So, I have a secret to confess. My husband and I don’t really have a monthly budget.
A little over three years ago, we moved to Fort Hood, Texas for a one year assignment…when I was about 7 months pregnant. I effectively lost my job and became a stay at home mom for a year. We went from two incomes to one plus a new baby. I was pretty nervous about going down to one income but as luck has it, living in the middle of nowhere Texas and having a newborn helped us to cut down on our going out and dining out tremendously. We actually did just fine on one budget.
A year later, we moved again and this time I found a new job. The previous year, we learned to live on only my husband’s salary. Now we had two incomes plus CPT Money Moves promoted MAJ Money Moves. I set up my direct deposit for my new paycheck to go straight into our savings account. It’s pretty exciting to see 100% of your paycheck go into a savings account each month and pile up. We were just good savers (by default) that we were able to save for the down payment on the house we live in now. Yes, that’s four cities in three years, if you’re keeping track at home.
Her Money Moves’ Money Map
I liked how the Luxe Strategist detailed her map with percentages, so I followed in her steps. Although in real life MAJ Money Moves’ paycheck goes into our big checking account and my paycheck goes into our big savings account. For simplicity’s sake, my map has all income streams lumped together, both our paychecks, rental property income, and my fledgling freelance side hustle business. Everything you see on my map is a percentage of our combined income, even things like retirement savings accounts. I was surprised to see that my husband’s paycheck makes up 50% of our household’s income. Grrrrr…he beats me in everything.
Savings on Autopilot (45%)
I’m busy AF, so basically everything I have to save, invest or pay off is automated. I could probably not look at my accounts for months and everything would pretty much keep chugging along by itself. With every paycheck, a portion of both our pay goes directly into retirement savings via his TSP or my 403(b). I also take a pre-tax deduction for dependent childcare FSA out of my check. The rest of my check goes straight into our savings account (more on that later).
Loan Payments (32%)
After TSP and SGLI (life insurance), the remainder of MAJ Money Moves’ checks go straight into our checking account. In addition, we also bring in two property rental incomes into that same account. These three incomes streams cover all of our loans (on auto payment). Our loans consist of two mortgages (one for the house we live in and the other for one of our rental properties) and two car payments. I know many of your PF devotees are gasping that we have two car payments, I know, I know, but its what we have.
However, we achieved a huge goal this year when we paid off the mortgage on one of our rental properties. The mortgage was about ten years old, but we threw money at it like crazy and were able to pay it off early. Now we have a nice income stream every month that we don’t have to pay back to a mortgage payment.
This is where I’m floundering. I have both a traditional and ROTH IRA and my husband has a traditional IRA. I’ve only been budgeting for deposits, but not actually depositing them because I have to figure out if we hit the earned income limit this year. I don’t think we actually will be close to it since my husband was deployed for part of the year (some of his earning are not taxed). To be honest, I still need to figure out how it works. Anyone? Anyone? Bueler? Military Dollar?
I also have a brokerage account. This is where I roll over 401(k)s from jobs past, keep my emergency savings in a money market account, and mess around with a stock portfolio. I’ve had this account since I was 16 along with some of the stocks in it too. I’ve been hearing so many awesome things about Vanguard lately that I’m going to take a look.
Credit Cards (17%)
We have a handful of credit cards, each serving a purpose. We travel a lot and I also travel a lot for work, so my American Express Platinum card gives me benefits like free airport lounge access, monthly Uber credits, gold status at Hiltons and SPG hotels, TSA PreCheck, airline fee mileage and access to a travel concierge. Its seriously one awesome card. My Marriott Chase Visa card helps me rack up mega points at Marriotts (my hotel stay in Dallas at the MilBlogging Conference is all points), one free night a year and it helped me to achieve platinum status – hello suite upgrades!
MAJ Money Moves is an authorized user on my AMEX Platinum and he also has an AMEX Delta card since Delta is his airline of choice. It doesn’t do much for me, but I’ve had it since I was 18. Although the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) typically applies to debts you had before you entered the service, all the credit card companies we use extend SCRA benefits for new credit as well basically just to be extra nice to military members. It’s not required by law. That means they are waiving the annual fees, capping interest rates, and some other nice bennies on all our cards. Final thoughts – all of our cards are on autopay and we pay them off every month, in full.
Why Am I Not Investing?
Since 22% of our income goes straight into a savings account, that’s not a great way to get returns and you may be scratching your head. Well, my husband and I are house hoarders. My first year’s salary at my new job paid for the down payment on the home we currently live in. Since we know we are going to be moving next summer, I had been doing this liquid savings method again to get ready for another down payment. However, in the next month or two, we expect to get my husband’s orders for his next assignment and it doesn’t look like we are going to any locations where we would want or be able to buy another home. Once I know for sure, I can ramp up my investing strategy (I need one), max out our retirement accounts, and dial down our liquid savings.
No Budget, No Problems
I just read MAJ Money Move’s the riot act this past weekend about how we need to have better savings goals, and how can’t we meet a goal if we don’t have a plan, and blah, blah, blah… We spend about 17% of our income on fun stuff like date nights, weekend trips, good booze and my occasional shopping spree as well as “necessities” like groceries, gas, cell phones, and stuff for our toddler and two pups. We both know that we’re no good at budgeting. It’s mainly my fault. The only thing MAJ Money Moves uses his credit card on each month is a new bottle of bourbon.
In a lazy sort of way, we budget by living mainly off of his paycheck. Although that is working wonderfully for us now, I am constantly reminding myself that we would have to make some major changes if I lost my job. The good news is that I work remotely, so even though we are constantly moving, my job moves with me.
What did you think of my Money Map? Is there anything you think I totally forgot? Just to caveat, our healthcare is TRICARE Prime (we don’t pay extra for it) and my dental coverage is through my employer at $1 per month. We donate to our charities of choice via our employers in the beginning of the year. Lastly, we have a few smaller checking & savings accounts and my old TSP that are just sitting around and we are not actively contributing to them.
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The Official Money Map Chain Gang:
- Anchors: Apathy Ends, Budget on a Stick
- Link 1:The Luxe Strategist
- Link 2:Adventure Rich
- Link 3:MinaFi
- Link 4:Othalafehu
- Link 5:The Frugal Gene
- Link 6:The Working Optional Money Map
- Link 7:Our Financial Path
- Link 8:Atypical Life
- Link 9:Eccentric Rich Uncle
- Link 10:Cantankerous Life
- Link 11:The Retirement Manifesto
- Link 12:Debts to Riches
- Link 13:Need2Save
- Link 14:Money Metagame
- Link 15:CYinnovations
- Link 16:I Dream of FIRE
- Link 17:Stupid Debt
- Link 18:Spills Spot
- Link 19:Making Your Money Matter
- Link 20: Life Zemplified
- Link 21: Trail to FI
- Link 22: The Lady in the Black
- Link 23: Smile & Conquer
- Link 24: Her Money Moves
- Link 25: Full Time Finance
- Link 26: Abandoned CubicleLink
- Link 27: Freedom is Groovy
- Link 28: Millennial Money Diaries