Winning the War, but in a loosing battle

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Winning the War, but in a loosing battle
12
Wed, 01-04-2012 - 2:33pm

Like many of you, I am feeling a ton of pain this month, and it is not just holiday remorse.

#Marie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Wed, 01-04-2012 - 3:23pm

I consider myself a newbie, so take what I say with a grain of salt . . .

I can very much empathize with you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Wed, 01-04-2012 - 4:36pm
Bumbling - You might be a newbie, but have some very sage ideas!

We don't do sinking funds for taxes and insurance because we arrange the bill for the month we get that extra check and we get 4 of those a year. I do take $500 a month out of my pay to sink for DD's college (I have DD's already completely saved, so I just write checks from that account - DD is mine, DS is DH's son, we are a blended family but both kids are treated 100% equally.)
I used to do budget for utilities, but it evens out with the cabins running more in the summer when we are there more often, and the AC kicking up the home electric - basically we are at $300 a month for all utlities, no matter what time of the year it is.
Cell phones, well DH has a Droid with internet and tethering for him to be able to work mobile when we are at the cabin since he is on call 24/7, DD has a droid as well, then we have our MIL's phone on our bill and their mifi internet. We do get a 15% discount due to DH's work affiliation, but $240 is the lowest we could get with all the internet needs.
Ha, it is me who would rather not go to Vegas, but I have to, DH WANTS to. We already paid for the flight, hotel is free, so it is just meals.
We already moved a 20" in place on a stand. For us that is fine because I teach 2 nights a week, he has activities 2 nights, and we mostly watch television in bed after 9:30, so we won't be buying new until I have cash in hand and see some great deal - so you hit the nail on the head there!

I am really afraid of dropping the 401ks down. First we need to fund that retirement, and second the lower income helps us with taxes. If we can keep it under certain levels we can also get a tuition tax credit for the kids, which means $5k more in our pocket, it phases out if we make $10k more as a couple, so that 401k contribution really helps a LOT, more than 50%, and in a really high tax bracket it means more.

It is funny, but years ago I remember living on $6k a month. Here we are making double what I did then, living on the same take-home due to much higher tax brackets and most deductions being phased out. People think if you make more you will do so much better. But you don't get tuition assistance for the kids, you loose most deductions and tax brackets are much higher.

Oh well.

-Marie
#Marie
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 01-04-2012 - 4:48pm

I turn 50 this year, too, and one thing that is completely NON negotiable in any buget for my family is to reduce what we save for retirement.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2009
Wed, 01-04-2012 - 8:21pm

Hi Marie-

I just want to say I think you are doing fantastically well:smileyhappy:

You always have so much on the go and you seem to be gazelle intense about everything.

Enjoy all your blessings (dont protest and say yes I do) but enjoy them even more.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2005
Thu, 01-05-2012 - 9:36am

I would tackle things one at a time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Thu, 01-05-2012 - 10:25am
Well Marie, if your ticker is updated then you only have $10K to go! I wouldn't worry too much about it considering where you started. You have done amazingly well.
Keep the retirement contributions. You are young and healthy now and can work an extra teaching job to attack debt, but you never know what the future holds. It's my understanding that you also want to retire to the cabin, so the equity you are building in your primary home is a bonus!

Talk to DH and see if he can wait to get the new truck until the Spring. Then throw the extra payments that you would have paid at the debt to finish it off.

Good luck!

Bex -

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008
Thu, 01-05-2012 - 10:30am

With two kids in college, it has to be rough in your household no matter how much you have prepared.

Norma


"Patience is the best remedy for every trouble"- Plautus


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Thu, 01-05-2012 - 11:43am
Well taken, Mahopac - I have done the numbers more than a few times and with the low returns on money these days, we need to do as much as we can on retirement contributions. I don't trust putting it in savings or even a Roth, as I like having money we cannot touch in the 401ks - never seen, never spent. And we both do get matches at our companies.
-Marie
#Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Thu, 01-05-2012 - 11:50am
Ah Duke - always the wise one!
I do appreciate life a lot and have really worked to focus on family and my wonderful husband this past year. We have grown so much closer since the kids have left.
And (pardon the bragging mom here) DD20 got a 3.9 this term, she 4 pointed three classes and got a 3.8 in her online class - so her GPA is over a 3.6 at a top 25 university (that won their bowl game) is on the Dean's list and just got invited to the Sigma something honor fraternity for leadership and scholarship.
DS18 finished his first term in engineering - the kid I was scared about who thought a C in high school was fine - he got a 3.3 his first term, including 4 points in his English class and his first engineering class. He is talking to the Dean about creating his own degree in alternative energy between electrical and mechanical engineering majors - he has just grown up SO much.

So I am sure I am not throwing money away on their educations at least. I just need to suck it up a couple more years and we will have a HUGE pay increase when they are off our doll.

-Marie
#Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Thu, 01-05-2012 - 11:57am
Stacy -
I do not do sinking funds for all those things, because we get extra checks four months of the year - January is one of them - as DH and I are both paid 26 periods, so those big bills usually end up to fall on those months or I force fit them in. Car insurance is 4000 a year, so finding $360 a month to sink right now, not going to happen with house insurance due.
I do already sink money for DS college, hrealthcare co-pays, car repairs and house repairs, but not these big bills as we try to pay them in full to get the discount.
DH wants a new truck, his is a 2006, but the transmission is going. He puts almost 30k miles a year on a vehicle and we cannot afford to be stuck anywhere. We did the math, and if he keeps it and saves the payment to buy in cash, we are actually behind because the resale drops that much more, and that is without the possibility of any repairs, and those are big ticket on a truck. Also the newer trucks do get better gas mileage - and we get the family discount, so that brings it down quite a bit as well. I would love him to wait one more year, but he at least has to wait until one more CC is paid off, that I won't budge on.
-Marie
#Marie

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