Thrifty Thursday – Simplify Your Budget

Living on a simple budget can be a necessity, but if it’s not, some other good reasons to live simply could be:

  • so you can give more to missions and/or reaching out to others
  • to learn more self-discipline
  • to be prepared for anything
  • to teach your children stewardship

I will start by stating what I think are “typical” items in a budget in today’s home.  These have been divided and are listed as monthly.

House: $1425/mo
  • Rent/Mortgage national average of $1400 (principal and interest)
  • Insurance (I’m assuming this is included in the monthly mortgage payment)
  • Maintenance $25
  • Taxes (also included monthly)

Gas/Electric $100/mo
Water/Garbage $90/mo
Phone $128/mo

  • Land Line $48
  • 2 Cell Phones $80
Internet $40/mo
Automobile: apx $
  • Gas $150 if you drive an average car about 30 miles per day
  • Payments $420 (national average)
  • Maintenance $225
  • Insurance $291 (If you have a 16 year old)
  • Registration $5
Groceries $360/mo
  • Weekly shopping $360 (average family)
Entertainment: $333 for the average 4 person family
  • Direct TV/Cable $45
  • Netflix/Movies $8+
  • Sports/Leisure Activities ???
  • Crafts
  • Music Lessons
  • Eating Out (not included in the above figure) $225
Miscellaneous $50?
School Supplies ?
Insurance $958

Health Insurance $708/mo for a family
Life Insurance $250 per person/mo

Total of $4484

I’m guessing this is for the average 4 person family.  No wonder couples think they have to both work!  This doesn’t even include monthly Wii game subscriptions or vacation planning or many other things which I’m sure I forgot.  I also assumed that there is no credit card debt, which would add several hundred dollars to this total.

So where can we cut back?

House:  $700

Wow!  I can’t imagine a newly married couple trying to make a $1400 a month mortgage payment!  Why not start small?   Buy a house that fits your budget, instead of putting pressure on yourself  for a budget that fits your house.  Often living out of town will bring down the cost of housing.  Fixer uppers can be great too, if you don’t mind using a little elbow grease!

Utilities: $125

Cut down on gas/electric/water bills by conserving.  Turn lights out unless you are in the room.  Don’t let the water run while you do dishes or brush your teeth.  Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer.  I know a lady who saves all water that runs from her faucet into a dish pan and uses it to water outside.  Heat your tea water on your wood stove in the winter instead of on the stove in the kitchen.  Be creative.  I’m sure you can think of many ways to cut down on your utility bills.  Anyone have some to share with us?

Phone: $60

Many people these days are cutting out one of their phones. Get a basic land line package and a track phone for the road…  If  you travel a lot, do you really need a land line?  Or if you stay home a lot, do you really need a cell phone?  You can cut your phone bill in half or more by using just one type of phone.  Shop carefully.

Automobile: $400

Buy vehicles you can pay cash for.  I once heard that as soon as you drive a new car off the lot it loses something like 50% of it’s value.  I don’t know if that % is right, but it was a very large amount.  If you buy a good, older vehicle, you won’t cringe every time someone nicks it in the parking lot.  Then you also won’t have to carry full coverage insurance.  Have your 16 year old pay for his own insurance.  It will motivate him to get a good job and make him appreciate the privilege of driving a little more.  Work from home and save even more on gas money! (not to mention the wonderful deductions you will get)

Groceries: $450 for a large family

Eating a healthy diet seems expensive, but if you know how to do it, it really isn’t.  A large family (6-8) can easily eat simple delicious meals for this price if you skip the prepared foods, the chips, store bought cookies, etc.  It’s a little more work, but you’ll feel so good, you won’t mind!  More great teaching lessons for the youngun’s…  If you don’t have the property for livestock, there are bound to be hunters that shoot more than they can eat.  Pay for the meat processing and eat organic red meat at the fraction of the cost in the store!

  • Bulk shopping organic $150
  • Gardening expenses $10
  • Livestock (goats/chickens) used for dairy/meat/eggs  $80-$100 depending on how much grazing they do
  • Weekly shopping natural or organic $200
Entertainment: $25

I’m not really sure what to say here.  I have very strong feelings about this area and you can read about it on other posts on my blog.  Instead of asking what WOULD Yeshua do, ask what DID He do!   Hunting or fishing could be a good way to relax if it doesn’t get out of hand.  Crafts and music lessons  can be the same way.

Insurance: 0

Wait!  That’s insane!  Many think so =)  But it saves $950 a month!  Our family has lived without insurance for nearly 9 years now…  That means we have saved around $100,000 in not paying insurance over those years.  Think of all the wonderful things that can be done with that money!  If you would like to know the reason for this insanity, feel free to connect with me… it may not be what you think. =)

So, the new grand total for a larger than 4 family eating an almost entirely organic diet is… (drum roll, please)


I may have left out a few things, but hopefully this gives you the basic idea.  I would love it if you all shared some ways you keep your monthly expenses down.  Or feel free to share anything you think I missed or miscalculated!


2 thoughts on “Thrifty Thursday – Simplify Your Budget

  1. Emily says:

    Great job! Good post.
    With the goal to get completely out of debt we followed the above steps 2 years ago. First we specifically searched for a home that had lower rent along with a well and we could dispose of the trash ourselves thus eliminating these expenses. (Our water bill was outrageous living in the city) Then we sold our new car. At the time we had only a year left to pay on it but decided we could do without 2 vehicles, another year of payments and it soon wouldn’t suit our larger sized family or make a good work vehicle. Yes, it lost over half its value! We foolishly bought it brand new and will NEVER do that again. With only one vehicle we have less insurance, gas and maintenance costs. Besides, being a mother of 5 small children it can take forever just to get out of the house. So I am truly a “stay at home” mama. And now my dh does most of the grocery shopping. 🙂 (LOVE him!) We feel the same way about entertainment and food. And we must be insane too because we have never had insurance either. (Many reasons for that.)
    After all is said and done, simplifying a budget tends to simply ones life as well. Bringing back into focus close family relationships and a sense of a better quality life.

  2. kare says:

    Thanks for sharing, Emily! My dh does our grocery shopping as well. =) If I happen to go to town, I may get a couple of things, but he goes in nearly every day, so it’s very convenient for him to do it… and he doesn’t seem to mind!

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