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Personal Finances / Credit Cards and Consumer Debt


Subject:  Re: Budget Help Date:  3/29/2014  12:02 PM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  308067 of 312858

A few comments…

Bills & Utilities:Utilities: Electric 250.00

Seems high. My house is all-electric save the gas range top, and our average is more like $150. We don't use much heat in winter--I heat to 60-65. Unless your children are sickly, it's fine for them--just dress them warmly (e.g., hoodies in the house). Warm pjs & covers do it for us at night. We also have an electric mattress pad for extra heat when going to bed.

Entertainment:Internet 62.99

Seems high. We have high-speed internet via cable for $35/month.

Financial:Disability Insurance 111.22

Kudos for this.

Food & Dining:Fast Food 85.23

Why do you have such a category? It's not good for you or your children. If you tend to go for fast food while running errands--stop! Run errands between meals and carry snacks such as cheese & crackers, homemade trail mix, quartered PBJ, plus a thermos of water for each person. If you go for fast food for workday lunches--stop. Bring a sandwich/wrap sandwich, leftovers, tub of hummus and veggie sticks, even a microwavable frozen entree is likely to be better for you than fast food.

Food & Dining:Groceries 767.86

Do you eat a lot of meat or prepared food? Buy expensive children's foods? Lots of us can provide budget menus.

When the hubster and I worked long hours in the software biz, I normally cooked enough for Saturday and SUnday dinners to provide leftovers for MOnday and Tuesday. Cooked again on Wednesday, usually with leftovers for Thursday. Friday was traditionally Mommy's night off…so things like frozen ravioli & a frozen vegetable, hotdogs & beans, pizza, Daddy's grill night. If either of you are energetic enough in the morning to start dinner in the slow cooker, that's great (we never were-).

I find it helps to have an overall weekly dinner menu structure; e.g., red meat once a week, chicken once or twice, fish/shellfish once, vegetarian twice, vegan once or twice.

Health & Fitness:Doctor 35.00

Seems low for a family of 5. Are checkups free?

Health & Fitness:Pharmacy 10.00<i/>

Also seems low. I include OTC drugs, devices, first aid, sunblock, in the same category, and ours is $25 just for 2.

Personal Care 85.60

What does this represent? Hair cuts--get them less often or less expensively (can even DIY--I do). Dry cleaners? Buy clothing that does;t need dry cleaning. Try washing dry cleanables on gentle and drying on fluff cycle, a rack in the bathtub, or on a clothesline. Massage? Facials? Not affordable on your desired budget.

Shopping 150.00
Other Shopping 100.00 350

Categorize to get a better handle on it.

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