Author Topic: Help with my leaky budget!  (Read 3458 times)

Jake P

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Help with my leaky budget!
« on: April 20, 2013, 08:24:18 AM »
So the wife and I have made some serious dents to our debt load and are still looking to trim the fat in our budget.  I'm going to lay it out here for you guys and hope for some feedback!  Feel free to face punch.

mortgage: $560 (we technically rent to own, more to follow)
utilities: $180 (Our home is all electric and this would be an average month)
credit card: $100 (I've actually been working hard on this and our current balance is >$500)
personal loan: $180 ( pre- mustache camper purchase, 2 years and about 4k @ 8% left on note)
farm expenses: $300-$500 (ouch)
cell phones: $140 (2 smart phones, waiting on an iphone unlock then switching from att to airvoice)
home phone: $40
satellite internet: $54 (only option other than dial up where we live)
tivo & netflix: $20 (no cable, antenna feeding into a tivo, tivo sub is $4/ month)
grocery: $700 (family of 5, I would like to improve this)
gas: $240 (wife and I both spend about $30 per week per vehicle)
auto insurance: $95 (3 vehicles, 1 with full coverage, it's paid for, time for change?)
savings acount: $500
Misc: $200-$500?  (where does this money go each month??? walgreens, beer, oil changes, impulse purchases for the kids, birthday parties for kids friends, kids sport activities, Mcdonalds, etc, etc)
DAYCARE: $0 (oh ya!)

take home pay: wife and I currently each putting 10% in to work 401k's, health insurance comes out of the wife's check and we are left with about:
$4200
As you can see we are raising 3 kids on a gross of about 75k a year.  As far as the house situation goes, we built our house on my wife's family farm.  The farm is owned by her grandmother.  Grandma was really excited about the idea of us living on the farm, but the farm has never had a bank loan against it and has been in the family for about 5 generations.  So grandma cashed out some investments and loaned us 80k and surveyed off about 8 acres and put it all in a trust to be titled to us upon her death.  So, grandma owns the house.  The house, barn and acreage appraised for 140k after we finished building.  We have access to the entire property with about 140 acres, woods, pasture and fishing pond. We've been here almost ten years now and it is a great place to raise our kids.  But, with the farm has come a few horses, a pony, chickens and several dogs.....  We are also about 9 miles from town which adds to our commutes.  We both work in town, I'm about 10 miles from work and the wife is about 12 miles from hers.
I guess the reason I'm coming to you guys is when I run the numbers, we should have a decent amount left at the end of the month, but we never do.  I've been trying to break down the misc spending category of our budget and find what is really eating up our income.
Please give me some advice!
Jake
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 08:27:57 AM by Jake P »

Another Reader

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Re: Help with my leaky budget!
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2013, 11:15:58 AM »
The first step is to track every dime you spend.  Nothing gets spent unless it is recorded.  Once you know where the money is leaking, you can plug the leaks.

The good news is that you are putting away $500 a month into savings.  That's a great start.  What about retirement savings outside the 401(k)'s?  Have you opened IRA's for you and your wife?

You don't include your assets.  How much is in savings?  How much in 401(k)'s?

Why do you have three vehicles?  What kind of vehicles?  Would two work?

Would it make sense to divert some of the savings to pay off the credit card and the camper?  The 8 percent you would make on the camper payoff is likely better than anything you can get on savings.

Horses are very expensive, even if you grow your own feed.   How much are they costing?  Would you consider re-homing them, if it's possible?


shelfins

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Re: Help with my leaky budget!
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2013, 11:21:36 AM »
If you don't already have one, sign up for an account at www.mint.com. It will automatically track all of your check/debit card/credit card purchases, so it'll help you figure out where that mystery money is going.

Joel

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Re: Help with my leaky budget!
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 11:25:57 PM »
If you don't already have one, sign up for an account at www.mint.com. It will automatically track all of your check/debit card/credit card purchases, so it'll help you figure out where that mystery money is going.

I would also consider YNAB (www.youneedabudget.com), it has a free 34-day trial, but costs $60. It may help more with the debt reducation, and giving every dollar a job and looking forward. It can help you plan and save up for expenses that do not occur monthly as well, as opposed to just tracking your spending.

Good luck with it!

Jake P

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Re: Help with my leaky budget!
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 07:23:55 AM »
Thanks for the advice.  I feel that we are doing very well with our finances right now.  I wish there was some magic way of getting ahead quick at our income level, but with 3 kids it's not easy.  We are trying to keep debt to a minimum, but I have financial goals that I would like to reach.  My parents recently retired and are living very comfortably off of income from dads pension and rental properties and won't even have to touch their 401k's for at least 10 years.  I would like to own rental property and have it paid off by the time I'm thinking of retiring but that seems so far away and I'm already 34.

GoStumpy

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Re: Help with my leaky budget!
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 07:50:44 AM »
I second the www.youneedynab.com recommendation if you need budget help.  Try the 34 day trial, if you're like me, you'll fall in love and wonder how you ever lived without it once you have $600 left over at the end of the month, with no idea where it WOULD have gone.

The biggest thing to help a budget is BE INTENTIONAL.  Spend your money intentionally.  Don't just let it get spent!  Plan that trip to the grocery or clothing store, don't just decide after work "Lets grab some clothing on the way home"... Make sure you know how much you're willing to spend on clothing, and try to stick to it!