I haven't put my post together yet for Elizabeth's $1200 Budget Challenge because our monthly expenses are really set to begin at the 6th of every month. My husband is a teacher, and he is paid once a month on that date. So while I'm a little behind for this June challenge, I'm actually ahead in our household!
It's quite common for people to ask me how we make it on one income - a teacher's income at that. And it's hard to tell people how we really do it unless we just share the real numbers. I've been known to send our budget excel sheet to people because it really doesn't matter to me if people know what our household income is. If anything, it is a testament to how it can work.
Our budget is usually set up for $2411.24 each month. Because of the challenge, I have set it for $1780.24 - sorry, Elizabeth, I couldn't make the $1200 amount! Here is the breakdown:
Church Giving $200.00
Compassion International $38.00
Health Insurance - Chrissy & kids $293.14
Charter Internet $29.99
Direct TV $39.99
Farmers Insurance - Car & Life $132.62
AES - College Loans $0.00 (normally $100)
Utilities - Electricity/Water/Trash $125.00
Cell phone - Josh & Chrissy $70.00
Groceries $350.00 (normally $400)
Hair cuts $0.00 (normally $20)
Gasoline $80.00 (normally $120)
Diapers & Pullups $50.00
Clothing $0.00 (normally $30)
Entertainment & Eating Out $0.00 (normally $50)
Misc $0.00 (normally $25)
What I cut were the items that show $0 along with groceries, gas, and student loan payment (I cut groceries by $50 and gas by $40, and we made a large payment to AES recently and we do not have to make a payment for another month - normally we would pay something, but for the sake of the challenge, I'm forgoing it for June).
And for the sake of discussion, I'll let you know about some of the other things that aren't listed just in case you are a budget freak and notice what they are right off the bat!
Oil changes and car maintenance are not listed. My husband administers the ACT every other month at the high school, and we put aside those checks for car stuff (which works out nicely since oil changes are every three months and those checks are every other month - we come out ahead). We are not due for one this month, thus, I am not listing it in the challenge.
We have a "gift" category also, and to be completely honest, I usually don't account for it exactly, but it's there if need be. I've planned ahead for Father's day this month (shhh...don't tell) and there are no birthdays in our family or among our friends, so we're good to go!
About our health insurance - Josh's health insurance is paid completely by his employer/school district, and the kids and I have an HSA through the United Health Care plan. HSA's have a high deductible, but we have planned for it and feel it is the best option for our family.
About retirement - Josh has about $500 of his check taken out automatically each month. We don't ever see that part of his earnings, it's just gone, so we don't have it listed on our budget sheet. We are still trying to figure out if we should put an additional amount aside for me, even though I doubt I'll ever go back to work full time. Even if I did, we would continue to live on one income.
No eating out this month...that's a challenge in and of itself! No hair cuts. I guess I'll be cutting the boys' hair! Yikes!
We have no car payments or credit card payments. It's a freeing feeling. The only thing more freeing will be when we pay off our student loans. I look forward to that day.
On a side note, when our Direct TV contract is up in August, I am 99% sure we will get rid of it. Sorry to those of you who come visit me.
So there's the scoop on how we make it. It's a bit personal, but Josh agreed that I could share it. I hope it encourages others in some way. The challenge for us is a savings of $631.
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