Getting Started – A Budget

So looking at $57,000 of debt, I figured it would be a good thing to really tighten the belt and set up a budget to better track our spending. I checked out Dave Ramsey’s every dollar budget and didn’t really like it. I went to my friend the internet and found some downloadable forms that better fit the expansive categories that our family uses regularly.

I pulled our bank statements for 6 months (January – June 2019) and set up a spreadsheet to see what we averaged for each category over the six months and then plugged our income and combined expenses into the forms and discovered that “surprise, surprise” our expenses exceeded our income. I cut 10% off of the top and set a budget for the month of July. This would allow us to pay all of our bills and have a tiny bit left over at the end of the month. I discussed these changes with my wife because remember you are in this together!

Putting a budget together can really open your eyes to past issues. I was astonished to see how much we spend on groceries and eating out monthly. I was also surprised to see how much insurance was costing our small family. Putting your 18 year old son on your insurance policy can almost cause apoplexy.

I have raised our deductibles on our older vehicles and went to collision only on his old truck. I also cut our pet insurance (which actually came in handy when one of our cats needed a kidney removed). I can afford to self insure in both instances and saved over $200 per month with these simple changes.

If my forecast is correct, with 5 days left in July, we should have approximately $150 left at the end of the month to invest. Not much but better than being several hundred in the hole.

Next month I will be looking at cutting back on entertainment and asking why we have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Dish Network, Sirius XM, Spotify (wife) and Deezer (dad). Let the slashing begin!

1 thought on “Getting Started – A Budget

  1. Great start, Dad! I agree that Dish and Sirius at the very least have to go. Cable companies are the devil, there’s so many other cost effective options like Roku or just having Netflix. Also, Pandora radio is great for music. That’s what I’m going to be transitioning to as I get rid of my Spotify account. Finally, I would take a peek at our phone bill. I have a feeling that could be optimized as well by transitioning to another provider such as Republic Wireless. This could be hit or miss for us because we’re #rural and might not get good coverage, but I think it might be worth it.

    Not to be cliche, but every journey begins with a single step and I think you just took your first.

    -Daughter

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