Saturday, December 3, 2011

Us Budget? Just Trying to Figure Out Where the Money Goes!

I have this sneaky idea in my head.

It involves figuring out exactly how much the BabbyDaddy's income would have to go up for me to be able to stay home. I'm including minor freelancing on my part in the calculations - maybe (hopefully?) leading to major freelancing, but starting small and manageable. And I'm talking exactly. Like a nice tight zero balance budget (+ emergency fund) that would have us paying off our debts but not doing a lot of traditional fun stuff. Maybe a weekly budget.

I don't really know yet. Anyone have any ideas?

Using an online budget calculator doesn't seem quite right because my income, such as it is, outside of regular employment is variable. My sneaky idea sometimes extends to trying to figure out how many raises the BabbyDaddy would need to score to enable me to not include my freelance income in the overall calculation - in which case I'd put all of that money into paying off debts and building up savings.

So I found a variable budget calculator - thanks, Dave Ramsey! - that lets you use sliders and adjust the amounts going to any one category or multiple categories after providing a recommended budget amount. The verdict? I won't be resigning my position any time soon unless my outside income adjusts to compensate or the BabbyDaddy's situation changes.

Ah, well. It's something to work toward, anyway! Thanks a lot, budget calculator.

This is why I get so incensed when I come across occasional sanctimonious articles and blog posts preaching a two-fold message about how moms are "selfish for wanting to work" and moms wouldn't have to work if they'd just "stop buying lattes". It's even worse at the library... A while back I thought I'd look into what resources might be out there for families looking to transition to one income. Or in my case, one and a quarter incomes.

Guess what I found?

A whole lot of books admonishing people like me to stop shopping for shoes... to stop with the lattes... to give up our once-a-week professional housecleaners... to sell off our second cars... to stop eating out so often... to cook at home and make more things and buy on sale or secondhand and cancel cable and magazines... In other words, all things we did a long time ago or have never had to start with or just plain don't care about.

I'm not really sure who the author of these books are or who they think their audience is (actually not true, they think their audience is made up of latte-swilling, power suit wearing, luxury-lovin' ladies with maids) but it sure as heck isn't DIY-friendly, water drinkin', old clothes wearing, homemade gift makin' me!

us budget

Back to the drawing board, I guess...

8 comments:

  1. I could talk FOR DAYS about how annoying it is when people get all up in arms about moms working. I am frequently asked if I "have to work" or if I "get to stay at home." Every family and situation is different, therefore NO ONE should judge moms that choose to work, especially when it is moms like you that are doing it for the overall well-being of their family.

    And, if you're interested, I recently quit my job because I wasn't bringing in enough money to justify the cost of baby-sitters. Before I did that though, my husband and I looked at our expenses and noticed where we wasted most of our money. For us, it was eating out. We calculated all the money we spent on restaurants and fast food and I was appalled, especially since we still did a normal amount of grocery shopping. Maybe you've already done that, but I think it's a great idea for any couple to do before making the transition to one income. :)

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!

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  2. Thanks for weighing in, Emily! Unfortunately, my job brings in quite a bit over the cost of childcare, so until another child comes along, it's still economical. (Slightly less than a third of my take home pay from my "real" job goes to childcare, plus freelance on top of that.) Needing childcare for two children would be the tipping point, but one we can't exactly reach until we figure out how to make one (plus a little more) income work.

    We do still need to sit down and see where it all goes, though. We had some medical expenses and had to pay an arborist and then something else recently, so it was kind of a banner month for money going OUT. Hopefully this month and beyond will let us build our safety net back up and then we can decide what to do from there!

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  3. no, Christa, I don't think you are their target audience... sometimes the frustrating thing is that there isn't anything particular you can do except wait. I have found that knowing exactly where your money goes can be good or bad depending on your personality, too. If you can handle such things, it can be a really good exercise knowing where every penny goes. On the other hand, sometimes scrimping and scrounging feels heroic until you realize that (thanks to your tightly detailed budget) you didn't have the money to spend anyway, so it takes a little of the fun out of it...

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  4. that's why I despise those books. every family is different and there is no way generic financial advice is going to cut it, so they come up with these over-the-top suggestions. if you are already living within/below your means I think that's a good place to be and I wouldn't beat myself up trying to cut off more fat on an already lean budget. I mean we still need roofs over our heads, clothes on our back, and food in our bellies (and some treats once in awhile!).

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  5. @knight I think I'd like to know anyway, if only to know how far we have to go to make things happen. I'm pretty sure right now the BabbyDaddy's pay would have to go up by X to make tight budget staying at home a reality. I don't want to build savings only to burn through it, though.

    @Teresha True, but I like to play around with the numbers anyway because I have a goal!

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  6. This cracks me up because every time hubby and I discuss possible changes in career paths we look at our budget and then the "advice" and then we both laugh. What $5 lattes? What satellite? What brand new car?? I'd give up all those things except I already don't have them!

    Good luck on your budget!

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  7. Just the fact that you are aware and talking about it is key...You are on the right path. :)

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  8. Absolutely! One of these days we are going to crack the code!

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