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Viewing the 'Budgeting' Category

Our Budget Priorities - Tuition

July 2nd, 2013 at 06:33 pm

I just worked out that 15% of our spending is for tuition to F's school (and this takes into account the financial aid we receive). I am probably opening up a can of worms discussing this, but I am ok with paying for school. The public schools where we live are not good (there are a few ok elementary schools and everyone asks for a transfer). There are other reasons I won't go into. Trust me - for us and for F, her school is worth every penny.

Anyway, the problem is not paying this tuition, it's being able to save with this large fixed bill as part of our budget. We've done so much to tighten up in other areas in order to save.

We could probably do more.

Our other huge expense is the trip we make to England every other year. If we don't go, F doesn't get to see her grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins. And D doesn't get to see his parents, sister, nephews and niece. I earmark money each month for this expense, and we use the profit (which is not that much) from the rent on our house in Ireland when we are over there so we just have to buy plane tickets (I gather as many credit card travel points as I can to offset the cost).

I feel like rather than some formula, spending is really individual. We buy private school and trips to see D's family because those are priorities for us. And we do without other things some people would think are priorities.

Do you have non-negotiable expenses like this?

June Review

July 1st, 2013 at 07:24 pm

June was a good month!

Our spending was lower than last year, and our savings were higher.

- earnings - up 16% (because D is now putting in the same amount each month from his business account
- spending - down 10%
- savings - up 188% (yay!)

June is a difficult month for me (mentally) because that is when we pay our $600 annual homeowner's association dues. I set aside $50/month so it's not a financial issue. It's just that I've watched the dues double since I moved her 14 years ago, and it's hard to see what they spend the money on (some snow removal, some landscape trimming, but not much else).

I have stuck to our budget for camp, and our plans for frugal fun (so that we can go on a vacation) and it's been a GREAT summer so far!

My Dad and My Finances

June 16th, 2013 at 08:03 am

Since it's Father's Day... I'd like to thank my Dad who is almost entirely responsible for my views on money. Not sure if this is genetic or learned by example or both. (I am not saying this is the right way, but it's my way and my dad's way, too).

- Be your own boss; have your own small business
- Keep it small so you can do what you were meant to do rather than managing employees
- Be conservative in your spending
- Be conservative in your investing
- Stay in the same house forever
- Everything is better when you track it in Excel
- Keep track of every dime you spend in every category
- Spend money on your children's education
- Only buy new clothes when you have to
- It's good to have pets around even though they aren't cheap
- Do your own taxes
- Volunteer, give something back
- You can always talk to your dad about money (or business or anything else!)

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Birthday Cake - Better be Worth it!

June 12th, 2013 at 04:40 pm

I set aside money each month in a virtual envelope (on Moneywell, my favorite money management program) for F's birthday party. So I have the money for a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake; I usually make the cake myself so I had a little bit of sticker shock! We're having about 10 kids, but some of the adults will eat cake, too, so I got the full sheet for 16-24 people: $42!!

I'll have a lot to do that day, including turning our entire living room into a blanket fort (this is a non-sleepover pajama party), and I couldn't face making an ice cream cake (that is assuming I know how to make an ice cream cake, which I don't). And we have the money set aside for it, so it's not over budget.

I still need to buy: lots of milk, whipped cream and white chocolate chips for the make-your-own hot cocoa bar (already bought cocoa powder, sprinkles, chocolate chips) and order pizza. But we're basically all set.

They'll be painting their own cocoa mugs (got the plain white mugs already), playing telephone and twister, doing a pajama fashion show and eating pizza in the blanket fort.

I have to remind myself that my careful budgeting and planning is why we can splurge and not make the cake myself!

Random Sunday Money Stuff

June 9th, 2013 at 10:19 am

It's Sunday, my day for vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, a load of laundry and dealing with random money stuff.

I put $48 into the 52-week savings challenge. This will go into the IRAs. We are currently putting in $125/month each, and my goal is to eventually be putting in $400/month each. With the 52-week savings challenge we are putting in $182/month. Should be able to get it up to $200/month soon!

I just hung the laundry outside, even though there is a slight smell of the fires in our state. I hate for the sheets to smell like fire, but it's not so bad right now, and I think they'll be ok.

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