All In

My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

Must Read!

Since we’ve been going over finances, I thought this week I would share some of the financial articles I have read lately that I find very helpful. Enjoy! (I should be back next week with regular posts)


Hi I’m Right Here by Karen Weese

An Impassioned Plea for Understanding Compound Interest by Broke Millenial

Why You Must Start Investing Now by Jeff Rose

The Power of Compounding at Budgets Are Sexy

35 Things You Should Be Making Not Buying by John  McLaughlin

How Not To Get Ripped Off When Buying a New Car atFrugal Portland


Irregular Incomes

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Other Half of the Budget

The Nitty Gritty

Budget Deficit

Cutting Your Grocery Bill

Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket
I Need Extra Income

Photo Credit: anieto2k via Compfight cc

Have you been looking at this budget series lately and thinking “That’s great, but it won’t help me; my income is unpredictable”? Do you work off commission or freelance?  Do you work a job that gives you an unpredictable range of hours from 30 hours one week to 10 hours the next? Then this post is for you!

Now, this post will require you to look back at your income for the last six to twelve months. You can get this by looking at your paystubs, or bank statements (if all of your paychecks deposited into your bank account). Now, add up how much you were paid each month. We’ll use an example here to help you understand, let’s name the example George. Our friend George works for a base pay and earns extra in comission each month. Let’s say the following is George’s income totals for the past six months:

September – $2700

October – $3200

November – $3000

December – $4000

January – $2500

February – $3500

Now, it looks like George had a few low months in September and January, but he had some high months in February and December. You may think George will want to budget based on the average of these months, but actually, he will want to budget based on the LOWEST AMOUNT he made in any of the the last six months (or up to a year if you have records back that far). You may be asking “Why shouldn’t I just budget based on the average?” But what if in January, George had planned his budget based on the average? He would have been planning on receiving $3150 (the average of the months listed), but he only received $2500. THAT IS A DIFFERENCE OF $650! Six hundred and fifty dollars!! That is a large difference. What if early in the month, George had paid extra on his credit card bill, expecting to make $3150, but instead, is left at the end of the month unable to pay his electric bill!?

Now you may be asking, what if my budget doesn’t work when I make the smallest amount? In George’s example, that would be $2500. You will need to categorize your expenses. First, plan on paying the necessities of food, and shelter. This includes mortgage/rent, electricity, groceries, heat, water and any other expenses that you deem necessary for your family. Second, list the extras, including eating out, credit card payments and any expenses not deemed necessary. You will have to number your non-necessary expenses in the order of importance that they need paid. Now let’s go back to George’s example. He wants to create his budget for next month.

Here are George’s necessary expenses (Some may seem off, but I am just trying to keep the math simple):

Rent – $500

Groceries – $300

Electricity – $50

Gas/Heat – $100

Water – $50

Car Payment – $300 (To some this may seem unnecessary, especially if you have paid of your vehicle, but George hasn’t yet. His job is 30 miles away and there is no public transportation in his area. He would be unable to make an income if he didn’t have this car. For him, it is a necessity, you will need to decide if it is for you.)

Vehicle expenses (Gas, Oil Changes & Maintenance, Auto Insurance) – $350 (He has to keep gas in his car and keep his vehicle properly maintained in order to make it to his job, which he needs in order to make an income.)

Necessary Expenses Total – $1650

Now here are his non-necessary expenses:

Student Loans – $300

Credit Card – $150

Eating Out – $300

Cable/Internet Bill – $150

Cell Phone Bill – $100

Entertainment (Movies theaters, movie rentals, date money, attraction entry fees, etc.) – $150

Gift  (George’s mother’s birthday falls next month, and he wants to buy her something) – $50

Non-necessary expenses total – 1200

That makes the total of George’s expenses $2850. That makes it $350 over his budget of $2500. He will need to decide how to organize his non-necessary expenses. He decides the following importance (1 being most important, 2 slightly less important, etc.):

1. Cell Phone Bill – He uses his phone to stay in contact with family & friends, as well as work clients, so he wants to keep that bill paid.

2. Cable/Internet Bill – He uses his internet to keep up on articles in his field and interact with work clients. Since his internet is bundled with his cable, he will pay the entire bill.

3. Student Loan – He doesn’t want to default on his loans, so he’ll pay this one.

4. Eating Out – He often eats out at work or with work clients, so he will keep some money in this budget. But, he will try to cut it down to $200 for the month instead of $300. He also discusess with his boss the possibility of company reimbursement when he eats out with work clients. They agree to pay $50 a month, which brings his need in this category to $150.

5. Credit Card – He is trying to pay off his debts to become debt free, so this one will get paid as well.

6. Entertainment  – This isn’t quite as important as other categories, so it is towards the bottom

7. Gift – Gifts aren’t vital to  his life, so if needed, he could cut them out.

Now with his non-necessary expenses in order, we see that after George pays his  bills in order, once he payshis credit card bill, he is out of money. So next month he will plan on not spending money on entertainment or gifts. He decides to cook his mother dinner at home instead of buying her a gift, since he can’t afford it this month.

Now George is ready if he only makes $2500. But, if by the end of the month, his income is higher, he can then decide to buy his mother a gift, spend money on entertainment, add money back into his eating out budget, or even set the extra aside to pay extra on his debts (student loans, car payments or credit cards), or put the extra in savings.

If you have more expenses left over after this process than George did, you will have to decide if you can re-arrange other expenses like George did with his eating out budget, or if you need to call your other billing companies and request a smaller payment for this month. As long as you are willing to pay something, most companies will work with you.

So, if you have an irregular income, does this help you? How do you plan your budget? What did you find most helpful? What do you wish I would have covered?

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I Need Extra Income!!!

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Other Half of the Budget

The Nitty Gritty

Budget Deficit

Cutting Your Grocery Bill

Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket
Irregular Incomes

66:180 Help Wanted
Photo Credit: kinerific via Compfight cc

So, now that we’ve gone over how to do a budget and a few ways to save on your expenses, we have arrived at getting more income. Sometimes you have stretched your income as far as it can go and still are unable to pay all of your bills. This week we will go over a few things you can do to bring extra money in.

  1. Sell some stuff. Look around your home. Are there things you aren’t using? Do you have clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn for months (excluding seasonal clothing of course)? Do you have multiples of the same item that you don’t necessarily need multiples of? Have a garage sale. If that seems too overwhelming, sell your stuff on Ebay. Also, look around facebook. A lot of areas have local ‘swap’ groups where you can sell your items to people in your community. You could also swap your items for other items you are in need of.
  2. Mow some lawns. Is there anything you can do that someone needs done? Mowing lawns, shoveling sidewalks, babysitting? Do you have a talent you could teach someone? If you know how to play piano, guitar or any other instrument, give some lessons to those in your community that are interested in learning that instrument. Do you have carpentry skills? Do odd jobs for people. Are you a good cook? Try selling tacos at the park (some licensing may be needed for this, check with your city’s government). Try to pick up some odd jobs in your community for people who need some work done. Basically, think of a skill you have, and come up with a way to make some money on the side doing that skill. Some websites like TaskRabbit will hook you up with people who need simple things done hlike picking up their dry-cleaning or doing their grocery shopping for them. The downside is that there has to be some tasks in your community, but it’s worth looking. Amazon will hook you up with tasks you can do online through Both TaskRabbit and mturk allow you to choose the tasks that you do. Each task lets you know what is required and how much you will make from the task.
  3. Get a part-time job. Even if it’s just until you get back on your feet, try getting a part-time job. Restaurants are always looking for waiters or delivery people, gas stations and retail stores need cashiers, even distributing newspapers could be an option for you.

Well, there are a few ways to boost your income, temporarily. If you need to boost your income long-term, you may need to look into a different career path. So, how have you been doing with your budget? Do you have any more ideas for boosting income short-term? Be sure to come back next week when we will discuss irregular incomes.

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Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket!!

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Other Half of the Budget

The Nitty Gritty

Budget Deficit

Cutting Your Grocery Bill

I Need Extra Income
Irregular Incomes


Photo Credit: Tax Credits via Compfight cc

Last week, we went over how to save money on groceries. This week we’re going to cover other ways to save money. We’ll go over a few different categories that we can save in:

  • Gifts
  • Eating Out
  • Entertainment
  • Vehicle Expenses
  • Home Decor

There are many more ways you can save if you put your mind to it, but those are the ones we will go over for now. How much do you spend on your family and friends every year for gifts? Do they even want the item you purchased or did you just buy it because you needed to get them a gift? An easy way to save on gifts is to make them yourself. With Pinterest at your fingertips, there are ways to make all sorts of gifts (Follow the links for to see the ideas on Pinterest):

  • Knit or crochet something. You can make a cute hat for little ones, a scarf for ladies or a coffee cozy for the guys in your life.
  • Craft something. There are all sorts of things from home decor to personalized items to spa rubs and more.
  • Do something. Everyone in your life needs something done for them. From babysitting to lawn mowing to help cleaning. Just offer them your time, it will be much more appreciated than a new trinket.
  • Cook something. For those who have it all, make them a yummy dessert or trail mix. Be sure to be aware of any food allergies though. You wouldn’t want to make someone nut-filled brownie and find out they are allergic to nuts.
  • Sign up for a deal site. Groupon, LivingSocial and PinPoint all offer rewards to local places. Just sign up with your email and some of them require that you tell them your nearest big city. Often, the deals aren’t just from the big city, but from a range of towns near that city. For example, by signing up for the Omaha Groupon or LivingSocial pages, you can get deals from Blair, Nebraska to Crescent, Iowa and beyond. Sometimes they’ll also notify you of deals slightly further away, such as Des Moines or Lincoln from the Omaha signup.

Not eating out is a huge way to save money. If you are spending hundreds of dollars on eating out, yet you are unable to pay your bills, then you need to shift your spending. Making meals at home can save a lot of money. buy things at the store that you can use to take meals to work, too. That will prevent eating out while at work. If you absolutely must eat out a few times a month, there are ways to save.

  • Look for deals. Most restaurants offer some sort of value meal, whether a fast food value meal or a “2 for $20” set of meals at some chain restaurants.
  • Join the mailing (or emailing list). Lots of restaurants, especially chain restaurants, offer deals to customer that sign up to receive deals in their email. Even some local restaurants offer mailing lists with coupons or special deals.
  • Coupons. Try to look for coupons to your local restaurants.  Some often put some in the local paper.
  • Gift Cards. If you have received a gift card to a restaurant, go out and use it! It is a free meal!
  • Sign up for a deal site.

Entertainment can be a huge money-pit if you aren’t careful. Here are a few ways to save there:

  • Cut cable. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars each year on your cable bill, cancel your subscription and just watch local TV, the DVD’s you already own, and get a Netflix subscription. It’s way cheaper than cable.
  • Don’t go to the theater. Or at least don’t buy the snacks there. Movie theaters can be so expensive. With tickets around $10 and popcorn and drinks about $10 as well, it really adds up. Save your money and watch a DVD at home or go to the movie but eat before you go.
  • Visit free local attractions. Before you spend money to get into a local museum or theme park, look around for free places to go. Take the kids to the local park to play, research free museums and other attractions in your area. My area has a beautiful botanical garden that is free to visit.
  • Again, sign up for a deal site such as Groupon, PinPoint or LivingSocial.

There are also a variety of ways to save on your vehicle:

  • Change your own oil. If you aren’t sure how, ask a friend or relative. Hopefully someone you know changes their own oil.
  • Carpool. Find out if others in your area are traveling to the same places you are and carpool.
  • Look for cheaper car insurance.
  • Get rid of your car payment. If you owe more than your car is worth, consider selling it back to the dealership and buying an affordable, reliable used car. If you owe less than it’s worth, aggressively pay off your loan to get it completely paid off, or sell it back to the dealership and use the trade-in value to pay for a reliable used car. If you own two cars that you are paying car payments on, consider the possibility of selling one and driving the other one.
  • Again, deal sites.

Home decor pretty much falls under the same category as gifts. If you want your house to look great, there are ways to do it for a fraction of the cost the stores charge for home decor. Search Pinterest for the decor item you are wanting. There is usually a pin of a craft for the item at a far cheaper cost than if you bought the item brand-new from a design store. Also, signing up for the deal sites sometimes offers you deals at local stores that sell home decor.

So, have you come up with any ideas of ways to save money in your budget? Next week, we will go over ways in boost your income (temporarily), so be sure to come back.