Author Topic: Help me lower my expenses  (Read 1776 times)

notmyhand

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Help me lower my expenses
« on: July 22, 2017, 02:48:07 PM »
I'm about to start a new job and it is a W2 versus a 1099 so I have less wiggle room in terms of cash flow.  Help me get my expenses down please?

$2300 mtg (just principal and interest), currently paying $3800
$400 tractor payment (0% APR, we're on 20 acres, the garden tractor was taking forever to mow with)
$1000 insurance/property taxes (house, cars, umbrella, mine subsidence - 2500 a year, disability policies are about 2500 a year, 2200 life insurance, unknown property taxes just yet as house was just bought and there was a county wide reassessment)
$1000 animals (four big dogs, fostering for cat rescue, prescription food just for one is 100 a month, prescriptions are about 125 a month, cats currently eating about 10 a day in wet canned food) - will try switching from cat litter to horse stall pellets
$110 cell phones (Page plus, just switched)
$500 medical (have a condition that requires constant care)
$106 internet/cable (will drop cable but internet is $86+ tax, no other providers)
$300-400 electric (no natural gas, 2800 sq ft ranch house, 3000-4000 kWh used a month) - just ordered a smart thermostat, is it worth switching appliances?  Our fridge has a manufactured date of 1989
$120 water (will be going up due to a 16% increase)
$500 food - this is already a stretch for us, usually spent around 1k as we ate out often
$13 netflix
$300 fuel (72 miles commute per day combined for the two of us, family is across the state)
$500 Misc (usually home improvement)
$30 trash
Total = 7279 a month or 8779 if I want to keep paying extra on the mortgage which I do

2 people, no dependents
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 03:01:05 PM by notmyhand »

SimpleCycle

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Re: Help me lower my expenses
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2017, 03:00:17 PM »
How many people does this support?  Two spouses, any dependents?

How important is cat rescue to you?  I personally wouldn't want to spend $300/month on cat food.

Life insurance looks expensive, maybe because of health conditions.

Will the new job come with health insurance or an FSA?  You might be able to reduce medical expenses that way.

You heat with electric?

notmyhand

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Re: Help me lower my expenses
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 03:05:05 PM »
How many people does this support?  Two spouses, any dependents?

How important is cat rescue to you?  I personally wouldn't want to spend $300/month on cat food.

Life insurance looks expensive, maybe because of health conditions.

Will the new job come with health insurance or an FSA?  You might be able to reduce medical expenses that way.

You heat with electric?

Two people, no dependents. 

The thought process is to not take in anymore after the fosters get adopted.  Unfortunately many of them have medical/behavioral problems so it can take months/years.  I can't just give them back immediately, it's a small rescue.

Life insurance breakdown - Me 900 a year for 30 year 1.5 million, hubby 1100 a year for 20 year 1.5 million.  I won't qualify for a new policy, hubby is overweight and blood pressure problems so his was preferred but not the best rate.

My new job will come with better insurance, only 1000 deductible so health expenses may go down in 90+ days once I qualify and meet my deductible.

Heat/cool with electric.  I have an electricity thread going as I know this is crazy.

Thanks for thinking through this with me!

notmyhand

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Re: Help me lower my expenses
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2017, 03:30:51 PM »
Animal expenses roughly breakdown as follows -

$100-$150 - prescription
$80-$130 - prescription food
$80-$120 - dog food, Sam's club brand
$300 - frisky's canned cat food
$70-$80 - large box of rawhide
$100 - chicken food, $15 a bag
$200 - rabbit food/hay, $17 a bag (this is a hobby, I show rabbits, I think I am going to have to cut back here)
$100  - vet, we got to the vet at least every other month, average is about 180

FINate

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Re: Help me lower my expenses
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2017, 05:29:26 PM »
Animal expenses roughly breakdown as follows -

$100-$150 - prescription
$80-$130 - prescription food
$80-$120 - dog food, Sam's club brand
$300 - frisky's canned cat food
$70-$80 - large box of rawhide
$100 - chicken food, $15 a bag
$200 - rabbit food/hay, $17 a bag (this is a hobby, I show rabbits, I think I am going to have to cut back here)
$100  - vet, we got to the vet at least every other month, average is about 180

OMG!!! [almost falls off chair] I almost don't know where to start. Your monthly expenses are almost double mine, family of 4 in extremely HCOL area! IMO you have a lot of what I call structural issues in your budget, where you've made long term decisions that are boxing you into a bad financial situation. You need to make major changes rather than small tweaks.

May as well start here: You need to do something about your animal situation.  Yes, cut way back on the rabbit hobby. Why are you spending $100/month on chicken food? How many do you have? You should be feeding them scraps, having them range/forage for seeds/insects, etc. If the eggs/meat are not paying for themselves then you're better off getting rid of them and spending $10/month for eggs at the supermarket. And *way* too much spent on other pets...cut way back on the number of animals.

If you're going to live on 20 acres you should be getting value out of the land, as in growing your own crops and/or raising animals for meat (though meat animals are a huge commitment and too costly if you don't do it right). If you don't have time to grow your own food then you're wasting a huge amount on land that's lying fallow. Sell and get something more manageable which will also eliminate the $400 tractor payment.

And a 72 mile combined commute!!! Holy moly. Again, sell the faux ranch and move closer to work, will also cut down on your internet and utilities.   

notmyhand

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Re: Help me lower my expenses
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2017, 08:09:00 AM »
Animal expenses roughly breakdown as follows -

$100-$150 - prescription
$80-$130 - prescription food
$80-$120 - dog food, Sam's club brand
$300 - frisky's canned cat food
$70-$80 - large box of rawhide
$100 - chicken food, $15 a bag
$200 - rabbit food/hay, $17 a bag (this is a hobby, I show rabbits, I think I am going to have to cut back here)
$100  - vet, we got to the vet at least every other month, average is about 180

OMG!!! [almost falls off chair] I almost don't know where to start. Your monthly expenses are almost double mine, family of 4 in extremely HCOL area! IMO you have a lot of what I call structural issues in your budget, where you've made long term decisions that are boxing you into a bad financial situation. You need to make major changes rather than small tweaks.

May as well start here: You need to do something about your animal situation.  Yes, cut way back on the rabbit hobby. Why are you spending $100/month on chicken food? How many do you have? You should be feeding them scraps, having them range/forage for seeds/insects, etc. If the eggs/meat are not paying for themselves then you're better off getting rid of them and spending $10/month for eggs at the supermarket. And *way* too much spent on other pets...cut way back on the number of animals.

If you're going to live on 20 acres you should be getting value out of the land, as in growing your own crops and/or raising animals for meat (though meat animals are a huge commitment and too costly if you don't do it right). If you don't have time to grow your own food then you're wasting a huge amount on land that's lying fallow. Sell and get something more manageable which will also eliminate the $400 tractor payment.

And a 72 mile combined commute!!! Holy moly. Again, sell the faux ranch and move closer to work, will also cut down on your internet and utilities.

Yes, I really would like to get our animal costs down but unfortunately it isn't a quick fix as I can't just get rid of dogs/cats.  The "farm" brings in anywhere from 500-1500 a month in income but as you can see, there is no profit there.  I do need to take time and grow more as we do not at all currently.  Chickens unfortunately don't stay healthy on just scraps so we go through one or two fifty pound bags of food a week (the geese, peacocks, guineas, and ducks also eat it) depending on the weather.  I should downsize on the flock. 

Our commute is 15-20 miles each way, between both of us it is a total of 72 miles a day.

You are right, we have structural problems in our budget that give us really large overhead costs we need to rethink.  Thank you for your thoughts!

FINate

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Re: Help me lower my expenses
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2017, 09:05:16 AM »
Yes, I really would like to get our animal costs down but unfortunately it isn't a quick fix as I can't just get rid of dogs/cats. 

Understood, could take a few years but is something that could eventually be changed and would save you a ton of money.

The "farm" brings in anywhere from 500-1500 a month in income but as you can see, there is no profit there.

Wasn't clear from the original post that the farm is generating income. Are there things you can do to improve profitability?

I do need to take time and grow more as we do not at all currently. 

With a farm you should be able to get your food bill much lower for most of the year.

Chickens unfortunately don't stay healthy on just scraps so we go through one or two fifty pound bags of food a week (the geese, peacocks, guineas, and ducks also eat it) depending on the weather.  I should downsize on the flock. 

Our commute is 15-20 miles each way, between both of us it is a total of 72 miles a day.

You are right, we have structural problems in our budget that give us really large overhead costs we need to rethink.  Thank you for your thoughts!

Scraps (only certain types - you probably know which) can supplement, reduce the feed cost. You have enough land that you may be able to pasture raise your chickens (guessing this is an option since you have to mow the property) which would greatly reduce your feed costs. I don't mean just letting them run wild all over the place, but rather a movable fenced in area.

One other thing: Heating with electricity is very expensive. Can you install a wood burning stove? Is the land wooded, can any of the trees be harvested for firewood?

notmyhand

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Re: Help me lower my expenses
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2017, 09:11:12 AM »
Yes, I really would like to get our animal costs down but unfortunately it isn't a quick fix as I can't just get rid of dogs/cats. 

Understood, could take a few years but is something that could eventually be changed and would save you a ton of money.

The "farm" brings in anywhere from 500-1500 a month in income but as you can see, there is no profit there.

Wasn't clear from the original post that the farm is generating income. Are there things you can do to improve profitability?

I do need to take time and grow more as we do not at all currently. 

With a farm you should be able to get your food bill much lower for most of the year.

Chickens unfortunately don't stay healthy on just scraps so we go through one or two fifty pound bags of food a week (the geese, peacocks, guineas, and ducks also eat it) depending on the weather.  I should downsize on the flock. 

Our commute is 15-20 miles each way, between both of us it is a total of 72 miles a day.

You are right, we have structural problems in our budget that give us really large overhead costs we need to rethink.  Thank you for your thoughts!

Scraps (only certain types - you probably know which) can supplement, reduce the feed cost. You have enough land that you may be able to pasture raise your chickens (guessing this is an option since you have to mow the property) which would greatly reduce your feed costs. I don't mean just letting them run wild all over the place, but rather a movable fenced in area.

One other thing: Heating with electricity is very expensive. Can you install a wood burning stove? Is the land wooded, can any of the trees be harvested for firewood?

Yes, when I am able to market our animals, we can bring in 500-600 a week, but it is still so much less than my day job that when I can pick up hours at the day job, this goes by the wayside.  I have looked into selling at auctions but the price is so much lower!  We get 5-30 a rabbit at the auction for example, whereas we get 50-150 selling to a person.  But it takes time to take the right photos, post them on all available media, answer all questions, meet with people, etc.  I feel like there should be a happy medium...

A lot of the land is wooded and trees can be harvested.  We have a fireplace, not sure how we would install a stove as there is not an additional chimney.  Something to look into, thank you.

The poultry currently does free range but they still consume the provided food.  I am looking into fodder systems to see if that would help.