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any budgeting advice? - Page 2

post #21 of 29
I think your life insurance is quite high. We pay $22/month, though I think that is for dh only. It is $250,000. Even if that number was doubled for $500,000 and cut in half for me(I could only get $125,000) that would be around $55/month. They had questions on why I had a MRI but not why dh did and he has MS.lol

Definitly look into getting a different cel phone plan, even if it is just cutting out the 1 phone that dh uses but doesn't go to often anymore. Who uses the 3rd phone, how often is it used and do you really need it? If you have it for emergencies only, could you keep dh's other work phone with you and get rid of the one you use?

Look at all of your insurance bills, then call around to different companies. You may find that you can get health insurance for cheaper by not paying it through your work. you may be able to get one that has lower co-pays. You may be able to find car insurance for cheaper and you should be able to get your life insurance alot cheaper. It doesn't hurt to phone around and ask.

On the good months where you have the extra $400, take 1/4 of that and put it into a savings account for emergencies. Take 1/4 of it and put it into a savings account for medical expenses. Take 1/4 of it and put it towards starting your own WAHM web design business. Take the last 1/4 of it and put it towards paying your car off early. At $223/month and only 2 years left, paying it off early will give you a good chunk of money extra each month. Any month you have extra put as much of it as you can away into one of the above accounts asap.

There are cheaper highspeed internet options out there.

The company you work for sounds like a real pita. Is there another company you can apply to that will give you more flexibility and let you work from home, cut down some hours etc? You are spending a minimum of $1200/month just to go to work. This is including the health insurance becuase you may be able to get it cheaper if it wasn't through work. Have you been at your job long enough to ask for a raise?

If you were at home, even part time you could take over some of the meals and that can cut down your food budget alot. For 3 people, $500/month on groceries is expensive. There are things in there that you can cut down. Switch to cloth pads or reusable cups instead of using disposable pads/tampons, switch to cloth towels instead of paper towels, make your own cleaners, cut back on the amount of laundry detergent you use and make your own. Start including birthday gifts in with your grocery budget, but not increasing your grocery budget.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions!
post #23 of 29
Very good suggestions Carrie!
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerridwenLorelei
" But we kind of have to go."

why?
you see I have btdt with the 'but we have to go for faaamily"
This is hard. We do like DH's family, quite a lot. But now that we all live in the same town we see them a lot more than we used to. It is not IMO as big a deal to beg off something.

Here's the thing--DH and his siblings all have birthdays within 2 weeks of Labor Day, so for the last 20 years his whole family has always gotten together on Labor Day weekend to celebrate and exchange gifts. It's a big deal. They used to always do it at his parents' house but then BIL's family moved their annual beach vacation to fall over Labor Day, and so now everyone goes there. So it is a shame to miss it.

Just realized over this weekend that not only will we have the cost of gas, but also we will have to board our dog or get a pet-sitter. With all the family out of town, there is no one who can keep our dog. So we are looking at at least $100 in extra expenses to go away for the weekend. I just ask myself, if it were a choice between buying groceries and going to the beach, what would I choose? Well duh, I would choose groceries. That's pretty much what it comes down to right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF
Definitly look into getting a different cel phone plan, even if it is just cutting out the 1 phone that dh uses but doesn't go to often anymore. Who uses the 3rd phone, how often is it used and do you really need it? If you have it for emergencies only, could you keep dh's other work phone with you and get rid of the one you use?
That's a good suggestion! Only thing is my cell phone is also a business line, for my web design business. That number is already published in all my marketing materials. It wouldn't really work to have the other phone number as my business number because it would be long distance in the market I am advertising in. It is important for people to know I'm local.

Quote:
Look at all of your insurance bills, then call around to different companies. You may find that you can get health insurance for cheaper by not paying it through your work. you may be able to get one that has lower co-pays. You may be able to find car insurance for cheaper and you should be able to get your life insurance alot cheaper. It doesn't hurt to phone around and ask.
We have looked at these issues--our life insurance is going down quite a lot by switching it. We looked really hard at our health insurance and because of DH's medical issues and prescriptions we are better off being in a large employer plan. And DH absolutely refuses to have any car insurance other than USAA, because he's had them all his life and any other company is going to rip us off if we ever need them . USAA is not the cheapest option, but OTOH I didn't find significantly lower rates when I shopped around.

Quote:
At $223/month and only 2 years left, paying it off early will give you a good chunk of money extra each month.
I know...unfortunately by the time that car is paid off, the car I'm driving will be 13 years old, so I am already fretting about how long I can realistically expect it to last.

Quote:
This is including the health insurance becuase you may be able to get it cheaper if it wasn't through work.
Can you really get family health coverage for less than $405/month? We looked at other options like just buying catastrophic coverage and putting more money into the MSA each month but it looked like we'd be spending about the same amount and frankly taking on more risk.

Quote:
You are spending a minimum of $1200/month just to go to work.
I don't exactly look at it that way. I provide a reliable income for my family as well as relatively lower-cost health coverage than if we bought it independently. Your math has the daycare bill come out of my earnings, but my earnings are actually more reliable. I would say we are spending $575/month for DH to have the freedom to pursue building his practice up to produce more income.
post #25 of 29
Here are a few suggestions and tricks that seem to work for us:

Put any loose change in a jar and at the end of the month convert it to bills. Also when ever you have a spare dollar or two put it away as well. We also try to take $20 a month or every other week to put away in the jar. Do not count the jar, forget its there, its more of a reassurance issue.

Budget according to your worste case scenario month as far as income. Find what was the lowest amount brought in and use that as your figure instead of a typical average good month. This will eliminate any suprises. Any extra brought in from the budgeted amount should go into saving.

I like to take any money that we save and put it into savings until we have a cushion of $1,000. After we have met our cushion then I use the money we have saved and apply it to other needs to get paid off sooner. Again its more of a cushion and a security blanket to know its there.

Other than that only you will truly know what will work best for your family. We were shocked to discover that we would typically spend $20 during the week on misc. things and then when the weekend came we would drop at least hundred. Now starting Friday we have $20 and when its gone its gone. We play a lot of board games now instead of renting a video. We dropped our cable package. And instead of buying a book every now and then i go to the library. Review little things that add up and see what you can do.
post #26 of 29
Two questions for you. First, what type of life insurance policy do you have? Second, 3.5% for a student loan is not that high at all. What are the balances owed? Have you checked with your loan providers to see if you could do a forebearance? That would be $495 extra a month, $990 per year. You could do that for two years and this would free up a little cash to pay off that car faster and some of the credit cards. You can renew the forebearance every twelve months if you have to.

Some might not agree with this but personally I wouldn't mind paying a little more interest later down the line (it's only 3.5%) than having to quit my job, pull my child out of a good pre-school, and basically be miserable because I would rather be working, etc. I really think you would be very unhappy if you had to quit your job right now and you might start to resent your husband a little which would be a bad thing. Dissention in the house would also affect your child.
post #27 of 29
I second the idea of asking for a forebearance on your student loans. There are certain requirements that must be met, but IME the student loan companies are VERY sympathetic and willing to work with people who are having a hard time paying their loans.

Since you cannot ever get rid of student loans by filing for bankruptcy, I think much of their willingness is based on the fact that they WILL get paid eventually if you are bringing in an income.

What is the outlook for your DH building up his business in the next 1-2 years? If you could defer the student loan payments for that length of time, combined with your car being paid off at that point, perhaps your financial picture would be much brighter by then.

Also, worst case scenerio should be discussed with your DH as well. With an MBA and law degree, he *could* get a steady, decent paying job somewhere, right? It might delay his plans of building his own business, but if it's the difference between putting food on the table and keeping your house, it makes the choice a bit more palatable.

DH and I have been where you guys are right now. It sucked. I always felt awful that we were pulling in $4K/month but had NOTHING left at the end of the month for anything extra. It just seemed so wrong to have that much come in and go right back out again, all without even covering savings or emergency items.

Thankfully we had the assurance that things WOULD be a whole lot easier within a finite amount of time, something that is a bit more iffy with starting your own business. I do hope some of the suggestions so far will prove to be helpful.
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wifeandmom
With an MBA and law degree, he *could* get a steady, decent paying job somewhere, right?
That's a reasonable thing to assume, but it doesn't seem to work that way. It's a long story but his employment history is all over the place--a few years of this and a few years of that. He was unemployed for a whole year before deciding to work for himself. I think he got maybe two interviews that whole year. The thing about law is that if you don't go straight from law school into working for a big firm and building your resume, it really affects your options later. DH went straight from law school into working at a non-profit that could never make payroll, bless his heart. Hindsight is 20-20, I think he would do it differently if he could go back.

On the bright side, he was recently approached about a sort of part-time position doing legal work and business development for a new business. If that works out and we had something steady to count on we could really relax quite a bit.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday
[list]
I think we could do better on groceries but cooking is DH's area and it is a constant fight to get him to make more modest meals. We should all have the problem of a husband who loves to make gourmet meals, right :LOL . It's a very difficult thing to complain about: "Stop buying all that organic food and making healthy 4-course meals from scratch, right now!" It also helps me in not buying lunch to always have good leftovers.
OMG, I could have written those words almost exactly! And probably most of the rest of your post, too! My DH is the cook and getting him to do so frugally is hard. I haven't read the replies yet, but I will be. We are in very much the same position except that DH is not self-employed, though he used to be.

Off to read the rest of the thread... :
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