Originally Posted by StephandOwen
Our total income to work with is $3050/month.
$770 house (this also includes home owners insurance)
$175 electric Switch to energy-saving light bulbs
$148 cell phones (this is non-negotiable- we don't have house phones and dh uses his cell phone for work so we can't reduce the minutes or anything, otherwise we end up paying more for going over in minutes) This is about what ours are too... :(
$73 cable Cut it... You won't miss it after a week or two.
$40 to the kids savings accounts ($20 in each kids account each month) Cut in half
$27 gym membership (this is for dh, me and dh's dad) Take up walking around the neighborhood or a park and drop this.
$15 on dh's WoW game I have a rule that ANY entertainment that costs HAS to be for EVERYONE. NO ONE gets special perks in my house. It just isn't cost effective.
There is also $325/year on DH's life insurance, $300/year for my life insurance and $250/year on car registration (though that will hopefully go down because dh plans on selling his "play" car). Ok, you have a "play" car... *boggles* I have never had a vehicle in my LIFE that wasn't absolutely necessary to the continuation of my INCOME. That insurance sounds really high... how much is it for? Do you REALLY need that much?
So the monthly expenses that are automatically taken out of dh's bank account (all those listed above), plus the yearly expenses I listed above (divided by 12 months) is $1817/month.
Here's what I budgeted....
food/grocery- $400 (we had been spending around $600/month on grocery) This looks good. Adopt a meat-free meal once or twice a week, and you'll save even more!
gas (both our cars)- $300 (and this will really be pushing the limit, not sure we can do this) OMG! Where do you go?!? DH and I get away with less than $100/mo and DH travels to the next TOWN for class 3x/wk.
eating out- $70 (this is really going to be hard for us- we had been spending around $300/month on eating out!) How many meals out is this? Why do you need to eat out at all?
household (TP, soap, etc)- $30 If you have a washer/dryer, consider switching to family cloth. We make cloths out of old sweats, pjs, cloth diapers (pre-folds), and towels that are trashed. We also switched to castile soap, which seems a little expensive at first, but you use it for so many things, and you use so much less, it does save you.
clothing (mostly for the kids)- $20 A monthly clothing budget? Why monthly?
entertainment- $20 (of which $8 is on netflix) You PLAN on spending more money than Netflix? On what? DS & DD will watch Netflix shows for DAYS if I let them, but we got the Roku for streaming. That plus a swing set and a nearby playground and they will be entertained for WEEKS without even counting on their toys.
car/house maintenance- $40 I guess I don't really understand what this is for. We have air filters to change every six months, and oil changes every six months, but $40/mo?
travel- $100 (this will be really hard to stay in this limit because I have to travel back to Michigan every other month for ds's visitation, it's not an option. It costs around $100 in gas each time. If we have to get a hotel then that's around $50/night. Plus food on the way there and back) Do you have friends/family that you can crash with for an overnight stay? Or switch off drivers (if you travel w/ DH) so you don't have to stop at all? Does the father travel equal amounts? Should/can he? Pack food. A little cooler for meats, cheeses, and fingerfoods. You can get healthier options of food your kids WANT, rather than grabbing whatever junk the convenience and fast food places have. We did this starting a year ago and couldn't believe we resisted for so long. We also packed frozen chicken and a crockpot and cooked in our hotel room. Better food at a lower cost.
legal fees- $75 (I currently owe around $600 to my lawyer, and it will continue building because she's still working on some stuff for me, but she'll let me pay it off little by little thankfully)
pool membership- $400/year, $34/month (I want to let this go for the year, dh refuses because he already made a verbal commitment to do it and he wants to honor it- it's in his parents neighborhood and they might help pay for it but we need to plan for them not to help just in case). A verbal commitment is just a promise, and nobody counts on a promise. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. If somebody says something to you about it, just say that a medical emergency came up and cut into your budget - 100% true and no one will fault you for that.
Total monthly budgeted money is $1109.
$1109 (budgeted money) plus $1817 (other monthly expenses) is $2926 total expenses. That leaves $126 wiggle room IF we can stick to our budget. And our budget doesn't include things like gifts (b-day/christmas), ds's field trips, etc.
Is it possible? It is, but you will need to cut more. It's amazing how many presents and field trips can be paid for when you save a mere $20/week ($80/mo).