Author Topic: For the want of a money mustache...  (Read 3846 times)

anyoneanywhere

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For the want of a money mustache...
« on: February 21, 2013, 04:42:16 PM »
Howdy Mustachians,
I’m looking to start working toward badassity. However, the hubbs and I are in a unique situation. I want to convince the hubbs that we can save/work towards badassity, but he has other ideas. Here is some background on us.

-Active duty military
-Hubby is contracted for 10 years
-I’m contracted for 3 years
-If either one of us gets out early, we will owe the government $140K+ for the cost of our education. So getting out early is not an option.
-Variable work schedules, he is a pilot and I do admin work, and they are looking at putting me on shift work. He does not know his schedule until the night before.
-Both working on MS degrees, using Government tuition assistance to pay for it. However, we pay for books and misc fees.

- 1 child, 3 mos old
-currently use base childcare center, close to work, have to pay monthly regardless of daily/weekly use 
-having a child this young limits ability to bike to work since any passenger under 18 on a bike must wear a helmet and pediatrician advises I wait till she is 1 y/o before I put her in a bike trailer or seat 
- Desire to “earn” 9/11 GI Bill-requires that I stay in for total of 8 years. (already 3 years into my contract) so that I can pass it on to the kiddo
-Desire to have second, and last child, within the next 18 months
-hubby will pass his GI bill on to the second kiddo

-Housing situation
-Live about 12 miles from the base. Can’t live any closer, since the base is surrounded by farms. We are not eligible for on base housing since the base demolished a lot of it, and the priority is for enlisted folks.
-   2 cars for commuting since we have differing schedules, both paid off
o   85 mustang, 03 sentra

-Pets (a HUGE expense and sticking point with the hubby)
-2 dogs, both rescued. I run on a regular basis with them at dawn/dusk. I want to keep them since it is better than running alone. Hubby and I do not want to rehome them.
-2 horses, hubby and I met riding horses, and both enjoy it. We’ve thought about getting rid of one, both neither of us can agree on which one.

- 15k loan with USAA working to have it paid off in Aug.

-I was working on a Private Pilots license, but I have decided to wait until we’ve paid off the debt to finish. Thus, I do not foresee another $400.00 bill for awhile.

I’m looking for ideas where we could cut expenses while keeping the dogs and horses and still work toward badassity.
Comments, criticism, flames etc are encouraged

Below are our expenses for January
   
Wages                     8,058.00
BAS/BAH                    3,562.00
Flight Pay                    125.00
Income totals   11,745.00
EXPENSES   
Home   
Mortgage/rent   1,377.00
Utilities                   370.00
Cellular telephone   140.00
Home repairs   0.00
Home improvement   0.00
Garden supplies   0.00
Home totals   1,887.00
    
Daily living   
Groceries     600.00
Child care                   540.00
Dining out   100.00
Daily living totals   1,240.00
    
Transportation   
Gas/fuel                      400.00
Insurance                      180.00
Repairs                    400.00
Parking   0.00
Public transportation   0.00
Transportation totals   980.00
    
Entertainment   
Cable TV/Internet   100.00
Video/DVD rentals   20.00
Movies/plays   40.00
Concerts/clubs   0.00
Entertainment totals   160.00
    
Health   
Veterinarians/pet medicines   130.00
Life insurance/SGLI   50.00
Health totals   180.00
    
Vacations   
Plane fare   250.00
Accommodations   0.00
Food   0.00
Souvenirs   0.00
Pet boarding   0.00
Rental car   0.00
Vacations totals   250.00
    
Baby   
Diapers/wipes   60.00
Toys/child gear   60.00
Recreation totals   120.00
    
Dues/subscriptions   
Magazines   0.00
Newspapers   0.00
Internet connection   0.00
Public radio   0.00
Public television   0.00
Religious organizations   0.00
Charity   15.00
Dues/subscription totals   15.00
    
Personal   
Clothing   100.00
Gifts   100.00
Salon/barber   0.00
Books   20.00
Music (CDs, etc.)   0.00
Personal totals   220.00
    
Financial obligations   
Long-term savings   1,000.00
Roth IRA   100.00
TSP/Roth TSP   471.36
Spouse 1 Taxes   713.99
Spouse 2 Taxes   725.06
Financial obligation totals   3,010.41
    
Misc. payments   
Horses                                  480.00
School                                 200.00
Flying                               400.00
Child College Fund       100.00
USAA Loan Repayment    530.00
Misc. payments totals   1,710.00
    
Total expenses   9,772.41
Cash short/extra   1,972.59
   
   



Jamesqf

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Re: For the want of a money mustache...
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 05:27:13 PM »
Where do you keep the horses?  If it's at your own place, don't think of getting rid of one.  Horses are herd animals, and need other horses around for mental health.

Other than that, looks like you've got the obvious places for small cuts: cell phones, cable, groceries &c.

mm1970

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Re: For the want of a money mustache...
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 08:13:05 PM »
Places you can cut:
cell phones.  We pay $33/month.  My husband has a smart phone w/data, prepaid for $25/month. I have prepaid phone (text/phone only) at $100/year.

You can probably cut the groceries a bit.  Do you have access to the commissary?  I was in the Navy for 5 years. I can't believe I was in for four before I discovered the commissary.

Do you have to have another child in 18 months?

Gas $400/month.  This seems high?  What kind of gas mileage are you getting?  We have a similar commute (and work near each other and don't carpool).  Can you combine trips?  Carpool with other coworkers?  Not drive at all on weekends?

Cancel cable TV.  Keep internet.

Vacations $250...is that every month?

Spork

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Re: For the want of a money mustache...
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 08:21:28 PM »
I gotta say:  I feel your pain cutting out the flying.  It's like doing crack.  I used to flush a ton of money down the toilet at the local airport.... but haven't done that (except for free rides where I can get them) in 20 years.

mm1970

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Re: For the want of a money mustache...
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 08:34:15 PM »
So on the biking to work thing...are you the only one who does childcare drop off?  Because we live 10 miles from work too.  And here's what we did a couple of days a week (we are on different schedules).

I ride my bike to work early.
Hubby drops off kiddo at daycare/school, drives to work with his bike on the back.  Leaves me the car.
I drive home with my bike on the car and pick up the kiddo.
He bikes home.

We haven't done that in awhile because now we have TWO kids and TWO dropoffs and we share dropoff/pickup with our neighbors and I'm working and pumping anyway, and really don't want to haul the extra stuff on a bike.

But in the fall, when the baby is >1 year old, I won't be pumping.  We won't be carpooling with the neighbors anymore (their 2nd child starts school and we don't have a car that will fit four kids in car seats).  So at that point, we can bike again easily, just hubby would do the drop-offs and I'd do the pick-ups.

With a variable schedule it might be harder, but I expect you'd find that once in awhile you could do it.  It really did save us a lot of money.  When we did it regularly, we cut our "work" mileage from 200 miles/week to 160 miles/week.

Nords

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Re: For the want of a money mustache...
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 09:23:07 PM »
Spouse and I raised our daughter while juggling our active-duty careers.

I think you're gonna be fine.  You'll have interminable periods of boring parenting interspersed with short periods of intense panic job-related stress, but in the long term everything will work out.  You've probably heard this ad nauseum, but your biggest priority is making sure that you have reliable backup & contingency childcare-- both for the midwatch and for the "emergent deployment for six months starting next Tuesday" problems.  That was always our biggest fear concern, and eventually we had to deal with it.

It would be worth your time to do some hypothetical contingency planning for the unrefuseable offer:  an unaccompanied hardship tour or a transfer that you just can't accept.  (Despite the cliché "That's why they're called 'orders'".)  Have a financial plan for the possibility that one of you may decide to leave active duty for the Reserves/Guard, even the IRR or civilian life.  This will greatly reduce the stress when this problem crops up, and it always seems to crop up.  When it happened to my spouse, we were able to step back from the negotiations and look at the big lifestyle/financial picture.  If this happened to you tomorrow, you may decide that it's better to leave active duty and pay back the $140K.  It's only money.  It is still an option.

Before I dig into the details, let me pass on that I've heard financial stories from dozens of military over the years.  Every time we've discussed the specific changes that they should consider making, their first response is "Yeah, but--"  If that's your reflex then you need to stifle that comment and re-think your life.  The overall theme here is to stop agonizing over the dollars and start discussing your lifestyle.  You need to decide what parts of your life are so important to you, have so much value to you, that you're willing to slave away for that number of hours per month to continue having the privilege.  Then the two of you don't have to dispute the choices-- you just have to volunteer to provide the labor.

Digging into the details:
- Desire to “earn” 9/11 GI Bill-requires that I stay in for total of 8 years. (already 3 years into my contract) so that I can pass it on to the kiddo
- hubby will pass his GI bill on to the second kiddo
Personally I think you're sacrificing your lives for the sake of college funding.  How will you feel if your kids decide that they're "not ready" for college or want to major in International Relations or Art History?  How will you feel if they do ROTC or, even worse, a service academy?  (Hey, it happened to us.)  They also have many other funding choices for their degrees.  Your degrees may quench your thirst for knowledge, and they will make you highly employable as civilians.  If you're not comfortable with a college plan of State U or letting the kids earn their own scholarships, then instead of sticking with the GI Bill consider the possibility of working a few years after the military (or a few more years of part time).  I think it's much better than grimly clenching your jaws for another five years of active duty to pay for someone else's college.

Here's more on that perspective from a friend: 
http://paycheck-chronicles.military.com/2012/01/20/dont-transfer-your-gi-bill-to-your-kids/

-   2 cars for commuting since we have differing schedules, both paid off
o   85 mustang, 03 sentra
Transportation   
Insurance                      180.00
Repairs                    400.00
If you haven't already done so then I recommend you drop the collision/comprehensive.  I'd be tempted to drop the towing & roadside assistance, too.  Carry the minimum state requirements plus liability.  While your kids are living with you, you'd probably want to carry UM/UIM in case a driver injures one of your kids to the point that they require lifetime care.  If necessary, add umbrella liability to cover your gross worth (not net but gross).  You'll need this protection for today's litigious society in case something awful happens with your dogs or horses. 

Drive the cars into the ground.  If you're paying nearly $4800/year to keep those vehicles running then you need at least one new vehicle.  But I understand if that's a vehicle replacement fund.

Speaking of insurance-- if either you or your spouse pass away, does the survivor have enough to pay the childcare expenses to raise the kids?  Would the survivor want to stay on active duty or take a humanitarian discharge?  SGLI is not always enough, and 10-20 years of term life insurance is cheap at your age.  Over the years I've lost far too many of my shipmates and then had to help their families try to confront this problem.

-Pets (a HUGE expense and sticking point with the hubby)
-2 dogs, both rescued. I run on a regular basis with them at dawn/dusk. I want to keep them since it is better than running alone. Hubby and I do not want to rehome them.
-2 horses, hubby and I met riding horses, and both enjoy it. We’ve thought about getting rid of one, both neither of us can agree on which one.
Health   
Veterinarians/pet medicines   130.00
I think you have two choices:  keep all four animals or give away/sell all four animals.  I can't offer any more help on that aspect.  However now you have to figure out how to align your spending with your values-- including umbrella liability insurance and pet insurance (both liability & health) with appropriate deductibles.  The question becomes whether they're worth the number of hours that you're going to have to work each month to enjoy their company. 

How big is your place?  Could you board more horses for income? 

I spent three years as treasurer of our local dressage society, which had over 100 members.  Nearly all of them were women.  I cannot recall a single one of them who was retired-- all of them were working to pay for horses & tack.  I guess they felt it was worth it.

Cellular telephone   140.00
If you think you can afford to keep your cell phones then you're in the wrong bar forum.  If you really need them for work (doubtful) then let the command(s) pay for them.  If you need them to coordinate your lives (doubtful) then buy a $20 pay-as-you-go at Wal-Mart and buy minutes once in a while.  ($15 every three months, or emergency use only.)  You can do it through advance planning.  Spouse and I juggled careers & parenting for over 20 years without cell phones.  You can too.  If you're still skeptical then take the 30-day cell-free challenge and see how you feel.  Mike from LiveTheNewEconomy.com also posts here and may have more cell phone advice for you.

Personal   
Gifts   100.00
Again, you're going to have to align your gift-giving with your values.  Many families have managed to jump off the gift-giving merry-go-round.  Your kid(s) have several more years at the age where they'll be happier with cardboard boxes cut out as houses or other imaginary toys.  We did Goodwill & garage sales for eight years until my brother-in-law corrupted his only niece with a visit to Toys 'R' Us.

Other resources:  if you're not already reading these then you might want to take a look at the Facebook group "Association of Dual Military Couples" (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Association-of-Dual-Military-Couples-ADMC/117567518323623?fref=pb) and "MANning the Homefront" (https://www.facebook.com/MANningtheHomefront?fref=pb).  Chris Pape's "Macho Spouse" is also worth a look (http://malemilspouse.com/male-military-spouse/page/how-will-sequestration-affect-your-military-family/175/).  Yeah, the last two are more oriented toward your spouse than to you, but if you can overlook the testosterone poisoning then the advice is applicable to both genders.  Besides, guys could generally pick up more of the slack on parenting and home care.  I strongly recommend signing up for Kate's "Paycheck Chronicles" RSS feed as well.  She has good advice about raising kids on a military paycheck with a deployed spouse.  I also have another hundred or so links on the sidebar of my blog.

Again, none of this is easy but it's achievable.  Consider the example of this E-5 family and their insurance disaster:
http://the-military-guide.com/2012/08/15/guest-post-wednesday-financial-independence-on-an-e-5-paycheck/
Search the blog or scroll through the archives here:
http://the-military-guide.com/post-titles-by-month/

Jamesqf

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Re: For the want of a money mustache...
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 12:19:15 PM »
A further suggestion on the horses:  have you considered a lease/part owner arrangement?  I'm just guessing, but it seems like you may not be riding them enough to keep them in condition.  If you can find someone nearby you trust, that cuts your expenses, and also ensures that there'll be someone to take care of them if you have to deploy suddenly.