I'm sitting down today to write out our budget, I'm doing it from scratch and I'll share my process with you guys. You can do it right along with me! I'm not really sure where to start with it all so I'm just going to make a list of all the things I've been paying regularly. As a heads up, there are a LOT of numbers in this post. When I finish this, I plan to write out a cliff's notes version for those of you who don't want to read the entire process. - I did! It's posted here. If you don't want to read this long post, feel free to get the highlights from the short one! =)
Before I get to that, I'll give you a little background on our income. Our house payment is taken directly out of the paycheck each time. They take $374.46 each time for the house. After that and taxes our take home pay is $1530.66, we get that every two weeks for a monthly total of $3061.32.
I have been writing my bills down in a binder for about the past year so I'm taking the average of each one, rounding up just a bit, and adding them all together to find out what we'll need a month for bills.
Electric - $240
Gas - $190
AT&T - $330
Internet - $55
Credit Card - $50 - The minimum payment is $25 but I am trying to always pay extra.
Fingerhut - $30 - Same as the credit card, the minimum is $15 but we're paying ahead.
Water - $180
Trash - $40
Car Insurance - $100
Dental Insurance - $120
Dish Network - $70
Lunch Bills - $80
Bandland - $40 - This is payment for our sons instrument for school.
Total - $1525 which I will round up to $1550 to make up for any differences, or $775 a pay period.
This doesn't include our house payment (which we already talked about) or any debt that we have. I haven't really even thought about where to start with that. My general plan is to save a small emergency fund and then start on the debt one thing at a time. I think in total we have about $25,000 in debt including my husbands remaining student loans.
I've set our grocery budget at $500 a month, that's about $150 less than we have been spending a month. I include all of our household purchases in that, such as toilet paper, pet food, laundry supplies. Things that I normally purchase when I grocery shop. This brings our monthly total to $2050, or $1025 per pay period.
I just realized that something pretty big had completely slipped my mind. My husband is an asthmatic and we do not have health insurance. All of our medical expenses are directly out of pocket. Including his Symbicort and it's $246 every month. So including that we have $2296 a month, $1148 - rounded to $1150 every two weeks.
That leaves us with $380 remaining every two weeks, from that we need money for miscellaneous spending such as gas for the car and anything else we may need. My hubbs travels a lot for work and needs a little pocket change. We will be keeping $180 for the misc spending. That means we will be putting the other $200 per pay period towards savings.
Something else I still need to mention is the fact that when my hubbs is not going around fixing computers for Go-Mart, he's a writer. He's written three books so far but we have been unable to find the money for an editor. We need to save a little over $1500 to get that done and we will be putting half of our savings money toward that. At $100 a payday or $200 a month that should take about 8 months to get saved up. After that, we will put the other money into our savings account.
Our initial savings goal is $3000, we'll be saving $200 a month for the next 8 months and then it'll be $400 a month. It should take us about a year to meet our first goal. After that we will start on our debt. I know a lot of people probably think we should already be paying off our debt, it's something that nags at the back of my mind all the time. But you have to realize that we have neglected it for the past 10 years. It seems like every time you start trying to pay off your debt without a safety net, you are doomed to have an expensive emergency. The car breaks down, the washer dies, someone has a medical problem. That's why we're doing the safety net before the debt.
In the past, I've had trouble sticking to other "budget" plans I've come up with. But I quickly fell off the wagon. This time, we will be putting away the debit card! No access to that bad boy at all. On payday I will be going to the bank to get our "spending money" and that'll be that. From this point on out, I'll be writing down every penny we spend.
Well that was exhausting and days of work but I've finally finished the most difficult part of it! I also got a few good ideas for future posts but for now, I think I'm done! I feel pretty good and productive. I've already planned out the bills that I'll be paying this payday in the spirit of being as prepared as possible.