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2012 Monthly Family Budget

This week has been all about getting the family budget together. Earlier this week the two of us pulled out the spreadsheets I fixed up and went over our plans for the family budget next year. Here is what we came up for our family's monthly budget for 2012:

  • Mortgage: $850
  • Extra Mortgage Payment: $175
  • Groceries: $350
  • Home Association Fees $100
  • Electricity $100
  • Gas: $15
  • Cellphone $150
  • Internet/Basic Cable $75
  • Car Insurance 87.58
  • Dining Out: $100
  • Student Loan: $150
  • Entertainment: $35
  • Shopping (Personal Care/Household/Baby Stuff) $165
  • Irregular Bills: $60

Few Notes on Our Family Budget

I'm rounding the numbers a bit, but you're pretty much looking at our family's expenses. It's based on our actual spending in 2011. We don't anticipate big changes with them next year, but we've now included a bit of buffer for our irregular bills that happen through out the year, like property taxes and we've also estimated on the high side for electricity (usually lower in the winter).

As far as eating out goes we've discovered 2 things while we were hanging with our baby girl at home.

  1. We didn't miss eating out as much as we thought. We still go out, but we do lunches which saves us a bit money and tend to have smaller crowds than dinner.
  2. We can cook some dinners better than restaurants. With time on our hands we've kicked up our cooking skills a notch (nowhere near chef level, but an improvement). My husband can make a fantastic ribeye steak dinner than's been better than most places we've had at restaurants. Having friends over for dinner also keeps us in the loop with our buddies.

We also need to get the digital antenna up and cancel the basic cable we have left. I admit we've been procrastinating on that and there really isn't a good reason. We watch Netflix and some network television, but that's about it. It'll knock down the bill from $75/month to $55/month.

I've  left our charitable contributions out of the budget because I believe that's a personal and private decision. As I mention before, I wanted to increase our giving in 2012.

Thoughts on Our Family Budget

Chatting with my husband about the family budget was actually a bit of fun (there I said it!). He's a great at analyzing long term goals and he's great with coming up with ‘what ifs'. All in all I'm really happy with where we're at with our finances. I'm just hoping that we'll be able to stick with the plan.

Photo Credit: sunshinecity

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

7 comments add your comment

    • Learning to cook better and eat healthier has been an ongoing project for us. I agree that it’s worth the effort – not only does it save a little bit of money; we’ve also enjoyed trying new dishes.

  1. eating out is the biggest thing you can cut from your budget, but also sometimes the hardest! as soon as we start to spend more on eating out, i feel it in our budget almost immediately. it sucks.

    • We found that taking it down a notch made it easier to sustain our eating out habits. Cutting back on eating out one meal week is very doable and you’re still saving money. As you pick up some kitchen skills, you start noticing that it isn’t as hard as you imagine to make the dishes that you love.

  2. Cooking better than eating out is actually how my family, pretty much stopped eating out. These days, there are only a select few restaurants worth going to for me.

    Did you think at all about paying down the student loan quicker instead of the extra mortgage payment? Just wondering, my family has been focused on freeing up cash by paying off loans. But, then our goal has been to drop to a single income.

    • Good question Shaun. We’re looking at refinancing and if we have enough equity we can possibly avoid mortgage insurance premiums. If we can the numbers to work with financing, then we’d most likely redirect the money towards student loans.

      I’m going into a bit more detail next week on our plan for paying down student loan – we just need to get a few things squared away first.