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My Negative $1200 Budget

February 14th, 2008 at 10:28 am

I've posted this on my other site, but thought it would be interesting to show what I am learning from tracking my daily spending - it has helped me create a more accurate budget and it is also identifying where we need to start cutting the 'fat'!

Since we were able to re-modify our loan, and for the first time, I'm tracking every single dollar I spend (a real eye opener) I thought I would share my budget with everyone. Well, an overview of it anyway. My goal this last year has been to reduce what I can to try and get our budget to equal the regular amount we receive each month. To get this to work with just my regular paychecks and our rental income and I am still working on it. We accumulated so much debt that this still isn't possible yet. So each month we are in the negative unless I receive bonus. Now I usually receive some type of bonuses each month, but this varies, it could be $100 or $5000, I never know. Thus my desire to make our budget work with what I know comes in as a standard paycheck. It will probably take me all this year to finally get there, and possibly another year until we can start living "below" our means. Again referring to just my paychecks and rental income, no other bonus money. Here is my break down so far:

$4742.00 - two paychecks (we do get 2 extra checks each year as I am paid every two weeks - which is not included in this total)
$985 - rental income 1st house
$1225 - rental income 2nd house
$154 - Work reimbursement for internet/cell phone


Monthly budget:
$400 groceries
$200 childcare
$30 pet food
$62.63 Internet/cable
$125 - home gas bill
$130 - Electric
$45 - water bill
$104 - Cell phone
$100 - dining out
$120 - Auto Fuel
$530.68 - Auto payment/insurance
$60.22 - Timeshare
$500 - debt settlement
$400 - embroidery machine
$300 - Business CC
$58.15 - Life Insurance
$10.00 - School supplies
$35 - Prescriptions
$2500 - rental property
$2212 - primary house
$100 - Misc
$200- Matt/Me (personal care, entertainment)

$8297.00 total
$7106.00 - income

Which leaves - (-1191) per month
(this also doesn't include actual medical bills for my hubby)

So each month we are about 1200 in the hole. What am I doing about it? I'm using my bonus money to get ahead. But also my plan now that I am starting to see where our money is going is this

1 - get a better renter who pays more + $200
2 - quit smoking! (this will be hard but I'm going to try) +100
3 - reduce Matt/Me by $100
4. - reduce Groceries by $50 - so far we have only used $117 of our $400 budget

That would then take us to Negative $750

Next - every time I get bonus money it's going to the embroidery machine and our DS account. I've paid the machine down to $7250 - and I don't have to make another payment until June - so if some months are short I won't pay on this. But any bonus money I do get, some goes to the machine to keep us ahead.

It's not all doom and gloom though, I am realizing that our 'average' for the year on the lower end of the scale from "extra/bonus" money is $1660 per month. Some months 0 and some more than that. So I just have to keep budgeting when we do get extra and keep splitting it up to get out of this mess.

We need to reduce, reduce, and focus all our energy into this.

We will keep at it!

6 Responses to “My Negative $1200 Budget”

  1. terri77 Says:

    It looks like you're losing money on the rental properties so finding a tenant that can pay more would be very helpful.

  2. Ima saver Says:

    I had 3 rentals and they were killers on my budget til I finally sold them and took the loss.

  3. NJDebbie Says:

    The problem with a rental property is that you have to be able to make your mortgage and a bit more in case something breaks (You'll have the money to make repairs). Will you be able to make the payments if your tenant stops paying the rent? I think you should evaluate your situation with the rental properties and determine if they are worth keeping.

  4. Carolina Bound Says:

    Wow, the embroidery machine was really expensive! Is that just a hobby, or can you use it for income?

  5. jaiparis Says:

    Well the embroidery machine is a commercial one it was originally 22k. And we do have a business, but since we work from home it's hard to get clients. We do have a few clients that bring in some income through out the year and we did just pick up some schools that we do screen printing for. So this depends, sometimes we have enough business from one order to make 2 or 3 months of payments other months we don't have enough business. So I would like to just have this paid off and not worry about it. Plus we aren't really active with it at this time, as my DH just started Chemo, so I'm afraid if we get a big order we might not be able to handle it or I'd have to do it outsourcing which creates other issues. So we are doing mostly screen printing/transfers for schools right now, and just a small amount of embroidery. We do hope to grow this business in the next few years if possible.

    As to the rentals - one is a rent to own and we are getting about $40 above what's due, they have been there two years and we don't do anything for that property, they have to maintain, etc. The 2nd, I have given notice to our current tenants, they will be out by 3/31. I am going to try and rent it for more which should make our amount negative $100 on that payment. I can't really sell them now without incurring more costs and debt. I so have a small emergency fund, and worst case my DS account (which is cash until I have enough to settle my last two credit cards) to make payments, but this can go quick if I don't get a tenant within a couple of months. Its a newer built house year 2002 and in really good shape. I should be able to rent this out at the higher amount.

    If we could get out of the houses we would but it's just not an option right now. And if there is anyway to get rid of this other debt, then maybe I can pay off the 2nd on our rental - thus making that an income producing house, which later in life could be to our benefit (10 -20 yrs down the road)

    Thanks for the comments/suggestions, they are always welcome

  6. Lost in debt Says:

    You just keep going Jen, with your motivation and determination I know you will get there.

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