Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:51 am

We are a one income family for about the past two years...we have a toddler and one on the way. Please help me figure out how to save more money...it's pretty tight. I quit my job to care for my child and terminally ill parent. It is not possible for me to work at the moment so looking for ways to cut/save from my budget. Thanks in advance.
Car insurance is paid once a year with an annual small bonus

We bring home $3750 per month:

972-house payment/taxes/insurance
300 electric (this is high because we have a huge inground pool in the summer we have found)
100-water
100-gas (again this is because of the pool in the summer)
200-retirement roth IRA
200-floor payment (will be paid off in March)
60-sewer every 2 months
190-student loan at 7%
117-student loan at 7%
78-cell phone for 2 people
35-internet
30-hulu/netflix/google music (we do not have cable
43-Life insurance
30-disability insurance
500 savings

=2955

Leaves us $795 for food, gas, entertainment, everything else so it's tight! HELP ME!!!

euroswiss
Posts: 243
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:40 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by euroswiss » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:06 am

Do you have any equity in your house? If so, you may be able to cash our refi or get a HELOC (better yet a home equity loan) to consolidate your student loans at a better rate.

Get rid of that pool!

User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 7038
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by bertilak » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:33 am

How much use do you get out of that pool. It looks quite expensive!

Perhaps you could reduce your "pool season" by a month or two.
Last edited by bertilak on Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet

wootwoot
Posts: 414
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by wootwoot » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:38 am

How much longer do you have on those student loans? It sounds like the flooring will be paid off soon, maybe you could use the extra $200 to accelerate payments on the student loans. Alternatively could you refinance those loans? 7% is a high rate of interest. I won't pick too much at the pool as I have one myself. The one thing I'm curious about though is why you're paying $100 in gas over the summertime to heat your pool.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by dm200 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:25 am

We have a 4 person/phone Sprint cell service that is about $135 for 4 - DW and I pay half - unlimited talk, text and data. It also includes HULU at no added charge - and can access the HULU account from the smart phone or desktop.

User avatar
Nate79
Posts: 5346
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Nate79 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:28 am

How much student loans do you have? I would pour all money into those as well as look at refinancing to get those horrible interest rates down. Don't take out any more debt.

Shallowpockets
Posts: 1508
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Shallowpockets » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:32 am

Shut down the pool. That would be a big savings. Also you have a toddler and one on the way. Small children drowning in pools is something that you should be thinking about. Is that $300 a month? Wow!
If you can't start with a big saver item like than then you may not be as serious about saving as you might want to be.

onourway
Posts: 2171
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by onourway » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:36 am

Agreed that an in-ground pool doesn't mesh well with that income and trying to save money, or with small children.

If you really want to optimize your budget, I would strongly consider using the software You Need A Budget. It is subscription-based at about $80/year, but it will certainly help you save many times that if you use it as designed.

runner3081
Posts: 2710
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by runner3081 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:43 am

A few thoughts...

1) Pool - Don't heat it. We have a pool and the electricity cost for the pump isn't really that terrible. Also, run the pump fewer hours per day.
2) Ditch Hulu/Netflix, etc
3) Grab a different cell plan, should easily get under $30 per month combined with RedPocket or similar.
4) Don't buy things you can't afford - I.E. Flooring. Wait until you save up the money.

Your electricity/gas/water/sewer seems insanely high to us. I do realize this is very geographic specific though.

Also, you may need to look at the other side of the equation. Start to find a way to make money. In home daycare? Selling things on eBay?

JGoneRiding
Posts: 1847
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:26 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by JGoneRiding » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:44 am

What is the $500/mos savings for? I would put this towards the student loan payment

Nissanzx1
Posts: 605
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:13 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Nissanzx1 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:49 am

Pool is a luxury you can't afford at the moment. Hulu netflix gone. Student loans and consumer flooring loans are robbing some margin from you too. I'd consider using some of that savings every month and paying down these debts. Long term they are budget busters.

Things will be tight but I must admit I have spend much of my life on a tighter budget than this. Most Americans don't have the luxury of saving 50 a month, much less $500.

Can breadwinner pick up a second job temporarily or start a small business idea? eBay, CL sales, something? Even $250 or $500 Extra would really go a long way with this budget.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by dm200 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:50 am

Nissanzx1 wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:49 am
Pool is a luxury you can't afford at the moment. Hulu netflix gone. Student loans and consumer flooring loans are robbing some margin from you too. I'd consider using some of that savings every month and paying down these debts. Long term they are budget busters.

Things will be tight but I must admit I have spend much of my life on a tighter budget than this. Most Americans don't have the luxury of saving 50 a month, much less $500.

Can breadwinner pick up a second job temporarily or start a small business idea? eBay, CL sales, something? Even $250 or $500 Extra would really go a long way with this budget.
Of course, a pool is not something easily "stopped" or "moved" ;)

Is the electric for heating or circulating? Maybe solar?

User avatar
mmmodem
Posts: 1869
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by mmmodem » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:55 am

As you've noticed the pool is why your budget is tight. Get rid of it and your problems are over. I'm just going to assume that you'd rather sacrifice elsewhere to keep the pool.

$30 Hulu/Netflix/Google Music - delete

Pick one service and change cell phone carrier to Sprint and you get free Hulu. AT&T nets you free basic cable via WatchTV. TMobile gives you free Netflix.

$500 savings should go straight to paying off your Floors and then to your students loans. Your Floors will be paid off by December netting you an extra $200 month. At 7% interests rate, I would prioritize paying off those student loans before you start saving again.

$30 disability

Why do you have this?

If you add it all up, that's $260 more per month by Dec. And by accelerating your student loan payments you'll hopefully have them paid off by the time child 2 arrives giving you a total of $567 extra a month and you can resume your $500 savings.

User avatar
8foot7
Posts: 1753
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by 8foot7 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:59 am

How much more money do you want to save? Are you making any retirement contributions pre-tax at this point?

That budget is a little tight but having $1,300 month disposBle income isn’t exactly paycheck to paycheck. It would be helpful to clarify your goals so that you could then weigh what you’re spending against what would need to happen to meet them.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by dm200 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:01 pm

mmmodem wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:55 am
As you've noticed the pool is why your budget is tight. Get rid of it and your problems are over. I'm just going to assume that you'd rather sacrifice elsewhere to keep the pool.
$30 Hulu/Netflix/Google Music - delete
Pick one service and change cell phone carrier to Sprint and you get free Hulu. AT&T nets you free basic cable via WatchTV. TMobile gives you free Netflix.
$500 savings should go straight to paying off your Floors and then to your students loans. Your Floors will be paid off by December netting you an extra $200 month. At 7% interests rate, I would prioritize paying off those student loans before you start saving again.
$30 disability
Why do you have this?

If you add it all up, that's $260 more per month by Dec. And by accelerating your student loan payments you'll hopefully have them paid off by the time child 2 arrives giving you a total of $567 extra a month and you can resume your $500 savings.
Disability insurance could be very, very important.

Yes - on shopping for lower cost cell, hulu, etc.

A real saving can be a 4 or 5 phone "plan" where you share one account -- as long as you can find responsible folks to share with. Our adult son is very, very good at managing our "family" account - DW, me, him and his fiancee. if he can find one more - the fifth is no added cost!

Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:08 pm

We owe $29,000 in college debt.
We have $5500 cash in savings right now.
We are saving $500 a month for college loans and plan to put tax return, extra pays, and part of roth IRA at them soon.
We have no car payments at the moment but we will in about 4 years so hoping to get the loans paid off in the next 4 years.

The pool is more than we had thought but we have a solar cover we need to experiment with (we moved in halfway thru summer and it just wasn't a priority). Also, we are installing the most efficient air conditioner next spring that we can buy. I monitor our electric when the pool pump is on/off the main source is the air conditioner.

Also the disability insurance most would think to get rid of but cancer runs heavily in both our families (husband's Dad leukemia at 25 and my mom got a terminal blood cancer in her early 50's) so we need this due to family history.

Momus
Posts: 806
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Momus » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:11 pm

Mint mobile for $15/person/mo
Drop the Hulu, you need at least 1 streaming subs or share with a friend (half cost - venmo/Zelle him your half). Too much time spent watching movies where you can work to increase your income

Beside electric and gas, everything is low already. Try to find a better job. You have an income problem, not a spending problem.

dknightd
Posts: 1941
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by dknightd » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:17 pm

Do not look for an easy quick answer. Take things slow.

Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:19 pm

Momus wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:11 pm
Mint mobile for $15/person/mo
Drop the Hulu, you need at least 1 streaming subs or share with a friend (half cost - venmo/Zelle him your half). Too much time spent watching movies where you can work to increase your income

Beside electric and gas, everything is low already. Try to find a better job. You have an income problem, not a spending problem.
My husband makes less in his field because he works for a college. We have talked about him going into the private sector but we have great health/dental benefits, 24 vacations days, 15 sick days, free tuition and a really good state pension that includes insurance so I really don't know if private sector would be better. Thoughts?

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22999
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by dm200 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:22 pm

turkey1234 wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:19 pm
Momus wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:11 pm
Mint mobile for $15/person/mo
Drop the Hulu, you need at least 1 streaming subs or share with a friend (half cost - venmo/Zelle him your half). Too much time spent watching movies where you can work to increase your income

Beside electric and gas, everything is low already. Try to find a better job. You have an income problem, not a spending problem.
My husband makes less in his field because he works for a college. We have talked about him going into the private sector but we have great health/dental benefits, 24 vacations days, 15 sick days, free tuition and a really good state pension that includes insurance so I really don't know if private sector would be better. Thoughts?
Yes - those are good benefits -

User avatar
peetsperk
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:02 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by peetsperk » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:32 pm

Your expenses seem normal but as they say, "the devil is in the details." If you want to reduce debt and save, you should consider something like Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. His Financial Peace class is well worth the low cost. We have followed his budget guidelines since 2012 and saved more than we ever hoped. He will help you prioritize your spending so you have the money to do what's important for you and your family. His advice regarding reducing debt and budgeting has worked for millions. However, I would follow Bogleheads best practices when it comes to investing, not his. Good luck!

gretah
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:14 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by gretah » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:54 pm

I agree with looking to Dave Ramsey for decreasing spending. The book is good but you will get more practical info from Financial Peace University.

Cut the Hulu, etc. Get everything from the library.

No cafes or restaurant meals, not even cheap fast food or coffee.

Groceries: cut out convenience and low nutrition food. Cereal is a convenience food. Very expensive for what you get. Make all your own coffee at home. Don't use boxed side dishes, like Rice a Roni or similar. Low nutrition and expensive. Groceries are expensive so put your $ where it counts: high quality produce and protein.

Good luck!

User avatar
mmmodem
Posts: 1869
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by mmmodem » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:56 pm

turkey1234 wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:08 pm
We owe $29,000 in college debt.
We have $5500 cash in savings right now.
We are saving $500 a month for college loans and plan to put tax return, extra pays, and part of roth IRA at them soon.
We have no car payments at the moment but we will in about 4 years so hoping to get the loans paid off in the next 4 years.

The pool is more than we had thought but we have a solar cover we need to experiment with (we moved in halfway thru summer and it just wasn't a priority). Also, we are installing the most efficient air conditioner next spring that we can buy. I monitor our electric when the pool pump is on/off the main source is the air conditioner.

Also the disability insurance most would think to get rid of but cancer runs heavily in both our families (husband's Dad leukemia at 25 and my mom got a terminal blood cancer in her early 50's) so we need this due to family history.
Disability insurance is important. I was just questioning it as it is out of the norm to pay for it separately outside employer benefits. Given your family history, I can see why you have it.

As I have already said take a little sacrfice by choosing 1 out of 3 online streaming services by switching cell phone carriers and pay extra into your Floor debt and student loans and you'll have $200 extra to spend come Dec. And if you continue by paying extra on your student loans, it can be paid off in ~4 years time when you can purchase a new vehicle.

Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:13 pm

mmmodem wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:56 pm
turkey1234 wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:08 pm
We owe $29,000 in college debt.
We have $5500 cash in savings right now.
We are saving $500 a month for college loans and plan to put tax return, extra pays, and part of roth IRA at them soon.
We have no car payments at the moment but we will in about 4 years so hoping to get the loans paid off in the next 4 years.

The pool is more than we had thought but we have a solar cover we need to experiment with (we moved in halfway thru summer and it just wasn't a priority). Also, we are installing the most efficient air conditioner next spring that we can buy. I monitor our electric when the pool pump is on/off the main source is the air conditioner.

Also the disability insurance most would think to get rid of but cancer runs heavily in both our families (husband's Dad leukemia at 25 and my mom got a terminal blood cancer in her early 50's) so we need this due to family history.
Disability insurance is important. I was just questioning it as it is out of the norm to pay for it separately outside employer benefits. Given your family history, I can see why you have it.

As I have already said take a little sacrfice by choosing 1 out of 3 online streaming services by switching cell phone carriers and pay extra into your Floor debt and student loans and you'll have $200 extra to spend come Dec. And if you continue by paying extra on your student loans, it can be paid off in ~4 years time when you can purchase a new vehicle.
Thanks ...will look into cutting these out!

staythecourse
Posts: 6993
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:40 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by staythecourse » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:23 pm

Maybe the answer is there is no answer. You are doing the best you can. If anyone should get that money is not everything it is you seeing a parent of yours have a terminal disease.

My opinion, do the best you can and reassess the plan after your parent passes away. Start planning on how and what type of job to pursue NOW when the time does come to get one. Do some classes or whatever to get a better shot at the best paying job you can get at your level of education.

The lowest hanging fruit is ALWAYS get a better education and thus a higher paying job. If you can't work now might not prevent you from getting some skills to better your resume in the route of education. Much easier saving money on 2 incomes vs. 1.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

wootwoot
Posts: 414
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by wootwoot » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:23 pm

A good way to save on your power bill with the pool is by upgrading to a two speed or variable speed pump. We have a good sized pool and after moving to a variable speed pump last year we're now saving ~$50 a month on electricity. There is an initial cost for the pump and install but the payback period for us was just over 2.5 years. Recently our electric rates increased so that will likely drop it to just over 2 years for a full payback.

michaeljc70
Posts: 6119
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:54 pm

The pool sticks out with the gas, electric and water bills seeming high. $300 electric for 2 adults and a toddler is high. We pay around $90 on average for electric and around the same for gas (we live in a cold climate). Is water high where you live or is it due to the pool? $100/mo is a lot to me. I pay around $30/mo for two adults.

Looking at everything else, it doesn't look like a lot to cut. I don't know a lot about pools, but maybe you can cut back on some of the pool expenses without shutting it down.

Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:25 pm

Yes we need to do better on our utilities that's for sure!

StoopieHippo
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:42 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by StoopieHippo » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:25 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:28 am
How much student loans do you have? I would pour all money into those as well as look at refinancing to get those horrible interest rates down. Don't take out any more debt.
I was thinking maybe refi. With rates coming up, Sofi still has 'em around 4.5%...WAY better than that 7% they've currently got.

Mike Scott
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:13 pm

It actually looks like you are doing relatively ok but you don't have any margin if something goes wrong. One of the Ramsey bits is to sell everything but the kids to help pay down debt. Refinance the student loans if you can. Can anyone do a bit of part time or overtime work? Debt just keeps sucking money. Keep an emergency fund going. What can you give up to get rid of the debt faster? Any potential for an Air B & B room in the house?

Colorado13
Posts: 970
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:58 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Colorado13 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:01 pm

turkey1234 wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:19 pm
Momus wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:11 pm
Mint mobile for $15/person/mo
Drop the Hulu, you need at least 1 streaming subs or share with a friend (half cost - venmo/Zelle him your half). Too much time spent watching movies where you can work to increase your income

Beside electric and gas, everything is low already. Try to find a better job. You have an income problem, not a spending problem.
My husband makes less in his field because he works for a college. We have talked about him going into the private sector but we have great health/dental benefits, 24 vacations days, 15 sick days, free tuition and a really good state pension that includes insurance so I really don't know if private sector would be better. Thoughts?
Those sound like great benefits. I would be a bit reluctant to give those up unless the pay is considerably higher elsewhere...

User avatar
PrettyCoolWorkshop
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:44 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:00 am

I have actionable advice to save on your phone bill. Switch to tello. It is an MVNO that runs off of the Sprint network, and costs only $14 per month for a single mobile line that has unlimited talk and text, and 1 GB of data. For the 2 of you, it would be $28 per month (maybe $33 or so after taxes and fees are included).

The sprint network has somewhat limited coverage, but if your budget is tight, and you are in network, the tradeoff is certainly worth it.

Your electric bill is crazy high. Stop using your pool. If there are areas of your house that you use less often, shut off HVAC airflow to them by closing or partially closing the dampers. It is possible that you have thermostat habits that increase your electric bill. For example, in the winter, if you bump up the thermostat by more than 1 degree at a time, the emergency heat function of the thermostat engages on many systems. This system is much less energy efficient and should be avoided. Take cold, short showers.

Do you live in an area with low humidity? If so, line-dry your clothes. Try a month of crazy, low-electricity living and see if the savings justify the trouble.
Be greedy and fearful. All the time.

sailaway
Posts: 969
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by sailaway » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:53 am

Has the pool been decommissioned for the winter?

Can you refi student loans?

Find cheaper cell phone plans (we use Mint and are paying less than half what you are for two phones).

Only have one subscription service at a time.

Have you done an energy audit? Maybe our gas is cheap, but $100 a month seems crazy to me.

These little things can easily add up to some more breathing room.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 9036
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:56 am

Just to chime in on the pool. Close it down until you can afford it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:23 am

sailaway wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:53 am
Has the pool been decommissioned for the winter?

Can you refi student loans?

Find cheaper cell phone plans (we use Mint and are paying less than half what you are for two phones).

Only have one subscription service at a time.

Have you done an energy audit? Maybe our gas is cheap, but $100 a month seems crazy to me.

These little things can easily add up to some more breathing room.
Thanks lots of good ideas here...

Will be canceling one of our subscriptions. Pool just closed up yesterday so we will see where utilities are at next month. We usually keep 1 maybe 2 lights on in the house and that's it besides the air conditioning. Next year we are putting in a new furnace and air conditioning with one of the most efficient units. My brother owns his own business and can install for cost so hoping this brings our utilities way down...our furnace is 15 years old and the air conditioning has a freon leak that we just fixed to hold us over to next spring so hopefully this helps!

Never thought to do an energy audit...will have to look into this. Not sure about refinancing student loans because we have a plan to pay them off in 1.5 years with savings, both tax returns, every time we get three pays in a month, and then $10,000 from roth IRA. I don't know if the fees we would pay would be higher than the interest we would save.

Pool might have to stay closed next year but hopefully we can use solar cover and get the gas/electric under control. Water is so high because we were replacing water from the pool and we had to replace all of our landscaping and did not want it to die.

Gill
Posts: 5897
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:38 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Gill » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:28 am

In several places you mention "tax returns" which I assume means refunds on your income tax. Have you considered reducing your withholding so there is more in your take home pay rather than receiving a large refund at the end of the year?
Gill
Cost basis is redundant. One has a basis in an investment | One advises and gives advice | One should follow the principle of investing one's principal

Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:33 am

We will have to look into this...a lot of our return is from our dependent, interest from student loans and other stuff that isn't related to our withholdings but still a good idea!

bloom2708
Posts: 7114
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:07 am

Do either of you have a pre-tax 401k/403b available to invest in?

$200 to Roth/month is not going to cut it over the long term. You could save pre-tax and pay less tax now (defer to 20, 30 years down the road) and end up with a bigger paycheck and still save more.

If you enjoy the pool, it isn't breaking you.
"People want confirmation, not advice" Unknown | "We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you" Unknown | Four words: Whole food, plant based

Thegame14
Posts: 1364
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Thegame14 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:29 pm

Of course paying off the student loans should have been #1 priority before kids, unless you are approaching 40, but you cant unring that bell....

How many more months is the $500 going to savings/emergency funds? Once you hit whatever goal you are targeted there, I would then direct the $500 to paying off the floor since that seems to be a low hanging fruit, then take both the $500 that was going towards savings and the $200 that was going to the floor and there will be some pool savings now that it wont be in use, so maybe another $100-150 there and that is about $800-$850 that can be directed towards paying down the loans each month or I didn't see any 401K investments only IRA.

Husband should be at least getting company match, so he may have to do that and eat into the savings a little but well worth it. If not Id take the smaller loans and pay one off sooner, then once that is paid, you can take the $117 that was going towards that and add it to the $800-850 and put it towards the final student loan.

Then I would look at the $795 left per month in food, gas and entertainment. Gas should be about $20-30 per week, so maybe $100-120 a month, food should be maybe $100 per week, so $400-$500 a month, so then that is another $200 per month in entertainment. I would think having a toddler and one on the way that there wouldn't be much entertainment, but maybe birthday parties and school events, so that seems reasonable.

At the end of the day, though you still have about $500-$800 soon in savings which is more than most of the country who live paycheck to paycheck, and I assume you will eventually go back to work, so it isn't forever.

dorazzle
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:18 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by dorazzle » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:32 pm

I also think you should look into refinancing your student loans if its an option.

I don't know where you live but First republic is offering 1.95% currently according to a referral flyer I got from them. And one of my friends told be that SoFi quoted 3% to her recently

Refinancing my student loans from 6.5% to 2.35% was one of the best things I did last year.

User avatar
flossy21
Posts: 502
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 2:04 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by flossy21 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:00 pm

When you put in the new furnace and AC unit you can also install a unit that uses the waste heat from the AC unit to heat your pool.

Right now the heat pump is exhausting hot air that can be used to heat your pool. Here's an example of a product.

http://www.hotspotenergy.com/pool-heater/

Caduceus
Posts: 2143
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:47 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Caduceus » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:11 pm

It's the big things like housing costs and transportation costs that matter for the vast majority of people. Saving $30 here on a subscription and $20 there on lunch isn't going to make a difference.

If you find that being a one-income family is tough, I suggest thinking outside the box and making some radical changes in terms of your assumptions about what you can afford. One possibility is to move to a much smaller apartment - no pool, smaller utility bills, less repair/maintenance, etc. If you could free up some equity from the sale of your current place, the money can go toward paying off the 7% student loans as well, which would free up cash flow.

Look at the biggest items on your list, not the smallest items.

Flyer24
Moderator
Posts: 1317
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:21 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Flyer24 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:34 pm

Running the pool pump is not that much of a drain on your electric bill. If you are heating the pool then that is what can be expensive. I have owned a pool for 10 years. I never heat it. My pool is covered during the winter. I would urge caution about shutting down the pool completely. You can run into liner issues if your water is drained out. It is also more expensive to get it going again than just keeping it maintained year round. Your main drain on your electric bill is probably your air conditioner. Good insulation does wonders. I recently put spray foam in my attic.

majiaknight
Posts: 114
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:55 pm

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by majiaknight » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:45 am

turkey1234 wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:51 am
300 electric (this is high because we have a huge inground pool in the summer we have found)
100-water
100-gas (again this is because of the pool in the summer)
60-sewer every 2 months
You could compare your spending w/ other folks in this thread:
"Anyone want to share their monthly budget? Here's ours"
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=239182

As others already suggested I think you can't afford the pool right now as most families in the above thread including mine (a family of three in CA) have a monthly utility bill <$200 (electric/gas+water/sewer). Yours is almost tripled mainly due to the pool I guess.

Gretchen
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:48 am
Location: Southern CA

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by Gretchen » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:31 am

See if your electric provider has a time-of-day plan that could benefit you. We switched from flat rate per KW to time of day. In summer, electricity costs twice as much per KW from 2-8PM as it does at night (11PM-8AM), with a lesser saving from 8-11PM and 8AM-2PM. I run the dishwasher and the clothes washer overnight, and the dryer as soon as I get up. We also have a pool, and we time the pump to finish right before rates jump up at 2PM.

We also have a ceiling-mounted whole-house fan, which we run overnight with windows open as long as weather permits (outside LA). It sucks out all the day's hot air and chills not only the inside air but the walls, ceilings, and floors. This allows us to skip air conditioning on all but the hottest days.

I used to budget $330 for the electric bill (husband works at home with a huge bank of computers and disk drives), and now it typically runs under $250.

Topic Author
turkey1234
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Help me manage my day to day bills to save more!!

Post by turkey1234 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:08 pm

Thanks for the info everyone!!

Post Reply