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Adding it all up

August 11th, 2019 at 12:03 pm

The last few blog posts have been about how expensive life is or how expensive kids are. Comment was made that I could post my budget and get some suggestions for where I could trim the fat. I should but I'm afraid.

I don't think of myself as a frugal budget-er. Between my husband and I will bring home a good bit of money. And, we save for retirement and for a rainy day. And, yes, there is extravagance in our every day living budget. To give you high level idea of what scares me...

Here are four of the largest categories….
Food 1291 (groceries, eating out)
Housing 4221 (PITI, utilties, HOA, etc.)
Transportation 1092 (pymt, ins., maintenance)
Misc 1342 (cats, gifts, Netflix, etc.)
TOTAL 7,946

That's an ugly total. It represents about 85% of the monthly budget. But it is for a family of four with two kids in sports, tutoring, and a whole lot of other things.

The good news is that income covers the above, the remainder of the budget, a small amount of rainy day saving and about $18,000 for retirement. My financial advisor says I have sufficient funds to retire in 2021 so we are good there.

Yes, cable could go. Yes, netflix & amazon prime could go. Yes, we could not eat out....but I want all those things. I just wish things didn’t cost so much. We are fortunate that we don’t carry any credit card debt. We have two debts - the home mortgage and a car note (.9% financing so funds to purchase the car out right are in a 2% MMDA).

I discuss finances with the hubby and he’s good with my suggestions. He says I’ve done a good job based on savings. I wish we could save more but that will take courage and a backbone. I'm not there yet. My goal is each day to make better decisions.

Please be kind when commenting...

4 Responses to “Adding it all up”

  1. Lots of Ideas Says:

    Life is a series of trade offs. The money you spend fuels the economy, providing work for others.

    Buying on credit ( which you aren’t doing) drives up th costs of goods and services 10-20 percent, so spending only what you can pay is good.

    Having adequate retirement funds is important, but long life isn’t guaranteed, so deferring all pleasure until ‘later’ isn’t the best strategy for everyone. Enjoying your life, within your means, is important too.

    It makes sense to spend some time evaluating the costs of what you want - the most expensive option isn’t always the best value. But time has a value too, and so you have to balance out the time cost versus the dollar cost for you.

    I pay to have my house cleaned, I can ‘afford’ it, and it makes me happy. I plan my food shopping to save money, but I enjoy the thrill of the hunt. I could just buy whatever I wanted each week, but I like totaling up my ‘savings’

    Find your balance and enjoy your choices!

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    There's nothing at all wrong with having "extras" in your budget, provided you can afford the extras. And, it sounds like you can. You're spending money you have, as opposed to money you don't have (credit). You're taking care of present needs and saving adequately for future needs. Why shouldn't you buy some wants? IMO, the only thing you should be evaluating is if you (and family) truly want the things you are spending money on. If yes, great. If no, trim the expense and either save the money or spend it elsewhere.

  3. Jane Says:

    One way to save money painlessly is to take the time to examine your standing bills and see if you can cut expenses there- are you paying for more phone data then you ever use and could drop down to a cheaper plan? Could you save money on homeowner's insurance? Car insurance? Could you get a better deal on cable or internet instead of cutting it entirely? It's easier to make a decision once a year that keeps saving you money then trying to save by saying no to things every day in a way that you notice, like cutting your grocery budget.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    I think what Lots of Ideas said is true...having balance. If you were doing all this on credit or most of it, I would caution you to cut back. But you aren't. Life is trade offs. I know up until a couple of years ago I was frugal on everything. I did without a lot of stuff, for awhile I had to and then when I made more money, I was afraid not to, wanting to make sure I had plenty for retirement. DH and I are both retired. We don't go crazy on spending, but we do eat some lunches out and one dinner out a week. I buy the expensive deli meat instead of buying the cheaper stuff prepackaged because I like it better. I order special tea to make iced tea because we enjoy it. I still buy the other stuff, but we have a glass of the good iced tea with some of our lunches at home because it is such a pleasure. I bought a bunch of name brand canning jars, lids, and rings because I just felt safer using them. And I spent money recently on lots of different apples to make applesauce because I like the flavor. Would it be cheaper to buy already made applesauce? Probably, but I know what it is in it and feel like it is far healthier. I buy most of the craft stuff at thrift stores and fill in from retail when I have to because I enjoy doing crafts, and hesitate to pay retail for everything. My choice. I could probably buy it all new, but when I get can stuff at thrift stores that is still in unopened packages for less than half, why wouldn't I?

    So, that being said, like Petunia and Jane also said, maybe look at what you are getting to make sure you are paying for what you really want and not loading up on extras you don't want or need.

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