Author Topic: Our Expenses  (Read 6348 times)

davepac7

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Our Expenses
« on: July 07, 2017, 08:40:26 AM »
My pregnant wife and I just made an expense sheet and I'm hoping to get some feedback on what could be missing on there and any ideas to improve our financial situation. I currently have exactly $0 dollars after having been unemployed for a month. The income below is after taxes with my new job that's starting next month.

We live in the suburbs in the Washington DC metro area in a 1 bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, we are stuck in one of the top 5 most expensive areas in the US where any type of enjoyment costs a bunch of money.
   
D's Income   5300
A's Income   0
Other Income   0
Income totals   5300

EXPENSES   
Home   
Mortgage/rent   1530
Electricity   100
Water + Sewer   45
Gas   0
Internet + TV   80
Cellphone   50
Renter's Insurance   12
Groceries   450
Home totals   2267
   
Transportation   
D's Fuel   120
A's Fuel   100
Ford Car Payment   340 (two months left)
Car Insurance   90
Car Plates Renewal   2
Car wash/detailing services   2
Parking Tickets   2
General Parking   2
Property Taxes   17
Maintenance   100
Transportation totals   775
   
Entertainment   
Disney Pass   0
Dining Out   200
Movies/plays   60
Other   80
Entertainment totals   340
   
Health   
Health Deductible   100
Insurance   360
Prescriptions   13
Over-the-counter drugs   15
Co-payments/out-of-pocket   5
Life insurance   0
Veterinarians/pet medicines   0
Health totals   493
   
Vacations   
Accommodations   100
Food   55
Souvenirs   5
Rental car   5
Vacations totals   165
   
Personal   
Clothing   50
Gifts Savings   100
Salon/barber   15
Spa/Nails   50
Professional Development (Wix)   15
Charity   50
Personal totals   280
   
Financial obligations   
Student Debt   331
Friend Debt   200
Supporting family member   420
Our Retirement   318
Emergency Savings   150
Child support   250
Financial obligation totals   1669
   
Total expenses   5989
Cash short/extra   -689.00

honeybbq

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 09:08:57 AM »
The two things that jump out:

-support family member: it doesn't really seem like you can afford to do this.

- friend debt: what happened here?

random musings:
parking tickets and car washes? No.
entertainment budget needs to be 0 or $25 a month.
Clothing/charity/spa needs to be 0.

If you cut that stuff out you'll be close to ok.... but what will you do once the baby comes? I'm guessing infant care in the DC area will be $1500+ a month. How will you swing that?

davepac7

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 10:04:09 AM »
Thanks honeybbq.

Support family member: it's my duty to support my family. So I'll have to come up with additional income.

Friend debt: can be postponed although we're close to paying him back.

Parking tickets: in theory, of course, you try to avoid them but fact of life is, parking tickets, or other random fees pop up for everyone, no matter how careful you are.

Entertainment: that's a matter of choice. We would rather have a life filled with joy in our thirties than saving for a life of joy when we're too old to enjoy things. If I was single I'd safe every penny but to keep a marriage alive you need to go on dates and share experiences.

Clothing = 0? Do you want us to walk around naked? lol

Charity: of course I'm going to be charitable. There are people who live terrible lives and legitimately need help.

Spa: in my eyes, Spa should be 0 but my wife is used to this type of lifestyle and I don't want an unhappy wife because happy wife = happy life :)

As for infact care, my wife wants to stay home and take care of our baby. I'll have to sharpen my skills and get a better paying job.


john6221

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 10:14:50 AM »
So what's the point of posting if you're going to shoot down all of the recommendations?

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ixtap

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 10:33:25 AM »
You can have dates without spending money. Take a picnic to the park. Volunteer at a theater to get tickets. Wait for movies to come out on Netflix. Use YouTube to learn to dance together. Play cards or board games. Take a staycation this year to get caught up.

Clothes can be put on a hiatus, although pregnancy is not a good time to do so.

Parking tickets and other random fees are not a fact of life. Fees are predictable and fines are avoidable.

slappy

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 10:42:39 AM »
So what's the point of posting if you're going to shoot down all of the recommendations?

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This.

I agree that clothing/spa/nails/entertainment need to be cut down.  You live in a metro area. Surely there are plenty of free events that you could use as date.  You can wear clothes that you already own. Why do you need to buy new clothes?

I agree about being charitable, but can't you at least skip that for a few months while you get your debt under control?

The good news is that the car will be paid off in a few months.


YoungGranny

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2017, 10:43:55 AM »
Is your wife going to stay at home with the baby or will she find employment also? If she plans on staying at home then you guys need to sit down and prioritize things. The car being paid off will free up some money so that's good but  what about $220 in gas? Especially right now with no employment why are you driving that much?

entertainment/vacations/personal is $785 - this needs to be reduced so you're not short money. This is the area cuts can easily be made.

It would also help to know how much you have left on debt items - are these close to being paid off?


Tyson

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 10:46:17 AM »
Re: duty to support your family.  I'd say your first duty is to support your immediate family (wife and child) before you support anyone else.  And you aren't even able to do that - you're putting your wife and child in financial peril.  Think about that.

Also get the entertainment costs to less than $200.  There's lots of free/cheap things to do in most major cities.  For example, my wife and I like to go to museums.  Here in Denver they offer free admission on the first Saturday of every month.  In addition, the local library offers free passes to various museums that can be checked out for a day. 

slappy

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Lady SA

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2017, 11:11:42 AM »
Total expenses   5989
Cash short/extra   -689.00

--------------------------------
Support family member: it's my duty to support my family. So I'll have to come up with additional income.

Friend debt: can be postponed although we're close to paying him back.

Parking tickets: in theory, of course, you try to avoid them but fact of life is, parking tickets, or other random fees pop up for everyone, no matter how careful you are.

Entertainment: that's a matter of choice. We would rather have a life filled with joy in our thirties than saving for a life of joy when we're too old to enjoy things. If I was single I'd safe every penny but to keep a marriage alive you need to go on dates and share experiences.

Clothing = 0? Do you want us to walk around naked? lol

Charity: of course I'm going to be charitable. There are people who live terrible lives and legitimately need help.

Spa: in my eyes, Spa should be 0 but my wife is used to this type of lifestyle and I don't want an unhappy wife because happy wife = happy life :)

As for infact care, my wife wants to stay home and take care of our baby. I'll have to sharpen my skills and get a better paying job.

Charity/supporting family member: your first duty, as a husband, is to get your own house in order and properly support your immediate family--meaning your wife and children. Anyone else for this purpose is extended family. Know the airplane analogy? Get your own air mask on before helping your neighbor or even your child? You can't effectively help anyone if you yourself are sinking. WHICH YOU ARE, you are short $700 EVERY MONTH. EVERY MONTH! You are short $8400 per year, meaning you are having to take on debt to sustain your lifestyle. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE INCOME TO LIVE THIS WAY. And for charity, yes there are people who need help, but again, you need to help yourself before you would be in any position to help others. Don't shoot yourself in the foot just to get some feel-good now. If it makes you feel better, commit to donating MORE to charity once you are actually financially independent and can make a bigger difference. And once you are FI, you can volunteer for a good cause and actually make a bigger impact than just your dollars.

Entertainment: There are loads of free/cheap activities that can provide a "life filled with joy". Going on bike rides or walks together, a picnic in the park, free outdoor concerts, stargazing, fun projects around the house, cooking meals together...

Clothing: no you don't walk around naked, but you already have clothes, do you not? why do you need to continually purchase more and more clothing? Your current clothing is more than suitable and you don't need more than what you currently have. Learn to work a needle and thread and patch any small holes and stop cycling though articles of clothing like your life depends on it. Your wife, if pregnant, does need some maternity clothing, but that's what thrift stores are for.

Spa: your wife is used to a lifestyle that YOU CANNOT AFFORD. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY FOR THIS. You are not living within your means by a long shot. Give your own wife a few backrubs and let her soak in a bubble bath for free, but spending outrageous amounts of money THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE for the spa experience is hurting your family.

Tyson

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2017, 11:35:27 AM »
To be fair, I also had exactly this type of lifestyle for a long time.  I made more $$, but I also spent more $$.  Every month we were just a bit short.  And then a big expense would hit and really rack up the debt.  At one point we were $30k in credit card debt, just because I wanted to live "a nice life". 

Part of the issue with me (and maybe it applies here, too), is I didn't think I could ever get ahead, financially.  So I figured any cut in spending was a sacrifice that would never pay off, or would pay off way too far in the future.  I used to think "scrimping and saving is for poor people".  What I didn't see was that I was actually spending my family into the poor house by making all these bad money choices.  I 'looked' like I was doing well (nice house, nice car, nice toys, etc..) but in fact we were poor, because I spent everything I earned, and then some.  And it was such a bad decision.  Sure I was providing my family with nice things, but I wasn't providing them with one of the most important things - financial security.  I can say this for certain - being rich is a lot better than looking rich.

BigHaus89

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2017, 11:54:14 AM »
Dave, you came here for advice and are being given the NECESSARY advice to get your financial shit together. You are making excuses and justifying your horrible money decisions. Perhaps having a more serious discussion with your wife is in order. On your current route, you will end up declaring bankruptcy and losing everything you own. We here on the MMM forums are trying to help you out.

I don't have much to add as previous posters have said all that needs to be done.

honeybbq

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2017, 11:54:55 AM »
Welp, sorry I didn't have any reasonable suggestions. Good luck.

Tyson

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2017, 12:02:26 PM »

Entertainment: that's a matter of choice. We would rather have a life filled with joy in our thirties than saving for a life of joy when we're too old to enjoy things. If I was single I'd safe every penny but to keep a marriage alive you need to go on dates and share experiences.

This is your primary mistake, right here.  You think spending money equals a life of joy.  That is not true.  There's plenty of joy to be had without putting your family in financial peril. 

Here's one thing I do - I wait for cheap or free tickets or events (like the museum free days I mentioned earlier), and then we eat at home right before we go and we bring snacks.  We also park a few blocks away from the museum where it's cheap/free to park. 

In the old days, I'd pay to park close to the museum, pay to get a 'nice lunch' or a 'good cup of coffee' while out and about, and then buy a book or other gift type thing from the shop (especially when my daughter was along). 

Same activity (going to the museum) can be expensive or it can be inexpensive.  You just have to be mindful and smart about how you do it. 

Laura33

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2017, 12:22:04 PM »
Thanks honeybbq.

Support family member: it's my duty to support my family. So I'll have to come up with additional income.

Friend debt: can be postponed although we're close to paying him back.

Parking tickets: in theory, of course, you try to avoid them but fact of life is, parking tickets, or other random fees pop up for everyone, no matter how careful you are.

Entertainment: that's a matter of choice. We would rather have a life filled with joy in our thirties than saving for a life of joy when we're too old to enjoy things. If I was single I'd safe every penny but to keep a marriage alive you need to go on dates and share experiences.

Clothing = 0? Do you want us to walk around naked? lol

Charity: of course I'm going to be charitable. There are people who live terrible lives and legitimately need help.

Spa: in my eyes, Spa should be 0 but my wife is used to this type of lifestyle and I don't want an unhappy wife because happy wife = happy life :)

As for infact care, my wife wants to stay home and take care of our baby. I'll have to sharpen my skills and get a better paying job.

1.  It is your duty to support your family.  But your immediate family comes first.  So is it more important to continue to support non-immediate family, or to continue to support your own entertainment and your wife's spa visits?  You don't have the income to do all of it.

2.  Charity:  You owe your friend money that you are considering not paying back until you get through this crisis.  So, basically, you are borrowing from your friend in order to give to others.  That is not fair to your friend.  Get your own house in order, then dedicate as much as you want of your spare income to improving the lives of those who have less.

3.  Entertainment:  I call bullshit.  You live in the DC area, home to a massive collection of museums and public parks that are all paid for by your tax dollars.  There is no other place in the US that has so many free entertainment options available. 

4.  Clothing:  You currrently own clothes.  See 2, above.  If you wouldn't go ask your friend now to borrow money to pay for new clothes, you shouldn't be using your current income to buy clothes instead of paying him back.

5.  Spa:  Yeah, so "happy wife, happy life" is patronizing at best to your wife, and at worst pretty insulting.  Is she really so shallow that she would rather have your friends finance her spa appointments (again, see 2, above).  Do you really think so little of her that you think you need to provide a constant supply of luxury that you can't afford to keep her happy?  How about talking to her like a competent, grown-ass woman about how much money you make and what your other commitments are and what your joint priorities should be?  If she wants the freedom to SAH with a kid, that comes with tradeoffs.  Better to learn who you are married to before you bring another person into the relationship. 

catccc

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2017, 12:29:04 PM »
Like many others here have said, you are living a life you cannot afford, and you don't want to listen to how this type of problem is typically fixed, which is by cutting back on extras and changing your mindset so that spend does not equal happy.

I'm enjoying my life plenty in my 30s, my marriage is great, and I live well below my means.  I'm 37 now and looking at financial independence (never needing to work for money) at around 40.  This is not atypical of members on this forum.

Also, your grocery budget (is it for 2 or are there other members of the household?) is the same as mine for a family of 4.  If you are also spending $200/month on dining out, than you need to take a closer look at your grocery spending.

Parking tickets don't "pop up no matter how careful you are."  That's just not true.  Don't park where you aren't supposed to.  Don't park longer than you are supposed to.  Feed the meter when you are supposed to.  Easily avoided.  I haven't had a parking ticket in 9 years and the last time it happened it was because I didn't follow instructions... I parked head out in a lot where signage said "head in parking only."  Clearly I wasn't careful enough, because had I read the sign and followed the instructions, I would not have gotten a ticket.

You can't have it all.  If your duty is to help family, then borrow a movie from the library instead of heading to the theater.  You have to prioritize here.  Your wife needs to get a grip on her priorities, too.  If she wants to stay at home with baby, something's gotta give, like maybe having colorful talon-like salon gel nails.

Keep up status quo and you are looking at $8K+ a year you'll be in the hole.  And even more than that once baby comes and those expenses hit.  (babies aren't really that expensive, but I'm going to guess your life is to short and precious to save money by cloth diapering...)  Two+ years of this and you'll easily be $20K in debt.  Then you can add interest payments on that debt to your expenses and it'll just get worse.  Wake up and fix things now before it is too late.

Jrr85

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2017, 12:46:18 PM »
My comments:

My pregnant wife and I just made an expense sheet and I'm hoping to get some feedback on what could be missing on there and any ideas to improve our financial situation. I currently have exactly $0 dollars after having been unemployed for a month. The income below is after taxes with my new job that's starting next month.

We live in the suburbs in the Washington DC metro area in a 1 bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, we are stuck in one of the top 5 most expensive areas in the US where any type of enjoyment costs a bunch of money.
First, this seems exactly backwards.  The most expensive areas in the U.S. typically have the most free stuff to do.  That's part of what makes them expensive is that people like living where there is a lot of stuff to do.  Certainly DC has a lot of free stuff.  Second, why are you stuck?  You seem to have a defeatist attitude in your post, so not clear whether you are really stuck or not.   
   
D's Income   5300
A's Income   0
  Maybe a moot point now that a baby is coming, but why is A's income zero? 
Other Income   0
Income totals   5300

EXPENSES   
Home   
Mortgage/rent   1530
  This doesn't seem high for DC, but if you're out in the suburbs, seems like you could optimize a little bit here.  Maybe not if you're having to travel to the hill for work. 
Electricity   100
Water + Sewer   45
Gas   0
Internet + TV   80
  Certainly reasonable normally, but probably not the thing to be spending money on while you have a negative $700 monthly cash flow.   

Cellphone   50
Renter's Insurance   12
Groceries   450
Home totals   2267
   
Transportation   
D's Fuel   120
A's Fuel   100
  A is not working, but still spending a $100 per month on fuel?  You spend almost as much on fuel as my wife and I, and we both work and I have a 30 mile commute.  Something is off about this.

Ford Car Payment   340 (two months left)
  This will be half your problem gone (or at least half your monthly deficit), which is good.

Car Insurance   90
Car Plates Renewal   2
Car wash/detailing services   2
  Small expense, but why? 

Parking Tickets   2
General Parking   2
Property Taxes   17
Maintenance   100
Transportation totals   775
   
Entertainment   
Disney Pass   0
Dining Out   200
Movies/plays   60 
Other   80
Entertainment totals   340
  I can get eating out, but movies and plays when your financially drowning?  And what is other?  Regardless, $240 a month would be a big splurge for someone financially struggling and would save you $100 per month. 

   
Health   
Health Deductible   100
Insurance   360
Prescriptions   13
Over-the-counter drugs   15
Co-payments/out-of-pocket   5
Life insurance   0
  If you're expecting a child, both of you need to get life insurance and you need to fix this yesterday. 
   

Veterinarians/pet medicines   0
Health totals   493
Confused as to why vet and pet medicines is included in health totals.  At least it's zero.  Did you copy somebody else's form?  Definitely not in shape to be having pets right now. 
   
Vacations   
Accommodations   100
Food   55
Souvenirs   5
Rental car   5
Vacations totals   165
  I would be loath to cut vacation, and that's not crazy expensive, but even $2000 is too much when you have a more than $8,000 annual deficit.
   
Personal   
Clothing   50
Gifts Savings   100
  Really confused as to why gifts and savings are lumped together.  Gifts are not the first place I would look, but maybe a place to trim down. 

Salon/barber   15
Spa/Nails   50
Professional Development (Wix)   15
Charity   50
Personal totals   280
   
Financial obligations   
Student Debt   331
Friend Debt   200
Supporting family member   420
Our Retirement   318
Emergency Savings   150
Child support   250
Financial obligation totals   1669
   
Total expenses   5989
Cash short/extra   -689.00

The good news is that without much sacrifice, you can erase your $687 deficit quickly (eliminate car payment, vacation, car washing, and then cut ~$180 out of cable/internet/entertainment).  But of course that doesn't address life insurance or new expenses associated with the baby. 

davepac7

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2017, 01:22:24 PM »
First of all, honeybbq I really valued your post. I just responded with my justifications for some of those expenses. Sorry it came across the wrong way.

And thanks for everyone else's harsh critiques. This budget was our first draft I appreciate your input.

The great thing is, I came here to get a voice of reason and I got a choir. So thank you.

We're definitely going to find alternatives to spa appointments and some of the other suggestions you guys were making like finding free events in the area. I personally have great difficulty finding those things, however. I don't know where to look.

Also, we're going to look into getting life insurance.

As for paying back my friend I agree that this will have to come later or the amount has to be reduced significantly until we have extra money left over by cutting down other items.

Finally, given what you've read so far what do you think about paying a financial advisor to help us with our financial planning? Or would that be another unnecessary expense in your eyes?


Rosy

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2017, 01:38:24 PM »
Welcome to the forum, davepac7!

OK then - so you rejected the first few suggestions out of hand - so why are you here at all? Surely you know deep down that you are in troubled waters financially? With a baby on the way, basic security for you and your family, including a healthy Emergency Fund is paramount.
Your duty is to your own family first and foremost.

There may be a good reason for family support, but I wonder, did you commit at a time when things were going well for you? Is this a person that can eventually help themselves? Could you temporarily cut support or at the very least, let them know this is a hardship for you at present and you need to reduce payments for the foreseeable future?

Which brings me to my next point, it would be a good idea to temporarily cut your retirement? 401K? contributions until you have a healthy Emergency Fund. With a baby on the way, there may be all sorts of complications lurking - you need to be better prepared for unexpected expenses in that arena - switch off the retirement payments and bolster your EF instead.

Time to put the brakes on any sort of frivolous spending, which includes dining out, entertainment and clothing. It is really simple - live below your means, pay off your debt and always - always pay yourself first.
How can you help others when you cannot even help yourself?

Stabilize your finances, that really needs to become your only priority at present.
I have confidence that you can easily figure out for yourself how to do that, with the car payment gone and a leaner budget, perhaps some extra income you will be fine in the long run  - as soon as you stop finding reasons why you want to live way above what your current income level is.

Do talk it over with your wife - if she has any sense at all and mamas to be usually do, because they start nesting, she will be on board. Princesses need not apply - Queens, however know how to rule their kingdom and reign in the spending.
Get a side gig - babysit, since you are at home anyway. Make it a game to find entertainment and diversions that do not require money.
It is nothing but a mind set:)

Attitude is everything! - An attitude adjustment may be in order to get the ball rolling. Oh and for now, your answer to everything should be, "We can't afford it!"

On the plus side - only two more months of car payments - Yay - victory! - Allocate that money immediately according to your new financial strategy!

New job - sounds promising, you may be on the way, but not if you don't reverse course. If you want a nice life for yourself and your wife and baby, you will need to switch gears from making excuses to finding and sticking to some temporary drastic measures.
Then when the baby is here and your EF is fat and happy and your retirement payments back on track - you make a new and different plan.

My advice - do as much as you can right now, because once the baby is here, everything will be much tougher for a while. 

 
My pregnant wife and I just made an expense sheet and I'm hoping to get some feedback on what could be missing on there and any ideas to improve our financial situation. I currently have exactly $0 dollars after having been unemployed for a month. The income below is after taxes with my new job that's starting next month.

We live in the suburbs in the Washington DC metro area in a 1 bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, we are stuck in one of the top 5 most expensive areas in the US where any type of enjoyment costs a bunch of money.

   

Ford Car Payment   340 (two months left) - ..... YAY! .....

Car wash/detailing services   2  ..... Umm - it ain't much, but consider putting this money in your EF or towards those fancy nails instead:)
Parking Tickets   2 ..................... see above
General Parking   2 ..................... see above

   
Entertainment   
Dining Out   200 ........................ NO - are you kidding me? You hair is on fire - you can't provide for your family, but you want to go out to eat? OK - if you must, at least go down to $50
Movies/plays   60 .................. NO - until you have room in your budget again - right now, you need to fatten up that EF!
Other   80 .......................... CUT down to $25 each
Entertainment totals   340
   
Vacations   .............................. ??? at present you cannot afford a vacation of any kind.
Accommodations   100
Food   55
Souvenirs   5
Rental car   5
Vacations totals   165
   
Personal   
Clothing   50 .................................. Temporary spending block on clothing - shoes and accessories.
Gifts Savings   100 ......................... ? Is this for gifts or is this a savings account?
Salon/barber   15
Spa/Nails   50 .................................. I sympathize, but if she really wants it, she can find a side gig/baby sit or save on the groceries, whatever it takes.
Professional Development (Wix)   15
Charity   50 .................................. Hold off on charity until you are no longer a hair on fire debt emergency yourself!
Personal totals   280
   
Financial obligations   
Student Debt   331
Friend Debt   200 ....................... Consider reducing to $50, put the difference in your EF
Supporting family member   420 .......  ? Can you explain this a bit more?
Our Retirement   318
Emergency Savings   150 ..............  THIS is trouble waiting to happen. You need to fatten up your EF until it is fat and happy.
Child support   250
Financial obligation totals   1669
   
Total expenses   5989
Cash short/extra   -689.00
- With stats like that you have the nerve to defend your lifestyle?

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, I understand this will be a shift in your perspective. Can you stop thinking about instant gratification for a minute, you are an adult with family responsibilities and even more daunting, other family members that also depend on you. So look beyond immediate spending and a world of excuses and let yourself see the wonderful possibilities of a good life for you and your family.

It is there right in front of you - but you need to make some hard decisions - can you do that?
Nobody can have it all and NO - while you are in financial trouble, you are NOT entitled to anything. You have it backwards - the nice life comes after you fixed this mess!

Lots of good advice here from all sides - trust us, we've been there - we know it works!

rockeTree

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2017, 01:44:59 PM »
An advisor would tell you how to manage assets but you don't seem to have any. Budget advice you can get here.

Look, you're short $700 a month and trying to keep a family of three on one income in a very expensive area. Half of that is a car payment that will be gone soon. $470 of that is savings for emergencies and retirement. So you're effectively going to be treading water as is once the car is paid off. You can work forever and eventually the kids you are paying child support for won't get it anymore (how long?) and maybe you'll pay off your friend and your student loans might get forgiven or be paid off (how long?) or your family member won't need so much support anymore and you'll start coming out ahead a tiny bit - you won't upgrade your life much and you won't help your kid out for college but you might have nothing major come up and be more or less okay. Is that the goal? If not, you have to look at some of these changes, even if they kind of suck for you.

With the big gas numbers I wonder if you folks have two cars, one almost paid off and one paid off. With one job and living in a metro area, can you sell one and throw the cash at some of your obligations? Your wife wants to stay at home - can she get some side work? Even just a little with the idea that she goes to the spa only when she's earned enough fun money to cover it out of her income would help. Go to matinees, don't buy food at them - unless you're going more than once a week you'll spend less than you are now. No excuse for grocery budget that high when one adult is at home. That person sets up the slow cooker and packs lunch for the working partner. This really isn't that bad if you take a couple of minor steps, nut if you don't it's just too precarious to subject a baby to. You need to have a cushion so your child can have stability, and right now you don't.

ixtap

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2017, 01:47:22 PM »
Try here: https://washington.org/things-to-do-this-weekend-in-washington-dc

In the end, you need to set your priorities and match your budget. And this should be a process wherein you ask each other is X more important than Y.

I also find it useful to have something concrete to picture. Our first goal was an amazing swimming pool. When we had to make the hard choices, we just pictured the pool. In the end, we bought a boat to live on instead. Much cheaper than large house + swimming pool.

And, as many have pointed out, rather than looking at what you are giving up, look for more ways to experience joy for less money. For everything that you spend money on in the joy category, what is it that actually brings you joy? Do you eat out because no one wants to cook or do dishes? That can be achieved with sandwiches served on napkins at home. Are you eating dishes that you don't know how to prepare or are labor intensive? Look around for cooking demonstrations at places like Whole Foods.

Why is there a set amount for supporting family? Can you help them find support services that would cover at least part of what you are giving them? Are other family members giving evenly?

Tyson

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2017, 01:48:05 PM »
We're definitely going to find alternatives to spa appointments and some of the other suggestions you guys were making like finding free events in the area. I personally have great difficulty finding those things, however. I don't know where to look.

Googled "Free events Washington DC" and this came back - some cool stuff!

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/washington-dc/53-totally-free-things-to-do-in-washington-dc


Fire2025

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2017, 02:25:03 PM »
Davepac7, welcome to the forum.  I live in Los Angeles, HCOL place, on very little.  You can do this.

D's Income   5300
A's Income   0
Other Income   0
Income totals   5300

EXPENSES   
Home   
Mortgage/rent   1530
Electricity   100
Water + Sewer   45
Gas   0
Internet + TV   80
Cellphone   50
Renter's Insurance   12
Groceries   450
Home totals   2267
   
Transportation   
D's Fuel   120
A's Fuel   100
Ford Car Payment   340 (two months left)
Car Insurance   90
Car Plates Renewal   2
Car wash/detailing services   2
Parking Tickets   2
General Parking   2
Property Taxes   17
Maintenance   100
Transportation totals   775 When payment is gone 435.00
   
Entertainment   
Disney Pass   0
Dining Out   200 New total 50.00
Movies/plays   60
Other   80
Entertainment totals   340 new total 50.00
   
Health   
Health Deductible   100
Insurance   360
Prescriptions   13
Over-the-counter drugs   15
Co-payments/out-of-pocket   5
Life insurance   0
Veterinarians/pet medicines   0
Health totals   493
   
Vacations   
Accommodations   100
Food   55
Souvenirs   5
Rental car   5
Vacations totals   165 I would really rethink this 0.00
   
Personal   
Clothing   50 New Total - 0.00
Gifts Savings   100
Salon/barber   15
Spa/Nails   50 New Total - 25.00
Professional Development (Wix)   15 New Total - 0.00
Charity   50
Personal totals   280 New Total - 190.00
   
Financial obligations   
Student Debt   331
Friend Debt   200
Supporting family member   420
Our Retirement   318
Emergency Savings   150 new total 346.00
Child support   250
Financial obligation totals   1669 New Total - 1865.00
   
Total expenses   5989 New Total 5300.00
Cash short/extra   -689.00 - New Total 0.00

I would rethink vacations, cloths and salon visits all while talking about reducing what you give back to a friend, if you want them to remain a friend, but that may be just me.

There's definitely some more low hanging fruit, but you don't really sound like you think your situation is that bad, IF you knew you were drowning I don't think you would be talking about helping people less fortunate and walking around naked because you can't buy new cloths.  So I've just gone after the really really low hanging fruit to help get you to zero gain/ zero loss.

I hope you are able to make some changes soon.  This is only getting worse.

davepac7

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2017, 02:50:03 PM »
What a reality check-- I guess the first step is admitting you need help...

Thank you all - even if it hurt.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 04:33:43 PM by davepac7 »

Rosy

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2017, 04:52:42 PM »
What a reality check-- I guess the first step is always admitting you need help...

Thank you all - even if it hurt.

You'll be fine and you'll do fine:) You took the first step, working on a viable budget, that alone took time and showed that you are ready to tackle the budget and a new plan going forward. Congrats - you are aware that you needed help - someone else with no skin in the game to help you take the next step - it is indeed all good:)

Many of us on this board have been where you are now in some form or fashion - everyone's situation is unique.
It is not easy to come here and show your colors:), but this is what this forum does best - it shows you the way. It shows you possibilities and you will find it presents you with solutions that bring results and in the end that is all that matters.

Living according to your values is important and something MMM talks about all the time. Yet, it is just as important to do it within the context of your own financial realty and income. It would be foolish, don't you agree? to commit financial suicide, because you mean well and feel obligated to help others and treat your wife like the jewel she is.
You are at a cross road - sorry, we didn't mean for it to hurt - we really just want to help you nicely sidestep a financial disaster.

Good luck - now make some revisions and changes and come back to let us know how it all goes. We want to gloat with you:)
... and don't forget to talk to your lady, it will be so much easier for you if she is on board. It can be frustrating and lonely to go it all alone - you deserve better:)

With This Herring

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2017, 05:55:08 PM »
EXPENSES   
Internet + TV   80
Cellphone   50
Renter's Insurance   12
Groceries   450
Home totals   2267

Internet + TV - What is the current deal your local internet provider is offering for just internet?  Call and cancel your TV, and say you want to cancel internet as well, as it is out of your budget.  Eventually (15+ minutes) talking to the cancellation department should get you internet at the current promo rate.

Cellphone - Ask for help on IP Daley's tech thread to get this down.  You should come prepared with the name of your current phone service provider and the amounts of minutes, data, and texts you and your wife use each month.  Be prepared for suggestions to cut current data use as much as you can before switching.

Groceries - As much as you can with your wife's pregnancy, consider trying to cut this cost by reducing expensive meat purchases, skipping organic, and cooking from scratch.

Also, it looks like your family has two cars.  Are you in a city portion of D.C. that will let you two sell one car and fill in with public transportation?

And I agree with everyone who says to cut out spa stuff and severely cut down entertainment, clothing, and charity and PRIORITIZING repaying the friend who was kind enough to help you out in a tight spot.

Go to the library, pick out some classic films that you two haven't seen, and make a fancy dinner at home for your date night.  You two don't even have a kid interrupting things yet.  :)

Make sure you get term life insurance instead of whole-life.  It's cheaper, and it won't needlessly bundle in investing.

It looks like this is more a budget than your actual expenses.  I would encourage you to track your actual expenses starting July 1 (or further back, if you can).  Use Mint, GnuCash, Quicken, Personal Capital, YNAB, Excel, or one of the many other tracking tools that we recommend on this forum.  It is likely you are not seeing more spending that is actually happening.  Tracking expenses will give you a complete picture of your spending and let you see if your budget is missing anything.

fuzzy math

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2017, 08:12:48 AM »
I have been in your situation right when my first child was born. It gets a lot harder to manage money with kids. It appears you have a kid already but I'm assuming this is your wife's first kid?
It would be a. Lot easier for you to lower your going out standards now before you have to add babysitter costs into the equation.

A few questions - are you tied to DC because your kid is there? Is the " family support" column for this kid or for some aging parent (possible overseas?)
I would say your income is low for such an expensive area and in the long term you'd be much better off considering leaving the area, but you have to tell us if some child custody arrangement prevents that.

What is your insurance deductible like? With an impending birth you are going to have some costs. If your plan has a $1k deductible, that will be separate for the wife and the new baby each upon delivery. You really need to save because shit could add up quickly.

People have mentioned your major areas to cut and I agree with them. I'm going to offer up some creative solutions for your upcoming needs:

1) join your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook. Let them know you having a baby, and watch the free stuff roll in

2) your wife has a birthday  and a baby  shower coming up. Let friends and family know that sh could use some pampering and see and see if if they can get her a few spa treatments. In the long term he will need to cut entirely back on these, but perhaps she can start out rationing the few certificates she has, knowing they will run out and not be paid for out of your budget any more.

3) find a local arts/ entertainment calendar. Like them on FB or whatever and make it a goal when you go out to spend less than $20. Go to the food trucks and see a free event. I would kill to have been able to see a fraction of the free stuff in DC back when I lived in VA, but to it was too hard for us a to get into the city. You can even visit the US mint for free - make an appointment!!




fuzzy math

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2017, 08:16:24 AM »
Also, do you have credit card debt that is not listed here?

EverCurious

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2017, 08:57:50 AM »

Entertainment: that's a matter of choice. We would rather have a life filled with joy in our thirties than saving for a life of joy when we're too old to enjoy things. If I was single I'd safe every penny but to keep a marriage alive you need to go on dates and share experiences.

 Sharing experiences does not require spending money. Dates can be either cheap or free. They don't always mean one much spend money, especially money you don't have.

 It ain't as glamorous but talking walks or having picnics with homemade food is always nice. 



Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 09:00:37 AM by EverCurious »

davepac7

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2017, 05:53:33 PM »
Thanks for the additional answers. Fortunately we don't have any credit card debt. My wife's student loans and my car loan are the only interest loans we have.

We are stuck in Northern Virginia (an hour away from DC) for 2-3 more years. My mother-in-law lives close to us and she's going to help us with the baby. After that we can move wherever we want to. We need two cars because you literally can't go anywhere without a car. I'm an avid biker so I'll bike to the grocery store but we don't even have bike paths or sidewalks here.

As for the deductible for the baby, wow, I didn't even consider that! Definitely need to make sure we have the right plan.

Also, I talked to my wife and we're starting to put more emphasis on making food by ourselves, especially now that she has more time. We'll also use our network and the internets of course to find free stuff to do where we live. We did the math and decided to temporarily halt our 401k payments. Instead, we're going to up our emergency fund (currently at 8,000) to 24,000, half of last year's income after taxes. Once we get to that number we'll continue our 401k payments.

Another question: I won't start my new job until mid-August. Do you guys have any suggestions how I can make a decent income this month so that we can stay afloat? I started working at a Ford Dealership 3 days ago but the certification process takes too long. I probably won't even be making $1500 this month.

Thanks guys!

Fire2025

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2017, 07:02:03 PM »
Another question: I won't start my new job until mid-August. Do you guys have any suggestions how I can make a decent income this month so that we can stay afloat? I started working at a Ford Dealership 3 days ago but the certification process takes too long. I probably won't even be making $1500 this month.

Thanks guys!
You have a new car.  You can do Uber and Lyft in the DC area.  At least it could make the car pay for itself this month and maybe until it's paid off????

Lepetitange3

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2017, 07:07:50 PM »
Ok ....I grew up in NoVa.  You absolutely do not need a car to get around !? The public transit system is pretty broad, including bus and metro.  And there's definitely bike paths too...where are we talking here?  Arlington or furher out at the end of Fairfax County?  Heck, metro goes out there too. 

And unless you and wife have been to every smithsonian museum in depth during this exhibit rotation cycle, your entertainment is now officially free.  You're welcome. 

davepac7

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2017, 10:16:47 AM »
Can you still make money with uber and lyft? I did both when it was brand new and it was alright money.

@Lepetitange3: If we lived in Arlington, no problem. If we lived close to a metro station, no problem. If I could bike to a metro station, no problem. We live in Centreville, which is really far out. Also, I did the math: even if I took the bus to the metro to get to work it would be more expensive overall during rush hour depending on the distance than driving (and that includes wear and tear and gas money). Taking public transportation to DC, to give you an idea, takes at a minimum 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Also, we don't enjoy going to museums.


Dee18

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2017, 05:32:42 PM »
If you are renting (not absolutely clear from first post) why not move to where you could commute without a car?

Lepetitange3

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2017, 07:15:18 PM »
Ummm there's definitely public transportation out to centerville. 

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/centreville.htm

And D.C. Traffic is notoriously terrible so I'm not sure you're even saving time driving from that far out.  And I literally lived in that area for decades.  A commute to and from centerville is lengthy no matter how you're spinning it.  Your transportation cost is over $700/mo. And right now you're not actually earning $ from what it looks like?

Again, your going out budget is high.  Even if you "don't like museums" theres a lot of free in DC as another poster noted.  And this:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09/18/is-it-convenient-would-i-enjoy-it-wrong-question/

davepac7

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Re: Our Expenses - Update Exactly 1 Year Later
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2019, 09:10:10 AM »
Hi all,

Since you guys spent a lot of time and effort writing valuable advice last year I wanted to give an update on our situation exactly one year later.

We've implemented some of your advice and cut costs in entertainment (also $0 in spa). We cook a lot more but still eat out quite a bit. For us it's simply too stressful to cook or prepare food. Meal planning for us is far more stressful than waking up in the middle of the night and tending to a crying baby. But that's just us.

While cutting costs has definitely helped us, I re-did the math and decided to focuse more on gaining new skills and increasing my income. The new skills brought me from unemployment last July to $70,000 last August to $102,000 this June.

We are still paying off our student loans (slowly but surely), I've continued to support my family, and I've increased the amount of charity I'm giving (spiritual belief: the more you give the more you'll get). Other than that, I've been taking further MMM-inspired actions to reduce our expenses. Just purchased a used ebike to commute the 31 miles round trip each day so I can leave my car at home.

So all in all, thanks to your help we're seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Our living standard has decreased over time but we're no longer scared of unexpected expenses because we see our bank account balance rising, not dwindling.

If I'll remember, I'll post our progress next year.

All the best





MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2019, 09:40:55 AM »
Well, congrats on the improvements and salary, thatís great. Hopefully youíre not giving into lifestyle creep with your new money. As for eating out, I get it but eating out is generally very unhealthy, as well as expensive. Are you both in great shape and getting enough exercise (not riding an ebike alone)? Are there meal delivery services?

As for the charity, um, sure but there might be other ways to achieve that. Check out kiva.org. Thatís a non profit that does micro lending to people in need. Instead of just giving your money away, you can help people help themselves. When they pay back the loans, you can lend that money to someone else. So, for what you spend on charity, you can create a perpetual giving account, that empowers people. You can achieve your karmic goals, while redirecting money back to your family to get you all stable first, put your airmask on first idea.

honeybbq

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2019, 11:03:27 AM »
Congrats on your positive changes and getting a higher salary. That's huge.
How is the baby? Congrats on fatherhood!

davepac7

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #38 on: July 08, 2019, 12:55:39 PM »
Well, congrats on the improvements and salary, thatís great. Hopefully youíre not giving into lifestyle creep with your new money. As for eating out, I get it but eating out is generally very unhealthy, as well as expensive. Are you both in great shape and getting enough exercise (not riding an ebike alone)? Are there meal delivery services?

As for the charity, um, sure but there might be other ways to achieve that. Check out kiva.org. Thatís a non profit that does micro lending to people in need. Instead of just giving your money away, you can help people help themselves. When they pay back the loans, you can lend that money to someone else. So, for what you spend on charity, you can create a perpetual giving account, that empowers people. You can achieve your karmic goals, while redirecting money back to your family to get you all stable first, put your airmask on first idea.

Wow, kiva.org looks amazing! That's really game-changing.

RWD

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Re: Our Expenses - Update Exactly 1 Year Later
« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2019, 01:04:23 PM »
Since you guys spent a lot of time and effort writing valuable advice last year I wanted to give an update on our situation exactly one year later.
It's been two years. Time flies, huh? Thanks for coming back to update.

slappy

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Re: Our Expenses
« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2019, 01:59:16 PM »
For the cooking part, could you consider some of those meal delivery services? You would still have to cook but at least it would give you versatility and take care of the meal planning issue.