Mar
03
2012

Living On Less Than $28,000 A Year: A Look At Our Paycheck For This Week

by Kimberlee Stokes Affiliate Link Disclosure B

Living on Less Than $28,000 A Year: How our family of six survives (and even thrives) on an income that is less than half the national median income, and what the government calls “below the poverty line” (less than $29,990 annually) for our family size.
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Click here to read other posts in this series.
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As a side note to my Living on Less Than $28,000 A Year series, I thought I would share what we did with our paycheck this week so that those of you who are new to budgeting can see exactly what we do with the money.

If you read my post here on Managing the Money, then you know that in a typical week we are unable to fund all of the categories in our Freedom Account. The plan is to sit down on payday and make a specific plan for where every dollar will go and to put as much as we can into the second account for future expenses.

This was not a typical week. My husband has an occasional part time job that he can work for a few hours depending on when work is available. He was able to work last week and he also made some commission on his full time job, so we made more than normal.

THIS WEEK’S CHECK (rounded to whole numbers for simplification):

 (WEEKLY AMOUNTS)

Gas & Grocery Money For This Week $180

Freedom Account Transfer To Second Account $440 :

$250 rent ($1000/month)

$75 utilities ($300/month)

$60 car insurance ($240/month)*

$15 life insurance ($60/month)

$20 car maintenance ($80/month-want to increase this!)

$2 car tag ($8/month)

$5 clothes

$10 medical    

$440 total weekly deposit

Daughter’s Birthday Party Food and Gift $50.00

Haircut for Daughter: $16.00

 

If we made the amount of money from this week every week, we would be on track to earn around $32,000 this year. While it is tempting to go out and spend the “extra” money, we have learned that means problems later. Our paychecks for the month of February actually totaled less than $1800, or around $21,000 a year. If every month were that low and we had no savings, we would be in trouble.

We don’t always do things perfectly, but we have realized that we need to save “extra” money when we are able to get it. In my next post, I will share some specifics for saving on the food bill as promised.

What do you do with “extra” money? Feel free to leave a comment (or a question).

 

next post in this series: Saving On Groceries

Click here to read other posts in this series.

 

*UPDATE: I have had lots of comments about our car insurance amount. The actual amount of our insurance is $67 a month, but we had not been able to save any in the previous months so we had to save a higher amount to be able to catch up and pay the bill on time.

 

{ 188 comments… read them below or add one }

emmy May 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm

check out beauty schools for hair cuts. I get great service at a fraction of the cost $4 here. And I splurge every once and a while and get other services. Also most beauty schools offer 1/2 days! Best hair cuts ever

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Kimberlee May 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Great idea! Thanks Emmy.

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Karen May 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm

“What do you do with “extra” money?”

Bank it! I have a separate savings account where I tuck away the money I bring in with odd jobs here and there, or bonuses from hubby’s work. By doing that we’ve managed to save up a downpayment for a small house, so we can get out of our base rental house with its exorbitant rent and start building some equity toward a future acreage. Happy Day :)

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Kasey May 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Consider getting some quotes on your auto insurance, preferably at an independent agency that can quote multiple companies. I work in insurance and your monthy cost seems really high to me, but then again I do not know your exact situation (ie a young driver). It is a good idea to shop around every year or two- and pay attention to your renewals for increases.

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Kimberlee May 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Unfortunately we live in a state with very high insurance costs. This is the lowest quote we can find, but that is very good advice to check different companies.

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Sarah June 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I agree, some of those numbers seem really high. I know that it can vary a lot based on region and state (don’t get me started on what can be done about that). I would just say keep checking around. If it’s been a few months, maybe look into it again. And ask someone different each time. We cut our bill by more than half (We have AAA, and we love them). Same with the life insurance.

We have been doing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (got the book from a library sale), and it works really well for us when we actually do it all the way. I’ve been amazed at how much we stole from other envelopes in the beginning. Gas for trips and “entertainment” food is where all of our extra money goes. Or went. We’re trying to change that by throwing extra money at the student loan.

I really like how you’ve divided fun food from need food. I’m going to have to try that.

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Kimberlee June 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Thanks Sarah, I will check again. :)

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Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:01 am

we have tried to do this and have been put off several times by companies that say they will get back to us and never do. We have good credit and no accidents ever. maybe ever 1 ticket but I think none. Any advice from someone in the field?

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Jenn October 25, 2012 at 2:38 am

Be careful of quotes from multi-quote sites. They often only send part of your information to the company and then the information is also many times incorrect. I sell insurance and I still check yearly. You would be shocked to see how much quotes can vary. Several quoted me between 200 and 275 and matching coverages at my current company is 75. But companies place different weights of importance on different factors. Yes, credit is important, but there are companies that will not check your credit if you ask them not to. (Varies by state laws). Age, job, having current insurance, how long you have had current company, current coverage levels, education, tickets, accident pay outs, not at fault accidents and number of vehicles and number of drivers all can make a difference. Extras vehicles can mean extra costs. In some states 1 speeding ticket doesn’t make a big change, in others it can triple your rates. Accidents with payouts over 1000 and several not at faults can change it also. Any recent (less than 1 yr) activity can greatly increase your costs.

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Katie May 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I have to agree with kasey, your auto is high. I also work in insurance, unless you live in mass or fl, that rate is far too much. Check the big four: state farm, Allstate, geico and progressive. Each company reworks rates every six months, so you could get a better rate now than when you last checked.

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bjd July 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

LoL I was just thinking, I live in MA and I”m like “UMMM that sounds about right to me?” We pay $1800/year, and that’s with an employee discount (I work at the company). Its crazy, but it is what it is.

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Joy August 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I live in FL and it is definitely correct. It had been going down over the last two years and this year it went back up by about $50. Some sort of statewide increase which is horrible!!

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Liz August 28, 2012 at 10:28 am

That’s on the low side for NJ, where your insurance often costs more than your car payments (or the full value of your car, if you’re a poor grad student and have an old car). My partner and I pay much more than that a month for the insurance on our shared car.

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Rachel November 21, 2012 at 5:30 am

I would recommend Geico. I found the cheapest rate there for us.

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Kathy May 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm

One way I try to save is to cut my husband and kids’ hair. I have two boys, which are easy to cut (my sister taught me how – I bought a kit for about $25), and of course my husband, and my daughter is 9 with long hair. I pretty much just keep her bangs trimmed up. We can even up the ends of the back of her hair less often. That way the only one I spend money for haircuts on is myself, about twice a year.

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Christina Hardy May 30, 2012 at 9:54 am

I read many posts and blogs regarding saving, living frugally, couponing, etc… This is by far one of the best. I have only read half the information so far and my favorites that stuck out were… “set a pay day appointment with yourself ” and “don’t eat your money” (i.e. going out to dinner often).

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Kimberlee May 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

Thanks so much Christna!

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Beverly Chester May 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

My husband was a math major in college, and unlike my parents, his parents talked to him about finances! Like… they had REAL conversations about it! I am so grateful that I married a man who is so good at being thrifty with his extra money, because we have two savings accounts and one very nice lump sum in our spending account. **Granted, the spending account was built before he and I even started dating and was solely due to the fact that he was 1) a single man and 2) deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months.** He sends a sum of money to one account that we don’t get to touch for 5 more years. A second sum of money goes to an emergency savings fund that we have the ability to remove money from as often as we need to. We don’t EVER need to, so we don’t. We always use the checking account. We eat dinner out maybe twice a month, but for the most part, we eat at home. We don’t have cable television because we honestly care so little about being around the TV… but if we have a show that we like to watch, we will look for it online. 99% of the time, it’s there. We rent free movies from RedBox when we have a coupon, ALSO we use Living Social, Amazon Local Deals, Groupon, and Twongo for date nights! We get CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP food from the commissary, we have the most basic cell phones on the planet, we don’t have a land line telephone, we don’t really use AC unless it’s too hot to sleep, and we grow our own veggies in the garden… this is what we LOVE, though. I understand that some people hate being in the garden and that’s totally cool! I understand that some couples enjoy being around the television, and that’s cool, too! The difference is that my husband and I enjoy so many things that we don’t need to pay for :)

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Kimberlee May 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I am so happy for you Beverly. It is good to enjoy things that are free. :)

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Heather August 8, 2012 at 9:42 am

We also cut out cable and use redbox and hulu for entertainment, as well as groupon and living social for good deals.

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carissa October 31, 2012 at 11:28 am

I love the idea of a savings account with a time limit on it. Trying to force yourself to “never spend this…EVER!” is pretty difficult (although it’s still important to have those accounts). I like the idea of having an account that you can’t touch, but in 5 years you can. Great for working towards a car.

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Aubrie May 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm

You should think about tithing. I see you post scripture while in the scripture it says that our tithe will be returned 10 fold, and to test this. It should be a number 1 priority to any Christians life and I promise you would see prosperity.

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Gemma June 1, 2012 at 2:42 am

I think God understands special circumstances. When my dad suffered a traumatic brain injury and fell into a coma, my family finances changed drastically. He will probably not recover enough to work again, and now we face an incredible load of medical bills. My sister prayed about it, and felt that God was directing her to use her tithe money to support me and my brother. It’s a temporary measure, but so welcome.

With kids to feed and no where to cut any more costs, Kimberlee and her husband are doing a great job. They may not be able to give financially to God right now, but they can still serve Him by sharing their story and living meaningful lives.

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Kimberlee June 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

I am so sorry about your father Gemma! I cannot imagine how difficult that must be. I pray that God will continue to bless you and provide for you. He is a Father to the fatherless dear one.

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Crystal June 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Tithing doesn’t only mean giving to the church or charity. In the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy for starters), God even commanded people to use 10% of their income to throw a great feast and worship Him and rejoice in His blessings. Don’t get caught up in the legalism of “the rules.” As long as we always remember where our money comes from and we continue to give God all the glory for His provisions, He will continue to bless us. Love your blog, Kimberlee. Thank you!

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Kimberlee June 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thanks Crystal. :)

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Amanda June 17, 2012 at 10:56 am

Crystal, thanks for the wonderful reminder. During hard times it becomes easy to forget where our blessings originate and give praise to God for them. Too many times we fall into the trap of worrying about bills, emergencies, and buying enough food and clothing.

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carissa October 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

Yay for fellow Christian bloggers! :-)

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Jo August 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm

My husband & I are contemplating becoming a single income family due to health issues I am having & I have searched many many many sites for advice. This is the first site that has made me find hope in this becoming a reality!! I am so thankful to know that you are a Christian woman with real issues & not some business person telling me how to cut money while not struggling themself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for spreading your word!! This is your way of helping others & because of you I am finally finding the help I’ve been looking for!! GOD bless you & your family!!!

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Kimberlee August 26, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Thank you Jo. I am so glad that I could encourage you. :)

Kelly June 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

I recently found an extra $300 in my monthly paycheck (decrease in medical insurance costs). Instead of just spending this extra money, I met with our financial advisor and opened an account. My money is automatically deposited into the account each month. This fund will be an emergency reserve if needed, but also provide for my family should something happen to me.

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Kimberlee June 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

That’s so smart to put the money away before you can spend it. Great job Kelly!

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Lindsay June 5, 2012 at 11:10 am

Kimberlee, I am so happy that I stumbled upon your Living on Less series on Pinterest! My husband and I recently had our first child and decided that I was going to be a SAHM(which I have always wanted to be able to do but never thought would be possible with my husband being a teacher and now he is a teacher at a Christian school, so the money is less but the relationships and new family we have gained there is worth the sacrifices) but with having to have a c-section and then shortly after that being hospitalized while on vacation for gallstones and pancreatitis and then later had to have my gallbladder removed I was slowly seeing my dream of being a SAHM slip away. I am glad to see other families that live on what we live and with more kids! It gives me hope and I know that if I put my faith and trust in God He will provide for all of our NEEDS not necessarily our wants. Money is tight but we are making it and I have been searching for a budgeting system that works for us, we have often thought about setting up a second account like the freedom account but have not done so. I think we will be doing this in the very near future. If the money is in our checking account we spend it on anything and everything so we are in dire need of a budget so that we can get our debt paid down! Thank you for your honesty and for being so blunt with how you do things. Like I said I have been looking for a budgeting system for and I came across the Economides, who are know as America’s Cheapest Family (http://www.americascheapestfamily.com/) but they also work with a commission income and whenever they have extra money or get a raise they put the excess towards debt or into a savings account. They live within their means and do not adjust their means when they get a raise, I think that is a good way to use your extra money because you never know what could happen to your job or there may be a time where you have to take a pay cut to keep your job. My husband will receive a raise this fall with the start of the new school year and I plan on doing just that, keeping all of our bills and other expenses within the income we had for the last year and using the excess to pay down debt and build an emergency fund/savings account. I know this was super long but thanks for your blog and series again! It has meant a lot to me and my family. God Bless You!

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Kimberlee June 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Congratulations on having your first baby Lindsay! You sound like a very wise woman and I am sure that you will be able to make things work with God’s help. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out. :)

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Liz June 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Can I ask what area of the country you live in? I’m just wondering how your rent/utilities are so low (I’m assuming you have at least a 2 bedroom house/apartment).

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Kimberlee June 5, 2012 at 10:32 pm

We are in the south so we don’t have very cold winters. The water was low because we had a septic tank so we only paid for clean water. With our recent move, our bill increased because we have to pay for sewer service as well. The other issue is that we do everything we can to keep the utilities low. You can read more here: http://thepeacefulmom.com/2012/03/12/living-on-less-than-28000-a-year-save-on-utilities/.

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Lyndsay June 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

We are currently living on my income of 864 a month plus my husband’s income of 200 a month which is 12,768 annually. We literally have no choice but to scrimp and save. We make all our own laundry soap, dishwasher soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets. We even do batch cooking so that all our meals are done on one day to save us time during the week. We have set days that we do certain tasks (Thank you FLYLady) and we only buy stuff if we have the cash on hand

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Rebecca March 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Check out blissfully domestic.com. They live on 14,000 a year. I love that site.

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Kimberlee Stokes March 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Thanks Rebecca, I will check it out. :)

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Ladah June 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

This is wonderful. A true answer to prayers. I’m actually looking for another job (I work part time for my father during the summer) My husband is a teacher so he has the summer’s off, that also leads to my next question. He only gets paid once a month. I am having trouble dividing up our money into seperate accounts with a once per month check. Also, my pay which ranges from $150-$200 per week….what could I do with that to effectively use it?

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Kimberlee June 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm

If it were me, I would pay all the monthly bills with your husband’s pay check and save whatever was left over in a second account for upcoming expenses. I would use your paycheck for groceries, gas and miscellaneous spending. Another way to do it, would be to pay the monthly bills from your husband’s check then set aside an amount for the month’s groceries, gas and non-food expenditures and withdraw the cash each week. For example, if you needed $250 a week for gas, groceries and non-food, set aside $1000 from his check and withdraw the $250 each week for shopping and gas. If you used this second method, then you could save your entire paycheck. Does that make sense?

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Ashley June 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

First off I just wanted to say that I am so happy I found your blog through pinterest. I know nothing about getting financially organized. Or organized in general. I try to but I get lost and stop a lot. I did email you asking some questions just so you have a heads up about that. But again I really appreciate you doing this. ^_^

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Patty June 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

As a child, my mother always cut all of our hair (there were 5 of us). The boys usually got buzz cuts with a pair of clippers and we just got straight cuts, with bangs if we wanted them. It was one way that we lived on our budget with 7 family members.

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Tamara June 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Glad to find this blog. Now if only I could get my spendthrift spouse to actually read it & use it, we’d do so much better.

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Kimberlee June 17, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Opposites always attract Tamara–LOL! Part of the journey is learning to grow together. :)

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Judith June 18, 2012 at 11:20 am

Oh my! that insurance is costly. I have collision on my car and own a house and mine is about $100 total. I live in AZ which is not a no fault state so that makes it a little less.
Those utilities are high too. Does that figure include cell and internet. My Elec is $75 a month year round.

I am paid monthly so my monthly “Freedom account” is easier but I still have insurance, tags, real estate taxes, clothing, gifts.

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bree June 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I also think your car insurance seems high. I don’t know what type of vehicle you have but I drive a 2003 pontiac, and my husband drives a 1998 pickup. We don’t have any teenage drivers, just the two of us and it is $48 per month. It’s just liability though. My husband and I (and our two daughters, and our dog) live off of $25,000.00 per year. I have enjoyed reading your posts and will be using some of it. Thanks.

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Matt June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

As others have said, that car insurance is outrageous. Is that for one or two cars?

I know that using a car to drive everywhere is the norm in the USA. However, I’ve recently looked at the math behind this, and it’s extremely expensive. Although “everybody” has a car, I think it’s truly a luxury rather than a necessity.

Consider that a typical car probably costs about $0.50/mile, once you factor in the cost of the car itself, plus: gas, insurance, registration, and maintenance. If you live five miles from your place of work, it’s a 10 mile round trip, which costs you $5.00/day. If all you do is drive to work and back 20 times/month, that alone is $100/month. I think the average person drives something like 8000 miles per year, which costs them $4000/year.

Given your insurance rates, your cost could well be more than $0.50/mile.

Public transportation, if available, might be cheaper.

Living close enough to work that you can walk or bike is your best bet, though. Walking is free, and, compared to a car, a bike is effectively free. Consider also that walking and biking “pay” you in terms of health benefits. Imagine two people, one drives a car to work for 40 years, the other bikes: all things being equal, who do you expect to be in better health at the end of their career?

If nothing else, walking, biking or public transportation should allow you to drop your annual car mileage enough to be put into a cheaper insurance bracket. Furthermore, at your budgetary level, your car’s value shouldn’t be more than about $5k. If you can save the money that otherwise would have went to car-related expenses, eventually, you should have $5k, or enough to cover your car. At that point, you should further reduce your insurance to the bare legal minimum (maybe with uninsured motorist coverage). You have the cost of your car in savings, so you are literally self-insured; no need for collision or comprehensive insurance. And at any rate, the chances that you actually need insurance have plummeted, because you are driving less overall.

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Sheila October 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

No public transportation here. Rural area surrounds us. Reliable transportation is a requirement, not an option. I can walk to work in good weather- so say 30% of time. Would love the option of not having 2 cars. (One is a paid off in town junker.) Unless you have a spouse handy with a wrench you need to have one “Good” vehicle for road trips. In-laws are over 3 hours away ~ once again rural 2 lane roads. I’m not interested in being stranded in 3 feet of snow. Interesting how all our situations are so different. A $5000 vehicle here is a town beater usually not trusted for any distance. I’m not rich – just keeping it safe for my family.

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Kimberlee October 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

It is more difficult to have one vehicle when you live in a rural area. We lived 30 minutes from “civilization” at one point and made it work by me taking my husband to work one day a week (which was my designated “errand day”) and I used the car on his days off. If you have two jobs to coordinate, it does make it more challenging.

One way that we have dealt with the need for a better vehicle for long trips is to rent a van when we travel. It costs much less than keeping the more expensive vehicle all year long and it’s fun to drive a different car or van. You can get rental deals through Hot Wire or other bidding sites to make it more affordable and save a little money from each paycheck for the “rental car fund”.

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Andrea June 27, 2012 at 1:18 am

I just found your site from Pinterest! I’m so excited. We recently made the decision for me to quit my full time job and stay home- I am still getting used to it because we don’t have kids yet so I know what you mean about being judged as everyone’s shoes are their own and why would I stay home if I don’t have kids? lol I will be in short DIY/prepping/ overseeing our house(all those LITTLE things makes for a LONG list) to sell and keep ready for the market. I am thrilled to take all the info and put it to use on my end. My husband is a spreadsheet/finance guru nerd (thank goodness)and while he has it all figured out from that end- I feel now that I have the time and energy to do the meal planning and other saving I might as well make it worth it on my end. I see it as every $ saved is that much more towards our current/ future house is $ towards the offer we wouldn’t be able to otherwise accept and one step closer to our “new” house.

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Kimberlee June 27, 2012 at 4:48 am

That’s great Andrea! It’s so important to have a goal to work toward in order to maintain your motivation.

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Sheila October 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

Not sure why Stay at home folks are so frowned upon. I think it’s is a job in and of itself. Unfortunately I’m not able to join the ranks. I know way too many people working to pay restaurant, housekeeper, extra vehicles, and day care bills. I hate math but I figure unless you have to carry the insurance (I do) it pays to keep the lesser earner home esp with kids.

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Lori July 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

I get paid once a month, so I pay all of our bills after payday, budget for gas, groceries, etc., & put extra towards our “debt snowball” courtesy of Dave Ramsey.

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Laney July 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Kimberlee, I’ve only read a few of your blog posts, but you have seriously opened my eyes. I just turned 21 a few months ago and got my first “real person” job. It’s so easy to just toss away all this extra money I’m making, but being faced with health insurance payments and car payments and student loans soon (ughhh) is daunting. Basically- thank you for the wonderful advice!

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Kimberlee July 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm

You are very welcome Laney!

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Sheridan August 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for posting!
It’s great to get a real example and very brave to put the finances out there! (like you said in the intro post, my dad taught me that was a no go topic of conversation when very young)
With my extra money, I like to pay extra on my car loan as it reduces the interest and if I do happen to need any extra I can redraw on the EXCESS that I’ve paid.

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Joy August 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

This series is great! I am a single parent which means I only have one income. Although its slightly higher than yours I am always broke! I have already worked out a budget in excel and it makes such a difference to see where the money goes! Thank you for sharing :)!

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Kimberlee August 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I am so happy for you Joy! It makes such a difference when we pay attention, doesn’t it? :)

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Joy August 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Really does! :)

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Crystal September 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

We live in Louisiana, and our truck insurance is 1100 bucks every six months. We only have one vehicle since my husband flys back and forth to work and I work at home. I think this is super ridiculous and I know these insurance companies can do better than this! Anyone else live in LA and have any good experience with a particular insurance company I could check out and see about a quote, we are up for renewal next month. Thanks again

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Kimberlee September 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

Wow! That’s crazy!

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Barbara September 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Crystal, you may want to google “Zander Insurance” They represent lots of insurance Companies to get you the best price. We just went through a very easy process of getting life insurance for the DH. We were carrying a premium of $65 a month for $200,000. With Zanders help we are now with Midlife Ins Group and have $500,000 of coverage for $55/month! And Zander employees were super friendly and helpful. As soon as my auto insurance is due I will be looking into that too. Change CAN be good! Best to you.

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Jaala R October 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Wow. The price of your rent and utilities is outrageous compared to the price here in Northwest Arkansas. My husband, my 6-month old son, and I are living on barely 8K a year, and we just bought a trailer. We qualify for foodstamps, but that’s all of the government help we receive (minus healthcare for my son and myself). We are hardly scraping by with the mortgage of $239/mo , and they recently doubled the water rate (minimum was $20, now $40), and our electricity at our old place was almost $200 in the winter. Not to mention we had to buy new tires and charge them :\ Things are going to be very, very though for a while. Thankyou so much for making this series, it’s helping me so much :)

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Kimberlee October 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I am so glad Jaala. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

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Loyda June 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Wow Jaala ! I too live in NWA and our utilites are about $233 a month. And I know for the summer it will be higher using more water for our veggie garden. What I don’t like is there isn’t much option here for grocery shopping !

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Tammy October 15, 2012 at 12:01 am

We throw our extra pocket change into a large jar (4 gal). We saved enough extra change one year – $600 to be exact – to help with vacation expenses. The cool thing was, the jar was only about 1/3 full: ) Something else we like to do with our extra money, is to put it back for when a wonderful family movie is projected to come out. We especially enjoy seeing a movie during the Thanksgiving weekend, so we save money ahead for these things.

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ashley November 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm

ifaauto.com is a great insurance company, and very cheap. I have just the state minimum and I only pay $25 a month.

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Rebecca November 27, 2012 at 12:10 am

My problem is always the in between. Going from free falling to a budget. For example how do I save money weekly for my power bill when every week I have a past due bill to pay because I don’t manage my money well? HELP?!?

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Kimberlee November 27, 2012 at 6:59 am

Hi Rebecca-I personally had to come to the point where I was sick and tired of having money problems and I had to decide that I would do things differently. The first step is to start recording your spending for the next 3-4 weeks (EVERYTHING!) to see where your money is “leaking”. Once you see what is going on, devise a plan to address it.

For example, one of the leaks in our budget was eating fast food. I realized that it was because I failed to plan. On the days that we were busy I put something in the crockpot in the morning so I knew dinner would be waiting. I also keep a few easy meals available like tortillas and cheese for quesadillas, pasta and frozen vegetables, etc. Hope that helps.

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Shayna December 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I am a stay at home mom but I also am a photographer when I can get a gig. When I get paid from taking a family picture session (totals $75) I get the check cashed and put the “extra money” in my cash stash, an old formula tin can that I cleaned out and decorated! This is our “uh-oh” money. If something happens to our bank cards or we are in a super pickle, we can get the cash and use it. If we get “extra money” from my husbands work (bonus, overtime, awards) I take about half and put it into saving and then use most of the rest to pay toward our debt. Sometimes it is use to pay of past due stuff but we are getting much better about staying on track. I value the “extra money” and try to save it as much as possible!!!

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S Cast December 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Thank you for your blog. Right now, my husband and I find us in the situation that is very hard. Your blog will help me make MUCH needed changes.

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Kimberlee December 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Welcome! I hope you find some good ideas and encouragement. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

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Mary January 1, 2013 at 11:32 am

Thank you for sharing this! As missionaries, we live on a very irregular income. We know it will be somewhat more regular in the future as we are just in the beginnings of raising support. (emphasis on “somewhat”) Anyway, I am very good at making a budget based on a regular paycheck, but have a hard time knowing what to “get rid of” in the budget for when the income is lower. Maybe you address this in another post, but what things (besides rent, utilities, insurance, groceries and gas) would you get rid of first and what would you “pay” first. Do you have a priority list? Just curious. This is something I need to work on. Thank you!

Also, I have been doing what you call the Freedom Account thing for a couple years now and it’s been a life-saver!

Also, I love how positive you are! I can tell you really do live a peaceful life.

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Kimberlee January 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Thanks so much Mary! I try. :)

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Cleo March 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

You’re amazing. I feel so bad after reading all these articles. I stopped working to home school our one child and am struggling to make it work on twice your income. I clip coupons, do a lot of DIY, cut cable, shop at Goodwill for clothes and we now limit going out to eat, but it’s still hard.
Our next step is to sell our home and buy something smaller to cut our mortgage payment down. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Kimberlee March 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

Please don’t feel bad Cleo! It does help to have a lower mortgage payment plus a smaller house will cut your utility bills. Hang in there! :)

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MMeeks March 27, 2013 at 6:58 am

Love what I have read. As a personal testimony on tithing….Tithing is an act of faith, God does not ‘need’ the money that we tithe or choose not to tithe. It all belongs to Him in the first place, and if you will trust Him by tithing before paying any other bill He will show you how much farther 90 percent will go! I am not judging anyone or trying to make anyone feel guilty only sharing what blessings I have received by having faith in the area of tithing. I have had many months that the amount we were to be short was the exact amount we should tithe and when we tithed we always ended up ahead at the end of the month. To God be the glory!! He is our provider!

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Lisa May 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm

I’m assuming you must have cell phones or internet… is that included in utilities? with electricity? or gas? do you have medical insurance? I am trying to figure out a way to stay home with my children but I am the one with the insurance, my husband’s job doesn’t offer any and one of my children sees a specialist…not having medical coverage is just not an option. But the private insurance is just SO expensive…. great site

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Kimberlee May 18, 2013 at 9:11 am

Hi Lisa! Yes, we have cell phones (although they are not smart phones) and internet, and we include those in the utilities category. The insurance issue is difficult, especially with a child with medical needs. The only option that I know of other than private insurance is to check with your state to see if you qualify for a program because of your child’s medical needs. I hope you can find somerhing. :)

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Loyda May 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Great conversations ladies !!

I live in NW Arkansas and have found a morning show called
Till Debt Do Us Part ! GREATTTTT show ! If you don’t get it where you live then youtube it. In fact I just bought Gail Vaz-Oxlades book. Debt-Free
Forever. I have read DRamseys books and they were great but she is way more down to earth. (laymans terms) The show here is at 8am Mon-Frid.
You will get hooked once you start watching her ! I’m warning you now ! :)

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Chelsea May 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm

We live next to a community college where I live that has a wonderful dental hygienist program. You can get your teeth cleaned for $10! Anyone who doesn’t have dental insurance knows how expensive even the simple stuff is. Very good way to keep up with health at low cost.
As far as what we do with extra money…we pay an extra bill so we can get ahead. Although we have a bad habit of eating too much fast food. Trying to follow all this advice and save save save.

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Kimberlee May 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Great suggestion Chelsea– thanks!

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