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Checking in on Our Monthly Budget and Troll Rant

It’s been quite a while since I updated our monthly budget here on BFS.  Not much has changed, but it’s good to keep an eye on the numbers just for the sake of paying attention.  🙂


I used to post income updates monthly but got tired of all of the negativity that we seemed to attract (that’s why I moved them to my newsletter).  It was weird to think that people truly rooted for me when I was building up a successful business and leaving a dead end job, BUT some of them got really angry when my new income became the new norm.

Please keep in mind that this money doesn’t just appear magically into my pocket.  My husband and I work our butts off to earn every dollar.  Our main business is commission-based, so we only make money when our clients do.  The rest is brought in by hours and hours of blogging, sports officiating, and side hustles.  Seriously, if I have time alone, I’m working.  This blog doesn’t write itself.

I am living proof that YOU CAN MAKE OR SAVE MONEY TOO.  It takes finding a passion, figuring out how to make money with it, and throwing every fiber of your being into growing it and your reputation.  Alternatively, you could just live outside of your comfort zone and get a roommate, use public transportation, start a hobby job, etc.  Use those amounts earned or saved for your goals.

Illness, awful life circumstances, and general crap in the road can of course block you.  It blocks me.  Nothing is forever or guaranteed, but you can dang well fight/save when you can so you will have something when you can’t.  That’s how I choose to live.

I love my readers and supporters – they keep me going.  You are literally why I write.  But if you feel any inner-troll coming out as you read, please just press the little “x” and close the screen.  I don’t need to hear about the unfairness of it all or why I was somehow lucky.

If luck is defined by a couple of years of 100+ hour work weeks and the ongoing drive to earn in whatever ways I can in my free time, then yes, I am lucky as hell.  But I wasn’t blessed by a twinkly, wealthy leprechaun of happy.

My Ideal Leprechaun
If I had a leprechaun fairy godmother, this would be him…

Still here?  Great!  Hope you enjoy a peek at my numbers!

Our Monthly Budget

  • Income Taxes – $2500
  • Home Mortgage – $990
  • Home Insurance/Property Taxes/HOA – $760
  • Rent House Home Insurance/Property Taxes – $275
  • Health Insurance – $275
  • Car Insurance – $60
  • Life Insurance – $30
  • Electricity – $150
  • Water – $65
  • Natural Gas – $50
  • Gasoline – $125
  • Medical – $25
  • Cell Phones – $150
  • Restaurants – $250
  • Groceries – $250
  • Dogs – $100
  • Cable/Internet (DSL) – $120
  • Housekeeping – $175
  • Lawn – $75
  • Entertainment – $50
  • Miscellaneous – $100
  • Gifts – $100
  • Cash – $100
  • Total Expenses = $6775


When I see that total, I cringe.  But it helps to know that the taxes would be way less if we make less.  I also keep in mind our income (even though it’s all variable).  Here are the current monthly averages on the low end.  I like to overestimate what we spend and underestimate what we make.

  • Online Income (low average for our main business plus my online side hustles) – $7000
  • Rental Income (varies, but this is the norm) – $1800
  • Sports Officiating (average per month over the year) – $500
  • Crystal’s Other Side Hustles (pet sitting right now, but this changes frequently) – $200
  • Total Monthly Income – $9500

Our Extra

The average extra between our expenses and our income is how we fund our future and fun.  We are fully funding two Roth IRA’s ($11,000 total a year).  We also put $500 a month minimum to our new-to-us car fund.  The majority of the remainder is put towards other savings goals like stock investments, growing our emergency fund, rent home maintenance, etc.  A smaller percentage is saved or used for current vacations and fun.

Overall, our pure savings rate is around 25% a year.  With time, we’ll pay off our current mortgage and we could always cut about $500 a month if we get rid of convenience stuff.  But there’s not much we can do about income and property taxes…that’s just the cost of making money and owning property in Texas.  At least the homes themselves are affordable.  🙂

How is your monthly budget coming along?

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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15 thoughts on “Checking in on Our Monthly Budget and Troll Rant

  1. Good for you guys! You work your tails off so you totally deserve to earn decent money!! I don’t have any trolls on my blog yet (I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing), but I have managed to acquire a Twitter troll who seems to have comments on pretty much everything I tweet. Anyway, congrats on your 25% savings rate!

  2. “Home Insurance/Property Taxes/HOA – $760″.

    I am interested in a break down of this. I do not live in an HOA, my Canadian property taxes are $3,000 per year and my house insurance is $1,000.

    I do not actually need to know but I like to see how much people in other cities pay for services.

  3. @jayne, for our current home on a monthly basis:

    Home Ins – $100 (about $1200 a year)
    HOA – $60 ($719 a year)
    Property Taxes – $600 (about $7000 a year)

    We don’t have state income taxes, and our property prices are comparably cheap, but our property tax rates are right up there with New Jersey.

    Since our rent house is valued a little higher than a third of our current home’s price, it’s property taxes are only $2200-$2400 a year and the insurance is around $850 a year (no HOA).

  4. It’s really incredible and inspiring to see that you can create that kind of a lifestyle from an online business.
    I can tell by your posts that you are very hardworking. Love these updates!

  5. You guys have been doing great and I think that’s admirable. Some people fail to see that this sort of success doesn’t just fall into your outstretched hands. I think the trolls (though I don’t have such a wide reach that I need to worry about it much) are partly why I haven’t decided to post real numbers on our new net worth round ups.

    I’ll admit to a twinge of envy at your low mortgage in comparison to ours but that’s just general discontent with the housing market here in the Bay Area 🙂

  6. Crystal ! I just realized that you have “Dogs” as a line item @ $100 per month and no line item for human clothing or grooming! That is so ” you” !

    “Fight/ Save when you can, so you will have something when you can’t.” I love that line! Best ever! It is so true. I love your life style. You spend on some things that are fun for you but you are saving 25%. That is ideal and you are right it probably won’t last forever. Something will change with the internet or technology or you’ll want to work less .. maybe a baby ?

    The reality is most Americans spend on “Life Style” and use up that 25% they could be saving. ( No, not everyone can save 25% …. but my point is we don’t take the saving off the top.)
    ~ Christie

  7. You know, they say that certain people are lucky. But the fact is …. people make their own luck. Call it “luck” or opportunity, or just flat hard work and timing. Timing is sometimes a big thing too. Luck? Maybe, but percerverence (how ever it’s spelled) creates opportunities AND “lucky LUCK” seems to follow those who “don’t give up.” Imagine that. 😉

    Crystal – if they’re trolling (or whatever) .. you must be doing something right. Otherwise, “Envy” would never come into the success quotient. Where I work (not self-employed), what I do … timing played a big part in it. Is it luck? Yeah. Sure. I couldn’t have done it without getting a break or 2 along the way. As you know, it’s not easy being successful … and there’s plenty of people who HATE (a strong word) that I/we/anyone who’s wanted it bad enough have succeeded as well as things turn out.

    Truthfully, the numbers you rack up – IMHO – are for your eyes only. Count your blessings in your Blog. COunt your money behind closed doors. least someone try to take advantage of that information. (no, really)

    I must say, I don’t check in that often anymore … but I’m always amazed that you are living proof….. (yada-yada-yada). 😉 There’s a neat little book out there called, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” By: Marsha Sinetar (Author) 1987. Short book, easy read, you’d relate to it very much so.

    We are very proud to know you. You’ve succeeded in a rough and tumble world. And cutthroath, at that. Well done girl. (you know roughly my age, so I can say that). hehe.

    You’re doing something RIGHT … when there’s whiners following your steps. literally.
    Take care … and hopefully we’ll see you sometime soon.

    ODWO. 🙂

  8. It’s odd how people seem to think that once you’ve quit your day job and start working for yourself, you stop working all together. IT makes no sense. You guys are very hard workers and you do earn your money. It is not logical to hate on somebody for that.

    Anyway, your expenses are high, but you include income taxes in it too, so they aren’t as high as they appear. Plus, you are clearly living well within your means!

  9. Wow! I will never again complain about my $960 per year homeowner’s insurance and $700 per year property taxes. I had no idea that Texas property taxes were so high!

    It is so great that you make enough money to live on doing what you love! It is inspiring to those of us just starting out on a blogging journey. I love that you overestimate expenses and have areas you can cut down, or completely out, if needed. Smart!

  10. Congrats, you really did a good job for your online income! I totally agree with you, nothing is forever or guaranteed, last month I lose my one client, but I need to get up and keep going, luckily my other client is really helpful, she introduces me to her co-bloggers to find a side hustle job.

  11. Unfortunately(?) I think most people still believe blogging is an easy/quick way to make money. I work for a blogger and while I don’t know her exact figures I know she makes a good living but I also know she works her tail off and I also put in a solid 20+ hours a month for her, so it really does take a lot to make a lot.

  12. If I had to guess, I would think that a lot of the negativity about your job and your income probably came from people who, if they were truly honest with themselves, probably wish that they had thought of it first. Besides, you make blogging and everything else look easy, which from a perception standpoint, probably makes it appear like easy money, though I know it’s not. You’re hardworking and I’ve enjoyed watching your successes over the years.

  13. Honestly. Some people just can’t stand themselves, I guess.

    Good for you! You two have accomplished what seems to me to be The Impossible: actually making a living in the blogosphere. I think you’re just downright amazing.

    Onward and upward.

  14. @MFM, glad you liked it!

    @Revanche, come on down to Houston! 😉

    @Christie, we rarely buy new clothes or pay much for grooming, so that just falls into the Miscellaneous section. Based on the last couple of years, we spend less than $50 a month overall on stuff like that ($15-$20 hair cuts every 8 weeks-ish and $100 or so on new clothes each year). 🙂

    I’m super glad you liked that line (I liked it to as I was writing it and love it when my favorite parts are noticed)!

    @ODWO, I do hope you make it over soon! And thanks for the pep talk.

    @Daisy, stupid income taxes…

    @Momager, thanks! And yeah, stupid property taxes…

    @Marie, good luck!

    @Helen, so true! Mr. BFS and I put in anywhere between 30-60 hours a week total on the online business, I put in another 20 hours a week for just my blogs, and then we both put in another 20+ hours to our side hustles. That’s a minimum of 55 hours a week and sometimes around 100 for each of us.

    @Money Beagle, awwww!

    @Funny about Money, thank you!!!

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