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View Full Version : My Challenge for 2009.... Nervous -need budgeting help!



evelester
12-18-2008, 04:17:16 PM
I am planning on starting this Jan 1st, if I tried right now I would just cry LOL Too much going on with holidays and such- so it is a PERFECT resolution!

Ok, so here is my background- I am a stay at home mom to a 3 month old, my hubby makes about 600 a week take home... on a GOOD week, it has gotten as low as 480 recently... holiday cuts overtime :-( We are lucky to have a cheap place, only 476 a month for 2 bedrooms in the country, it is a single wide and old, but I would rather rent here paying 476 and one day be able to buy a house, than to rent somewhere nicer for twice that and never get a house. Plus this place is not that bad, I have it decorated and such and inside is nice (needs painted badly) LOL ok, enough about the house.

We have no 'debt' thank goodness, I was married before and had a TON but we have worked those out, so the only bills we have are cable/phone/internet (all in one - 140 a month- need it for working at home online- I make about 30-75 a week most weeks blogging) and some other bills- I will lay hose out below if you wanted to see them

Our biggest expense is eating out and groceries... since we live in a small town there is really nothing to do, the 'mall' here is a collection of a few stores under one roof, there is a bowling alley but they are always closed for leauges only, etc. etc. So we eat out to get out of the house LOL Now we have a baby and going out is not as easy, so we have been doing MUCH better on not eating out, but still need to cut back some

Groceries I have never really kept track of, usually one BIG trip a week and I would spend about 120 FOR A WEEK.... I know, I was silly! Then through the week we would have to make SEVERAL little stops for stuff we forgot, always ending up getting more we dont need.

Ok, onto now---I am a couponer... I have a binder with labels and dividers and I spend my free time tracking down sales and coupons... I am able to get the same 120 worth of stuff and only spend 50, I am learning how to shop better and cook healthier, I am WOMAN! LOL Sorry, felt I had to add that.... :quote:

So groceries I plan on limiting to 300 a month, I am hoping even lower but that sounds reasonable. that is to include stockpiling, baby items, food, cleaning, personal care, etc. So 75 a week, I can do that right? (I want to work on stockpiling since hubby's jub has been flaky lately, his boss is talking about closing at some point if things don't change- so I want to have plenty for that scary day (along with an emergency fund)

So here is my proposed budget... please take a look and give me input...

Income: about 2000... but the weeks vary so much it is hard to say....

Outgoing:
rent 476
elec - about 150
cable/tv/internet - 140
car insurance - 100
car payment - 250 (should be paid off my june)
grocries - 300
clothes for us and baby - 40
gas - 175
health insurance -100
hobbies- 15 (xbox live for hubby and a few stamps or a scrapbooking kit for me a month)
eating out- 160

that leaves us with about 94 a month... cutting it close, and I am sure I am forgetting a few things.

Anyway, if you have input feel free to share, I plan on working more on the budget after christmas to get it ironed out and keeping tabs on my shopping.

By May my goal is to have 1000 in the bank for an emergency fund (have 300 now) and anything over the 2000 budgeted amount every month I will put in there- as well as 50 a week direct deposited already)

By Feburary I want to Have mastered shopping to no more then 75 a week for everything!

and by March I want to have a solid budget based on Jan and feb that includes everything, plans for the holiday weeks where his checks will be short and helps us not be so tight.

Whew.... that was REALLLLY long, I am sorry! If you read this far thanks though! LOL I dont get out much so I end up being very chatty here! :sorry22:

puakinikini
12-18-2008, 04:25:53 PM
Thanks for sharing - I am doing a similar resolution for 2009 - but I am not quite as far along as you are in thinking about it! Which is ridiculous given the date!!! ...but you have inspired me to get with it - thank you!

One thing I have done is tracked all my spending for the past couple months by saving all receipts and bills. I got a spreadsheet from another member and have been entering all my receipts so that I can create a budget. I figure I need to know what I REALLY spend in order to cut back. In order to stay within the budget I will tack all expenditures in 2009....it may kill me (as I really hate taking the time to do it - but I am going to force myself).

My goals will be to pay off debt - we got side ways when my DH was unemployed - and to create an emergency fund. I will be chekcing back to this thread with interest on the advice that others give you!

cpaige
12-18-2008, 04:30:40 PM
Good luck to both of you! And remember to keep us updated!!!

tdtowen
12-18-2008, 04:48:12 PM
Good for you for tackling this! You can do it!

One thing I noticed.... you said that you have $50 per week going into a savings account. Is that the "over $2,000" money? If it's not, you're going to fall short in another category, since you currently don't have $200 of leftover money in your budget.

evelester
12-18-2008, 05:58:03 PM
thanks so much yall!! I appreciate the support- and having someone to report to LOL

no, the 50 a week is not included in the 2000, we have had it set up to go in there for a yer now, so I don't even count it in his paychecks, so the actual monthly would be 2200 if that was included, now we just have to stop transferring money OUT of savings and let it build up!

cfranc
12-18-2008, 06:16:24 PM
I would suggest that you check out a book at the library called "Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. We have been following his program since February of '08 and we have paid off all of our debts (except house), stopped the steady leak of money by getting on a budget that really worked for us. The book explains how to budget and save and the forms are in the back of the book. He also has a show on Fox Business Network that would be worth checking out. Good luck!

evelester
12-18-2008, 08:46:47 PM
Oh, I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan! I have the book and love it! He is the main reason we have no debt!


I would suggest that you check out a book at the library called "Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. We have been following his program since February of '08 and we have paid off all of our debts (except house), stopped the steady leak of money by getting on a budget that really worked for us. The book explains how to budget and save and the forms are in the back of the book. He also has a show on Fox Business Network that would be worth checking out. Good luck!

JANE4girls
12-19-2008, 06:09:00 AM
great goals! keep us updated

VivaciousJewelz
12-22-2008, 07:11:40 AM
I have the hardest time staying on budget!

Have you tried switching to energy efficient light bulbs? I just switched, so I don't know the effect on my electricity bill yet, but hopefully it will lower it a little.

Also, for eating out, I used to see a lot of websites that would give you reduced price giftcards, like you could buy a $50 giftcard to Chili's for $40 or something like that. I wish I remembered the website, but you might want to check that out.

I think there are also gas reward things you can do. I know Safeway has a gas reward program on their club card, so you might want to check that out too.

Good luck and keep us posted!

cooktre
12-22-2008, 03:11:37 PM
Congrats on killing your debt! Do you read any of the personal finance blogs? My favorite is The Simple Dollar, lots of good frugal tips there. Also, for the mom-based personal finance blog, try Simple Mom and Almost Frugal. Also, try the Complete Tightwad Gazette book if you haven't yet. I see you, like me, already drank the Dave kool-aid:giggle2:.

I think the most important thing to keep me on budget is to read and/or listen to personal finance info every day. It keeps my head in the game. It feels good to have/be a cheering section and to see other people stumble with their budgets and talk about our mess-ups because we all stumble!

To stay on budget, I do the PF thing every day and try out things that might seem extreme to see if they work for me. For example, we only rack and line dry our clothes now. With our mostly free CVS supported fabric softener, they really aren't stiff at all and it extends the life of our clothes to forego the dryer. It knocked our electric bill down about 30-35%.

Good luck with your emergency fund! It really will add a lot of piece of mind to your life.

kmmmom
12-22-2008, 04:53:28 PM
[quote=evelester;1424744]
Income: about 2000... but the weeks vary so much it is hard to say....

Outgoing:
rent 476
elec - about 150
cable/tv/internet - 140 do you have any premium channels that would cut the monthly bill if you cut?
car insurance - 100
car payment - 250 (should be paid off my june)
grocries - 300 good job working on this
clothes for us and baby - 40 might want to cut this back a little, sales and yardsales, goodwill, etc. Babies grow fast so they don't need a lot of things that they will outgrow quickly.
gas - 175
health insurance -100
hobbies- 15 (xbox live for hubby and a few stamps or a scrapbooking kit for me a month) very reasonable here
eating out- 160 - seems pretty high for just the 2 of you

I don't see any phone bill, water bill, or gas bill. Do you have any out of pocket medical bills that aren't covered by your insurance (co-pays, prescriptions) renter's insurance, life insurance, household (lightbulbs, towels, shower curtain, printer paper, etc.)

You also need to think about things that don't come due every month like car tags and licenses, Christmas gifts, Birthday gifts.

In order to get that $1000 in the bank faster, can you sell some things you aren't using on Craigslist or Ebay?

Great job on taking this step! You are going to do great!


that leaves us with about 94 a month... cutting it close, and I am sure I am forgetting a few things.

Anyway, if you have input feel free to share, I plan on working more on the budget after christmas to get it ironed out and keeping tabs on my shopping.

By May my goal is to have 1000 in the bank for an emergency fund (have 300 now) and anything over the 2000 budgeted amount every month I will put in there- as well as 50 a week direct deposited already)

By Feburary I want to Have mastered shopping to no more then 75 a week for everything!

and by March I want to have a solid budget based on Jan and feb that includes everything, plans for the holiday weeks where his checks will be short and helps us not be so tight.

evelester
12-22-2008, 06:21:47 PM
thanks to all for the support and helpful relies- and to answer some questions posted:

The cable actually includes phone, tv, and cable, the bundle, all basic, if I cut anything it would unbundle and the cost would go up about 10 a month, I have tried several ways of reducing this one! LOL And I have to have cable internet for my online work.

the clothes was totally an estimate, lol, I haven't bought anything for hubby or I in months! LOL I tried to 'over-estimate here'

The eating out is high, but much needed - we would go crazy if we didn't go out once a week, there is nothing else to do in town and with my anxiety/depression issues and my hubby's high stress job, our once a week eating out is like medicine. We have been talking about changing it to twice a month, and the other weeks do somethign super cheap, like tacobell or something. This is our biggest obstical, we can not cut it out, it freaks me out to think about it - I am home alone with the baby all week, eating out is so nice to even just talk to the server for me, you know what I mean?

And we have started looking into cheaper alternatives, like the gift certificates, only one resturant in our area accepts the resturant.com ones, but we end up spending more than we would without it because we have to get the total over 60 to get the 25 off.:hectic1:

I include lightbulbs and shower curtian like things in the groceries, probably shoudn't but I do LOL. And car tags, well, that is due this month! Forgot all about them until you mentioned it! EEk!

Whew, I think that covered it- and sellling things has been done, instead of a problem with hoarding I tend to get rid of everything we dont need ASAP, with such a small place I dont have the emotional sanity for clutter! LOL

Thanks again for the help, I just got set up with the "You need a budget program" I like it so far! Doing the 60 day trial first

eve


cable/tv/internet - 140 do you have any premium channels that would cut the monthly bill if you cut?
car insurance - 100
car payment - 250 (should be paid off my june)
grocries - 300 good job working on this
clothes for us and baby - 40 might want to cut this back a little, sales and yardsales, goodwill, etc. Babies grow fast so they don't need a lot of things that they will outgrow quickly.
gas - 175
health insurance -100
hobbies- 15 (xbox live for hubby and a few stamps or a scrapbooking kit for me a month) very reasonable here
eating out- 160 - seems pretty high for just the 2 of you

I don't see any phone bill, water bill, or gas bill. Do you have any out of pocket medical bills that aren't covered by your insurance (co-pays, prescriptions) renter's insurance, life insurance, household (lightbulbs, towels, shower curtain, printer paper, etc.)

You also need to think about things that don't come due every month like car tags and licenses, Christmas gifts, Birthday gifts.

In order to get that $1000 in the bank faster, can you sell some things you aren't using on Craigslist or Ebay?

Great job on taking this step! You are going to do great!

ladyeeyore7
12-22-2008, 07:46:16 PM
Just some thoughts, I lost my job in March and we are trying to live on hubby's income. He is self-employed so the income is all over the place. Some weeks we get a good chunk of money then we may go 2-3 weeks with little or none. So I have to plan a budget for both. If I draw out too much income for us then there isn't enough to run the company. If I draw out too little then I can't pay the bills. For instance, right now we haven't had an owner salary check so far this month. I have to budget pretty tight. We have been living this way since March and I haven't touched the savings yet. I'm very hopeful. One thing I do is to take any infrequent bills like car insurance, life insurance, etc. and divide them by the # of months to put in savings each month. For instance, car insurance is around $1200 a year for 4 cars so that means I need to put $100 a month in savings. Our water bill is every 3 months so I divide it by 3.

Also on the entertainment factor, try other things. I know what it's like to be home with a small child with no outlet. We lived 2000 miles from family when daughter was little and had 1 car which ex took to work every day. I had my daughter 24/7, I love her but the seclusion was stressful. I also did the single mom thing for 11 years. Have you made friends with anyone around you that you could do "coffee breaks" together. Is there any ice cream type places in town you could go to instead of restaurants that might be cheaper? Small towns usually have some sort of local entertainment like a grange hall, maybe check that out. Good luck!

drwonderwoman
12-22-2008, 07:54:09 PM
Have you checked into seeing if you can get the Entertainment Guide (http://www.entertainment.com/discount/?affiliateID=10406652%7C2203897&orcustom=778421901&AID=10406652&PID=2203897&SID=778421901&afsrc=1) for your area?

I've been looking into this, right now it's only 15.00 (normally 25 and higher)...there were lots of good q's for restaurants and things to do within a reasonable driving distance. Lots of frees, lots of 2 for 1's. That might help you to cut costs in that area and I know what you mean about it being medicinal. We all have to have that outlet. Hubby's is fishing and let me tell you he has not been in two weeks and is going absolutely crazy which is driving me crazy. lol. :hectic1:

You can plug in your zip and browse samples of the book.

VivaciousJewelz
12-23-2008, 07:54:34 AM
Hmm, have you tried looking for "Mommy and me" playgroups in your area? That would help you get out more and maybe spend less on eating out. Also, for kid clothing especially, try Freecycle.

evelester
12-23-2008, 08:11:47 AM
great ideas yall, as for the "entertainment book" there is nothing from our county in our local one! How sad! LOL

I have not found a decent mommy and me group yet, I did find one but it was filled with not so great mothers, in the sense that they talked about pills, parties, and other bad things, while letting thier babies sit in dirty clothes.

As for friends, I only have 2, really, honestly, I do only have TWO friends, one I just met from here! She is great! And the other is a girl I have known forever but she rarely hangs out here anymore, her boyfriend is kinda, well, a loser :-( He isn't allowed over anymore after the last drunken scene he caused as per my husband, so now she is here even less.

Our town is really 'different' in terms of people, like the mother groups everyone seems to be stuck in that part of life, my husbands biggest problem at work is hiring and firing people that are constantly drunk or the like. There is no entertainment aside from the bowling alley (closed to leauge only till after 10PM) the movie theatre- smells and is expensive.

The ice cream place we have is tiny, a TCBY and uncomfortable, owned by some very nice 'end-timers' but that means it usually has them filling up the inside. (((End timers are the other part of lake city, if your not a crack head you are probably one of them, the most beautiful cult I have ever seen! LOL They own half the citiy and dress like movie stars, drive caddies and do not talk to outsiders unless they are working or small talk) I am so intrigued with these people but that is another topic all together!! LOL)))

Anyway, looks like we are on the right track so far, I am exited about this!

kmmmom
12-31-2008, 04:14:25 AM
do you do mypoints? I just cashed in for 2 subway cards to give my daughter for her birthday. They have other restaurants, but she enjoys that one.

I totally understand about needing to get out for adult conversation and interaction. But, to reduce the cost, would it be possible to eat dinner at home and then go out for dessert instead. That would really lower the cost while still getting you out on a "date"

we don't have an entertainment book here either, but the local high school band or cheerleaders (don't know which) sells a little card that offers discounts at local places. Check with your chamber of commerce or the high school. If they don't offer it, it may be a moneymaker that the school could do and then everyone wins.

Are you able to take the baby out for walks to the park or even around the block? Outdoors does wonders for the spirit. (I am not some crazy exercise buff or anything, I just know I feel better when I get out of the house even for a short time) Go to the library, ours offers dvds and vhs tapes as well as books so free entertainment.

Good luck with everything and let us know how it's going.

nannabownanna
12-31-2008, 04:47:16 AM
I think the only other places that I can see you could shave anything is dining out and cable areas.
What about a church family for fellowshipping?
I have several friends through church that we hang out with often.
You may find that you could have get togethers once per week with some of them and take turns entertaining. Play cards, board games, watch movies together, etc.
I work at home also, use dsl and my phone/dsl bill is combined. I had my cable turned off b/c I was just sick of trash tv coming into my living room. I pay $60 for both dsl/phone. You may want to consider that if it's an option. Do you have a phone company in your area? By doing that and getting basic cable for about $40 per month, you would still save $40.
Just a thought.

mama22qts
12-31-2008, 04:57:37 AM
This won't help you shave any $$, but it will keep you accountable to the different parts of your budget. Check out www.mint.com (http://www.mint.com). It's a really cool gadget that links to your bank account and shows you which categories your money is being spent in...I love that site and can't say enough about it.

try it out!

evelester
12-31-2008, 07:42:53 AM
thanks you guys! I am loving the support!! I see some GREAT ideas here that we are gonna try! I am so ready for the new year! LOL

evelester
01-02-2009, 10:00:40 AM
ok, the new year has begun, I have the hubby on board, the budget going and I am going to track EVERY penny that leaves this house!! LOL

I am loving this so far, I feel in control! Using the You need a Budget program- it works perfect for us!!

Also got the entire house cleaned top to bottom yesterday on hubby's day off, so I rejoined flylady and am planning on keeping up with the house better from now on... bring it on!! LOL

jolly321
01-07-2009, 07:24:10 AM
Hey...its a few days into the new year...How is it going?

evelester
01-07-2009, 08:37:35 AM
so far so good! Thanks for asking! We are under budget in everything so far, eating out has gotten better, I think just being on a budget has helped in that area, instead of thinking we have 'about 300' left that I don't exactly know where it is going yet, it is more like ok, we have 45 dollars in the 'eating out envelope' we can either go out somewhere nice, or get two or three cheap dinners!

The YNAB program is really helping, until I build a 'buffer' I am able to budget paycheck to paycheck, putting the excess every week into the buffer envelope(actually a column but I call them envelopes LOL) Once I have a months worht of expenses in the 'buffer' then I will budget that money for the month and the paychecks will go for the next month, that way we are ALWAYS ahead by one month in expenses, plus building up our actual emergency fund

evelester
01-07-2009, 08:38:05 AM
ohhh, and I also joined FlyLady again to help get cleaning and organizing back on track, that is going pretty good too!

jolly321
02-05-2009, 06:49:19 PM
How is this going? We would love for you to check in and let us know.

MinKim
02-07-2009, 06:53:02 PM
Hey. Love the the YNAB program. I found just by tracking the money started stacking up in the account. We were much more conscious of spending. Plus, I get out cash and am much more careful about letting it go. LOL

I stared the program in November which didn’t work well at the end of the year with Christmas coming up and not having the year to build up the gift account. You are picking the right time and motivating me to start tracking again.

I am a financial hobbyist. My best advice is to question everything. Try cutting back things that are unquestionable to help you see what brings your family the most value. I find that I am the most balanced financially when I spend what I value instead of nickeling and diming on something that is worthless to us or our values. I hope that makes sense. We love to go on walks with the dog. (We do eat out too.) Best of luck.