Monday, October 19, 2009

The definition of a shoestring budget

You know, budget means different things to different people. My version of a budget might be bloated in comparison to some, and seriously lacking compared to others.

My budget at the moment is very much paycheck to paycheck. We have a savings plan but these unexpected expenses like to wipe it out so we have to start all over. It makes life interesting I suppose.

Things in my budget that can be consider excess bloat

$45 a month for my youngest child to swim on the swim team. I have already been over why this is important to me.

$336 a month for a truck payment. We live out in the country and we are renovating our house as money allows. Having a truck has come in very very handy. The truck payment won't last forever, and we have every intention of keeping this truck until it falls apart. We don't get new vehicles every year. Before the truck we had a car that was literally rusting away. We bought the truck because it was a truck, and because after being stranded by the side of the road a dozen times, I was hoping for something that would be reliable for a while.

$55 a month for a cell phone. I have already dropped mine when I stopped working. My husband uses his for work. We go through Boost so that we have the unlimited plan for cheap, and no contract. I will never get myself into another contract.

$11 a month for the YMCA membership for the younger kid. See the swim expense above.

$98 a month for a land line phone and DSL. We are stuck going through the local tiny phone company which means about $50 of that is phone. The rest is DSL which is the only high speed internet available to us. We have two full time college students in this house who go to an online university. I am not doing that on dial up. Talk about misery. Time is money also.

$150 a month for orthodontist payments. This hasn't actually started yet. We get to pay a bit over $1500 in December to get it started. The $150 a month starts in January and will basically take up what used to be my car payment. My oldest kid needs an extreme amount of orthodontia to correct a severe overjet. It certainly isn't life or death, but it will help her feel better about herself, and will save her teeth from excess staining because they "stick out" It falls into one of those things we do for our kids because we love them and we can.

Now, I am fortunate that my husband makes enough money that I have the option to have those things. If the worst happened, we have areas that we can scale back. I would rather squeeze my budget in other areas like shopping Aldi for food and Goodwill for clothes than give up the excess that I consider to be important.

*Kid 1: writing complex sentences, required reading. Kid 2: Assembling information to create complex paragraphs. Both kids: Rosetta stone German. Me: Scientific method*

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