Author Topic: Please criticize my budget  (Read 1872 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Please criticize my budget
« on: February 05, 2017, 09:29:15 PM »
Hi folks, first post here. Big fan of MMM for frugality, stoicism, conservationism, etc. I'm not sure if I'm interested in FIRE myself, my wife and I love our jobs. What I'd like to do here is post most of my budget to see if you wise folks can help find the biggest gains to help increase my saving rate. I really appreciate your help and will do my best to be responsive and leave this thread a resource should anyone stumble upon it. I doubt my ability to write up a full case study, though I might take this as a first draft for a later thread.

A basic thumbnail about our family: I am an RN and my wife is a professor. She works full-time, while I work weekend nights. We have a 2-year old at home that will be starting preschool in September. We are a small family of 3.

Fixed Bills
Mortgage $1177 (15 year fixed, 3%)
Comcast $19.99, 10 mbps internet only
Electricity, past months $70-90
Nat Gas $72
Verizon $75 for two owned iphone 5Cs
Garbage $12

--This category represents irregular accounts billed other than monthly.
Water $55
Optional Curbside Compost $20
Car Insurance $135, curse Michigan no-fault insurance! (We own two cars, dropping a car would be difficult, though I can think about it! Less than 10k miles year total.)
Life Insurance $100, we each have $800k 30 year term, I think we're over insured.
Memberships $30, amz prime, zoo, etc
Preschool $150

Everyday Expenses
Groceries, past months $330-470 <-- I'm guessing this is the one.
Household goods $110-195 <--
Childcare $75-150, to allow me to work
Babysitting $30
Gasoline $60-90
Eating out $130-180 <--
Work food $35-50 <--
"Family Fun Fund" $50-100 <-- often overflow of restaurant, boredom spending

Small Funds
--Funds we build up throughout the year.
Christmas $50
Clothing & Haircuts $50

Writing this incomplete budget, I can't really see where to make substantial gains here. The rest of our budget is devoted to charity, vacation, and home projects, which are all modest. Thanks in advance for your help. Posting it here to see if someone catches something obvious that I can't see.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 09:34:09 PM by camillus »


  • Stubble
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Re: Please criticize my budget
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2017, 10:12:06 PM »
Hi Camillus!

I'll dive in--

You have auto & life insurance, and I'll assume home insurance is in your mortgage, along with property taxes.

So that leaves some other "known knowns" and "known unknowns"

- no mention of health insurance, nor any costs for unexpected medical bills, dental, etc. Unless y'all have $0 deductible and $0 out of pocket, that seems unrealistic, especially with a kid.

- you have 2 cars, but don't have anything budgeted for maintenance, repair, and depreciation. You know you'll have to do an oil change, tire replacement, etc. You'll also have some big charges at some point (water pump fails). Yow know this will happen, just not when. AAA has some data on typical "total cost of ownership" for cars.

- same observation for your house. You will have repairs at some point. AC will blow, water heater disintegrate. Hail storm blow through, etc. You will have to do some maintenance (replacing windows, painting, etc.)

- My child was pretty active, and that came with some additional expenses:
   - sports league fees
   - birthday party presents. Around here, we buy up to $25/present for a birthday, and with lots of friends, that adds up.
   - at a certain point, i had to pay for child's lunch at school. not a ton per month, but still measurable and budgetable.

- Clothing at $50/mn may be Ok or may not (depends on your frugality). Kids go through clothes and shoes fast

- I don't see any savings plans for new furniture, house improvements, or purchase of household goods to improve your life.

As for being over-insured, imagine if you lost your wife. While you're sorting through the emotional devastation, you'll be paying final medical and burial fees, and then have to figure out how to manage to be a single dad on half the income you used to have. $1.6M may be a bit much for the both of you (depends on who child's guardian will be, I guess), but I don't know.

That's all I can think of! It looks like you captured a ton of spending already!

Morning Glory

  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Please criticize my budget
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2017, 03:07:21 AM »
You are doing great, it looks like you are already saving close to 50% of your income. Some ideas, but no face punches:

Mobiles: look into Republic Wireless. It works great for us, we have the Republic refund plan and rarely use any data, so about $25 a month for 2 phones.

You could start your own compost pile to eliminate that expense.

Work food: packing a lunch would probably be healthier as well as less expensive

Car insurance: drop collision and comprehensive if your cars are older

Life insurance: could probably cut back a little if you have significant savings , or shop around for a better rate


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Please criticize my budget
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2017, 05:36:40 AM »
What household goods are costing you $200/mo?

+1 to packing a lunch for work.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!