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Adjusting the budget for twins

July 29th, 2009 at 01:08 pm

The twins are due in November, and I'm planning to quit working Oct 1, so I've been looking over our budget to figure out where to cut back. I think we need to cut about $675 per month to make it work. Here are some numbers based on averages for Jan-Jun this year.

DH pay after taxes $7900
401(k) $1318

Needs Accruing (Total $875):
Car Ins $560 Jun/Dec $93.00
Car Regis. $440 May $40.00
HOA $105 quarterly $35.00
Home Ins. $770 Apr $66.00
IEEE dues. $180 Nov $15.00
Life Ins $150 Mar/Aug $25.00
Property Tax $3600 Nov/Mar $600

Needs/Contracts Monthly (Total $3250):
Cable TV $45.00
Cell Phone $77.00
Electric & Gas $146.32
Gas Car $180.62
Groceries $488.94
Home Security $28.99
Mortgage $1,990.00
Phone/DSL $84.61
Water $210.00

Vacation (Total $200):
In-laws overseas $0.00
Relatives USA $100.00
USA travel $100.00

Wants Goals (Total $150):
Charity $600/yr $50.00
Christmas Gifts $100.00
Big Purchases TBD

Wants Montly (Total $2800):
BevMo $43.65
Cash $237.00
Cleaning $200.00
Dining $278.64
Home Depot $200.97
Kid stuff $173.60
Misc $663.22
Netflix $25.95
Preschool $380.00
Target $318.03
Trader Joe's $200.00
DH Clothing/haircut $50.00
Zetta Clothing/haircut $50.00

Total Income $7900
Total Savings $1300 (16%)
Total Needs $4125 (52%)
Total Wants $3150 (40%)
Shortfall $675

This doesn't account for the two extra paychecks (DH is paid biweekly) because it's easier to just stash the extra than to try and spread that income out over several months. We'll probably set it aside for the next trip to visit the in-laws overseas. I'm also assuming DH's withholding is correct and my pay until Oct will cover the estimated taxes for 2009 -- if not, they will come out of the emergency fund and get repaid when we get the refund.

Under Needs, the first place to cut is Groceries -- almost $500 for 3 people is crazy, I think there must be a lot of impulse purchases there (and produce that goes bad and is thrown away). I place Trader Joe's under Wants -- that's our fun food like favorite cereals, wine, good cheese. I hate to cut that out, but it's another $200.

Phone/DSL breaks down as follows:

Internet: $25
Local measured rate: $13
Plan + calls to Australia: $47

The need for a landline is driven by calling DH's parents in Australia. The local service is nice to have in case cell phone towers are down due to wildfires or earthquake. We could add international to our cell phones for $4 + taxes + $0.23/minute. Our current service is $7 + taxes + $0.09/minute. Last month we used 234 minutes. We use skype occasionally, but would actually rather talk on a phone than do the video calls. I should look into calling cards...

Most of the cuts need to come from Wants. I'm going to do my best to cut elsewhere so I can keep the cleaning lady! From our experience when DS was born, I know that Dining and Home Depot will go down on their own (no time to eat out or work in the garden), and that Target is likely to go up due to diapers and formula (I breast fed as much as I could produce but still had to supplement.) We're not going to do cloth diapers with twins, so don't even go there! Smile

Kid Stuff is clothing/haircuts for DS, fun classes (music, swimming, etc), toys, and small misc baby items (extra bib, pacifier, saftey latch etc).

The areas that always get me are Misc and Target. It's the impulse purchases that I really have to watch. $20 here and there really adds up. Our fun money also gets lumped into Misc -- a model rocket here, a massage there. Then there are those one-off but necessary purchases -- stamps, TurboTax filing fees, over-the-counter medicine, annual fee on a brokerage account. I wonder if splitting out these catagories would help us stick to them???

The other place this budget falls down is that I haven't set aside anything for Big Purchases. An example would be where we just spent $600 for a patio set. I should set aside a set amount and let it build up so that we have it available when we are wanting the next big item.

I guess I just really have to move from a tracking mode to a true budgeting mode. Set limits on the discretionary spending and stick to them.

4 Responses to “Adjusting the budget for twins”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I was on vacation when you announced you were having girls!! How fun. I'm sure they can share a room with bunkbeds for quite some time to come.

    Good luck whittling the budget down. I'm sure you can do it.

  2. shiela Says:

    Wow...twin girls. Congrats.

  3. LAL Says:

    I am soo jealous! I want twin girls. Wow. Congrats! Geez, it's exciting.

  4. mom-from-missouri Says:

    Congrats! We have 2 sets of twins, all girls, plus another.
    All of mine wore cloth diapers--had 3 in diapers at the same time. It isn't bad! Just kept the diaper pail next to the washer and ran a load every other day.

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