A Military Family’s One Income Budget – October 2015

October Budget

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!

Background

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

Income

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.

Living Expenses 

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.

Electricity/Gas- $68.40

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.

Water- $0

This is a quarterly bill, which is typically ~$120-$180.

Grocery- $151.20

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.

Gasoline- $200

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)

 

“Luxury” Expenses

Phones- $91.20

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.

Internet- $25.84

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.

Miscellaneous– $105.60

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%)

Investments

$703

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%)

 

Debt Payments

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?

 

You May Also Enjoy:

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early How Investing Small Amounts of Cash can Pay Of in Retirement Military Life and Money Financial Success Stories Create a Budget that Works for You

A Military Family’s One Income Budget: September 2015

September Budget

Who else has a difficult time believing it September already? I am quite uncertain where the summer disappeared, but it is definitely feeling like autumn here in England. More rainy days, cooler temperatures, and with the leaves beginning to change color it is undeniable that we only have a few more months to accomplish our 2015 goals.

September will definitely be a challenging month for us with several “big” expenses in the near future. However, we know with our journey there will be not so great months along with months filled with amazing progress. So here is to hoping September will be our “low month” of the year and we can finish the year strong after we clear these few major expenses.

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. So if you are at the beginning stages of establishing a budget. Do NOT give up! It will get easier! Keep with it!

 

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 all 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!

Background

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 living in Europe opportunity by traveling as much as possible.

A Military Family’s One Income Budget

Income

Husband’s Income – $7084.98

This is total take home pay for August. 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 = 1.54 US Dollar 

Living Expenses 

Rent – $1848

Our overseas housing allowance is £1350 (~$2080). 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 in order to apply more towards our debt.

Electricity/Gas- $69.30

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.

Water- $132.64

This is a quarterly bill, which is typically ~$120-$180.

Grocery- $284.80

This month we have family visiting (4 adults) for two weeks, so our grocery budget is $50-$100 more this month than a “typical month.” We will be traveling away from our home for about 7 days of those two weeks, so groceries will not need to be bought for those days. It is definitely difficult to estimate a budget when we have visitors. But we tried our best and hopefully we come close!

Car Repair/Replacement- $0

This fund covers all car maintenance and repairs. Last month we used $100 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 $2305. We were maintaining this fund at $3000. However, our car passed it’s last MOT in July! Woo-HOO!!! So, with less than a year left in England we strongly believe the $2305 can keep our car maintained and running.

My husband will be changing the oil and filters in the next week, but besides this small expense there are no foreseeable car expenses in the near future.

Gasoline- $200

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

Our policy just renewed and I have convinced my husband to pay only $50/month instead of $100/month because there is NO discount for early payment with our policy. So we may as well be applying that other $50/month to our mortgage!

Dental Insurance- $11.30

This covers my dental insurance. My husband’s is 100% covered by his employer.

Total Living Expenses: $2596.04   (36.6% of Total Budget)

 

“Luxury” Expenses

Phones- $92.40

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.

Internet- $314.24

YIKES!!! We were required to pay the annual fee (nearly $300) to “rent” a phone line in order to receive internet service. Unfortunately, there was not a month to month or 6-month option because we will only need this service for about 9 months before we move. So hopefully we get a refund when we cancel services, $70 is $70, right? lol.

Miscellaneous– $40

This fund picks up random $5-$20 expenses that we did not foresee. We had $69 left over from August’s budget. We rolled it over to September. So we will have a total of $109 this month for our miscellaneous fund.

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- $20.00

We really will not have a “date night” this month because of all our traveling. However, we are going to make a trip to base for a doctor appointment/commissary shopping trip before our guests arrive so we will go out to lunch this day.

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. We are down to our last full year in England and so we hope to make the most of it.

This $750 brings our vacation fund to $1125.23. We increased our budget in this category from $500 to $750 because we knew we were going to be a bit short. Our fund is a bit low considering we just added $750, but fortunately majority of the expenses for the traveling this month are accounted for with this figure.

This fund will actually briefly be slightly negative during the month of September because I will need to book things for our guests who arrive in October. However, we decided we will just technically dip into our emergency fund because it will only be a couple weeks before it is replenished.

Furnace/AC Fund- $1000

The furnace and air conditioner needs to be replaced in our state-side home (currently rented). We expect to have these replaced in September/October and should be a $4000-$6000 expense. This $1000 brings the fund to a current total of $4400. We will also be budgeting $1000/month for  October. If this expense is more than $5400, the remaining will be taken out of our emergency fund.

Total “Luxury” Expenses = $2296.64   (32.4% of Total Budget)

Work & Education Expenses

Husband’s Work- $152.88

My husband has training he is required to attend this winter and therefore needed a new uniform and updates to his previous uniforms.

Husband’s College- $0

No expenses in this category for a while! My husband is half way done with the current quarter and then we will be taking the winter off from classes because of work obligations.

Total Work & Education Expenses: $152.88   (2.1%)

Investments

$703

We have selected to invest in Roth investments because our taxable income is currently very low. Therefore, 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   (9.9%)

 

Debt Payments

Mortgage- $1301.45   (18.4% of Total Budget)

Unfortunately, this is the lowest “extra” we have had in a month in the whole year of 2015 to apply to our mortgage. I’m still holding onto hope we can come up with some extra income or reduce some expenses to bump up this number. At any rate, it should get us really, really close to reaching our below $25,000 financial goal! 🙂

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 October 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?

 

You May Also Enjoy:

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early How Investing Small Amounts of Cash can Pay Of in Retirement Military Life and Money Financial Success Stories Create a Budget that Works for You

A Military Family's One Income Budget. Not only do they survive on one income but they thrive!

A Military Family’s One Income Budget- May 2015

A Military Family's One Income Budget with actual real numbers. Not only do they survive and make ends meet on one income but they thrive on one income!

This is the second month we are sharing our actual budget. In the past we have held back where we spend every single dollar. However, some of my favorite posts to read on other blogs are their budget reports. Also, I have learned and applied several things to our budgets that I have picked up reading others’ budgets.

The purpose of sharing our budget, is the hope that we can all learn from each other. We can make our budgets more efficient and in return meet our financial goals sooner!

After all, this blog is named “Budget Loving Military Wife.” If I love our budget so much, then I should definitely share it. Right?

Background

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 three and a half 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.

Military Family’s One Income Budget

Income

Husband’s Income – $6428.02

This is total take home pay for April. We live and budget on last month’s income. 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 = 1.51 US Dollar

 

Living Expenses 

Rent – $1812

This is for our British home. Our overseas housing allowance is £1350 (~$2039). However, the overseas housing policy is “use or lose.” So 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 in order to apply more towards our debt.

Electricity/Gas- $67.95

This bill is the same every month, although slightly differs because of 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. May was a 6-month re-evaluation. We have a $25 credit and our provider predicts we will use less energy over the summer. So our bill was reduced by ~$30/month! YAY! 🙂

Water- $80.38

This is a quarterly bill, which is typically ~$100 more than this statement. I believe our abnormally low water bill is an error. So we should expect a much larger water bill in August to correct the error. Yuck!

Grocery- $145.70

We are budgeting ~$100 less than “typical” because we paid our first week of May’s groceries with left over April funds. We will also be on vacation for 5 days in May. So this amount is to feed us for about three weeks. It should be more than enough.

Car Repair/Replacement- $0

This fund covers all car maintenance and repairs. We also keep the fund large enough to replace our car if needed while living in England. Our car fund currently sits at $3231. We plan to maintain this fund at $3000.

Gasoline- $100

Most of this is just to get my husband to and from work. My husband has a week of leave from work because of our vacation to Portugal in May, so we will use less gasoline this month. Hence, the lower budgeted amount.

Renter’s/Car Insurance- $0

Our policy is due in July. We pay $693 annually. My husband is responsible for this bill and prefers to pay $100/month. So, it typically has a zero balance by December of each year.

Dental Insurance- $11.30

This covers my dental insurance. My husband’s is 100% covered by his employer.

Total Living Expenses: $2217.33

 

“Luxury” Expenses

Phones- $90.60

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.

Internet- $25.67

This may seem quite a bit lower than U.S. internet service. However, we are required to rent a telephone line for internet service. We are charged about $200 once a year for this telephone line in addition to this monthly fee.

Miscellaneous– $100

This fund picks up random $5-$20 expenses that we did not foresee.

Blow Money- $20/$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- $60.40

We are fans of The Avengers! Therefore, this fund will be used to go to the cinema to see “Avengers- Age of Ultron” next weekend. Plus an inexpensive lunch or dinner at a restaurant.

Vacation Fund- $500

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. We are down to our last full year in England and so we hope to make the most of it. This $500 will bring our vacation fund up to $1434. We just came back from the Netherlands and that trip is 100% paid. We have a 5-day Portugal trip planned in May. Airfare has been previously purchased. Accommodations are reserved, but will not be paid until we arrive (~$300 expense). We will also be renting a car (~$100 expense) and need to pay for food. Tourist attraction fees should be relatively low, because this will be a relaxing/beach vacation! 🙂 So our fund, should easily cover our expenses for Portugal. We will also book airfare/accommodations for our weekend getaway in June (possibly Prague or Paris), this month. Our vacation fund should also easily cover this expense (~$400).

Total “Luxury” Expenses = $836.67

 

Work & Education Expenses

Husband’s Work- $72

My husband needed clothing items for a volunteer position that we view as “work obligated volunteering.”

Husband’s College- $100

My husband will be enrolling into a class this month. Between tuition assistance (active duty military benefit) and a scholarship, his tuition is 100% covered. YAY! 🙂 This budgeted amount will be to purchase the text book.

Total Work & Education Expenses: $172

 

Giving

Giving- $100

We give to several different organizations throughout the year. When we lived in the states, we did give more. Most of it was to our local church. However, we do not attend church in England and are not too involved with our British community. This has definitely impacted our giving opportunities.

Investments

Husband’s Roth TSP- $333

Husband’s Roth IRA – $250

My Roth IRA- $250

We have selected to invest in Roth investments across the board because our taxable income is currently very low. Our tax rate is extremely low and therefore we would rather pay taxes now, rather than pay taxes when we are retired millionaires. 😉 We have also opted to invest approximately 10% of our gross income. We scaled back on our investments (previously at 15%), with the thought of paying off our mortgage even sooner. After our mortgage is paid off (12-18 months from now), our retirement investing will dramatically increase.

Total Retirement Investments: $833

 

Debt Payments

Mortgage- $2268.62

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 June Mortgage payment. This includes insurance and taxes for this property. Check out our most current update to Mortgage Freedom!


***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. Just remember to Please keep a positive spin on things :)

What do You Think?

How would you change our budget?
How was your May Budget Meeting?
Trying anything new with your budget this month?

 

You May Also Enjoy:

Create a Budget that Works for You Our Secret to making Huge Financial Gains 10 Steps to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck How to Budget for a Temporary Duty Assignment

 

 

Shared at: Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday

Using a Cash Envelope System– And How it Saves Money!

Before my path to debt freedom, I was the Queen of Credit Cards and cash back rewards were my best friend. Fortunately, I never experienced credit card debt. However, I was and still am not anywhere near the Credit Card Master Minds as Stephanie and Mr. SixFiguresUnder.

In fact, my husband and I cut up all of our credit cards three years ago. Yes, you read that correctly. We do not have a single credit card in our name. We travel all around the world. We are Americans living in England. We not only survive but thrive without a single credit card. Crazy, right?

Are you wondering what happened to us three years ago?

Read More of my Guest Post over at Six Figures Under