of time at home, you have enough time to plan and prepare excellent meals on the cheap, and you never have to pay taxes or tip anyone! There are tons of resources on this forum for cheap and delicious meals + download a free cookbook here http://www.leannebrown.com
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I am with you on the eating out.  We each get 40/month and if we want to to eat out badly it can be taken from there, but I think there are more exciting ways to use it. 

I will not quit my job after the SL is gone.  I would make sure we take care of several things first.  I don't get paid much, but it is 600/net a month. 

Thank you for the links!!

homeymomma

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2015, 04:56:58 PM »
This is really basic- but if you're not already tracking every dollar in and out... you should be! Mint.com is easy and fun :)

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2015, 05:11:37 PM »
I signed up last month for mint!  I really need to do more with it.  I am excited to be starting a new month. 

BarkyardBQ

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2015, 05:16:23 PM »
This is really basic- but if you're not already tracking every dollar in and out... you should be! Mint.com is easy and fun :)

Mint is a PITA, I like personalcapital.com, different strokes. :)

Travis

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2015, 05:21:16 PM »
I chimed in because despite the requests to further refine your budget, you later sprung "eating out" as something you do quite a bit of, but didn't acknowledge it in your budget-related replies.  This makes me think you don't know how much you eat out.  Some people lump that into groceries and they shouldn't. They are two completely different things, especially when it comes to trimming budgets.  Those budget items you apply towards your kids also seem like black holes where money disappears. 

Get a handle on where every dollar is going, then plan from there.  I'm a huge YNAB fan. YMMV.

Dee18

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2015, 05:26:41 PM »
A three year old will not know if her clothes are new. Shop, without her, at the thrift store or a church's annual children's clothing swap.  You will find plenty of almost new stuff at that age.  Likewise, she will not know if her Legos are new.  Buy them at Goodwill and run them through the dishwasher.  By the time she is brand conscious, she will be old enough to earn spending money.  And when she is 18, she may well shop for her prom dress at a consignment shop...of her own choice.

MDM

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2015, 05:30:28 PM »
We've seen Mint, Personal Capital, and YNAB.  Might as well add Quicken, and maybe even roll-your-own spreadsheet.... ;)

The best of that list is whichever you will use - although there are some legitimate differences.

raffibomb

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Re: anxiety over our finances
« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2015, 05:57:03 PM »
I chimed in because despite the requests to further refine your budget, you later sprung "eating out" as something you do quite a bit of, but didn't acknowledge it in your budget-related replies.  This makes me think you don't know how much you eat out.  Some people lump that into groceries and they shouldn't. They are two completely different things, especially when it comes to trimming budgets.  Those budget items you apply towards your kids also seem like black holes where money disappears. 

Get a handle on where every dollar is going, then plan from there.  I'm a huge YNAB fan. YMMV.

You are right.  all of our misc.  categories are black holes.  I am going to start by making sure that if we go over in 1 category that we don't borrow from another.  Also, I am not going to eat out at all this month.