Anyone want to critique my budget? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 03-27-2008, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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If anyone has any ideas of where to save a little more, I'd be up for it!

Giving Church225.00
CFYA 30.00

Housing Mortgage1,250.00
Electric 165.00
Cable 15.00
Phone 20.00
Assoc. 55.00
Water 30.00

Food Grocery 280.00

Auto Insurance120.00
Maintenance 108.00
Gas 175.00

Debt Student Loan111.00

Ent/Rec Eating Out50.00
Vacation 25.00

ClothingClothing 35.00

Med/Dental CoPays 20.00
Cell Phone 90.00
Lunches 25.00
Gifts 30.00
Other 50.00
Christmas 25.00


DH brings in $2840/month after taxes and retirement and all that good stuff, and I bring in about $700 working a few hours a week and watching a neighborhood boy before and after school.

Let me know if you see any areas where we can cut things out, or perhaps areas where we are being unrealistic. I can handle it!!

Mommy to two super cute kids.
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#2 of 7 Old 03-28-2008, 12:02 AM
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looks like things work well in your budget! What is your family size?

the only thing i saw is cell phone $90. that seems a bit high. Is it something used often for work etc...? (disclaimer: i dont have a cell phone, mainly because i'm in a rather rural area and it wouldnt work anyway. that, and even if it did, i refuse to sign a contract)

Also, the $606 left over. Thats a lot of money without a name. I would plan out the remaining after expenses, even if you have to make up a category. In our house it seems that any money not given a place and a name, ends up disappearing quickly.
Perhaps using it to quickly pay off the student loan, and then using it for investing?
Also, i didnt see a saving category in the budget.

My 2 cents!

wife to my awesome DH, homeschooling, unassisted birthing, food growing, life loving mama to 5 crazy monkeys. :
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#3 of 7 Old 03-28-2008, 12:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input! We are a family of 3 -- DH, me and DS who is 14 months.

We're planning on using the extra money to pay off a 2nd mortgage (got it to avoid paying PMI).

We have a emergency fund, and we put 7.5% in DH's retirement account from work savings wise. Our plan is more savings after debts are paid.

I actually just changed the cell phone to a cheaper plan, because we never use all of our minutes. It should go down to about $75/month. It's for 2 phones. I've thought about cutting it out altogether, but we do use our phones quite a bit, and we are under contract anyway.

Mommy to two super cute kids.
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#4 of 7 Old 03-28-2008, 10:05 AM
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For a family of 3, I think the food budget may be a little high. I think the gas costs also seem high- unless your husband has a long commute. Otherwise I think it looks good!
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#5 of 7 Old 03-29-2008, 10:10 AM
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The cell phone stuck out to me as well. I would look into some other option when the contract is up. I'm not sure of your useage, but this is what we did. DH never uses his cell phone, he just isn't a phone person. We feel that its important for him to have in case of emergency. So, we purchased him a virgin mobile phone and have the automatic re-up of $15 every 3 months so his number stays the same. I am a phone user (mostly for work) so I have a regular plan which ends up being cheaper then both of us having a "plan" type of cell phone.

As far as groceries, I saw the budget and thought, wow that is really good, I wonder how she does it. I'd say we spend around $500 per month on groceries for a family of 3. DH and I were talking about how we could get it to your level and we could just can't figure it out.

I say bravo on the cable price. Our cable service doesn't even offer anything that low. We have our phone, internet and cable bundled into one and we pay like $115 per month. We don't have movie channels but do have the extended basic and a HD converter & cable modem that they tack on extra.

The only other high item I saw was the electric. I'm not sure if you've done things to help conserve, like a blanket for your water heater, an adjustable thermastat, etc. to help lower that. With that being said, our electric bill is $135 per month but we rent, so home improvements are not where its at for us. We do lower the heat when we are out and at night. We also buy some putty stuff to put in the windows to help keep the draft out. Our cellings are 15 feet high everywhere except the kitchen. Our windows are 10 feet high in the living room and my son's room and weren't built the greatest, so that is why we try to use the putty.

I have to agree with PP when you consider a budget, throw in the categories of savings funds too. Its also helpful to make sure the money is automatically transferred into the savings accounts and vow never to touch it unless it is an absolute emergency.

I'm not sure if you have consolidated your student loans or what rate you have. We have student loans too, but have decided not to pay them off early. They are locked in at an incredibly low interest rate (3.75%) which is lower then a mortgage will ever be and less then what we get in our money market (4.125) plus we get to write it off on our taxes. It makes financial sense for us to put our money elsewhere. I'd check into it.

Overall I think you are doing a great job!!!
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#6 of 7 Old 03-29-2008, 10:40 AM
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Agree with the PP about Virgin Mobile, it might even be worth it to break your contract depending on how much $$ that costs. Virgin Mobile is the best deal with prepaid. How many cars do you have? Have you shopped around for auto insurance? You might be able to save a little there.

Does car maintenance really run you that much, or are you just estimating what it will cost? Can you break down that number for me?

Do you shop at thrift stores for clothing? You could probably get that $35 down some. There are so many options for that: 1/2 price day at consignment sales, garage sales, thrift stores, clothing swaps, etc.

Your food isn't bad, but there are probably things you can do there if you want to, the $2 meal thread is a good one to check out. Making your own sourdough bread (we let ours rise every night and bake it every morning) and that has cut quite a bit out of our budget for food.

What is CFYA?

Where is the internet included (assuming you have something since you're posting here)?
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#7 of 7 Old 03-29-2008, 12:31 PM
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what about you lunch category? can you pack lunches? have it come from entertainment money?

i think grocery prices depend a lot on where you live. we eat on $450/month for a family of 6. i'm pretty frugal, but you can only make it stretch so far, kwim? so if prices are higher where you live, just shop the loss-leaders, keep a price book, and shop from a list.

Proud Catholic, homeschooling, RN-student mama of
DS 10 reading.gif  DS 8 fencing.gif DS 5, DD 3 energy.gif and a new DS  belly.gif 3/2011
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