Budget Lesson, Part 2

Today, I am continuing the detailed examination of my budget.   Please see part one to catch up.

This time, I’m going to look at my monthly bills.  These are predictable and recurring expenses, though not all of them are entirely out-going.

Let’s dig in:

  • House Payment – We have a small payment.  We have a small-ish house.  It’s in a post-WWII development and we refinanced at an excellent time.
  • Netflix – I am a movie geek.  Netflix scratches that itch much cheaper than buying movies.  This expense is a massive money saver at my house.
  • Cell Phone – I recently allowed myself to be convinced to get smartphones.   There are a hundred pros, but one major con.  It doubled our monthly cost.
  • Dish   – When our contract is up, this bill is going away.  We did recently convince them to lower our bill, just by asking.
  • Cable Internet  – While many people consider high-speed internet a luxury, I consider it a necessary expense.  I am a computer programmer, and I try to maintain a regular side-hustle or two.  I regularly use this to maintain current income and generate alternate income streams.
  • Car Payment  – Sometime late next year, we will finish paying for our last car loan.  I got my car less than one year old, just off-lease.  I got a good price for what I got, but it was still the fastest lifestyle expansion I’ve ever done after a raise.
  • Insurance  – This is all of our insurance policies.
  • Personal Line of Credit  – This was a consolidation that shaved almost 10% off my interest rate.  Currently the target of my debt snowball.
  • Credit Card  – This is our painful debt.  10 years of regret in wallet-sized plastic.  Thanks to the CARD Act, my payment keeps increasing.  While that’s good in the long-term, it’s screwing my budget every month.
  • Gas(Home)  – We are on the budget plan, to allow for planning, and we have a repair plan, that will be ending as soon as my warranty fund is ready.  We updated our furnace and AC last year, cutting this bill in half.
  • Allowance    – This is the most we’ve paid, yet, for allowance.  My son decides his own income, but hasn’t made it over $20/month.
  • Electric   – Also a budget plan.   I’m working on trimming this, but I don’t think it will go much lower.
  • Debt  – This is the snowball.
  • Phone  – Our land line.  It’s the cheapest we can get, but it cannot be replaced with our cell phones.  That’s not an option with our situation.  That’s okay with me, because I hate the idea of a single point of failure in any of the systems in my life.
  • Savings    $25.00 – It’s not much, but it’s something.  We’re slowly building the emergency fund to cover 6 months of our expenses.  We’ve got some time before we accomplish that.  Debt first.
  • College fund    $10.00 – Also not much.  This will be scaled up a bit as our incomes rise and debts fall.

Total transparency is an interesting feeling.  I tried to do it, but I can’t.  I am far too much a private person to detail the amounts of everything I pay.   I’ll make do with showing the line items.   You can guess at the amounts.

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