Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tightwad heros

I have many. One of them is my sister, Joe. She is getting ready to put her house on the market so she & her husband & her 1 yo son can move into a 2 bedroom apartment & save money. Because they don't want their son in daycare. This means that she is putting together a birthday party for a one year old on $23. They don't have long distance on their phone. They share one cell phone. They are a one car household. (this means her husband is home with their son and no way of escaping or running to the store etc.) They don't have cable. And their diet is largely organic food. I have no idea how they do this. Unfortunately, she's stopped updating her blog so I can only show her off with an old post.

They don't think we're evil, or anything, for putting Khubz in daycare. But they don't believe in it for their son. I don't believe in it for my daughter--except it really is the best option for my family right now. Don't worry, I'm in touch with my cognitive dissonance.

We want to have more kids, inshallah, and I need really, really good insurance when we're trying to get pregnant. The insurance I have at my current job is excellent and I have an amazing amount of flexibility in terms of my work schedule. All this is to say that I don't usually feel beaten down by daycare guilt on a daily basis anymore. But I do feel like we need to maximize our savings while we're a two income family.
So what are our actual numbers? I know this is "tacky" but remember that women have been taught not to talk about money and never to tell each other the truth. I post this in the name of economic justice! (also, i know that public declarations help shore up someone's resolve when they feel themselves slipping. i'm not about to list my weight so you'll all have to suffer through our budget.)

  • 3600 : income after taxes/withholding/medical insurance
  • 775: mortgage + stupid hoa fee which they're threatening to raise--bastards.
  • 190: gas, water, electric (huge utility bills for an interior townhouse! Mostly because I am a sucker about running the airconditioning and we really, really need new windows to be well insulated)
  • 200: landline (why do we still have this, Scully?), 2 cell phones, DSL
  • 30: basic, crappy cable
  • 500: daycare (how can something that costs so much pay so badly?)
  • 250: my new car
  • 200: our new car insurance bill
  • 300: student loan repayment
  • 250: gas & tolls (this incl. a monthly ia trip and semimonthly trip to tx)
  • 100: tx loan repayment
  • 200: savings
  • 250: household goods (if it's not parchment paper, it's toilet paper or computer paper or toothpaste or buttpaste or--god save us--diapers)
  • 280: groceries. This is high for a family of two adults and an infant but we're trying to buy organic including the very pricey organic meat. And I am a sucker for beautifully merchandised fresh foods. It does also budget for eating out one meal a week.

This leaves us $75 a month if we're doing everything right.

It's not bad because the above numbers on the loans are our goals, not always our actual minimum payments. So we have some emergency wiggle room if desperately needed. It includes an additional $75 towards our house, an extra $100 on my car all trying to get our debt ratio down. It also has savings built in. So where's our cash at the end of the month?? (sigh)

To assist me with my perspective:

  • TANF benefit for a family my size = $ 429/month

  • Minimum wage in Kansas = $ 5.15/hr or $892/month

Then there's some additional perspective:

  • KS Powerball payout next week = $ 123,000,000.oo

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