Author Topic: Scrutinize our one income budget please!  (Read 13380 times)

jbert

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Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« on: March 05, 2016, 04:20:45 PM »
I have been reading this blog for awhile now but this is my first post .. wondering if you can help with my budget, I feel like we are cutting it very close and not saving enough

I am a stay at home mom to a 5 year old and 2 year old ... My husband works full time (I am 39 , he is 41)

Net Income:  $4300 / month

Bills
Mortgage:  $1657
Netflix:  $8
Cell phone:  $40
Car Insurance:  $93
Cable/Internet:  $100 (cutting it down to just internet although even internet seems high).
Sirius (my husband wants to keep it):  $24
Daughters dance class:  $46

Everyday stuff
Food/Groceries:  Trying to stay at $500 including personal care & household items
Pet food (2 big dogs & a cat):  $90 (I need to find less expensive food)
Fuel:  $100

Discretionary
Hubby spending:  $60
Me spending:  $30
Eating out:  $30/month

Yearly stuff/subscriptions:
Amazon Prime:  $9
Auto Registration/License:  $8
Life Insurance:  $12 (other paid through work)

Variable utilities:
PSEG:  $247 average
Water:  $70 average
Sewer bills:  $43

Sinking discretionary funds
Clothes:  $70 (we usually use hand-me-downs but we notice we buy a lot of shoes for the kids and ourselves from being outdoors a lot; winter gear, my hubby works in a machine shop and his jeans get pretty grimy, but usually get at thrift stores). Not sure if this is too high.
Birthdays/Anniversaries:  $30/month
Amusement/Special Occasions:  $50/month
Kid stuff:  $25

Sinking Savings
Home repairs:  Put away about $200/month
Car repairs:  Put away about 80/month
Christmas:  55/month
Vet Bills & Pet meds (2 big dogs):  $30
Medical:  $85 for deductibles

Total outgoing not counting emergency fund or retirement is $3800
Total income is $4300 a month


That leaves about $500 to save with

For savings ...
Emergency Fund:  $500/month ( has about $6000 now in the account, want to make that $12,000 ... )
Retirement:  Put that $500/month ^  into retirement when emergency fund is funded, but I feel like this is not enough at all. 

I feel like we could get rid of the Sirius and we want to ditch the cable but have to find a good price for internet only
Wish we could ditch the eating out ,we do eat out less since we went more plant based but still do eat out sometimes
Wish we could reduce the pet bills, we had the dogs before we had kids  ...

How does my budget look? 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 04:23:44 PM by jbert »

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2016, 07:28:24 PM »
Thank you so much for your input, I appreciate it!  You have me thinking differently now ...

The mortgage, we had before we had kids, I was working full time and we were making about $6000 a month.  I tried working but just decided to quit and stay home after much consideration ...

I am hoping to work at least a little more part time, i work about 10 hours a week now and that's included in this ...

Ok, so we know the roof is about 25 years old, the furnace is 20 years old, and hot water heater is 13 years old.  Then the hubby and I have 2 paid-for toyotas with a good amount of miles on them but not too bad ... so we don't know when we would start having issues with the cars and if we should always be saving up for new cars? I guess worst case scenario we can get away with just one car actually.

 I just guess i need to look up how much those home maintenance items would cost and figure out how much to save, but we should not use emergency fund for those things, correct?  Sometimes I don't see why we shouldn't just fund our retirement account and then just use a credit card for something that pops up and pay it off fast. We have no credit cards now, no debt aside from the house , and two paid for cars ...

The PSEG is the average we pay per month , some months it is much lower and others it is a little higher , but I will look at this, it seems about the same as others around me and other family members ... I will look into the energy audit!

Let me rethink this ... thank you for your perspective, this is so helpful!
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 08:34:47 PM by jbert »

Sandia

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2016, 09:39:14 PM »
Hi Jbert,

You are allocating more than $320 per month towards entirely discretionary expenses, not including the dogs. If you add in the dog expenses (which gets you to $440), that's almost as much as you're trying to save each month.

Christmas: What does your $660 budget cover? Are you buying gifts for adults who already have fully established households and self-sustaining incomes? Consider whether this is truly important to you, or whether you are doing it out of habit. Are you spending this much on your kids opening gifts? Every 5 and 2 year old I've met has been more interested in the wrapping paper than the actual toy.

Kid stuff: What is this? It seems like everything they could possibly need or want is already covered elsewhere (food, shelter, clothes, toys, dance lessons, etc....). Unless this goes towards college?

Amusement/special occasions: What kind of special occasions are you planning for that are outside of birthdays and Christmas? And are you happy to spend $600 per year for it?

PLUS you're planning on birthdays, anniversaries, dance lessons, Sirius, and Amazon Prime. Start by reading this article by MMM: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/03/mrs-money-mustache-receives-many-gifts-for-her-birthday/

If you start reducing these budget items, even temporarily, you could reach your emergency savings goal much faster, and probably discover some new ways to have fun in the process.

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2016, 10:08:38 PM »
Thanks Sandia!  I am getting there, if I was alone these things would be down to nothing but it's tough with the hubby ...

Hmm, the gift budget - I have 5 nieces and nephews and they always have birthday parties so I feel obligated to bring a gift, it is usually about $25 each.  Then I get invited to bridal shower/baby showers , or a wedding at least once or twice a year ...  I only go if i am very close with the person.   Then my parents anniversary, my husband and I don't ever exchange for any holiday or birthday ... it's always for other people ... It feels validating to hear you say that it is ridiculous, maybe I can cut that drastically.  We don't spend much on our kids for Christmas, I also counted in Christmas all the extra food shopping for the holidays and we have christmas eve here every other year, if we need decorations etc. 

Kid stuff:  good point.  We go to the Discovery Museum or trampoline park in winter, or we took them bowling the other day .. but that could be in with the Amusement and then like you said, we could get more creative and do more park days etc... Maybe we could ask for gift/membership subscriptions for these types of things from family members who ask about gifts!  Or just little things they need like crayons but again that could be in the gift budget or i can use gift cards for that stuff huh?

I am having a paradigm shift, this forum is great!


jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2016, 10:41:23 PM »
Ok I made some changes ..

Net Income:  $4300 / month

Bills
Mortgage:  $1657
Netflix:  $8
Cell phone:  $40
Car Insurance:  $93
Cable/Internet:  $80 (not sure what cost is yet for internet only )
Sirius (my husband wants to keep it):  $24
Daughters dance class:  $46

Everyday stuff
Food/Groceries:  Trying to stay at $500 including personal care & household items
Pet food (2 big dogs & a cat):  $90 (I need to find less expensive food)
Fuel:  $100

Discretionary
Hubby spending:  $60
Me spending:  $20
Eating out:  $30/month

Yearly stuff/subscriptions:
Amazon Prime:  $9
Auto Registration/License:  $8
Life Insurance:  $12 (other paid through work)

Variable utilities:
PSEG:  $247 average - try to get down to 150 .. lower thermostat at night and daytime, change rest of bulbs to LED, turn off switches to computer/tvs at night
Water:  $70 average - trying to get down too
Sewer bills:  $43

Sinking discretionary funds
Clothes:  $70 (we usually use hand-me-downs but we notice we buy a lot of shoes for the kids and ourselves from being outdoors a lot; winter gear, my hubby works in a machine shop and his jeans get pretty grimy, but usually get at thrift stores). Not sure if this is too high.
Birthdays/Anniversaries:  $15/month - I can use A.C. Moore coupons for 50% off for the nieces and nephews too ..
Amusement/Special Occasions:  $25/month
Kid stuff:  $25 - removed this category

Sinking Savings
Home repairs:  Put away about $200/month for the roof we will probably need soon (25 years old)
General Home maintenance/yard etc:  $25/mth
Car maintenance:  Put away about 25/month - hubby does oil changes himself .. tires can be $?
Christmas:  25/month
Vet Bills & Pet meds (2 big dogs):  $30
Medical:  $85 for deductibles - maybe just remove this and use emergency fund for this ?

Total outgoing not counting emergency fund or retirement is $3478
Total income is $4300 a month


That leaves about $800 to save with

For savings ...
Emergency Fund:  $400/month
Retirement:  $400/month plus put that other $400/month above ^  into retirement when emergency fund is funded.

Any better? 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 10:42:57 PM by jbert »

LeRainDrop

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2016, 10:51:15 PM »
Just a tiny tip for now -- I think you all are over-paying for Sirius.  I get offers from them all the time for a "special" 5 months for $20.  I decided to try it one time.  Then at the end of that 5 months, I called to cancel, and they give me another 5 months for $20.  I'm pretty sure this service is just like cable, where they will always give you "promo" pricing if you just keep calling back and talking to the retention department as your promo period expires.  I realize this trick with Sirius wouldn't be a *huge* savings, but it sure is a start!

Gizsuat2

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2016, 11:14:32 PM »
Hey JBert,

Sounds like your thinking is on the right track.  Thought I'd chime in with something that's been helpful for me lately.

I've been reading the Frugalwoods blog regularly, and I like their style of not making a budget, but rather just aiming to spend the least amount possible while still enjoying life.  So for me for example, I don't think anymore about an annual budget for family birthday gifts.  What I do instead is, as each birthday rolls around, think of the least expensive way to give an appropriately priced gift that the person will love.  This usually means I'm able to cash in some Amazon credit card points, or sew something, or find something at the consignment store.  I realize this could be controversial around her, but I agree with the Frugalwoods' sentiment that creating a budget line item gives you implicit permission to spend that full amount.

A lot of your line items fall into this category.  I'm not being terribly articulate here, but my suggestion is basically this: You might find that not giving yourself pre-authorized permission to spend in each of those discretionary categories will result in you finding better ways to be creative and purposeful with what money you do decide to spend.

Hope that made sense ... sometimes I feel like I'm just now getting my head wrapped around the concept!

randymarsh

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2016, 11:45:07 PM »
Are you and your husband's paycheck withholdings correct? If you got or will receive a large tax refund this year, you should reduce how much is taken out. What is your husband's 401k situation? If you run the calculator at www.paycheckcity.com you'll get a good idea of how your take-home would be affected.

MDM

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2016, 01:07:42 AM »
Are you and your husband's paycheck withholdings correct? If you got or will receive a large tax refund this year, you should reduce how much is taken out. What is your husband's 401k situation?
+1

In other words, as long as you have bared your soul regarding expenses, you might as well list gross income and then the line items that drop you down to net income. ;)

There is often room for improvement in those line items.  See http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-%27case-study%27-topic/
.

Eurotexan

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2016, 06:52:24 AM »
Just a tiny tip for now -- I think you all are over-paying for Sirius.  I get offers from them all the time for a "special" 5 months for $20.  I decided to try it one time.  Then at the end of that 5 months, I called to cancel, and they give me another 5 months for $20.  I'm pretty sure this service is just like cable, where they will always give you "promo" pricing if you just keep calling back and talking to the retention department as your promo period expires.  I realize this trick with Sirius wouldn't be a *huge* savings, but it sure is a start!

+1 This! I pay about $4 a month for Sirius. Whenever you renew hold out until the last day or even go a few days without it and wait for the rock bottom pricing. It will come. You should call them and say you want to cancel as it's too expensive and you will get a much better deal!

Dee18

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2016, 07:06:22 AM »
I know we all want the best for our kids, but do you really think $500+ per year for dance lessons for a five year old us the best use of that money?  She is so young she may not even remember the classes.  That money would probably be better off in the new roof fund.  Also look to cut the cost of birthday gifts, since you have many to give.  Can you make some?  Homemade doll clothes?  Buy art supplies when they are on super sale to use as gifts? 

ohsnap

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2016, 07:51:07 AM »
I know we all want the best for our kids, but do you really think $500+ per year for dance lessons for a five year old us the best use of that money?  She is so young she may not even remember the classes. ...

I don't think $46/month for this activity is out of line for jbert's income level.  If they were in debt, then I agree it would be an unnecessary splurge.

My daughter started dance lessons when she was about that age, and it was a great social as well as physical exercise activity for her through high school.

Lski'stash

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2016, 07:59:05 AM »
Bills
Mortgage:  $1657
Netflix:  $8
Cell phone:  $40
Car Insurance:  $93
Cable/Internet:  $80 (not sure what cost is yet for internet only )
Sirius (my husband wants to keep it):  $24
Daughters dance class:  $46                                            Is the car insurance for only one car? I'm not sure what the car laws are in your state, but you could go for minimum coverage on it to lower that bill. I also agree with the others that the Sirius radio bill is too high. You could hook up Spotify for $10 per month and be able to listen to whatever you want. Also, not sure what the husbands work situation and the kids school situation is, but a big thing that could help would be moving to a place closer to work to save on fuel and other expenses. Not sure where you are at, but at least around here, $1657 per month (for a 30 year mortgage) covers a pretty gigantic house, even for a family of 4.

Everyday stuff
Food/Groceries:  Trying to stay at $500 including personal care & household items
Pet food (2 big dogs & a cat):  $90 (I need to find less expensive food)
Fuel:  $100     Just another note here that moving could help with the fuel consumption.

Discretionary
Hubby spending:  $60
Me spending:  $20
Eating out:  $30/month

Yearly stuff/subscriptions:
Amazon Prime:  $9
Auto Registration/License:  $8
Life Insurance:  $12 (other paid through work)  I would get the life insurance looked at, personally. How much would you guys really need? It might be that the one through your work is plenty.

Variable utilities:
PSEG:  $247 average - try to get down to 150 .. lower thermostat at night and daytime, change rest of bulbs to LED, turn off switches to computer/tvs at night
Water:  $70 average - trying to get down too
Sewer bills:  $43 

I am not sure what a sewer bill is, personally. The water bill does seem high (mine is $30 per month), but I'm not sure how you could get that down. The gas and electric is incredibly high. We bought a Nest thermostat to help regulate the temperature in our home, and it has saved us between $50 and $60 a month since we put it in. I couldn't believe it. It sounds like you are well on your way with the other changes.

Sinking discretionary funds
Clothes:  $70 (we usually use hand-me-downs but we notice we buy a lot of shoes for the kids and ourselves from being outdoors a lot; winter gear, my hubby works in a machine shop and his jeans get pretty grimy, but usually get at thrift stores). Not sure if this is too high.
Birthdays/Anniversaries:  $15/month - I can use A.C. Moore coupons for 50% off for the nieces and nephews too ..
Amusement/Special Occasions:  $25/month
Kid stuff:  $25 - removed this category          Some on here would definitely argue to get rid of this category altogether. It might make your family rather unhappy though...It just depends how serious you want to be and how much you want to save.

Sinking Savings
Home repairs:  Put away about $200/month for the roof we will probably need soon (25 years old)
General Home maintenance/yard etc:  $25/mth
Car maintenance:  Put away about 25/month - hubby does oil changes himself .. tires can be $?
Christmas:  25/month
Vet Bills & Pet meds (2 big dogs):  $30
Medical:  $85 for deductibles - maybe just remove this and use emergency fund for this ?  YES. This is EXACTLY the kind of stuff that I would think emergency funds are supposed to be used for. When you pay for something along these lines, take it out and then work on replacing the stash before you move onto other ways of saving.

Total outgoing not counting emergency fund or retirement is $3478
Total income is $4300 a month


That leaves about $800 to save with

For savings ...
Emergency Fund:  $400/month
Retirement:  $400/month plus put that other $400/month above ^  into retirement when emergency fund is funded. How are you saving this money? Not sure what your savings strategy is, but I count 403b and 401K deductions into these numbers.

Any better?
[/quote]

Larabeth

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2016, 08:11:07 AM »
How "big" are your dogs? $90/month seems steep for food for two dogs and a cat.

Look not only at the price per pound of food, but also the price per serving. A lot of better quality foods may seem more expensive per bag but actually be a better deal with each serving.

We use Canidae all life stages and buy the massive bag off Amazon.

Check into a possible internet/home phone bundle. Sometimes those can be cheaper than internet alone and they are definitely a better deal than cable bundles!

Also, I have to agree that you could do better on housing costs... It sounds as if your electric bill is high because you have a gigantic house, which is why your mortgage is high too. But I'm in the Birmingham, AL area. Not totally LCOL but not HCOL either.

For those of you who don't know, some municipalities tax access to sewer, whether you use it or not. That's where the sewer bill is coming from.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 09:30:55 AM by Larabeth »

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2016, 09:03:10 AM »
Kid stuff:  good point.  We go to the Discovery Museum or trampoline park in winter, or we took them bowling the other day .. but that could be in with the Amusement and then like you said, we could get more creative and do more park days etc... Maybe we could ask for gift/membership subscriptions for these types of things from family members who ask about gifts!  Or just little things they need like crayons but again that could be in the gift budget or i can use gift cards for that stuff huh?

Giving family members a "wish list" of things you or children actually want and will use is an excellent idea. Almost all gifters appreciate a list of options or ideas at different price points. List things that you would otherwise buy or would like to buy for yourselves as a treat.

Eliminating or drastically reducing gift giving is not always possible. For some people, like my mother, giving and receiving gifts is a big deal. Can you fight back and insist on a "no gifts" policy? Yes, absolutely, but you may find that it's not a battle worth waging. Personally, I shop for gifts year round, not right before they're needed. If I see something I'd like to gift on clearance, I'll buy it and store it even if this occasion is several months away. I try to never give cash. Since I'm a skilled shopper, I can get a gift that retails for much more than I would be comfortable giving in cash. I also recommend redeeming credit card and other rewards points to help with gifting expenses. You can buy gift cards with your points that you can either use to buy gifts or give directly if necessary.

For dog food, I recommend Diamond Naturals. In my experience, they're typically the least expensive "better" (not corn meal based) brand. My dog has been eating it pretty exclusively for several months now, and it's a good choice for her. It's available through Amazon, but I've found the best price at my local farm and feed store (Rural King).

The biggest issue I see with your current budget is your mortgage. Paying $1657/month leads me to believe you likely have more house than you need unless you live in a HCOL area. What's your mortgage rate and terms? If your payment is so high because you have a 15 year mortgage, you may want to consider refinancing to a 30 year fixed so you can fund your retirement more aggressively.  I paid off my mortgage as a security measure and personal preference, but it's smarter to keep paying on low interest debt and throw your money into interest bearing accountants instead.

PharmaStache

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2016, 09:14:58 AM »
I don't think there's much you can do at the moment.  Your mortgage is too high for your current income, as others have stated.  I think you should be looking to the future to figure out how you can start making a significant income once your youngest is in school- maybe there are some classes you could take?  Part time work to get your foot in the door somewhere?  Hopefully in 2-3 years you will be back to making at least $2000/month and you can start doing some significant retirement saving.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2016, 09:53:56 AM »
That $247 PSEG bill seems really high. The fact that you say that it is in line with what your neighbors pay per month indicates there is a lot of room to get this down. Most folks in your hood are almost assuredly not moustachian, so figure out which behaviors you need to curtail to get this down.

gizmonte

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2016, 11:54:42 AM »
Wow I am actually getting excited about all the changes I can make.  Its funny how there are some things I just didn't see until I received input from here.  You guys are so helpful!

Our house is about 1500 square feet in New Jersey ... The mortgage does make my stomach turn but I am not sure what else to do.  We owe more than it's worth im sure.  Great point about my neighbors having the same bill and that would prove its too high because most people are not mustachian haha.  Eye opening! 

One thing I realized, we keep our heat on 70/71 during the day and 67/68 at night, my daughters room gets very cold for some reason but she does have a wool blanket on top of  (she never wants to use but i guess if she's cold she will) ... I can maybe lower that to 68 during the day and 65 at night and just get some good heavy comforters .. My 2 year old also hates blankets!  My hubby has a very heavy wool blanket from when he was in the army and I wish i could find something that heavy!  It's amazing the difference it makes putting that on top of our other blankets.

Whats your thought on doing wash daily, we do a load every day because the kids go through so much laundry with being outside in the mud or rain or my 2 year old is always spilling smoothies and stuff on him haha.  I saw a blog post on here about how Mr money mustache only does wash twice a week because it saves but i don't understand how that is possible if you're still washing the same total amount of clothes?

DebtFreeBy25   I actually do buy Diamond dog food and we go through 40 lbs in 3 weeks , its about 45 dollars ... I checked rural king online but shipping would make it the same ... Maybe we are feeding them too much.  I never know the correct amount ... we do 1.5 cups twice a day and they are about 60-65 lb.  Then the cat food and litter can be add up... i never realized how costly my animals would be! 

I like the idea from the Frugalwoods site, I really always think of that, are we just putting 30 dollars in the "eating out" category and then spending it because we have "permission" - that actually does always bother me about doing a budget, for example, I allocated 20 for myself but i rarely buy things, now i feel like i will be tempted to buy myself something more than i normally would. 

I like AC moore for buying gifts for kids so maybe ill do what some of you said and watch sales for bday gifts and xmas gifts all year and stash them away ... I love giving art supplies as gifts!!!

I also just realized I could ask for memberships for christmas and maybe gift cards for birthdays and use that to buy any kid stuff ... I also get cash back for using my debit card so I could use that for clothes too or things that pop up unexpectedly. Wow this is a fun challenge!

I could easily find part time work soon because my parents own a business and they said whenever I need more work I am welcome to come in and they pay me pretty well, I was there for 14 years full time and they kept the same pay for me when i went part time.  I just don't want to put my little guy in daycare.  I work on Fridays when my husband is home (he works longer days during the week to be off on friday).  I could maybe work longer days.  I currently go in at 9 and work until 6.  I could perhaps work 8-7 which would add about 90 dollars to the end of the month ... hmmm

Moustachienne

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2016, 12:23:03 PM »
Hey JBert,

Sounds like your thinking is on the right track.  Thought I'd chime in with something that's been helpful for me lately.

I've been reading the Frugalwoods blog regularly, and I like their style of not making a budget, but rather just aiming to spend the least amount possible while still enjoying life.  So for me for example, I don't think anymore about an annual budget for family birthday gifts.  What I do instead is, as each birthday rolls around, think of the least expensive way to give an appropriately priced gift that the person will love.  This usually means I'm able to cash in some Amazon credit card points, or sew something, or find something at the consignment store.  I realize this could be controversial around her, but I agree with the Frugalwoods' sentiment that creating a budget line item gives you implicit permission to spend that full amount.


A lot of your line items fall into this category.  I'm not being terribly articulate here, but my suggestion is basically this: You might find that not giving yourself pre-authorized permission to spend in each of those discretionary categories will result in you finding better ways to be creative and purposeful with what money you do decide to spend.

Hope that made sense ... sometimes I feel like I'm just now getting my head wrapped around the concept!

I've been enjoying the Frugalwoods too, for this and many reasons, and really agree with the non-budget budget approach for DH and me in general.  Mr.MM has the same approach, for the same reasons, but temperaments vary.   DH is a big hobbyist and we've found it useful to for him to have a budget to spend within that takes into account our other goals.

MMM explains his non-budget, values-based spending here and I know must also have more detail in an earlier post...
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/01/16/exposed-the-mmm-familys-2014-spending/

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2016, 12:30:05 PM »
thanks I will check this out ^

Silly question, do i HAVE to buy "large breed" dog food for my 60 and 65 lb dog food or is that a gimmick to get me to spend a little more?  Is there more fat etc in the large breed.  I see a price difference in the Diamond Naturals vs Diamond Naturals Large breed so was curious!

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2016, 12:57:56 PM »
thanks I will check this out ^

Silly question, do i HAVE to buy "large breed" dog food for my 60 and 65 lb dog food or is that a gimmick to get me to spend a little more?  Is there more fat etc in the large breed.  I see a price difference in the Diamond Naturals vs Diamond Naturals Large breed so was curious!

It's a total gimmick. Your 65 lb dogs can absolutely eat the same food as my 33 lb dog; they just need more of it. Smaller dogs actually tend to have higher metabolisms and require more food per pound of body weight than a larger dog. (Smaller animals expend more energy keeping warm and doing daily activities like hopping on the couch.)

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2016, 01:18:27 PM »
Ok thanks,  but if I am using more if it then maybe it's still cost effective to buy the large breed ?

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2016, 01:53:24 PM »
You asked about daily wash:

I do not have dogs but I do have two boys close in age to yours. I do not do the wash every day; more like 4-5 loads per week. And sometimes the Wednesday load actually isn't that full, it's just that the kids are running out of school uniforms for school. Lots of people own 6 uniforms (5 plus a spare to keep at school) but I chose to buy each kid only 4. (Yes, they go to a public preschool with uniforms.)

Both kids occasionally get through the day with pants that are reasonably clean--back in the drawer they go. Adult clothes, only if they look dirty or smell bad do they go in the hamper. We bathe the children only once every 3-5 days and PJs are changed only on bath night, unless they get peed on or something.

I wash sheets and towels only when I notice them being dirty. (Not that my sheets get DIRTY, but eventually they just seem... ready for the wash. I dunno. I don't was them every week.)

I keep my heat at 68 all day and I consider that kind of extravagant! I would keep it lower, but Mr. FP is not on board. Little Brother sleeps with no blanket and his room is cold. I just figured, eh, that's his choice. I mean, I offered him a blanket. Gotta respect his choice on the matter.

I know the FWs mentioned saving a lot of money by buying dog food at Costco, if you have one in your area. You're doing well in a lot of areas! Now, their thing about just trying to keep expenses low and not budgeting--that's all very well and good if your income is comfortably over your spending. Mine isn't, so I do have to pay attention to cutting myself off at a certain point, and you're in that position, too.

Because our jobs are pretty stable and stocks are on sale, we choose to put some money toward retirement even though we are still building an emergency fund. But he doesn't have a 401(k) match--just a pension--and I have no control over my at-work retirement. They just steal 8% of my paycheck and do something with it. (Defined contribution pension plan--employer also puts in 11% if I stay long enough.) So we want to have some retirement money more in our control; if our situation was different, we might not worry about IRAs right now and just build the emergency fund.

Friar

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2016, 02:01:40 PM »
Ok thanks,  but if I am using more if it then maybe it's still cost effective to buy the large breed ?

It's the price per kilo of food you're interested in looking at.

If the food price per kilo for the large breed variety is cheaper than the price per kilo for the small breed variety then yes, it would be more cost effective to buy the large breed.


La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2016, 02:04:35 PM »
Ok thanks,  but if I am using more if it then maybe it's still cost effective to buy the large breed ?

It's the price per kilo of food you're interested in looking at.

If the food price per kilo for the large breed variety is cheaper than the price per kilo for the small breed variety then yes, it would be more cost effective to buy the large breed.

Shouldn't it be price per kilo of dog? I dunno about dog food, but with cat food, II think some brands advise a larger serving than others. Make sure to see how much the package says to serve.

justajane

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2016, 02:09:36 PM »
Just a tiny tip for now -- I think you all are over-paying for Sirius.  I get offers from them all the time for a "special" 5 months for $20.  I decided to try it one time.  Then at the end of that 5 months, I called to cancel, and they give me another 5 months for $20.  I'm pretty sure this service is just like cable, where they will always give you "promo" pricing if you just keep calling back and talking to the retention department as your promo period expires.  I realize this trick with Sirius wouldn't be a *huge* savings, but it sure is a start!

+1 This! I pay about $4 a month for Sirius. Whenever you renew hold out until the last day or even go a few days without it and wait for the rock bottom pricing. It will come. You should call them and say you want to cancel as it's too expensive and you will get a much better deal!

+2 We pay about $4 a month a well. It's the same script every six months.

My husband: Hi, I'm calling to cancel Sirius. My subscription ends this week.
Sirius: Can I ask why?
My husband: It costs too much.
Sirius: Well, let me look. (pregnant pause) It turns out I have a GREAT deal for you that I can offer. $10 a month.
My husband: Sorry, it's still too expensive for me.
Sirius: (another pregnant pause). Well, I'm sorry to hear that. I'll start processing your cancellation. (pregnant pause). Hold on. It turns out I have another EVEN BETTER deal for you. I can offer it to you for $8 a month.


This goes on for a while until they get down to the $4 a month price. It's pretty hilarious. Same conversation every six months. I think he pays six months at a time, but it works out to $4 a month, give or take.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2016, 02:10:11 PM »
Posting to follow. I definitely encourage you to call Sirius and get a lower rate- it's pretty painless, I've never had them tell me they can't drop the rate at least a little. To be fair, I don't have them anymore and haven't for a couple years, but it's an easy save there.

Do you have multiple internet providers in your area? That's the best way to be able to get your rates down- bring the ad for one to the other, and ask them to beat it =) I like the line, "I've had great luck with your service/reps/whatever, and I really don't want to leave, but this offer is so good it's making it difficult not too... please help me be able to stay with your service!" Keeps you on the same team. Works better for me- as a woman, I very much fall into the stereotype of not liking the confrontation or antisocial type behavior. If you're the same way, this can be a much easier approach then the classic techniques you see around that are a bit more aggressive!

LeRainDrop

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2016, 02:16:39 PM »
Whats your thought on doing wash daily, we do a load every day because the kids go through so much laundry with being outside in the mud or rain or my 2 year old is always spilling smoothies and stuff on him haha.  I saw a blog post on here about how Mr money mustache only does wash twice a week because it saves but i don't understand how that is possible if you're still washing the same total amount of clothes?

Thoughts on doing the laundry daily?  WAY too often!  Obviously you need to do it frequently enough that no one completely runs out of clean clothing to wear, but unless each of you only own like two full sets of clothing, doing it daily is completely unnecessary.  The reason it saves money to do it less frequently is because it does not take so much water and electricity.  Every time you run a load, there is a chunk of electricity and water usage.  That completely doubles when you run a second load.  But if you were to combine the clothes into a single load, the electricity usage would barely increase from one load, if at all, and the water would also increase only a little, not double.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2016, 02:18:52 PM »
Remember: before puberty, kids don't put out the BO like adults do... very little oil on the skin. So unless something is otherwise soiled, it's not gonna get the stink like adolescents/adults. No reason to wash clothes every wear, even less so than with adults.

Larabeth

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2016, 02:37:01 PM »
thanks I will check this out ^

Silly question, do i HAVE to buy "large breed" dog food for my 60 and 65 lb dog food or is that a gimmick to get me to spend a little more?  Is there more fat etc in the large breed.  I see a price difference in the Diamond Naturals vs Diamond Naturals Large breed so was curious!

Gimmick.  My two dogs are about that size and we spend $20/mo on food... see my link above to the Canidae food we use (just a normal Amazon link, not an affiliate or anything!!!).  They eat about a cup a day, but they're also not terribly active.

Cassie

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2016, 04:46:08 PM »
When I was raising my 3 boys I only did laundry 1x/week. That way all the loads were full. When they came home from school they changed out of their school clothes into play clothes. That way their school clothes stayed nice and could be handed down.  In the summer they bathed everyday because they got dirty from playing outside but in winter I only bathed them every other day.  I washed towels and sheets weekly.  Since your parents are your employers once your 2 yo is in school I would work all the hours that they were in school. So for the next 3-4 years you won't be saving a ton of $ but that will change when you are working more.  I always bought gifts year round so I could get great deals.  When my kids were little a local store only had a toy department in the xmas season so the day after xmas my Mom, sister and I would get up early and get in line to buy for next years xmas. Everyone knew what they needed to grab and where it was as we had checked it out a few days before. Then my kids had an awesome xmas for not a lot of $. This only worked until they were young enough that they didn't ask for specific things.

Larabeth

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2016, 05:20:07 PM »
Ps- the best way to price dog food is to look at the servings and price per serving instead of per pound.

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2016, 06:48:52 PM »
Grossness warning, skip this paragraph if you are not a dog owner. Dog food - the best way to see if it is nutrient-dense is to check out the poop.  Is it huge?  Then you are paying for a lot of indigestible material.  Is it small?  Then your dogs are digesting their food well (and you have less to pick up).  Remember dogs are mostly carnivorous with a bit of plant material, they don't need roughage.  Once you see which brands they are doing well on, then check cost per day per dog.  I feed my 45 pound dog the grain free Costco dog food, and it is very cost effective.  But I wouldn't get a Costco membership just for the dog food, Costco is a shopping accident waiting to happen.

Laundry - water temperature?  Heating water is the main cost for washing clothes.  If you can do cold water washes it will be much less expensive, unless your water costs are high.  I think full loads (not overloaded ) are most efficient, since the agitator has to move no matter the size of the load, but if you have to do a small load, make sure your water level is lower to match.  I find that if I soak a load of wash for several hours, even fairly dirty clothes come clean in cold water with a cold water detergent.  Also, are you hanging your laundry or using a dryer?  Line drying (inside in bad weather) is a huge savings.  There was a laundry thread a while ago you could search for.  If you find you run out of clothes before the last load on the line is dry and ready to wear, you could always buy more clothes - Charles Long wrote about that in one of his books (I think it was How to Survive Without a Salary: Learning How to Live the Conserver Lifestyle).  Of course those were thrift store clothes, not brand new! I didn't find my laundry went up a huge amount once DD was in the picture - children's clothes are so small that it takes a lot to make a load, I just tossed them in with ours. 

Re uniforms - I always had a school uniform and I had 5 blouses - my Mom did school laundry once a week (those 100% cotton blouses meant she had to iron them), and I was good for the week.  I changed the instant I got home, before I did anything else, so school clothes didn't get played in and they stayed clean.  Most schools have a "Fripperie" (sorry don't know the English word) where people sell the uniforms their children have grown out of.  If your school doesn't have one, maybe you could start one?  But your kids are 2 and 5 - school uniforms?  That is kindergarten and not even anything.  There are usually sports equipment exchanges at schools as well - skis, bikes, snowboards, skates, etc. - and if your school or community doesn't have one, again organizing one would be useful.  This is nothing new, I grew up in an upper middle class suburb and these were standard.  I wasn't a super athletic kid, so my parents didn't need to buy me top-of-the-line equipment, almost all my bikes and skis were second hand.

Sirius radio - why?  Borrow podcasts from the library and listen to them.  Or have the radio off and enjoy the silence.  You are using your library lots, right?

Re overall expenses, someone on the forum (and I wish I could remember who it was so I could give credit) wrote that the easiest way to cut expenses was to cut and then cut again, until it hurt, and then go back up just one little bit to where it hadn't hurt, and stay there.

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2016, 08:59:12 PM »
Ok thanks,  but if I am using more if it then maybe it's still cost effective to buy the large breed ?

It's the price per kilo of food you're interested in looking at.

If the food price per kilo for the large breed variety is cheaper than the price per kilo for the small breed variety then yes, it would be more cost effective to buy the large breed.
I guess I am still confused, because if I need to use more of the cheaper per kilo stuff, am I really saving anything?  I am flaking out here, I am sure I am just tired lol.

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2016, 09:03:00 PM »
thanks I will check this out ^

Silly question, do i HAVE to buy "large breed" dog food for my 60 and 65 lb dog food or is that a gimmick to get me to spend a little more?  Is there more fat etc in the large breed.  I see a price difference in the Diamond Naturals vs Diamond Naturals Large breed so was curious!

Gimmick.  My two dogs are about that size and we spend $20/mo on food... see my link above to the Canidae food we use (just a normal Amazon link, not an affiliate or anything!!!).  They eat about a cup a day, but they're also not terribly active.

I looked but the canidae costs a lot more than the diamond naturals we buy :(. So your dogs of about the same size only get a cup a day?  Mine each get 3 cups a day which is what seems to be perfect (the smaller dog maybe a little less than that) but wouldn't think a cup a day for 60 and 65 lb dogs would be enough?

Sandia

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2016, 10:14:23 PM »
Maybe try using something like this: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dog-food-calculator/

Then you can find the best value dog food per calorie.

Warning: I have not used this calculator and don't know whether it works. You could instead just ask your vet how many calories per day your dogs need next time you visit.

Larabeth

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2016, 08:26:09 AM »
thanks I will check this out ^

Silly question, do i HAVE to buy "large breed" dog food for my 60 and 65 lb dog food or is that a gimmick to get me to spend a little more?  Is there more fat etc in the large breed.  I see a price difference in the Diamond Naturals vs Diamond Naturals Large breed so was curious!

Gimmick.  My two dogs are about that size and we spend $20/mo on food... see my link above to the Canidae food we use (just a normal Amazon link, not an affiliate or anything!!!).  They eat about a cup a day, but they're also not terribly active.

I looked but the canidae costs a lot more than the diamond naturals we buy :(. So your dogs of about the same size only get a cup a day?  Mine each get 3 cups a day which is what seems to be perfect (the smaller dog maybe a little less than that) but wouldn't think a cup a day for 60 and 65 lb dogs would be enough?

Each food is different. I used to feed them more and they were getting pudgy. Even now that we have a back yard, that cup seems to be enough  That's why you have to see what the bag says the correct serving should be and figure out the price of food per serving instead of per kilo.

A lot of the more expensive stuff has better nutritional value and you feed less of it. Plus, in the long run if they're eating better food you have less health problems!

Sandia has a good reference... Dog food advisor can be a useful source in general, though I've never tried their calculator.

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2016, 04:53:32 AM »
Thank you all for your advice!  One other thing that's killing us is we have $700 a month taken out of his check for health insurance ... (That 4300 is after health insurance) and I don't know that there is any other way :(

We did adjust our taxes so we break even this year so this income is based on that...
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 05:02:16 AM by jbert »

Laserjet3051

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2016, 08:35:58 AM »
Thank you all for your advice!  One other thing that's killing us is we have $700 a month taken out of his check for health insurance ... (That 4300 is after health insurance) and I don't know that there is any other way :(

We did adjust our taxes so we break even this year so this income is based on that...

That health insurance premium sounds like a GREAT deal from my perspective. I'm paying $1200 per month to cover my family and also have to pay co-pays and other expenses each month in addition to the $1200 premium. Where can I get insurance as cheap as you're getting?

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2016, 05:09:29 PM »
Laserjet3051 thank you for your input ...  I was not sure if it was a good deal to me ... It jumped so much in the last years so it sounded like a lot to me.

We get it through our employer (my parents business) ... They pay 40% I think.

Rosy

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #40 on: March 10, 2016, 07:12:54 PM »
That is not too high for insurance. My Health Insurance premiums have escalated by 30% in the last few years.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #41 on: March 10, 2016, 08:23:42 PM »
Just a tiny tip for now -- I think you all are over-paying for Sirius.  I get offers from them all the time for a "special" 5 months for $20.  I decided to try it one time.  Then at the end of that 5 months, I called to cancel, and they give me another 5 months for $20.  I'm pretty sure this service is just like cable, where they will always give you "promo" pricing if you just keep calling back and talking to the retention department as your promo period expires.  I realize this trick with Sirius wouldn't be a *huge* savings, but it sure is a start!

+1 This! I pay about $4 a month for Sirius. Whenever you renew hold out until the last day or even go a few days without it and wait for the rock bottom pricing. It will come. You should call them and say you want to cancel as it's too expensive and you will get a much better deal!

+2 We pay about $4 a month a well. It's the same script every six months.

Hi, jbert, here ya go -- I just received this offer from Sirius in the mail the other day (my personal info has been redacted).  Perhaps you can ask them to give you this deal of $25 for 6 months.

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2016, 10:01:54 AM »
thank you!  He tried calling and canceling and they would not budge from 10 dollars a month so he canceled it ... I told him about podcasts (I LOVE podcasts) so maybe he will try that!  He likes listening to a lot of talk radio.

Nickels Dimes Quarters

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #43 on: March 12, 2016, 04:54:27 PM »
Good for you! You will get lots of advice for cutting expenses. Make sure that you get your savings (no matter how small) into investments, not just into a "save to spend" fund.

NDQ

Rewdoalb

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #44 on: March 12, 2016, 07:38:56 PM »
I'm sure Sirius will send a "please come back" offer before long...

jbert

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2016, 10:04:29 AM »
Funny thing, for years he didn't want to cancel it, would not look into podcasts because i guess he was too lazy to do it, well he canceled Sirius, finally started looking into other ways and found podcasts (after hearing me obsess about podcasts for so long, he finally looked into it) and now he likes it better than sirius!  and they are free!  woohoo!  He said he can't believe we paid for sirius for so long when he could listen to the same topics on podcasts for nothing!

MerryMcQ

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Re: Scrutinize our one income budget please!
« Reply #46 on: March 18, 2016, 07:56:19 PM »
Great point about my neighbors having the same bill and that would prove its too high because most people are not mustachian haha.  Eye opening! 

One thing I realized, we keep our heat on 70/71 during the day and 67/68 at night, my daughters room gets very cold for some reason but she does have a wool blanket on top of  (she never wants to use but i guess if she's cold she will) ... I can maybe lower that to 68 during the day and 65 at night and just get some good heavy comforters .. My 2 year old also hates blankets!  My hubby has a very heavy wool blanket from when he was in the army and I wish i could find something that heavy!  It's amazing the difference it makes putting that on top of our other blankets.

We moved to the Seattle area from San Diego last summer, and I cringed at the idea of running our heater all winter. Instead, I got us acclimated to colder temps slowly. When the temperature started dropping, I turned the heat to where we were comfortable (like 68 during day). Then each week I lowered it by one degree. We added warmer clothes, like fuzzy socks and sweatshirts and bathrobes. Once we got to where we couldn't stay warm even with lots of layers (but not gloves/hats), I put the temp up a degree. We kept dropping it until the heat during the day was 62. At night, I always turn off the heat, and the house drops to between 55-58 degrees. I just kept adding comforters and quilts. My son hates blankets too, but I just keep extras in his room and he can use them if he wants.

I did find that when we are sitting, a heated blanket is so nice. And we snuggle more when it is colder!

We're all pretty comfortable at this temperature, but we got here slowly!