Budgets, Bonuses and Cutbacks

I’ve given the why and the what, now it’s time for (most) of the how.


Beyond my dedicated debt pay down money, which is approximately $1050 total/ $800 for the first 4 debts, I have very few expenses since my fiancé takes care of all the utilities and such. Here is a list of each fixed monthly expense:

Health insurance: $227
Car insurance: $103.31
Cell Phone: $72.43
My budget for everything else (food, gas and entertainment): respectively $225, $125 and $50, for a total of $400

Total: $802.74

If I could shave off those few cents off the monthly budget, I would have a nice even $800 budget. On dance class free months, I make approximately $1920.00 after taxes. When I am teaching, I make an extra $100-400 a month dependent upon how many classes I have that month. If there are a lot of holidays in a month, I don’t have as many classes. I’ll be missing the first week coming up because of a work trip, so I won’t make much for September, but should bring home a few hundred extra a month after that. That means I should have an extra $120-$500 a month that isn’t dedicated to anything through May.

Basically, that adds another $1500 to the debt pay down goal. That puts approximately $3900 towards paying down that $7715.48. That leaves me another $3815.48 to kill. Hmmmm…


I have 3 months to close that gap. Where the heck am I going to come up with over $3800?!?

Well, if I teach 5 private dance lessons a week at $50 an hour, that’s an extra $3000 from now to Christmas. I would have to teach out of my home though, so that will add to the challenge.

I also have an ace in the hole that should kill the debt quickly, but because of the nature of it and the uncertainty that I’ll actually get it, I am not going to count on it at this point. I can’t discuss it much either, but if it happens, I’ll let you all know. It would be a HUGE bonus if it does happen.


Of course, I need to look at cutting back.

Some expenses aren’t going anywhere. The cell phone won’t go any lower- I’m on the cheapest plan I can be on with my smartphone.

Car insurance I might be able to cut- I’ve been hit twice in less than a year, so I don’t want to reduce coverage and of course filing claims makes your insurance go up. The only way it’ll go down is if I can find an insurer that’ll give me the same coverage at a lower rate, but I imagine it would only be a few dollars.

Health insurance has the biggest potential savings. I get a better rate with my new employer, but I’m not sure when it’ll kick in. I was a contractor for several months, so they may consider my probation time served. At the very least, it’ll kick in by November and I’ll be saving between $50-60 a month on it.

I’ll also be able to cut my gas budget. I don’t have an exact idea of how much yet, but I have been able to drive my car to and from work 5 times and the store three times only using a quarter of a tank of gas. Once I start teaching regularly, my usage won’t be that low, but I’m still seeing a potential savings of over $25 a month.

Food costs can be cut if I’m a smart consumer and only purchase stuff that’s on sale, buy produce that’s in season (therefore cheaper), stop buying junk food and use coupons. I also share food costs with my fiancé, so that helps. I could save another $25 or more a month here.

Entertainment…well, the simple answer is to not go out and completely save that money. And that’s actually not a hard task for me. My friends and I are all more the types to have parties at our houses, not go to clubs and bars and waste money there. So, played smart, this is a potential $50 a month savings.


If I’m able to apply all of those budget cuts immediately, I could save over $150 a month, or $450 from here to Christmas. Add to that finding additional income in the form of private dance instruction, I only would have to find another $350 somewhere. I honestly don’t know where- I don’t own a second car, I don’t have expensive toys and clothes lying around, so that’s a no go. I could take on another job, but I have to have some time to myself and with my fiancé.

Looks like a little creativity will need to be in order.


6 thoughts on “Budgets, Bonuses and Cutbacks

  1. Hey Rosie,
    You said that you teach dance classes. I’m wondering how old are the kids? Do you know their parents well? If so maybe you could start babysitting on the side if there are a few kids that you feel like you know pretty well. I do that on the side because I love kids and it’s easy money. I live in Austin and usually get about $12/hr. Also do you have anything you can list on CL? I sold my old printer to some kid at UT for $30 after reading Joe’s book and I don’t even have any debt. Goodluck!

  2. The kids are 5+ years old. I have three problems with babysitting the kids there: 1. I live over 10 miles away from where I teach dance, I really don’t like to travel long distances for babysitting gigs, 2. the parents there are notoriously cheap (I normally bank $10-30/hour babysitting, $10 being on the low “I’m helping a struggling family out” charge), and 3. I gave up babysitting a year ago. I was a preschool teacher for 3 years (and babysat kids from there for a while), a nanny for 2 years and babysat my former coworkers kids on the regular. I decided since I’m planning on having munchkins of my own, it’s better I take some time to myself and stop raising others children for a while. I also have an elaborate post-baby plan that involves child care to bring money in and be a stay at home mom.

    I posted some old dresses on CL yesterday, and once I get home from my business trip, I’ll look around my house and post some stuff on ebay. I keep on meaning to do it, I just keep on being lazy about it!

  3. I finally found it and I was already following you. I couldn’t find that detail on my blog. Go figure, right? *lol* Where I live, $2.50 an hour is the going rate for babysitting. It’s crazy to see what you guys can make! Even 10 bucks an hour would never fly here. Anyways, I love your blog, it’s really good!

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