Saturday, May 06, 2006

Our Monthly Expenses ($12,876)

To the left is a chart of our average monthly expenses.


  1. home decorations
  2. new furnishings
  3. vacation
  4. savings
  5. college savings
  6. special medical expenses
  7. lawn care / mowing

The reduced column ($10,447) shows expenses if we need to spend less (with some discomfort).

The duress column ($9,476) shows what we must spend if we lost a large amount of income. This is in part why we make sure we have so much cash savings.

Mom will drop her short term disability in October.

Grandma will have her health insurances (supplemental and part D) picked up by a third party in 1-2 years (this is not a perm expense)

Utilities include costs for: hvac, water, scavenger, sewer, gas, satelite tv, alarm

Currently 40% of our cell phone bill is reimbursed by work.

Mom also receives a bonus (taxed) that covers a good chunk of her disability insurance (long & short).

We would be grateful for any comparative information or recommendations where you think we could reduce our expenses / save money.

Have a wonderful Saturday,


PS We need to remove Satelite expense from the Duress column


Anonymous said...

Taking a quick look, I would wonder if whatever you are storing is truly worth $140 a month. That's $1,680 a year just to keep it! Perhaps selling or donating some of it would be possible.

Also, you should be able to lower your phone bill with VoIP service like Vonage or Sunrocket, or instead a service like $90 seems a bit steep.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I suggest categorizing your line items even further into fixed and flexible categories. Things like insurance and your mortgage are fixed whereas lunch money is what I call a "trimmable," a flexible expense you can actually change. That way you aren't overwhelmed with data.

Also, did you double check the numbers? Is short term disability insurance really $1200/mo?

As Jon said, good luck!

Madame X said...

As a single person and city apartment dweller, I'm not sure how much I have to offer on your car, household, and insurance expenses, and I know some of your numbers that seem high to me must be because you have children. I agree with Jim about trying to group some of your expense areas, like putting "lunch" and "personal meals" together with groceries, so you can look at the overall food expense and see if you can lower it a bit, or shift costs for purchased meals back into groceries for homemade meals. I like to group my expenses into overall categories with sub-categories, so I can see overall trends, and then break each line down to see what I might really be able to cut.
WIth several kids and a grandma to support, you have a lot on your plate! I wish you the best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Okay, stream of consciousness reponse...

Holy crap, you spend $150k per year? Insurance seems high. Groceries seem a bit high at $1100/month. How many people does that feed? I'm sure you could cut this down pretty easily. Whoare you giving $200/month in gifts to? As Jim asked is the LTD really $1200/month? Also, what kind of life insurance do you carry? A combined total of $570/month for two sounds crazy high. Are you doing term? If not, why not? Who is the long term care for? Your mom? Or for you and/or your wife? Are you sure your numbers are all right? $590 for utilities seems high (esp. since that doesn't include phone), but it depends on the size of your house and the mode of heating. Those auto leases are killing you -- a grand a month, and you're not even going to end up owning the cars? I agree with Jonathan on the storage. Also, cell phone seems pretty high -- is the $210/month before or after reimbursement? And $90 for phone service? How many lines do you have? You should be using those cell phones for long distance, so why is phone so high?

Adventures In Money Making said...

cellphone bill seems high.
my wife and i share 1400 minutes for around $90.
telephone seems rather high too.
check out and
car insurance actually seems low.
go for term life insurance.
groceries seems really high too.

JLP said...

Lots of good comments already here. I have to say I agree with Nickel's. There does seem to be a lot of fat that could be cut if needed.

Personally, I would go over to your storage unit and have a real heart-to-heart. Throw out what you don't need or sell it.



Anonymous said...

I'd have to echo most of the sentiments that are already posted:

Storage: When was the last time you took something out of the storage unit and used it? Six months? Year?

Auto repair v Auto leases: You are dropping a lot of dough on your auto leases - why are you spending so much auto repair? For one, leasing seems like a waste, unless you inist on driving a new car every two years. And if you do, you really shouldn't need to dump $120 a month into a new car. I don't on mine.

Disability Insurance: Wow! That is a lot of money. Is your employers not paying for any of it? Are you a SBO paying for your own insurance? I am confused by that.

Phone & cell phone: My wife and I dropped our land lines 18 months ago. No reason for us to carry both. You can dial 911 on you cell (a popular myth as to why to keep your land line). If you aren't ready for that, then I'd strip the land line service down to the bare necessities.

I closing, if you are looking to trim down expenses, why not try meet half way between you duress expenses and your monthly average. You maybe able to tighten the belt without too much pain.

Best of luck!

Dude said...

Look like most of the advise was covered in the above commets.

For auto lease, I prefer to purchase rather then lease. My company car allowance is paid in after tax dollars so I pocket the money and get reimbursed for the milage. With a reliable car like Lexus, I'm trying to get about ten years usage out of it. Also after about 4 years the insurance really starts to drop.

As for home mortgage, I would recommend putting 20% down and going with a 5 or 7 years balloon mortgage. Three years ago I got a 5 years balloon for 3.75% APR. I can't remember the discount point but I think it was 1%. The discount point was covered by the company relocation reimbursement. You can also avoid the dreaded PMI. At the end of the 5 or 7 years most balloons convert to an adjustable rate or you can refinance or pay off the loan. It's flexable.

As mentioned above, term life insurance is the way to go. You'll be way better off investing the difference.

Although you don't have yard service included on the spreadsheet, I utilize a yard service company where I pay $60 per month from April to December. That's a total of $540 per years. For this amount they cut the grass weekly or as needed. trim the hedges twice per year, fertilize once per year, and pick up all the leaves in the fall and winter. We have copious amounts of trees and the leave to go with it. I feel like it is a bargin.

Wow. I have just my wife and I with no other family members. It's a mixed blessing I suppose. Our expenses are no where near yours.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I would double-check your insurance coverages. It's easy to wind up paying for insurance you don't need just because it's all so confusing. Another thing to think about is your insurance in relation to your savings. If you have enough savings and investments, you don't need quite as much life and disability insurance.

Dude said...

Just one more comment. Generally disability insurance is for covering or protecting work related earnings. As most employers provide some sort of work related disability earnings protection, I can only assume that she is in business for herself. Or that you may be anticapating some possible future event. Either way the premium does seem a little high. You stated that it will be droped soon so that it may become a non issue.


makingourway said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful comments and suggestions.
Today (5/10/2006), I am posting a revised monthly spend table that reflects adjusted expenditures absorbed by my wife's company.

Also in that posting I will answer the questions raised here.

Once again, thank you so much!

Have a wonderful day,