Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Life as a Two-Income Family

Do you know how positively weird it is to have two steady incomes?!

Years of holding our budget together with duct tape and curses made us feel like we'd never find stable financial ground.  When you watch your debt reduction stagnate, your student loan interest accumulate, health issues become delayed, and thoughts of retirement savings languish with no end in sight, it's easy to become jaded about your economic future.

But a new window was opened to us in January when Mike started a full-time job working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

The job has definitely changed the landscape of our finances.  At $10.25 an hour, paychecks run about $750 every two weeks.  But with time and half for anything over 40 hours, overtime can bump those up to $950.  It's a bit of a range, but no matter what, we have a baseline of $1,500 each month coming in from Mike.

Keep in mind that when Mike was going to school full time, he received $1,600 a month for his GI Bill.  So when you really crunch the numbers, we come out even every month.  No move to another income bracket.  But it will make a significant difference in the long run as Mike obviously can't be a perpetual student.

As for his classes, he has dropped down to part time so he's not working around the clock.  He will still collect a bit of his GI Bill, but it will only be a couple hundred bucks each month.  Actually, the lovely Department of Education made a calculation error, gave us a double payment when they weren't supposed to, and now have to "garnish" his future GI Bill installments so we can "pay it back."  So the GI Bill isn't a factor in our finances right now.  And that's fine, since it's not a permanent income source anyways. 

My magazine job continues to hold at $872 every two weeks.  I actually received a 2% cost of living raise last fall, but alas, when social security went up, it ate the exact amount of my raise.  Not too pleased about that, but honestly, I wasn't impressed with the raise to begin with. 

So on average, we're working with a total of $3,200 each month to take care of these: 

Car loan            $203.91
Student loans   $430 (total*)
Internet              $70
Phone               $91
Electricity         $100
Gas                  $15-35
Water               $40
Rent                 $785
Health              $150 (massage + chiro)

We're over $1,850 with fixed expenses, which isn't bad, considering we've got $1,300 for food, supplies, gas, savings, and entertainmentTo be honest though, I've lost all track of what we're spending on those areas each month; couldn't even hazard a guess if you asked me.  Making it a goal to track all of May! 

*Keeping an eye on the future, Mike has one student loan that is currently in deferment.  Right now, it would be $250, but since he's working on his degree, the loan is still going up and that monthly payment will only increase by the time he's done.  

Combined with the strides we made with Mike's recent deployment income, our new budget situation allows us to look at our finances in totally new ways.  Looking forward to sharing our progress with you! 

What's new in your financial world? 

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