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We will gross about 47K this year. Here's how that money got spent over the past 12 months. Remember, I don't follow a budget, but I know most of these figures or I can check them very easily.

457 plan contribution- $2040
FLEX spending plan - $1008
Military buyback- $1558
Mortgage - $9600
Food and other grocery store expenses - $6300
IRA contribution - $3600
Natural Gas - +/- $1000
Electric - +/- $900
Telephone - $360
Internet - $203
Music classes 2 kids - $700
Baseball - $50
Swimming - $300
YMCA membership - $708
Cub Scouts - $250
Fed tax - $813
State tax - $1232
Social Security - $2690
Car insurance - $540
Cable TV - $516

This comes to $34,368

That means that we have about $12,632 left over each year.

Where does this money go? Well, let's see. We have two cars and we drive about 25K-30K miles a year. I gotta buy gas for these beasts and I change the oil myself about every 3K miles. Both cars are paid off, but yet each year both seem to go into a mechanics shop a few times a year for minor problems.

We have to clothe all 4 of us, but we do this fairly cheap through yard sales for the most part. I have uniforms provided to me so I very seldom buy any new clothes for myself.

Kids being kids, we buy them items occasionally.

During the past year, we have bought about $3500 worth of new furniture. Hopefully, this won't happen again in our lives.

We have also paid about $1000 for materials and labor towards re-wiring our house.

We have lots of plants around our house. A lot come back year after year, but we also buy more each year. I also just spent $230 in mulch this past week.

Is that 12K gone yet? We put about $9000 in the bank each year, but from this account we pay for furniture, wires, mulch etc.

2 out of 4 of us have bad vision so that means glasses and/or contacts. I had a torn retina a few months ago, but insurance paid most of it.

Oh, my....I forgot to include health insurance on my initial list. That's another $3,156 a year, so that brings our expenses to $37,524 which leaves us less than 10K a year for these other expenses.

Ok, if this hasn't been confusing enough, figure we see the doctor occaisionally with a $20 copay each time. $20 copay on prescriptions as well.

I think you can probably see why things are tight for us. Also, since I don't keep a budget, some of these numbers may be off as well. The bottom line is we do not carry any debt. We use our credit cards, but almost every month, year after year, we pay the bill off in full each month. We'll probably do the same for our next bill which, since it has our vacation on it plus a little bit more, will probably be around $600.

We also are saving money in my 457 plan or our IRA's that we do not and can not touch. Same with my military buy back time. The money in our bank account fluctuates from $800 up to $3000 or so. That's my e-fund and there lies one potential problem.

Cars could be a problem, but if it's my car that dies, I hope to be able to find a cheap, less than 2K car, for me to drive.

Ok, if you made it this far, analyze my budget if you dare. What can I do to improve my situation? Based on my rough numbers, should I be doing better on $47K or am I doing pretty good considering there are 4 of us?

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