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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...

Life is Expensive!

August 2nd, 2019 at 10:19 am

For the last two years, I've been working on tracking where the family money goes. I've tried YNAB and Dave Ramsey's version. I've made various excel spreadsheets. I tried paper and pencil. But, nothing seems to stick. Part of the issue is that we spend cash and haven't been good at writing down where the dollars went. And, I had broad categories such as Capital One and Target credit cards. Yes, I know....

With retirement on the horizon, 599 days to the earliest point for full benefits retirement (aka freedom), I am scared that we won't have enough money and I will have to continue to work at my current job. As I stress, I use online calculator to predict how long our retirement savings will last. But until I know where the money goes (actually how much flows out), I am only guestimating.

So, several months ago I set up a jar for all receipts and added a small notepad and pencil to record cash purchases. I made another excel spreadsheet with specific budget categories. I have been tracking almost every cent. I record expenditures and go through the Capital One credit card bill, identify those charges without a receipt and record those as well.

I have been doing this pretty faithfully for the last 6 months and I'm shocked. I didn't realize that we actually spend as much as we do. Y'all would be shocked if I gave a lot of the details. Netting out vacation travels, we spend about $10,000 per month on life. Yikes! Fortunately, net earnings cover this.

I am fortunate to have a pension and I've been saving for retirement since I started working in 1987. I also have a good work record so social security will supplement our retirement income. However, if we keep spending at our current rate, I will need to draw about $4,500 from savings. And, that seems just crazy. I know eventually expenses will go down (downsize the home, kids will be off on their own) but we are talking 10 years out.

I need to start campaigning that the rest of the family needs to be as frugal or cost conscience as me. I plan to have a family meeting this weekend. Wish me luck!

Dec 31 2018 wrapped up

January 1st, 2019 at 10:31 am

Does anyone else do a personal balance sheet? Last year (yes, 2018), I started to do one quarterly. It looks great when you don't add on debts and the market is up.

But the market is down compared to the prior quarter end and we made an expensive purchase late yesterday. This past week, we noticed that our 2008 Honda Odyssey (with over 200K miles) developed a strange sound and started having a burning smell. We took it to the mechanic and the diagnosis was not good. Front right axle and and transmission were "going." So, after discussion of "do we put more $ into the car, or do we buy another car", we called my husband's friend, the GM at a local Honda dealership, and went and bought a car. Yes, we bought a new Honda Odyssey. That's right, not a "new to us" car but a new new car. Based on incentives offered, and a friends/family discount, the new Odyssey was only $1200 more than the best priced, low mileage used Odyssey on the lot. Yes, we could have gone with an older model with more miles but we keep cars to they die....

Next came the debate of finance or pay cash. I opted for a short term low interest rate loan because my credit union is paying better on savings than the cost of borrowing. So, now we have a car payment. It fits our cash flow but I'll be anxious to through more at the payment in order to pay off the loan sooner than later. I will definitely want the debt gone before I retire in 2021.

So, market has been volatile and we now have a consumer debt in addition to our mortgage. December 31 balance sheet is still good but not as good as past quarters. My net worth is still better than I thought it would ever be. I just need to relax, be diligent in paying down debt, mindful of future expenses and enjoy the new car smell while the mini-van has it.

One day, I'll work on an income statement....