You are here:

Living on a Budget, Saving Money/Re: best way to start 2014


I need your advice. This year we promised to pay down debts and we would like to stick to our plan. But I need guidance. My husband and I take home $7300/mo. Our bills include rent $1750,Car for $243 (only owes $1300)utilities $340 incl cell, ins $125, daycare $1200. We have a huge consumer debt: $700 min on card 1 (bal $23k with 8% rate), $230 min of card 2 (Bal $11k with 13% rate), $70 on card 3 (bal $1300 with 23%)and $25 min on card 4 (bal $1300 with no rate as long as paid in june 2014). There is 4 of us at home so food/groceries normally range from $1300-1500 plus gas $400/mo.
Currently my husband contributes 4% of his income to 403 and my work has pension but i still contribue $75/mo on my 401k. I only have $14k on my pension and $3k on 401. My husband has 2500 on his 401 from previous job and $4k on his current 403.

We do not have any ER funds.

I would like to dedicate this year to saving ER, debt reduction. But I was thinking since my work has pension already and my
husband's job does not match, i would like to do a ROTH ira instead. But if we do that, it will be aftertax and so my take home pay will be smaller.

My question is can you help design our budget? Also, how will you prioritize these 3: saving, debt reduction and ROTH IRA.
I know having an emergency cushion is a must so i don't fall back on my credit card. Do you think 1500 is enough as ER? Once I have $1500, should i divide my extra money between IRA and debt reduction?

Let me know what you think. I would like to set a goal of paying off 3 debts in the next year and half.
I tried to be as detailed as possible so you can help us the best way.
Thanks for your time and effort!!""

Hi Alexi:

Thank you for choosing me to assist you on your journey to financial freedom. If I understood you correctly you are trying to get direction on what to do with your income as it relates to paying off debt, saving for retirement and building an emergency fund.  Your question is can “I help you to customize a budget to fit your needs?”

My first response is on this forum I cannot directly help you to customize a budget but I can indirectly help you by pointing you in the right direction.  I personally specialize in helping people customize a budget to track their money and become more organize.  It seems like you and your husband are already doing a great job at tracking your money.  

My second response is to recommend a person who gives direction in living debt free and long term planning of money.  His name is Dave Ramsey.  He has a book called “The Total Money Makeover” which walks you through the “7 Baby Steps”.  In addition, he also has classes in various cities, radio/podcast and big seminars.  His baby steps will address your concerns. I personally have his book and have followed his baby steps and I have been debt free for the last seven years.

It sounds like you and your husband are ready to do something different this year. Thank you for being proactive. Below are links to my website and to Dave Ramey’s website.  I hope this helps.  

Living on a Budget, Saving Money

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ericka Joseph


The budget is a guaranteed way to track your money and develop money discipline. I am open to answering any questions which concern customization of a budget and using tools to help you stay discipline. I will also answer about creating and maintaining an emergency fund. Although I can speak about long-term financial planning and investing, I will choose to only focus on the fundamentals I use for my financial success, at this time.


I have achieved every financial goal I have set in the last 14 years to include being debt free in the last eight years. I teach my budget class online on Udemy.


I am a retired U.S. Marine of over 20 years. I am the CEO of Plan2Win Solutions, LLC and currently a Homeschool Mom. I hold a BA in Psychology from Chapman University of Orange, CA and AA in Business Administration from Strayer University of Washington, DC.

©2016 All rights reserved.