Dear Hubby and I have been solely living off of his income for quite some time now. Between my mental and physical status, I am unable to hold a job. And while I will admit that we don’t live the most glamorous life, we keep our heads above water.
We are rather traditional in our views towards money – spend less, save more. I’m not an extreme couponer (although I am in couponing groups on Facebook to follow the deals!), I don’t use food stamps or any assistance programs (nothing wrong with using them, we just don’t qualify), I just think outside the box and do the math.
So without further ado, here is a breakdown of our budget and the various things we do to stay afloat.
- Rent – 525.00 – We live in a small, two-bedroom apartment. Water, trash and cable are included. We also have a pool, which is pretty neat.
- Personal loan – 211.03 – We used a personal loan to save on interest from the credit cards. While I don’t normally agree on taking out a loan, the difference in APR was astounding!
- Car loan – 210.00 – We drive a seven-year-old Toyota Corolla. Base model, nothing fancy. I bought a Toyota back before we had gotten married, as I knew it would be a reliable, dependable vehicle. Most importantly, we only have ONE CAR!
- Both cell phones – 75.00 – We spend $35/mo each on our cell phones. We use Cricket Wireless’ Basic Plan, which includes unlimited talk and text and 4GB of high speed data. The plan typically runs for $40/mo, but is $35/mo with auto-pay.
- Car insurance – 103.32 – We got double the amount of coverage at less than what we were paying by price shopping (we settled on Geico).
- Renter’s insurance – 15.34 – We bundled renter’s and auto with Geico to save a bit more each month.
- Internet – 25.00 – 10Mbps, no contract through Wow! Internet.
- Credit card – 100.00 – Only $600 left to pay off! We’re paying more than the minimum on this one to knock it out!
- Electric – 123.50 – Rather high, in my opinion, but this company is the only one that services our area.
- Health insurance – 276.36 – Once again, rather high, but it saves us a ton for when we actually do visit the doctor. We opted for a lower deductible. Once open enrollment comes around, we may opt for a higher deductible and lower premium.
Total cost of fixed expenses – $1,659.55
Now for the tough part, the variable expenses. This is where people typically overspend, since there’s not any fixed amount that you have to pay. I, myself am totally guilty of this. What I’ve learned is that using cash envelopes keeps me in check because if it isn’t there, I can’t spend it!
Here are our variable expenses:
- Groceries – 200.00 – I shop at discount stores (think Aldi, Ruler, etc.) and mostly buy generic items. I also always take a peek at the clearance/scratch and dent section. A lot of the time, it can either be frozen or it’s shelf stable, just ugly.
- Gas – 25.00 – Gas is usually around $2.30/gal in our area and our little Corolla is pretty good on gas. We plan our routes, and work relatively close to home, so one tank of gas lasts us the whole month.
- Pet Care – 20.00 – We buy litter and cat food in bulk, so our furbaby is always taken care of. So while there are some months that we will not need to buy food or litter, I always put a little money aside to save up for when we run low or find a great deal. I just recently got a bunch of food and litter by using a Groupon for Google Express.
- Miscellaneous – 50.00 – Life happens, so it’s always good to have a little set aside for life’s little emergencies.
Total cost of variable expenses – $295.00
Of course, we don’t always spend the budgeted amount or we spend a little more than anticipated. We’re not perfect, so we adjust accordingly. If a fixed expense is higher than expected, we pull from the variable expenses. Checks and balances.
My biggest piece of advice to anyone living on one income is to ‘trim the fat’. Cut out the unnecessary expenses from your budget! Call and negotiate with bill companies, make your meals at home, utilize the internet for entertainment… The list goes on and on.
All of the little things you do to save here and there really do add up, as you can see.
Drumroll please for our grand total!
Total needed for the month – $1,954.55!