Monday, April 4, 2016
April Showers-Time to Plug Holes in the Checkbook
The goal for April is to entirely bank anything DH brings in the house. We've dealt with the tax man on March 31, making that expenses a thing of the past. While we pay off the credit card bill in full each month, March was an expensive one, all planned, but semi regular expenses mounted. Even with the heftier VISA, I have a third paycheck month so saving DH's checks should be totally doable. I have not disclosed much about my take home, and it feels like it should be more as I earn a decent enough wage. Part of what reduces it is that medical and dental, short and long term disability insurance, and additional life insurance for me and DH come out of my checks. Also, I have 25% of my pre-taxed salary go directly into three accounts for retirement-pension, health savings, and 401K. This will be even higher when I play catch-up later in the year now that I am 50 and can put up to $24,000 away in my 401K. With few deductions, and Minnesota a relatively big income tax state, nearly 30% is gone for taxes. this will leave me with take home in the neighborhood of $4,360. I'd like to challenge myself even further and shoot to even spending at $4,000 for month and put that $360 in savings as well.
Here's the plan for April. Note we spend more or less at other times of the year in many of these areas. This just happens to be April. Things like clothing, gifts, vacations, church and donations, etc. are spent in different amounts at different times, but I sort of have a range of what I try and average over a 12-18 month period. We also have a different way than others might in how we save or put money towards college for DD#2. We are saving, but becasue of our ages, we want to make sure our retirement plans are prioritized and we maximize where we can in tax deferred, my pension, and our Roth. Should we have to, student loans would be available to help float college costs. but no one is going to give us a loan to paying our living expenses in retirement.
VISA-expenses from semi regular that will be on this bill $575
Groceries and Household- $550
Eating Out, school lunches, work lunches (We have our daughters friend visiting so will add a meal or two out and about with her), entertainment
Church and charitable $400
Car Insurance $180
Gas and oil change $200
Car Payment $332
Utilities (phones, water, electric, gas Internet, netflix) $535
Annuity (life and add. retirement fund) $262
House and Auto fund (we have no mortgage and kept paying ourselves the car payment when the Equinox was paid off. The other car payment is no interest)
Music, school, sports costs, teen costs $225
Spring Clothes (DD and DH-I'm no spend) $200
Miscellaneous $ 50
Technically, the annuity payment and $325 of the house and auto fund are also savings, but they are "bills" in that we pay them every month. There are also many places we could cut to save money, but we have decided those are priorities, thus choose to include as "bills" such as church and charitable regular commitments, and some of the costs associated with DD's extra curricular activities.
The categories we can save are in groceries and household, eating out/entertainment, spring clothes, and miscellaneous. I'm also trying to watch the utilities, at least the ones that are metered, but we wouldn't see the savings immediately as we are on budget plans that average over a course of 6 months, then they adjust up or down. To reach my second goal, would mean to reduce those cumulative $1,000 budget by 36%. That is a tough feat, requiring Ninja level savings. I'll get creative with cooking, couponing, and using up and doing without if need be. As I post a few weeks back, I will do this not feeling deprived, but see it as a competition. Anything towards the $360 will be a bonus win. If we end up having to tap into DH's pay, I'll challenge myself harder in May to keep expenses down as I'll be back to only a two check month. What's happening in your world of money in April?