Our budget is the result of decisions and struggling in the past to set us up to the point we can function more easily on a lower income. Like building up a stock pile of everyday items and food, buying presents yearly at after Christmas sales, living in a 1 bedroom apartment working overtime & taking an extra job to pay off $30k+ in debt in 1 year.
I'd like to start off explaining 4 things not in our monthly budget. Commission- which is very variable. A variabe 3-4k pretax a year we make teaching relationship & communication skills some weekends. The fact my husband claims 0 dependents on his taxes at work so to take the max out (for us the amount saved outweighs risk/interest lost) Lastly, I use 4 weeks pay for our monthly budget. Not a years salary divided by 12. This makes 2 months a year with 'extra' pay periods.
All four instances we take advantage of to save money. Any commission goes to a savings account, this money is used when something comes up we don't have budgeted (medical, cars, appliances, ect). In the past when we didn't have jobs with commission I budgeted a set amount each paycheck for this. This is one of the most helpful tips I have. Things always come up, however little you can put in is that much less to try & find. For taxes all refunds go to debt or cds. This creates a cushion for if something were to happen financially (like job loss). The money we make teaching & the 'extra' pay periods 2x a year is used to pay off immediate debt/bills if something's came up, or put in cds.
At this time we do not have any money from my husband's salary going into a 401k, however- his job automatically deposits the equivalent of 3% of his wage into his 401k, we are not required to match this for it to be applicable. Otherwise I would probably find some way to contribute something to it.
Our mortgage is only $320 a month. Where we live this is actually not an extremely low mortgage/rent (average is $500-$750). We choose to live outside the city to get a lower average mortgage. We also choose to buy a foreclosed home. It's not our ideal home, if not for the price we wouldn't have considered it. Howeve, we knew we wanted me to stay home while our children are young (maybe longer if we decide to home school). So that was a sacrifice we choose to make to live off one income instead of two.
Lastly I round up on EVERYTHING on our budget to a dollar amount, and round the 4week pay down to a dollar amount. This just creates a tiny bit of cushion room, granted it's literally a few bucks at the most, but when things happen even a few bucks extra wiggle room can help.
Here is the actual breakdown of our living budget:
Pre-Tax x 4weeks Breakdown $1752.60
- $138.32 Health Insurance
- $146.26 Federal Tax
- $91.46 OASDI
- $21.40 Medicare
- $40.00 Missouri Tax
- $1315.00 Living Budget
Post Tax x 4weeks Breakdown $1315.00
- $50 Mohela- Student Loans
- $20 Veolia- Waste Management (trash)
- $43 Centurytel- Home Phone & Internet
- $60 Cingular- Cell Phone
- $50 Progressive- Car Insurance
- $260 Boone Coop- Electric & Sewer
- $205 Anthem- Health Insurance
- $35 PWSD#1- Water
- $320 Callaway Bank- Mortgage
- $120 Gas Stations
- $152 Food/other
Now I know some of you look at $152 a month for food, household, clothes & ect.. and go that's not possible! But it honestly is and if you've read some of my other tips in this blog you have seen some of how I'm able to make that work.
We never lack for anything. We buy clothes second hand, stockpile lesser perishable food & non-perishables (so never HAVE to buy certain items, we buy perishables & stock up on good prices). We garden & we hunt (no more organic meat in actuality or spirit then humanely killed born & grown up wild) or buy meat with friends/relatives to get bulk discount & then split the cost per lb per each family. We cloth diaper- no recurring disposable cost. Make our cleaning supplies- cost is negligent. Make homemade soap for personally & cleaning, again good natural products at a fraction of retail.
There are many other things we do, but I've rambled enough for tonight. I hope this breakdown, explaination, and tips helps out some of you who have been asking for a budget breakdown and budgeting tips!