Club Thrifty August Budget Breakdown

Good morning, Thriftaholics!  Welcome to the first installment of our monthly budget breakdown.  I’ve never shared our monthly budget details before but was inspired to do so after sharing my monthly income for the first time in June.  In case you missed that post, you can read it here:

Cash Money: $7,230 in June Income, Blog Updates, and Goals

From now on, I’ll be sharing a monthly cash money income update as well as my monthly budget details for all of the world to see. Isn’t that exciting?  Of course it is! 

So, before we get started, I thought I would share a little background on were we are financially at this point.  First, of all, I quit my job in May in order to pursue blogging and freelance writing full-time.  If you want to read more about how and why I quit my job, you can read about it here.  In addition to my career change, Greg decided to leave his job in the funeral industry and start a career in life insurance and investments.  He just started training for his new job last week so we’re in somewhat of a transitional period at the moment.  Since his new job is 100 percent commission, we’re not really sure how much money he’s going to make.  Therefore, we’ve decided to go a little light on our spending.  In addition to being on FALL FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN, we’re only paying the minimum toward our mortgage and children’s college funds.  Once Greg starts earning an income, we plan on upping our mortgage payments and contributions to our children’s 529 accounts accordingly.

August 2013 Budget Breakdown

In case you didn’t know, we use a zero sum budget to track our spending and keep track of our monthly bills.  And since I became self-employed, I just write myself a check (out of my business account) for the amount of money that I need to meet our monthly expenses.  Exciting stuff, huh?  Anyway, here is our monthly budget for August:

  • Mortgage:                           $1426
  • Electric:                               $175
  • Gas Bill:                               $25
  • Groceries:                             $500
  • Daycare ($125 per week): $625
  • Internet:                               $35
  • College Lydia:                      $25
  • College Vivian:                    $25
  • Gas/Misc:                            $200
  • Credit card rollover:          $100
  • Cell phone (Greg):              $55
  • Life Insurance (Greg):      $86.25

Total: $3277.25

Since Greg has been off work for a month or so, we bought a temporary health insurance policy until his new policy kicks in.  We think we can get our family enrolled to start the new plan on September 1st, but we’re not sure yet.  So, there’s a possibility that we’ll have to purchase another month of coverage for an additional $377.  I should find out this week.

Other Things About our Budget

You probably noticed that I’m not currently saving for retirement in my monthly budget.  No worries, I’m still saving for retirement!  Since Greg switched jobs and will soon be selling life insurance and investments, I’ll obviously be moving all of my financial stuff over to him.  I’ve got the $5,500 ready to plop down in my Roth IRA and I’m just waiting for him to finish getting licensed so that I can do it.  I also plan on transferring my old 401K and likely setting up a new SEP-IRA to contribute to.  Like I said, I’m just waiting on my man to get licensed to do all of those things.  Fortunately, it’s only going to take a few more weeks.

More Riveting Budget Details

Since some of my bills are paid quarterly or biannually, I just pay those bills on the month they are due.  For instance, this month Greg’s life insurance is due.  Next month, my life insurance and our trash bill is due.  I just paid our car insurance bill in July so we don’t have to pay it again until January.

You probably noticed that I don’t have a cell phone bill right now.  Thanks to a recent promotion with Republic Wireless, I’ve been able to accumulate a lot of credit in my account for the coming months.  I’m not sure when I’ll have a cell phone bill again, but it’s going to be a long, long time.  If you’re interested in getting an inexpensive smartphone, read my review of Republic Wireless here.  Better yet, use my referral link and sign up for Republic Wireless today!

So, do you have any questions about our monthly budget breakdown?  How does my budget compare to yours? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Your budget looks great when compared to ours. You spend about $100 a month less than we do on groceries and your cell phone bill is tiny!

    Our mortgage is lower than yours and we don’t have to pay for childcare – yet… Hopefully Greg can get a job in the new industry soon.

  2. Am I mis-remembering or do you guys have a rental property, too? Do you run those figures through your family budget (that’s what we do), or do you have a separate LLC? Just curious how other people do it since I didn’t see rental #’s in your budget. =)

    • We do have two rental properties. I don’t really run them through our family budget because our family budget focuses on our spending. I keep the rentals separate. Both of them have small mortgages and the rental income more than covers their costs. I suppose I couldn’t mentioned them here but I just thought it would complicate things!

  3. Nice budget breakdown Holly. I wish we were only paying $625 for daycare. Right now we are closer to $1k. I did have a question at first about no savings but you answered that one. Looking good so far plus you have Greg going to work in a few so you will be on top.

    • By only “paying” myself what is needed to cover our monthly expenses, I am saving a lot! I’m just not transferring it into retirement accounts or anything right now because I am waiting until Greg is able to set up new accounts for me.

  4. I like how your budget isn’t broken out into tiny, insignificant sub-categories and just placed in the appropriate over arching buckets. I think some people go a little overboard in micro-budgeting. I honestly don’t even really have a budget myself; if I am on track to hitting my annual savings goal then I don’t even both tracking my expenses.

  5. Certainly not a lot of fluff in there. How do you guys budget for things like home maintenance and car repairs?

    • We budget on a monthly basis. For instance, we typically get our furnace serviced in September so we’ll budget for that next month. Greg also needs his oil changed next month so we’ll budget for that too. Any big expenses, as in “unplanned expenses,” would come out of our emergency fund.

  6. I agree with snark finances. I like your budget it’s simple and isn’t too far broke down. I do need to check out Republic Wireless phones. Right now I use a net10 and pay $45/month for unlimited everything. I would like to lower that if I can.

  7. That’s so great about Republic Wireless! It’s always a good feeling when you have cell service but don’t have to pay anything. Because I did the sponsored posts for Walmart Family Mobile, if I applied the money I got for that against my cell phone bill I wouldn’t be paying anything for cell service for quite some time.

  8. Hey!
    Thanks for sharing your budget! So does the $200 for gas and misc cover clothing, home maintenance, health and beauty etc. I wish I could have a budget that low you are lucky. I’m sure Greg will be happy once he has his licence and that’s great that he can manage your investments like that. I’d love to be able to do that. Cheers!

    • We budget for things on a monthly basis…as in “what do we need this month?” We rarely buy clothing so I don’t budget for it. When I do buy clothes, it’s typically at a garage sale and there’s no need to create a separate category. Same thing for health and beauty….I rarely buy makeup and when I do it’s at the grocery store. No need to budget for a $4 tube of mascara. It just gets lumped in with groceries.

  9. Terrific job on your spending, Holly! I’m so excited for you guys that you are moving on to your dream jobs – yea!

  10. Your budget looks very similar to ours. I loved being able to cut our gas portion in more than half once I quite last year and use that on other things. I need to get around to setting up our SEP’s as well. We just need to do it and throw the money in there…of course I’ve not been diligent to get that done – this month though! :)

    • Since I work at home, I rarely get gas. I haven’t filled my minivan up in a few months. Greg drives a lot more but he does have a Prius so we still spend very little on transportation.

      • Make sure you put some gas stabilizer in your car gas if you let it sit that long. The ethanol in the gas made a mess of our motorcycles and we had to do a ton to get it to run again and they’re still not running right yet…

  11. Your budget looks great! Ours is around the same amount as well :)

  12. Your budget breakdown looks great. All the best to Greg. Hope you will be finding more interesting things and insight in the field of insurance through Greg.

  13. It’s great that you are already putting away money for your kids to go to college. We have been talkin about starting a fund like that and we don’t even have kids yet!

  14. We spend quite a bit more than that (our summer childcare is more than 2x that for our two kids!)

  15. Great job on the budget. I certainly spend too much on my cell phone every month. I might just look into Republic Wireless.

  16. I am more impressed by the daycare costs. Where can I score that deal? I am a little over $1k and am not a fan. That crap is too expensive.

  17. That’s a nice freakin’ budget and my eyes nearly popped out when I saw the $3277 figure. But then you explained about the savings. And great move on the Roth IRA! How about taxes? How are you handling those? Do you know what estimated quarterly taxes will be for you?

    Have a super marvy Monday!!!

    • I pay taxes quarterly. I pay them out of my business account. Last quarter, I only had to pay about $3,200 but this quarter I’m afraid I’m going to have to pay more like 7K.

  18. One thing I was curious about (since it’s such a hug category for me) is about misc. expenses, like say you need new batteries, or ran out of moisturizer, or you wanted to go out to see a movie. Where does that fall under? You mortgage is practically what I pay in rent!!! And I’ll bet you have just a little bit more space than me!

    • Anything I buy at the grocery store (like lotion, batteries, lightbulbs) comes out of my grocery budget. If we wanted to go to a movie, it would come out of misc. Sometimes I budget $100 for date nights or something but not this month. Greg is too busy with his new job and we’re on FALL FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN, remember?

  19. This is completely why I will never move somewhere expensive, at least while our daughter is little. Low cost of living is a huge part of how we plan to be debt free and save enough to be financially independent as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Wow! $55 is a great deal for a cell phone. I’ve been considering Republic Wireless lately, but I’d love to keep my iPhone.

    • That’s my husband’s phone. He has it through Page Plus Cellular which is a low cost provider that operates using the Verizon network. The $55 plan includes unlimited talk and text plus plenty of data.

  21. There’s not a lot of fat in that budget. Nice work! The Mrs. and I are talking about kids, and it’s great to see different costs on daycare. We’ll likely be a dual income household for a short stint with the kids, and daycare (like health insurance) is one of those expenses that seems to be all over the map, depending on where you live.

  22. Will you be rolling over your Roth IRA to your husband’s company and then contributing $5,500 for this year or will you be opening a brand new account? What’s the strategy behind doing a lump sum contribution versus monthly ones?

    The $500/month grocery bill sounds nice. It seems like we pay twice that for just a family of 3, but I guess that’s what happens when living in a high cost-of-living location like California.

    • I think I’ll be rolling everything I have over to his company but I’m not sure yet. He’s still in training so I’ll have to wait until I have more details. As far as contributing lump sums goes, that’s just my personality. I have always done things that way. I pay everything in lump sums, I even pay for daycare only once a month. I hate paying bills so I choose to pay them as infrequently as possible.

      • Regarding the lump sum approach: for bill paying I agree (might as well get it over and done with and not have to waste time going through the repetitions). For investing, though, equal monthly contribution amounts might be a good idea. This can usually be done via automatic withdrawals from your checking/savings so you don’t have to worry about it (just make sure your balance is enough to cover it each month). That way you take advantage of dollar cost averaging!!

  23. Thankfully, I do not have daycare or college funds. The rest seems reasonable, but it is hard to tell with your utilities. I presume it is relative to where you live and how big your house is.

    • My budget changes monthly. During the colder winter months, I budget a lot more for my gas bill. During the summer months, my gas bill is typically around $12.

  24. Nice budget breakdown – all the categories sound realistic and simple. I’m so impressed with daycare – is that for both girls?

  25. Oh wow, so many changes but so exciting! Good luck guys on the transition :)

  26. I don’t know how you guys manage to keep your expenses so low. I think we pay about $55 for Internet, $145 for car insurance (I didn’t see this listed), and then a whole LOT more for gas, groceries, and household items. Nice work!

    • I did say…
      “Since some of my bills are paid quarterly or biannually, I just pay those bills on the month they are due. For instance, this month Greg’s life insurance is due. Next month, my life insurance and our trash bill is due. I just paid our car insurance bill in July so we don’t have to pay it again until January..”

      I pay my car insurance every six months and it just went down to $450. That’s $75 per month! We’ve got full coverage on Greg’s Prius but we only have liability on my car. I only drive a few times a week. We have AT&T Internet…it’s pretty cheap and super fast. We don’t have cable television, a home phone, or car payments. We spend very little on gas because Greg has a Prius (40-50mpg) and I work from home.

  27. I’m about to crank out a Budget post but our numbers would not look very similar, I don’t think.

    Slightly off-topic, but I have gathered that the funeral industry is going to be booming over the next couple decades so I admire your pursuit of what really interests you over what was comfortable and secure.

    I do not yet have that courage.

  28. Good luck to Greg as he finishes up all his tests for his licenses. I remember those days very well. :) And I am insanely jealous of your daycare costs. My costs have decreased with both girls in school, but WOW!

  29. That’s such a reasonable budget for a family. Good for yall! I’m so excited for Greg’s new job. I hope your fall financial lockdown isn’t sucking to omuch!

    • It isn’t bad at all. This weekend we took the two kids to two different parts (free), filled up the baby pool in the yard (free, kind’ve) and watched movies (free). This upcoming weekend we’re going to do more of the same!

  30. Your mortgage payments are roughly proportional to ours… it always gives me inspiration to pay off our mortgage faster with overpayments when I think about how much extra freedom that money will provide!!

  31. It’s a simple and direct budget. You guys are doing so well and it’s inspiring for me to see that. One day, my budget will look more like yours without bunch of debt payments.

  32. It’s a great budget, you are doing really great! We don’t have a Mortgage (fortunately) and we live in Romania but your budget combined with my plans of making some real money online make me hope that some day I’ll be able to make my biggest dream come true: live in the USA (and if not possible, at least spend a couple of months there :P)

  33. I agree with the comment about micro-budgeting. I don’t like doing that at all!

  34. Exciting changes on the job front for the both of you! Congrats!
    The only aspect of my budget that really annoys me is my rent. It eats up around 41% of my income from my main job. I’ve got a bit of a side income but it’s not that much yet. I gotta move! Other than that, I’m one budget-happy girl! ;)

  35. Nice budget! Simple and easy. It sounds like we budget in much the same way. For things I know that are happening next month, I’ll just budget for it then. I don’t go into crazy categories. It’s impressive you pay everything in lump sums. I hate letting big amounts of money go at once, but I do agree having so many monthly bills can get annoying. My mom just paid for her home and car insurance like that.

  36. W00t! Budgets! Thanks for sharing, and nice work on the Republic Wireless gig. I’ve been using it as my home phone for a few months, great deal. I’m excited for their upgrades too!

    I like to break it all down, so I’ve got small funds for bi and tri-monthly bills, but it’s all the same in the end. We’ve been rocking Mint.com for the past month, diggin’ it, but there are some small limitations I’m working around. Hoping to dial it in in the next few months.

    Also, HELL YEAH to you for taking in enough income for Greg to pursue his passion. It will pay dividends, that’s for sure!

  37. That’s a very good budget. Yours is only 277.25 more than ours and so even though every person’s expenses is unique, I feel we can do better because we have no kids and for housing, we pay rent half the amount you pay mortgage. However, since we are paying down debt, a lot of money goes towards that too.

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  40. Good post. I’m facing many of these issues as well..

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