Striking a financial balance - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-01-2014, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our income tripled this month. And our expenses dropped substantially. 

So now I need to find a balance between no longer having to live quite as close to perpetually broke, and remembering that just because money is going into the bank, we don't need to spend it. 

It's easy to be frugal when you have a smaller income, but when you have more, it seems to need to be a choice made every day. 

We will be funnelling money into savings, and my husband already has about 10% of his income going into retirement planning. I just need to find a balance between being able to take the kids out for a treat occasionally, and being careful not to be frivolous. 

Anyone have helpful suggestions, things they ran across when they had a substantial increase in income? Anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself then?

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#2 of 10 Old 02-01-2014, 10:31 AM
 
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To start with I'd get things set up so I wasn't so close to the edge anymore. Given my budget goals if I had the extra money I'd start off with a $1000 EF, then start paying off all debts. If I could I'd max out the retirement contribution matching amount and start auto transfer to a savings account each month. I'd also make a new budget and include an actual amount for things like clothing, car maintenance, allowances, entertainment, etc. Currently we budget only necessities and I keep a list of our 'needs' (including clothing items, oil change, whatever) and then our 'extra' covers these needs for the month, debt payments and savings. 


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#3 of 10 Old 02-01-2014, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We support two houses- err- our house and the and his share of an apartment- he works away from home.  So with his promotion, he has housing paid for, meaning we aren't losing $1000+ a month on a place for him to sleep three weeks a month, and he has a company vehicle, so that's another bit back in our pockets.  Unfortunately, skating on the edge for a while was unavoidable while he transitioned to a new career. 

We are in the middle of putting a downpayment on a house for the kids and myself (monthly payments will be about 10% of our monthly net income, so we can absorb emergency costs as they come up.)

Our EF is the equivalent of a bit more than a month's pay at this time.  I would like for it to be 6 months to 1 year worth, but that will take some time to achieve. At this time, we have no debt other than the house, and that is structured for a 5 year payoff, but I hope to do it in 2. We also have the car payment on my van, and I am trying to talk my husband into doubling that each month. I can't pay that off completely at this point without seriously depleting our savings. 

I like the idea of making lists of 'needs' to monitor and work on. I tend to put off getting things that are necessities- telling myself they aren't something we HAVE to have (as in, I have two pair of underwear I can stand to wear any more, because I just will not buy more- it's bad!) We just haven't had wiggle room for so long that I don't know how to give myself permission to get things like that without feeling as though I am being frivolous. 

For me, it is a matter of transitioning from my public-health background where salaries top out at the lower end of things, to my husband's career where people he works with refuse to get out of bed if they aren't going to earn $500-$1000 for a day- it's just a level of pay I can't wrap my mind around.  Our family is making major sacrifices to ensure long-term financial security, and I am terrified that I will fail at stewardship of the money because I have so little experience with earning anything more than the minimum to make the bills and maybe save a couple dollars here and there. (That Master's degree was just not worth it!)

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#4 of 10 Old 02-02-2014, 10:47 AM
 
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LOL your husband's job sounds like oilfield work. The needs list has been a big help to me in how to spend any "extra" we have whether it's just a little excess after bills or some kind of bonus etc. I put anything on that list - oil change in the van, ds's haircut, new clothing items, household item, whatever. I'll add the items to the list when I think of them and if they aren't time crucial I wait till the next month's budget is made to get them. This gives me time to make sure it's a real need and prioritize which comes first if I can't get it all. I like to price check for things too so I get time to do that and it gives me a sort of deadline for price checking too so I don't keep putting it off. Good luck with everything. It's so exciting! Hopefully we'll be doing something similar later this year but I'm saving for a dp now and we shall see!


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#5 of 10 Old 02-02-2014, 11:15 AM
 
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Rainbow, I'm SO glad you guys aren't struggling as hard anymore.  I've never had this situation but I want to reassure you that it's okay to give yourself a total that you are comfortable with for spending on things like underwear, socks, supplies for hte house, etc since you've skimped on that stuff for so long.  You need to spend on YOU from time to time.  I just bought myself 2 new bras(on clearance) at Target this week and it felt so good to do.  I had 3 that fit before.  I'm even giving myself permission to throw away the other bras that are too small with underwire poking out.  :laugh  It's quite freeing in a way.

 

 

 

Don't you stop talking to us and updating in the low income thread though.  We would miss you too much.


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#6 of 10 Old 02-02-2014, 11:40 AM
 
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Hey I don't buy bras with underwire anymore because of that! I couldn't get myself to keep buying new ones so last time I had to I bought the genie bra type so they can't wear out as quick. Sad sad day when a woman doesn't buy herself a brazziere :shy Rainbow definitely start spending on the those things! It is a necessity and taking care of mama IS taking care of the kids!!


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#7 of 10 Old 02-02-2014, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by crazyms View Post
 

LOL your husband's job sounds like oilfield work. 



It is, which sometimes makes me feel like a sellout, but I really really like knowing we can pay the bills and the kids will have college paid for. 

I got a kick in the pants to get some new stuff.  My mom, tired of seeing me wear the same stuff every time I catch up with her on Skype, sent me a check and told me I HAD to buy a couple things for myself and do something small for myself- and requested that I spend none of what she sent on the kids.  She's a very laid back, not worried about clothes type, so clearly if even she is alarmed,  I have to do something. 

I'm not sure I can skip the underwire, but I will buy some new underwear, a bra or two, and a couple things that will hopefully be comfortable and long-lasting. I don't know when the last time I spent $20 on myself was, let alone $250. bigeyes.gif  It's a late birthday present from her as well- so I'm going to try to enjoy it, because I know I would want my daughter to do the same if I sent her a bit as an adult to spend on herself. 

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#8 of 10 Old 02-02-2014, 01:01 PM
 
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That's amazing! Definitely spend it getting yourself something new and enjoy it!

 

Why a sellout? Idk maybe there's some stigma I'm not aware of. I live in the deep south though and it's a very low income/sparse job type of area so almost ALL of our men are oilfield. If they don't do oilfield or boats they don't work or don't make any money at all. My dh does the boats but it's still oilfield service work. I even bartend at a hotel lounge and almost all of our guests are oilfield too... lots of those $500-1000+/day types that don't hardly work so that's why I said that LOL. We're all oilfield where I come from!!! 

 

Don't hold a stigma to yourself or feel bad for it. Oilfield families may make more money sometimes but we give up a lot for it. It's not a sellout to lose valuable family time and have your dh in a higher risk job to be able to feed & care for your family without aid.

 

10 Things NOT to say to an oilfield wife: (I thought this was hilarious and spot on so I thought you might enjoy it as well)

http://realoilfieldwives.com/2013/02/05/ten-things-not-to-say-to-an-oilfield-wife/


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#9 of 10 Old 02-02-2014, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Coming from a very liberal background- oilfield folks were always seen as greedy, oilfield companies evil and so on.  It's taken me time to adjust to a reality that isn't so black and white.  It's funny that I can be a very 'crunchy' person, but my husband works in a field so many people see as the greatest cause of destruction to the earth.  I would like to see things done safely and ethically, and I have no illusions that they always are, but most of the people I know, and the company my husband works for are far more ethical than the picture painted before I knew better. 

Oh, and yes, that is spot on. LOL

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#10 of 10 Old 02-02-2014, 11:23 PM
 
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LOL I see what you mean. I guess I never really thought much about it since in my area that's about the only option if you want to survive. We're still low income even though dh is oilfield but it's a trade off right now b/c he's new to this current field and the low income still gives him a 7/7 schedule and absolutely amazing benefits. Never thought about it before but I guess I probably shouldn't babywear the CD'ed baby and take my reusable bags into the organic coop wearing my oilfield wife shirt! :rotflmao


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