Austerity Measures

I have been playing with the budget for after I go part-time and it’s going to be tight, very tight. Here’s the numbers I have now:

Income for 80 hours work:                                                                        $2,430.32

Minus Medicare/SS/federal and state taxes                                          $  681.69

Minus medical/life insurances                                                                  $  117.39

Minus 401K                                                                                                    $ 75.00

Minus credit union (for irregular large expenses like house & car insurance, house taxes and replenishment of the emergency fund                    $  300.00

College savings                                                                                           $  400.00

This leaves $856.24 per pay, times 26 pays per year $22,262.24 divided by 12 months $1,855.19 plus $500 per month in child support and approximately $280 per month in mileage reimbursement from my employer. So $2,635.19 to spend per month.

Looking back at past expenses, I have cobbled together a budget, but it’s still $216.71 over income. Here’s what it looks like:

Mortgage (9 years left on 15 year loan at 4%)                                    $627.32

Auto loan (21 months left at 1.25%)                                                     $386.97

Home repair and decorating                                                                  $100.00

Utilities (water, sewer, gas, electric, trash, internet)                         $280.00

Cell phones (four, family plan)                                                               $117.00

Gas for automobile (most of these miles are for work)                     $161.00

Car maintenance                                                                                       $ 33.62

MD/Rx/DDS                                                                                              $60.00

Groceries                                                                                                  $300.00

Fawn expenses (clothes, wine, entertainment)                                $ 50.00

School and activities fees                                                                      $140.00

Chores (what I pay the kids to work around the house)                 $100.00

Kid’s clothing                                                                                           $100.00

Cats                                                                                                             $ 15.00

Christmas                                                                                                  $40.00

Music lessons                                                                                         $250.00

Household (TP, printer ink, shampoo, etc)                                    $ 70.00

Gifts                                                                                                         $ 20.00

Vacation (really just driving to see the big kid and DIL)             $ 30.00

Gym membership (ends 8/12)                                                          $33.99

Things improve greatly when the car is paid off. It is going to be hard work, but it’s for a good cause.


4 responses to “Austerity Measures

  1. This is great inspiration. I really like the way you make your priorities. I am usually quite good at making budget plans as well and, apart from some areas in my life (like drinking coffee in nice cafés) I am pretty frugal and I like it to be this way.

    However, it is for me a great challenge to record all the expenses I make and then, make it match to my budget. Do you have a good system for that? Do you just write down your expenses every time you make them with paper and pen on a notebook, do you use an app or a paper chart, enveloppes with cash? I use an Excel sheet but I typically forget some purchases which makes the system a bit worthless. Any advises?

    • For many, many years I carried a index card, cut to fit my wallet, that I wrote down expenditures that I did not get a receipt for. I kept track of my expenses on paper and I still keep a annual summary in a ledger book. However, recently, I purchased YouNeedABudget software, and I have been making most of my purchases with a money back credit card. The few cash transactions I have fall under the budget category of “Fawn’s Spending Money” or “Kid’s chores” and are easy enough to track that way. Everybody has to find the system that works for them. Keep experimenting till you find yours.

  2. Splendid! Thanks for sharing Fawn. Your distinction between cash/card purchases just gave me the inspiration for a system that I think will work for me. I will continue to pay almost everything with my card, except those little luxuries that I keep “forgetting” to record. For them, I will have a special wallet in my purse with a designated amount of cash, always the same. When I see how fast the money is vanishing, I hope I will get the motivation to restraint myself more. Not a very minimalist solution with the two wallets but well, let’s see how that works!

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