The Bare Bones Budget

Posted by Mrs Money on December 12th, 2012

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Obviously, with Mr. Money unemployed, we’re adopting a bare bones budget.  Here’s our budget and what we’ve done so far:

Mortgage- $793.00 (Can’t change this)
Escrow- $220.00 (Can’t change this)
Gas & Electric- $140.00- Since we budget this ourselves, we currently have a surplus.  If things get really bad I can use up all the money in our electricity account and start contributing again when Mr. Money has a job.  I’ve started line-drying all the clothes and we’ve turned the thermostat down a little.  Hopefully those two things will help.
Car Insurance- $92.00- I can shop around for quotes but since we bundle our homeowners insurance with it, I don’t know how much cheaper I can get it.
Groceries- $300.00 :( I cut this a lot, and it makes me sad.  I am hoping we can actually make it on $300 a  month for groceries.
Cell Phone- $43.00- Mr. Money is going to take over my phone since he’s losing his company phone.  I’ll go without until I get a prepaid.
Cable, Phone, Internet- $145.00- I’m going to call to see if we can get it cheaper.  I have to have a home phone and we need the internet so Mr. Money can search for a job.
Gas- $150.00- We cut this a lot since there isn’t a need to drive every day.
Retirement- put on hold
Savings- put on hold
Health Insurance- $240.00- we have to pay this all ourselves now each month.
Dogs- $70.00
Water Bill- $22.00

I won’t lie, I’m really scared right now.  Hopefully he will be able to start collecting unemployment soon. He had three interviews with one company last Monday but hasn’t heard anything back yet :(  I think I’ll be less stressed once I know we’ll have some money coming in.  I’m still trying to come up with some ideas of things I can do from home to bring in money.

It seems as though everything I can think of is already being done or just not a good idea.

I’m hoping Mr. Money will line up a good paying job with benefits soon. The unknown is so scary!

Do you see anything in our budget you think I should change?

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20 Responses to “The Bare Bones Budget”


  1. Karen says:

    Check with the cable company for prices, but you could probably save at least $50 a month by cutting cable and using an antenna to get local channels. Also, a prepaid cell would most definitely be cheaper than a landline, and I used to use Skype to call landlines, too. I think it costs $3 a month?

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Karen-I’m going to have to call the cable company tomorrow. Thanks for the other suggestions too!

    [Reply]

  2. DecMeadow says:

    Possibly consider Amazon Turking, it can possibly contribute about $100-300 a month depending on how dedicated you become with it. Perhaps this could be something you and the hubby take turns in doing when you’re using the internet?

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    DecMeadow-Thanks! I am checking into that tonight. :)

    [Reply]

  3. josephlcaldwell says:

    Best of luck. IF you have an Aldi nearby that will certainly help you cut your grocery bill.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    josephlcaldwell- Thank you! I’ll see where the nearest one is.

    [Reply]

  4. Kacie says:

    PS, I posted this on my site’s FB page and there’s a helpful comment there :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kacie- Thank you! Very good points there. Also looked for your other comment but couldn’t find it. Weird.

    [Reply]

  5. Kacie says:

    Oh and I think I have a comment held in your mod queue.

    [Reply]

  6. I have my fingers crossed for you guys.. I’m sorry you have to go through this. I’m sure he’ll find something soon.

    [Reply]

  7. Nicole says:

    Along with Amazon Turking, you can sign up for SwagBucks. I do surveys, play games and watch videos and earn SwagBucks which I then redeem for amazon gift cards (which is the method to get the most bang for your buck)
    They have a referral program. If you blogged your link, I’m sure you could get a few people to sign up under you :)
    With that being said, here is my link http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/distillingwater

    [Reply]

    Nicole Reply:

    I should have searched through your archives before posting this. I see that you are already a member there. Perhaps just posting your link again could get you a few new sign ups? It’s not a lot, but combined with the usually low prices on amazon, you could get some darn good deals.
    My boyfriend and I are going to be moving in the new year, so I’ll be following this post for ways to add a little extra cash flow. We know moving is going to be expensive, so we’re trying to save some money now.

    [Reply]

    Nicole Reply:

    Oh also just thought of this! The amazon referral program. I don’t know much about it, but I see it on a few blogs now and then.
    Maybe record some videos to put on youtube. A friend of mine makes a few bucks a month with his videos, and they don’t get a ton of views.

    [Reply]

  8. Kacie says:

    Aw man! It was a long comment. Bah. Anyway, search Hillbilly Housewife for her $45/week meal plan ideas. You won’t be able to do everything, but it should have some good ideas anyway to get started.

    I do think there is probably room for your car insurance/home insurance. Ours is around $60/month and is also bundled with our home.

    I agree with others — there is definitely room to reduce the cable/phone/net. Can you go just to internet? And use a prepaid cell as your landline? Or if your reception is spotty, keep the internet and landline and drop cable. With Hulu and other shows available online (plus shows available over the airwaves like Karen mentioned) this can go without it feeling like a huge loss.

    Gasoline seems high, but maybe you’re planning some visits to relatives?

    For your dogs, I’m guessing the bulk of that is food? Check area dog shelters and such because some places do have programs for free or discounted food for pet owners on hard times. Hopefully there’s one near you.

    [Reply]

  9. cavewoman says:

    Everyone here has good recommendations…

    To add my two cents worth in case it is helpful….
    when I was laid off, there were two ways I utilized the internet to assist in my job search: One way was at the public library. ( It was not ideal as there are time limits to use the computers, but it was helpful.) The other was from dial-up internet, from a basic phone landline. VERY SLOW. But it was still satisfactorily functional. The good thing about having an actual land-line and not a cell-phone was that I could stay on 911 service, should I ever need emergency care. (At the time I was a single girl in a pretty rough neighborhood, so I felt that I really needed to keep the landline.)

    Also, with a very basic phone service ( and sometimes you have to call your phone company and ask them for their “unadvertised” bare bones programs to get this), you can skype…even with dial-up.

    This way you have a nice long-distance like service, for the price of a local phone call.
    I had a dear friend in Germany that I would call occassionally for moral support during my job search…and I never paid more than I would have to call my neighbor!

    Concerning cell phones….a friend gifted me by adding me to her family’s cell phone plan for a year. The phone company charged her an additional $12.00 a month for the addition of this phone. I paid her this price difference, and that way I could have a cell phone while I drove to job interviews in my woefully unreliable 23 year old vehicle. This way should I need to have an emergency phone, I was covered.

    During the unemployment, I went to the library to “rent” videos and I had a grandfathered old contract with netflix that let me watch as many mail-sent videos as I could handle within a month for around $10.00.

    As to entertainment….recently we bought last year’s model HD antennae ( around $70 to $80) and attached it to our t.v.. We are currently able to get 16 channels for “free”…or rather, just for the cost of the antennae.

    I don’t know if any of these ideas helps….this may be too extreme for you…but I thought it may be worth sharing.

    I hope things go well for you all soon.

    Many blessings to the “money family” in this year and the next…

    [Reply]

  10. ANIKKA says:

    A another option for internet is your local job/workforce center which most states have. They are run by the state department of workforce development/economic development. Their are many resources there from computers for job searching to resume workshops/assistance to programs that help pay for retraining. Even if you don’t go to the physical location they often have helpful websites including a job posting site. In many states this is highly utilized by employers as it is free to post on and generally well screened so there are not scams listed. I highly recommend using this resource.

    [Reply]

  11. Nunzio Bruno says:

    @Kacie asked and I would love to hear an update too :) Hope things are getting better and that you were able to work something out with your cable provider. As I was making my way through the comments and your post I didn’t see anything at an attempt to qualify for unemployment. I’m sorry if I missed it but might that be an option as support in the interim – I mean that is what it is there for :) Hope you guys are bouncing back!

    [Reply]

  12. Fred says:

    I think you should be able to cut your cable and phone costs. Other than that any update?

    [Reply]

  13. Mary Kaplan says:

    Losing a job is a scary thing, that’s for sure. We are on a much tighter budget these days with two kids in college. We have almost completely eliminated eating out, which it sounds like you have too. I take left overs for lunch everyday and on the rare occasion when we do go out, we’ve rediscovered happy hours. It’s fun and cheap. It sounds trite, but it’s so important to look for silver linings when times get tough. I have found myself feeling grateful a lot more than I used to. Good luck!

    [Reply]



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