Happy October! It is difficult to believe how quickly this year has flown by us. We will soon be celebrating our last Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas here in England. Some days it feels as though we have been living in England FOREVER, but most days I can not believe it’s been nearly 3 years!
In all honesty, we are looking forward to moving back to the states (if the military cooperates with our wishes). We can not wait to finally only budget in one currency! Of course, we are also looking forward to seeing our family and friends who we have not seen or only seen once in the past 3+ years! Anyway, we only have about 8 more monthly budgets (after October) until we are a one currency family! Woo-Hoo!!!
Military Family Budget Meeting
My husband and I have a “budget meeting” before the beginning of each month to hash out our budget. After nearly four years of budget meetings, we can cover everything financial related and be in 100% agreement over our monthly budget in about 10 minutes.
Trust me. It was NOT always this painless.
The Purpose of Sharing our Budget:
We share our budget with the hope that we can encourage and inspire our readers who are on their journeys to financial security. We share our budget with hope that it opens up a financial dialogue, to create an opportunity to learn from each other. By learning from one another, we can all make our budgets more efficient and in return meet our financial goals sooner!
If you are new to Budget Loving Military Wife, you may be wondering a little bit about our situation. We have been seriously focused on our finances, getting out of debt, and budgeting for just under four years (December will 4 Years!).
My husband serves in the U.S. military and we are currently stationed in England. We began our marriage with two good incomes, which was extremely helpful to attack our consumer debt. However, our England move has made us a single-income household. We are debt free besides our mortgage (stateside home that is currently rented) and we have no children or pets.
Our financial focus while living in England is to pay down debt as quickly as possible and to take advantage of our once in a lifetime opportunity to travel Europe as much as possible.
A Military Family’s One Income Budget
Husband’s Income – $6719.75
This is total take home pay for September. We budget and live on last month’s income. My husband’s income varies because of the every changing exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the British pound. Our income is in US Dollars, but most of our expenses are in British Pounds. For simplicity sake, we budget everything in US Dollars (using current exchange rates).
Current Exchange Rate: 1 British Pound = 1.52 US Dollar
For some odd reason our income is $300 less than last month, which was $300 less than the previous month. Who knows why! The pound is down a couple pennies compared to last month, but that should only create about a $50 difference. So, we shrug our shoulders, continue to budget and live on last month’s income and thank God we do not rely on every dollar to make ends meet.
Rent – $1824
Our overseas housing allowance is £1350 (~$2050). However, the overseas housing policy is “use or lose.” The $200+ difference is “forfeited” by us. I only mention this because stateside, if you rent a home for less than your housing allowance you get to keep the difference. If we were not forced to forfeit the difference, we would absolutely find a place less expensive, to apply more towards our debt.
This bill is the same every month, although fluctuates with the currency exchange rate. Our service provider sets a monthly price based on our estimated future use. Every six months it is re-evaluated and our monthly bill changes accordingly.
This is a quarterly bill, which is typically ~$120-$180.
We had $38 left from last month. We will be rolling it over to October, creating a total grocery budget of $189.20. This is on the low side, considering we will have guests (my parents) at the end of the month. However, we will be spending one week in Portugal and our freezer is stocked with a couple weeks worth of meat. So, we think this budget should work.
Road Tax- $200
One of the few British taxes that we are required to pay is the road tax. It’s a requirement to pay for each car and the price fluctuates depending on the year, make and model of the vehicle. We typically pay annually, however there is a slight chance we will sell our car a couple months before we PCS. Therefore, we opted for the 6-month road tax this time.
Car Repair/Replacement- $0
This fund covers all car maintenance and repairs. Last month we used $375 of this fund to pay down our Mortgage. You can see the reasoning behind this decision by clicking the “Mortgage” link.
Our car fund currently sits at $1903.45. We were maintaining this fund at $3000. We have less than a year left in England and we strongly believe this amount can keep our car maintained and running.
My husband will be changing the oil and filters next week, but besides this small expense there are no foreseeable car expenses in the near future.
My husband will not be working for two weeks because we have visitors so we will not have the commuting to work expenses. However, we will use some of this fund to cover gasoline with our travels to help support our “vacation fund.”
Renter’s & Car Insurance- $50
Dental Insurance- $11.30
This covers my dental insurance. My husband’s is 100% covered by his employer.
Total Living Expenses: $2504.90 (37.3% of Total Budget)
This is for our two smart phones. One has international calling. We have tried using free calling apps, however our internet speed and quality is not consistent enough to rely on it to stay in contact with our family.
This probably seems low for internet service. However, we pay an annual fee (nearly $300) for a land-line rental in order to have internet service. If you break it down, it would be roughly $50/month for internet.
This fund picks up random $5-$20 expenses that we did not foresee or helps cover categories we go slightly over budget.
Blow Money- $40/$40
This covers all of our individual purchases. Clothes, Haircuts, Make up, Lunch with Friends, Snacks/Coffee, etc. We “allow” a maximum of $75 each per month, however we try to keep this expense as low as possible.
Date Night- $0
We do have movie tickets that we previously purchased if we are in need of a date night but will most likely consider our vacation to Portugal our “date night” this month. 🙂
Vacation Fund- $750
This funds all of our weekend getaways and vacations. We would budget much less, if we did not have the once in a lifetime opportunity of living in the United Kingdom and traveling Europe.
This $750 brings our vacation fund to $934.38. Our fund is a bit low, but fortunately all major expenses for Portugal are paid. So this will only need to cover our food/site seeing in Portugal and our expenses to entertain our guests in England for a week.
We may go slightly negative in this fund, but we will just cover it with November’s budget. This will be our last vacation of the year because my husband has training for work this winter. So, the next few months should have an extra ~$750 going to pay-off our mortgage. YAY!
Furnace/AC Fund- $1000
The furnace and air conditioner needs to be replaced in our state-side home (currently rented). This $1000 brings the fund to a current total of $5400. We received a quote of $5500 a couple weeks ago. Both units were installed yesterday and our total was $5252. Therefore, we will not need to dip into our emergency fund AND we have an extra ~$150 in the fund. We will apply this “extra” to our November mortgage payment! YAY! Plus, in future months this $1000 will be applied to paying off our mortgage!!! WOO-HOO!!!
Total “Luxury” Expenses = $2052.64 (30.5% of Total Budget)
Work & Education Expenses
Husband’s Work- $0
Husband’s College- $0
No expenses in this category for a while! My husband only has 2 weeks left with the current quarter and then he will be taking the winter off from classes because of work obligations.
Total Work & Education Expenses: $0 (0%)
We have selected to invest in Roth investments because our taxable income is currently very low. We would rather pay taxes now, rather than paying taxes when we are retired millionaires. ? We have also opted to invest approximately 8% of our gross income. We scaled WAY back on our investments (previously at 15%), with the thought of paying off our mortgage even sooner. After our mortgage is paid off (less than 12 months from now), we will dramatically increase our retirement investing.
Total Retirement Investments: $703 (10.5%)
Mortgage- $1459.21 (21.7% of Total Budget)
Our mortgage is our only debt and our main financial goal is to pay it off. This budgeted amount plus what we receive in rent from our current renters and any “extra” we can scrape up with extra income or lower than budgeted expenses will be our November Mortgage payment. This includes insurance and taxes for this property. Check out our most current Mortgage Freedom progress!
***Please remember I am only sharing our budget to learn from each other. It is no attempt to make anyone feel sorry for us or to brag in anyway. I would love to hear your tips or what you would do differently if you were in our shoes. I am all about making our budget better and more efficient.
What do You Think?
How was your Budget Meeting?
Trying anything new with your budget this month?
How would you change our budget?