As a two-income family, you would think we would know exactly how much income we have every month, and thus be able to budget accordingly. Not! My husband’s income is stable, comes in like clockwork on the 15th and last working day of the month. It is a salary spread out over 24 weeks a year. The 15th has a penny’s difference than the last working day.
My income varies. As a teacher, I am used to a salary based on the number of hours given per calendar year, distributed evenly over 12 months. However, my district does not do it. The result is an income that fluctuates wildly month to month. To understand – to guestimate – how much money I bring in, I have to figure out my monthly hours, multiply it by my hourly wage, subtract 32%, and finally put the hours I worked, say in June, into the budget for August. Royal pain in the ass! And, it is still a guestimate until I get my actual check. (But after 10 years, I’ve gotten pretty good at it!)
The plus side is that I really do have to look at what we have for disposable income – meaning, we dispose it in the mortgage baskets, the utility baskets, the insurance baskets, the credit card baskets, and so on. :-)
So, over the weekend before returning to work, I sat down in Google Docs and created spread sheets that run from September 2016 to September 2017. I know my work schedule and monthly hours, so I did the guestimated income for me, and the anticipated income for my husband. And then I wrote out all the known bills and costs, and found the monthly differences – meaning, all the leftover cash not put into savings – and put it into the extra debt snowball payments toward one of the credit cards. Of course, this number will change with time, and with other costs, but there is some mental security in knowing fairly well in advance what is on the economic horizon. All of this can change, though, so it is only a projection until each day arrives.
The nice thing about using a spread sheet is the fact that as something changes, using the “sums” part of the spread sheet, I can see the immediate changes and deal with them. I am not a genius with spread sheets, and Google Docs is simpler than Excel, but I am a simple person. The portability of Docs is the big selling point, even though MS Office is now on the Cloud. The tedious part of creating the spread sheet was . . . creating the spread sheet.
Up ahead, we have some concerns. Rather than telecommuting, people at my husband’s company are being returned to the office. This will mean traveling in a car and increased fuel costs, an unknown variable depending on where he is placed in an office. Some office space should be found locally, as it is a global company, but they may think a 50 mile commute to set up a laptop is reasonable (which it isn’t!). There is office space from 4-10 miles from home, and the closer, the better. He is not happy. The dogs will be miserable. And we will have to adapt.
Still . . . we have paid off one credit card, and that is why we are continuing doing our happy dance!