While my husband makes about $58K per year, after state and federal taxes, 401k (10%), health insurance, and medical flex spending account (which we put in $2,500 each year and routinely run through it by June 1st/or $96.15 per paycheck), he brings home $1300 per two weeks and we live comfortably and could definite could cut out more. We put down 20% on our house, so our mortgage is lower than normal.
Monthly Expenses (from $2600 take home/mo)
Mortgage/Property Taxes/Home Insurance - 1050
Electric - 150
Garbage - 46 every three months (dh's brother shares service with us because our can is so big and pays the other 46)
Water - we have a well
Auto insurance - 115
Car - One paid for, one 150/mo for two more years.
Gasoline and auto maintenance - 300
Cell phone - 120 (two phones, one date/other just texting and phone)
Food/Household Supplies - 350
Student Loan - 160
Medical payments - 50
Netflix - 9
DSL - 55
$2500 that other $100 goes to anything else that comes up during the month...and something always does :)
I got a part-time job this year that brings home $500 per two weeks. This pays for our extras we never did for the previous 8 years I stayed home with my kids.
Monthly Extras (About $1100 take home/mo)
Gas 200 ---this includes driving to my 25 hr/week job plus extras of driving to farther away parks and lakes we couldn't go to in the past
Haircuts 60 just 3 of us girls, dh's is buzzed at home, we went as long as possible between haircuts in the past, so nice not to have to "worry" about squeezing these in now.
Chiropractor 70 (we have health insurance, again, nice to be able to maintain our health to prevent medical issues)
Family Pool Membership - 45
Clothing - 50 - we are blessed to get tons of hand-me-downs that are barely worn.
Entertainment - 100
Orthodontist payment for DD2 - 100
Instrument rental for DD1 - 58
Tithe - 120 (dh is not a Christian, so only my income is tithed)
Hardest part about going back to work is maintaining our current lifestyle and not "upgrading" to what the Joneses are doing.
What doesn't this include....cable/satellite, eating out more than once every two weeks, convenience food (most meals are homemade and we make bigger portions to take leftovers in our lunches), eating out at lunchtime, deserts/junkfood/packaged snacks, cool new cars, going out to movies, vacations (unless it's to a friend's house and we eat-in), new furniture...really "new" anything.
It includes a lot of gardening and baking and time at home together as a family versus lots of time out spending money. It's all worth it not to be bound to working if I decided my kids needed me home more with them. I think less can be done by families with a smaller income as you can see if we cut out our DSL, cell phones, paid off our newer car and our student loans. Jen
This seems a bit more realistic for my area. (Although, utilities, internet, and vehicle fuel expense are a little more here.) As you can see, even cutting this budget by:
700 - renting an apartment or house for 350
150 - car pmt (assuming you could sell this car and buy a less expensive car with the money left after paying it off)
60 - assuming you can have one cell phone for half of what two costs, even if it means giving up the data plan which is about what one costs here with no data plan
9 - netfilx
55 - DSL (only use the free wifi or the library when you need internet)
200 - savings (please note that I do not think it's a good thing to give this up, but just being realistic for a tight budget)
45 - haircuts (go every three months, trim at home in between, or go to a beauty college)
70 - chiropractic (I have never been, so I guess I just don't understand the benefits)
45 - pool membership
100 - orthodontist (most orthodontal work is not completely necessary, even if there are preventative benefits)
58 - instrument rental
100 - intertainment (again, I know that this is nearly impossible, but there are parks, libraries, festivals, and free movies in some towns that provide free entertainment)
120 - tithe (I would keep this in the budget, but I know that many non-christians don't understand the importance, so we will cut it just for the comparison)
1712 - total per month cut from this budget
The original budget was for 43,200 per year. Cutting all these extra's still comes to 22,656 per year, so I guess it can be done. But that doesn't leave ANY room for entertainment, emergencies, or savings. Not sure how long someone could stick to a bare bones budget like that, considering that it isn't going to get better by eventually paying something off. All of these bills would be ongoing. For me, I need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, if Jen's family can live on that budget and still bring home 44,400 per; it would be easier to stick to it, since they could see the savings building up. For someone who only makes 25,000 per year, it would be extremely difficult. I know I could very easily be in that situation, and I applaud everyone who is hanging in there and making it in those circumstances.