Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Our new budget for 2017

I haven't posted on our budget in awhile, but given that both our income and our expenses have changed, I thought it would be good to update here. This past year we were blessed to receive a $5,000 raise and then my husband got a new position in the same company, and found out that they approved another roughly $5,500 raise. Sometimes it feels small given that our health insurance premiums are also increasing (again), but truly we are grateful to have more money to direct. So currently, our annual income sits at $60,650 a year.

Because we work for the state, we are committed to contributing 6% of his salary to the retirement fund. We also opted to take advantage of their health care plan, and while I haven't included these expenses in past budgets, I decided to include them here so that you can get a feeling for where all the money goes, including monthly taxes.

We get two paychecks a month, but because we are on a 26-paycheck schedule, twice a year we get three paychecks. These extra paychecks do not have contributions for healthcare taken out - those are only on the other 24 paychecks, so these two extra checks are usually higher than the others.

We try to live on the two paychecks we get every month, and when we get 3 paychecks, the extra money goes into savings for irregular expenses like sports fees, swimming lessons, home improvement/repair needs, clothing, homeschooling purchases and other expenses.

Here is our monthly gross from two paychecks:

Deductions taken from 2 paychecks (1 month's average income):
Taxes (Social security, disability, state and federal) - $442
Healthcare and dental premiums - $288
Retirement - $280
Personal contribution to HSA - $150
Total Deductions: $1160

After our deductions, we have a take-home pay of $3504. Here is how we budget it:
Tithe - $461
Mortgage, property taxes, and homeowners insurance - $675
Security system - $37
Water, sewage and garbage - $75
Gas and electric - $132
Cell phones - $52
Internet - $55
Gasoline - $55
Groceries - $400
Car registration and membership fees - $20
YMCA - $54*
Home Care - $20 (for things like toiletries or air filters, hardware store runs, etc.)
Life and auto insurance - $108
Student Loan - $665
Auto Loan - $294
Emergency Fund - $300
Special Savings - $75
Christmas/birthday fund - $25

A few things I would like to point out about this year's focus:
* We have added in a gym membership. I am happy to workout at home, but my husband's preferred way to workout is to swim, and our local YMCA offers a family membership for $54 a month. Many places charge $5 per swim, so to us, it made sense to purchase a membership that we could all use for the same price, and we could have access to fitness classes, machines, and a pool for our kids to practice swimming during the long cold winter we have here (or the hot summers!).
* We are saving some of our extra money to build up our emergency fund. At some point we may decide to put it toward debt, but as homeowners we feel like our current fund is just too low. We don't plan on having this category indefinitely, but it hopefully will build up our fund in a year or so to free us to more aggressively pay down our debt. That said, I am excited that we can now increase our student loan payment from $465 a month to $665/month for the time being.
* Special savings is a category to use for something we normally can't afford but would like to save up for. I like to call it the sanity fund :).
If you break down the percentage of our take-home income that goes toward debt, it works out to be about 27%. 

So that is our budget! Some people break out in hives over the "B" word, but I've always enjoyed planning out what we are going to do with our money and then checking to see if we made our goals. I don't really set massive goals that I don't think we can reach but rather look at what we actually have coming in and what's realistic for our family and stage of life.

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