Author Topic: New Here...Need Help!  (Read 5079 times)

snyder66

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New Here...Need Help!
« on: March 05, 2014, 06:20:45 AM »
I just wanted to say that I truly love this forum and the belief system behind it.  With that being said, We need help.  We have spent more than we have made for many years and it is finally catching up with us.  I'm really not sure where to begin.  I have always thought of myself as having a handle on things, but, I guess I didn't.  I am starting a new job this week, the pay is low with me, but, It has been.  My wife and I together, bring home over $80,000.  I know this is enough money to live comfortably...I have begun tracking our accounts on Mint.  I have heard good things about YNAB, but, Honestly, I don't think I would enter every transaction.  We know we need to cut back, Just looking for a start.  Thanks!

Michread

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 06:39:11 AM »
Begin by living BELOW your monthly income by cutting everything you can.  With that extra money, pay down highest interest rate debt first and continue until you have no debt other than your mortgage.  Then start saving for an emergency in a bank acct all the while learning how to invest.  Then invest in a Vanguard index fund on a monthly basis.

Good Luck!

plainjane

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 06:41:25 AM »
If you want specific suggestions, then I'd recommend giving some information and writing out
- your monthly take home pay
- your monthly debt payments
- your monthly housing costs
- your monthly costs for each utility
- any other monthly payments

- your overall debts and their associated interest rates
- any assets

Since you've only just starting to use Mint I'm guessing that you have no idea as to your variable expenses like groceries, clothing, etc. so you'll just need to give some estimates.

snyder66

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 11:03:05 AM »
Current aftertax take home is $4800.  Our biggest expenses are:

Mortgage:  $1560
Car Loan:  $145
Cell:          $164
Cable:       $100

plainjane

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 11:19:14 AM »
So you have an easy 100 to cut cable.  You should be able to slash that cell bill with a smarter plan.

And you have _$2800+_ unaccounted for in your budget.  Say that's a generous $500 for two people for food in a month.  You'd still have over $2k to repay debt.

If that isn't enough, get a second job.

nawhite

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 11:25:15 AM »
Current aftertax take home is $4800.  Our biggest expenses are:

Mortgage:  $1560
Car Loan:  $145
Cell:          $164
Cable:       $100

Unfortunately, all this shows is that you don't know what you're spending your money on. If these really were your biggest expenses, you'd have $2000/month leftover every month. I'd guess your biggest expense other than the mortgage is either food/eating out or health insurance and your second is probably heating/electricity . Until you know what you actually spend money on, you won't know what to improve.

Your first step is to figure out what you are spending all your money on. The 2 recommendations you'll here on here are for Mint.com or YNAB ("You Need A Budget"). To start I'd recommend Mint.com because the barrier to entry is much much lower.

Sign up for Mint.com and enter in EVERY SINGLE bank account and credit card both you and your wife spend with. Use it for 2 FULL months to get an idea of what your real spending is. Once you have that information this forum is really good at helping. Before, we're all just pulling at straws.

Le0

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 11:48:35 AM »
I would, in addition to the above suggestions, get comfortable banking online.

1. Set all you bills to send e-statements to your email and keep them sorted in the proper folders.

2. Create a calendar on your computer or on google calendar

3. When you receive a bill (in your email) enter the bill name and the amount as an event in the calendar [On the day the bill is due.]

4. When you pay that bill change the colour of the event or add [PAIDED] to the event name.

5. You can also add pay days to this calendar.

I suggest you do this for a number of reasons. It will give you a 'birds eye' view of your monthly spending. It will make sure you pay your bills on time. It will show you how many bills you have and maybe you should cut some off completely. It will help you plan your pay checks smarter. It will also help you plan your automatic savings, because you will add it as a bill.

Getting closer to your money, understanding how you spend it, and when you spend it will save you money. Then you can start cutting costs. Awareness is key.

snyder66

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 12:41:00 PM »
I do have many more expenses, other than these.  Groceries are much larger this time of year, we grow a garden and hit up farmers markets from April-January.  I honestly didn't think you wanted me to detail every expense that I currently have.

swick

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 12:53:25 PM »
I do have many more expenses, other than these.  Groceries are much larger this time of year, we grow a garden and hit up farmers markets from April-January.  I honestly didn't think you wanted me to detail every expense that I currently have.

Snyder, there is an outline here for writing case studies:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-%27case-study%27-topic/

This is most of the information we need to help, and is the minimum you need so you can get a handle on what you are spending. There is lots of great advice and people on the boards who are happy to help.

nawhite

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 01:52:30 PM »
I do have many more expenses, other than these.  Groceries are much larger this time of year, we grow a garden and hit up farmers markets from April-January.  I honestly didn't think you wanted me to detail every expense that I currently have.

Sorry I didn't read all the way through the original post, glad you hear you're using Mint. The reason we ask for all spending is two-fold:

1) Saving 10% on a $500/month expense is a lot more helpful than saving 10% on a $50/month expense.
2) Often times it is difficult to recognize an expense is excessive. For instance, you haven't listed eating out for instance. Many people don't realize that $200/month in eating out expenses is crazy. If you don't list them we can't help you find them.

So from what you've posted so far, there should be a very good reason you have a car loan (I can't really think of an example good reason, but does your car situation match your transportation needs?), you should look at alternatives to Cable TV (what do you watch? If it is anything other than sports, then you will probably get a better deal with netflix/amazon prime/hulu and paying to rent the shows that aren't free to stream), and check out the "Super Guide" http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-isps-voip-cell-version-2/ for some really good ideas to get your cell phone bill under $25 per line.

Replacing cable with Netflix and swapping phone lines saves you $200/month or $24,000 over 10 years (more if its coming off of credit card balances), whats next?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 01:54:07 PM by nawhite »

snyder66

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 02:09:05 PM »
Sorry about that.  I will read the link and get to work!

homehandymum

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 02:36:29 PM »
Sorry I didn't read all the way through the original post, glad you hear you're using Mint. The reason we ask for all spending is two-fold:

1) Saving 10% on a $500/month expense is a lot more helpful than saving 10% on a $50/month expense.
2) Often times it is difficult to recognize an expense is excessive. For instance, you haven't listed eating out for instance. Many people don't realize that $200/month in eating out expenses is crazy. If you don't list them we can't help you find them.

Also, we're a pack of budget voyeurs :) 

Seriously, don't be sorry.  Everyone here was new here once.  We're just keen to give you some advice.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 02:50:04 PM »
I find it easier to keep a blank sheet of paper pinned to fridge. It is broken down into groceries/necessities, vehicle, discretionary (read normally $0), medical, and personal $.

When I get home, I pull out the receipt and write it in. Takes two seconds. Much easier (for me) than sitting down and pulling up a piece of software. And it's right there on the fridge. Super visible. Always a reminder of where I'm at this month.

aj_yooper

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 03:21:36 PM »
Snyder66, you are sounding down.  You have made a big step already.  The group can definitely help you get on track.  Amazing success is possible! 

swick

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 04:01:16 PM »
Snyder66, you are sounding down.  You have made a big step already.  The group can definitely help you get on track.  Amazing success is possible!

All this! The more you give in information the more you get in suggestions, yeah there will probably face punches and tough love...sometimes it is just a matter of thinking about something in a new way. But you took the first major important step of realizing you need help and you found a great community.

snyder66

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Re: New Here...Need Help!
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2014, 02:37:54 PM »
I reposted this topic from a suggestion by one of you great people.  Yes.  I am a bit down.  Not proud of our situation.  But, I do have hope that we can work this out.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/reader-case-study-goal-debt-reduction-budget-plan/