Author Topic: Need help finding more money  (Read 3945 times)

asauer

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Need help finding more money
« on: January 26, 2016, 01:53:00 PM »
All,
Can you help review my monthly budget below and make suggestions for where I can find a little more wiggle room?

Mortgage monthly payment: $1,230.00
insurance (home/auto combined): $208
529 (for two kids): $300
auto maintenance/repairs: $50 (sinking fund)
pets (vet, food, meds): $90
doctor/meds: $100
Gas: $200 (I commute 30miles each way)
internet: $58
cell: $70 (for both)
electricity: $68 (average)
natural gas: $56 (average)
water/sewer/garbage: $65
HOA: $75/ includes gym and sports facilities
hubs sports: $60
kids sports: $100 (for both)
home maintenance: $50 (sinking fund)
school costs: $10
personal care (haircuts, makeup, razors etc): $25
clothing: $40 (kids grow FAST!)
travel: $60 (sinking fund)
entertainment (Netflix, piano teacher app, extras): $50
groceries: $400 (2 adults and 2 kids)
restaurants: $100
gifts/ donations: $20 (sinking fund)

jeromedawg

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 02:01:51 PM »
All,
Can you help review my monthly budget below and make suggestions for where I can find a little more wiggle room?

Mortgage monthly payment: $1,230.00
insurance (home/auto combined): $208
529 (for two kids): $300
auto maintenance/repairs: $50 (sinking fund)
pets (vet, food, meds): $90
doctor/meds: $100
Gas: $200 (I commute 30miles each way)
internet: $58
cell: $70 (for both)
electricity: $68 (average)
natural gas: $56 (average)
water/sewer/garbage: $65
HOA: $75/ includes gym and sports facilities
hubs sports: $60
kids sports: $100 (for both)
home maintenance: $50 (sinking fund)
school costs: $10
personal care (haircuts, makeup, razors etc): $25
clothing: $40 (kids grow FAST!)
travel: $60 (sinking fund)
entertainment (Netflix, piano teacher app, extras): $50
groceries: $400 (2 adults and 2 kids)
restaurants: $100
gifts/ donations: $20 (sinking fund)

Is that the lowest-price internet you can get? Who is your ISP? For cellphone, what service are you using? There are 'free' or cheaper options out there like Republic Wireless, Freedompop, etc... even Google Fi but you do have to make the investment in the phone. For personal care, can you DIY the haircuts (at least for your husband)? For clothing, do you have relatives or friends who have kids are a little older than yours and who might have grown out of their clothes where you can take pass-me-downs? If Freecycle is available, I'd check there. And maybe Craigslist. My mom used to bring home bags of clothes from her friend whose son is a little older than me. Of course, I always hated the idea of it but didn't really care that much because some of the clothes I was actually OK with wearing. For groceries, are you shopping by whats on sale in the ad and coupon-clipping, etc? Is there public transportation in your area? Or perhaps the opportunity to carpool with coworkers or vanpool?
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 02:07:13 PM by jplee3 »

ohana

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 02:11:35 PM »
This looks very reasonable to me.  I think you can get cell service cheaper (as previous poster suggested); I pay $10/month+tax and get unlimited text/talk+if on wifi unlimited data.  It limits you but that would save you $70/month, $840/year!

Good luck.

jeromedawg

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 02:19:03 PM »
Or if you can really stretch yourself with the cellphone, try to buy prepaid minutes (e.g. callingmart has an $80 prepaid card for pageplus) with no monthly plan and hold out for as long as you can. Try to rely more on wifi instead of data, and use Google Hangouts Dialer to make phonecalls.

If you need data on-the-go though, that might not be the best option. That reminds me, we really outta teach my MIL and FIL to use Google Hangouts Dialer instead of burning up all their prepaid minutes.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 02:21:12 PM by jplee3 »

robartsd

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 04:37:29 PM »
The biggest change you could make is the distance between work and home. I like to cycle commute 5-10 miles (could probably double that with an electric bike, but 30 miles would still be pushing it). There are lots of tradeoffs to consider, but you may have already optimized them for you and your family.

You can get unlimited talk and text (very little to no data) for about $20/line with some MVNOs (even less with some services that encourage hybrid wifi calling) with cell data tending to cost about $10/GB. Depending on what's available at your location you might also cut your internet bill in half (5 Mbps is generally enough for a HD video stream - each of you can watch SD if you have to watch different things at the same time). That's $30-60 savings on telecomunications. But that's all I see as far as easy pickings. You could also cut costs with DIY haircuts (would likely take more time as initially when learning, but as your conpetence and confidence grows you'd aproach the time it takes when you pay for this service).

You have serveral discressionary/disposable income categories that you could evaluate if they are really worth it to you; if "your hair is on fire", do cut from: Sports, entertainment, gifts/donations, resturants, travel, sinking funds, college savings. Other areas to save money may not be worthwhile from a $/hr perspective but if you consider the time spent as a hobby rather than work: vegetable gardening, actively chasing "hand-me-down" clothes (your budget sounds like you already use thrift stores - I'm talking about finding people to donate to you rather than the thrift store on places like freecycle).

Overall, it sounds like you've got an efficient family of four.

apricity

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 05:59:24 PM »
Off topic, but what piano app are you using and would you recommend it?  Thanks!

Teacherstache

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 08:33:05 PM »
Your car and home insurance look high to me. I would call around and get some current quotes on that. Ours is only about $130/month for both. Also, the auto sinking fund looks low. Have you looked back to see what your actual yearly spending was on this? Oil changes, tags, tires, repairs, etc, especially for more than one vehicle add up so quickly! You could reduce the kids' activity fees, but I'm guessing that is a quality of life item for you.

Other than that, I think your budget looks great!


Kris

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 08:38:19 PM »
Pet expense seems high. Can you break that down for us?

tj

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2016, 11:45:34 AM »
Your expenses looks pretty normal for a family of 4 to me. You could always save more by downsizing your residence, cutting back on entertainment, etc.

I don't see any obvious waste here.

What are your goals?

Larabeth

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 04:46:00 AM »
I agree with robartsd. It seems like moving would be your best option...  cut down on the commute, maybe lower HOA fees, possibly even a lower mortgage if you find a house in the right area/foreclosure?

Nickels Dimes Quarters

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2016, 05:14:34 AM »
Husband's sports is $60/month and the kids' sports are $100/month?
Doctors/meds is $100/month
Entertainment is $50
Food is $500/mo.

The insurance seems high, I'd call around every six months and get new estimates. That's a lot each month for sports and entertainment. Netflix is $10 or less/month, so the rest area extras. For meds, depending on your insurance plan, make sure you're buying the meds at the best price, i.e., mail order or calling around as different pharmacies will have different prices, and see if there are generics as an option. Also, are you in the best medical plan for your family? Last year, I switched to the high-deductible plan and started an HSA. Talk about changing my philosophy about healthcare. It's been an amazing change. In the first year, I was easily able to fully fund the HSA which is now an additional investment account.

Food is always a place where savings can be found. Even if you eat mostly at home, look at the foods you're preparing and start looking at how to cut those costs with cheaper ingredients or batch cooking with sale items.

I also agree with the previous comments about housing, commuting, etc.

NDQ



DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2016, 06:30:25 AM »
It looks like you have a good handle on your family's budget. Everything here seems reasonable to me.

The one area where I see room for improvement are the commuting costs. Most of your line items are essentials or bring someone joy. Since almost no one enjoys a long commute, reducing or eliminating the commute would be a great way to save money and increase your quality of life. Do you love your job? If not, are there any similar positions closer to home? Is there any opportunity to work remote at least one day a week? Eliminating even one day a week would save some time and aggravation and enable you to have more productive time at home.

bobechs

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Re: Need help finding more money
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2016, 06:53:44 PM »
At $2.00/gallon you are getting about 12 mpg on your commute, right?  Does that seem frugal?

Also, you budget nothing for eventual car replacement, which suggests that you are so happy with it that you will never part with it, in which case you should boost your repair fund considerably.