Author Topic: Not really new - but just (re)starting  (Read 2150 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Not really new - but just (re)starting
« on: February 26, 2014, 11:46:52 AM »
Apologies in advance for a long post...

Hi all. I'm not new to MMM or plans for early retirement, but I've spent most of my time daydreaming and not putting anything into action, which needs to stop. I'm a constant planner and reader, but suffer deeply from analysis paralysis and never actually follow through with plans. Again, something that has to stop now.

I'm currently heading into a new unknown, which is again is leaving me afraid of starting anything until I get things sorted out, but this time I really want to get a follow through going, knowing that plans can, and usually do, it doesn't hurt to start something, even if the end result may not look the same as expected.

Me: 34, employed and newly married. 1 child from previous marriage. $0 in current retirement savings. <insert facepunch #1 here>
Spouse: 32, stay at home mom (for now). 2 children from previous marriage. $40k in retirement savings.

We got married in Dec, so when I did our Married filing jointly, we got a decent refund (about $8500 combined from state/fed). I've since updated my withholding so that we won't get one again next year. This was from my withholding as single status up until we got married. We're in the process of combining households, and moving her from NYC to Maryland, at which point she's going to start looking for work.

The newest blessing in our situation is that she lives with her mom in NYC, and mom has agreed to sell her home and buy us a home in MD. We're getting a lovely house w/ a beautiful separate in-law suite for mom with 3.3 acres for everyone. Mom is going to retire, using the difference in home prices as a big nest egg and a fair pension from a previous job to live. As part of our arrangement with mom buying the house is that we (wife and I) would cover prop tax and utilities. Mom may help out on that as she adjusts to retired life and sees how she can live on what she has, but for the time being - we're expecting to cover all expenses for the house except for mom's food and her car/insurance.

I was a Dave Ramsey follower, so I have little debt. I was debt free, but before buying this house, I was trying to save for a downpayment of my own and ended up putting about $2300 on my credit card instead of paying cash for things so I could have some extra money down. Which I will no longer need since mom's buying in cash.

So here's a quick rundown of the basics. There's a fair amount of money left over, but doesn't account for a lot of the "consumer spend" that we still have. The wife is fairly frugal for herself, but has a weak spot for the kids, and thus things like Disney channel are a requirement for now. As we adjust to the new house and hopefully some outdoor fun around our larger property, we can revisit it.

Mortgage/Rent                       0.00
Property Tax                   370.00
Property Insurance             75.00*
Trash                             29.00
Electric                           200.00*
TV                                   100.00*
Internet                             50.00*
Heat (Oil/Gas/Propane)   165.00
Groceries                           350.00
Auto Insurance           170.00
Auto Gas                           250.00
Tolls                                   100.00
Child Support                   600.00
Cell (me)                             45.00
Cell (wife)                             60.00

Total:                             2,564.00

Income:                         3,600.00

* costs are estimates as we haven't moved in

This doesn't include any house maintenance, car maintenance, or "fun" money. But there's LOTS of facepunchable stuff here.

Savings: $12,000
Jeep (paid off): $2000
Hyundai (paid off): $3000

Debt: $2,300 (credit card)

I work from home, but my job is shaky at best. I haven't driven my Jeep in about 3 months because it has no heat, and I think we could realistically become a 1 car family. Though if she goes back to work soon, I may need something. My truck is a real Dave Ramsey "beater." Cheap, no heat, runs ok. Wouldn't want to replace with anything fancy, though having a small pickup truck might help around the property for hauling wood and other junk around. I think that's a frill purchase though...I could get away with a small trailer hooked up to my jeep for most of that.

Theoretically I have almost $1000/mo to save, though some of that will disappear for other things. Obviously if she gets a job, we'll add child care expenses, but everything after that can be savings because we can easily cover all the bills with what I make.

We're also in the process of getting full custody of her daughter, so she may get child support from that. Much of that would go to saving for future college expenses, but some would be used to offset some of our expenses. The reason gas and tolls are so high is that we have to drive to NYC 2x a month to pick the daughter up. That may go down if we get custody and only have to meet halfway for transfer to her father.

Give me some face punches as needed. Advice appreciated. Not even sure what to ask, so I put what info I thought was relevant out there.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Not really new - but just (re)starting
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 11:52:47 AM »
Well, no face punches yet, but I have a couple thoughts. You'll need to keep a close eye on your utility bills, and see what they really turn out to be, before you can effectively start lowering them (if possible). Your mother-in-law may not be as frugal on the heat and electric as you are. And you need to eliminate that credit card debt--you should be able to do that quickly, either out of the current savings acct., or in just 2 or 3 months if you put that $1,000 surplus toward it. I've always found that moving into any new place costs money--there's always something. And I think you are going to have to budget for maintenance--it's going to come up. Try to save the money you would have used for the house payment if you actually had to make one. My Mom/Dad/siblings/uncle/grandmother lived in a two-family home for 40 years. Three elderly relatives actually died in that house, in their own beds, cared for by family. So it can be done, and in a way that enriches life for all. In my family, they always observed good manners and boundaries. You did not just walk into the other suite--you knocked, and asked if it was OK to come in. Every month, both households put some money into what they called "the house fund." This was money that was used for mutually-decided-upon maintenance. If the house needed painting, insulation, a new roof, a porch or garage repair--it came from that fund. The house had separate entrances, separate utilities, and a separate washer and dryer for each suite. Informal "quiet hours" evolved over the years. (No electric guitar practice when you knew Uncle Walter upstairs was already in bed.) Things like that. It was nice that there was always somebody around to water a plant or feed a dog if the owner was on vacation or whatever. Their situation was different from yours in that the house was mortgaged, and paid for with double payments over 15 years--again, a group decision. They all were good business partners, in a small potatoes sort of way, and so the mutual agreement--despite a tiny tiff here or there--like maybe one person wan't helping out enough with the painting project--or was blocking the garage doors from someone else--things did work out advantageously over the years.