Table of Contents
Annual wages $75,000
Monthly Gross pay $6250
Federal Withholding $265
Social Security $238
California State $149
Net Monthly pays $5,542
2.2 My estimated monthly budget
My family comprises of three family members expenses, which is me, my wife, and our one year old son. We live in an apartment in California.
|Estimated monthly Expense||Amount ($)|
|Internet services & Phone services||50|
|My school tuition||2250|
|Transportation, Car maintenance & Insurance||300|
|Emergency Fund contribution||70|
|Masters degree savings account contribution||100|
|Entertainment, Gym membership||100|
|Net income gain||11|
Detailed above are my income statement and my estimated monthly budget. As much as my budget is small, I always aim to maintain it at the manageable level to avoid drowning in debts and even making some savings according to my short term and long term goals. My annual salary is $75,000 which translates to monthly gross pay of $6250. There are other charges levied such as federal withdrawing, social security, Medicare and California state levies bringing my net pay to $5,542.
According to Randal (2007), housing is the most expensive item in California State. With an annual salary of $75,000 before tax, considering purchasing a home is a bad idea. As much as buying a house is one of my long-term goals, I plan budgeting and planning for it after getting a well paying job or after establishing my business and making it successful to cater for purchasing a home. Therefore, with my net monthly salary of $5542, I opted for $950 rent for my apartment for my family. This is the average rental prices in my neighborhood since it is safe and it is not also expensive.
California State is a region that is hard getting around without a car and therefore transportation forms part of monthly budget. My 2007 Toyota corolla car is reliable and uses fuel efficiently estimated at $164 per month, even with the soaring gas prices. My car uses 1 gallon per 29 miles and I drive to work and school daily at an estimated distance of 20 miles each way, translating to 40 miles daily, and five times per week. With additional driving on weekend when going out for entertainment or even vacation, the estimated monthly driving is calculated below:
40 miles daily× 30 days per month= 1200 miles
1200 miles per month/29 miles per gallon=42 gallons of gas per month
Cost per gallon $3.961 × 42= $164
I have a good driving record, combined with my car’s liability insurance costs of $30 per month and car maintenance, my monthly transport cost is estimated to be $300
With a family of three, food is major item in my budget. With $500 I am able to feed my family well because here in California, we have several regional markets competeing with the common super markets. Averagely in the regional markets, the goods prices are about 40%-60% cheaper compared to the chain markets and they carry many items needed in the house like snacks, cleaning supplies, tools and tooth pastes among others.
I installed “naked DSL” for only DSL and this provides me with full internet connection services at $40 per month. Furthermore, I went for pre paid phone services from T-mobile at $10 per month. This brings my monthly expense for internet connection and phone service per month to be $50.
Californian weather is always good all year round and generally electricity is low, estimated to be $90 from my past average electricity bill of five months. My apartments pay for water and trash services. Similarly, I do not consume much gas and therefore a budget of $200 is enough per month. Moreover, I do my monthly cloth shopping at Old Navy and sometimes at Ross since they provide discounts and their cloths are of quality.
As part of my short term goals to live healthy lifestyle, I have enrolled in a nearby gymnasium for my workouts three times per week. Moreover, as part of my entertainment I go out for few movies, go for some camping trips and eat out occasionally. Moreover, I make good use of free places like the beaches for my entertainment and therefore, an estimated budget of $100 is enough.
Planning for my retirement and having protection in future is also part of my long term goals. Similarly, setting aside emergency funds in a savings account to help in resolving emergency situations swiftly was part of plan. My estimated monthly budget has catered for savings in form of Roth IRA is $150 and emergency finds contribution is $70. Moreover, I also save for my Master’s degree education that I plan to pursue after my undergraduate studies wit $100 per month.
Lastly, Childcare is free in California State and is sponsored by the state government and therefore is nil in budgets. I also pay my tuition fees of $2,250 per month for my studies. Lastly, I do budget for $80 for miscellaneous expenses in addition to taxes of $311
Cash management according to AAT (2013) refers to concentration, collection and disbursement. My plan to manage my cash balances in a manner that satisfies my budget, maximizes cash availability and avoid risks of debts
In management of finances, I will use ING Direct since they will be providing me with online pay services, savings services and checking services. Furthermore, the will allow me to create sub- accounts so that I can make savings for specific goals.
Because they offer many services and tool, I will use ING Direct as my primary tool for budgeting. I will be setting aside some money in specific pools of sub accounts, transfer the money back and forth automatically, and set up automatic payment of bills. These tools provided by the ING Direct bank will allow me to manage my finances effectively.
The process in which ii will use in maintenance of my budget is a step by step process as outlined below:
- I will first of all get an account with the ING Direct because it has online checking and access to savings in addition to pay bill.
- The second step will be to set up an automatic bill payment for my bills per month. This means that for every regular bill per month that I have, I will set up an automatic payment of bill for that particular bill so that I do not have to worry about paying it when it is due. This will be done by creating the specifying the date and amount to pay it, and payment will be made automatically on that regular date
- I will also create a sub- account for each saving goal and irregular bill. This one will be for the other bills that usually come after several months has passed and sometimes crunch the budget such as my car insurance and gas bill. Similarly, I will set up sub accounts for specific saving goals such as my emergency funds, my Masters’ degree education and long vacation to France after my graduation. For these I will create sub accounts to set aside some money so that when their bills come however big or small they are, I am ready. These sub accounts I will give them names to identify them as my distinct funds such as “emergency funds,” “Masters Degree funds,” “car insurance,” “Gas bill,” and “France Vacation.”From there, I will set up an automatic money transfer into these sub accounts
- My next step will be to pay the bills as they come. This will be done after setting everything well and only remains with the responsibility of paying the bills as they come in. I will be paying my bills by 5th every month. I will ensure that I am on top of the incoming bills so that I do not get fined for late payments. Since I will have set most of bill payments to be handled through automatic transfer, I will not have many things to deal with; therefore few bills every month will get my attention.
- The fifth and the last step that I will do is that I will apply for debit card from Electric Orange checking services of ING that also functions as a master card to centralize completely all my spending. The debit card will be useful for regular purchases of household things like groceries.
All these tolls and process will create a centralized view of my day-to-day expenditure and also form the core of my budget.
Analysis of my current monthly budget was done under personal income expenses and budget. From the analysis, my monthly gross pay is $6,250 and net monthly pay is $5,542. Moreover, my estimated total monthly expenditure is about $5,531 with a net gain of $11.
My short term goals include Building emergency funds, get a job after my bachelors degree, to study masters after my graduation, go for a two week vacation in France, build my personal development goals, and fitness goals. On the other hand, my long term goals include having my own business, buying a luxury car for my family, buy a house, pay college education for my children, and save money for my retirement.
My cash flows impacts my short term and long term goals significantly and in different ways. My estimated monthly budget caters and also considers my short term and long term goals hence impacting them positively. For instance, my estimated monthly budget has set aside $70 per month for emergency funds, $100 per month for my Masters’ degree, $100 per month for my entertainment and gym membership to satisfy the lifestyle short term goals. Lastly, retirement funds also have a share in my estimated monthly budget at $100 under Roth IRA.
The contribution towards achievement or realization of the goals is underway through financial support. This is evident from my estimated monthly budget. Probably after completion of master’s degree, the kitty can be changed to “children college fees” to start saving the future college fees for my children
According to Bullivant (2010), a person who is in financial debt need to first conduct a realistic assessment of the amount of money they take in and their expenditure amount. I use different ways in management and usage of credit. First of all, when I have a debt, I list all my fixed expenses. These are expenses that are the same each and every month such as the insurance premiums, car payments, my tuition fees and rent. Next, I do list the varying expenses like the clothing, entertainment and groceries. Listing down of all my expenses including te insignificant ones is very essential in tracking down my spending patterns, prioritize the rest and in identification of the necessary expenses. The main goal of my first step in credit management of listing of expenses is to ensure that the basics are fully settled such as my education, insurance, food and housing
When I have a problem of paying the debts as agreed, I immediately contact the creditor and explain to them why it is difficult for me paying the debt on time. I then try to adjust and modify my payment plans to levels that are manageable
If I have secured loans such as car loan and I am unable to pay it on time, I will sell the security (the car) and settle the debt rather than waiting for the creditor to reposes the car and sell it at an added cost. Similarly, if it is a mortgage, I will contact my lender to avoid foreclose
I will go for credit counseling in any reputable organization or financial institution for advice on management of debts and money, assist in budget development, and for free educational workshops and materials. These counselors who are trained and certified in budgeting, debt and money management, and consumer credit will discuss with me my financial situation, and to help me in develop a personalized plan for solving my money problems
- Online shopping-when shopping online credit card is the safest option because the insurers of the credit cards watch for fraudulent charges. It can be reversed quickly if its detected by the holder while debit cards are not protected in some instances like cash payments
- When making large electronic purchases– they are convenient is large electronic purchases in addition to offering warranty protection
- When on a vacation or travelling-it is suitable when away from home and it also adds anti-fraud protection. Moreover, by using credit cards during travels one can get perks such as cash back on purchases, frequent flyer miles, and discounts on the rental cars. Lastly, they are convenient for travel companies, airlines and hotels
- For immediate payments since transactions are simultaneous and is the fastest
- When finances on the budget are automated-this is suitable for luxury and personal purchases and the card holder can use it as much as they want so long as they are within the budget. The card cannot work no more and this is advantageous since overdraft fees will not be incurred
- If recovering from poor habits of financial management or watching the finances. This is because credit cards are bad for some people in money management or living within their means.
- For best foreign currency exchange rate-it offers the current wholesale exchange rate especially when a person travels to a foreign country.
A credit score according to Weston (2012) is a numeric representation of a person’s credit history and ranges between 300 and 850. The factors that impacts credit score include:
- Payment history– late credit card payments of skipping damages credit score while payment of credit card balances and bills on time and in full results to higher score
- Outstanding debt– it is good to use 25% and below of the available credit. Moreover, the more credit cards a person has that have been maxed out, the lower the credit score (Rich, 2013).
- The length of time for building credit– a person with a longer history of credit has a higher credit rating
- The credit report number of inquiries– more credit report inquiries will show up from the number of times a person applies for loans or credit cards. A higher credit report inquiry is an indication that the person is struggling with debt even if they never got a loan or used the cards (Rich, 2013).
- I usually check my score from AnnualCreditReport.com once per year for free. The website asks series of questions ranging from personal information, state, questions related to my finances
- I also use Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) website at MyFico.com
- Lastly, I also sometimes purchase my credit report from the credit Bureaus directly in USA which are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Good credit score makes it possible for banks to issue debit or credit cards, stores to accept checks and companies to manage their operations (Servigny & Renault, 2004).
The applicable taxes to me as a married person with one child filling a joint tax forms are listed below
- Federal tax. 25%
- State tax. 7.5%
- Income tax 6%
- Social security tax. 6.2%
- Medicare tax. 1.45%
Taxes in California State and United States vary and are categorized into different brackets. The tax brackets include age, single, head of household, married and pay tax separately or married and pay tax jointly. With my annual salary of $75,000, married with one child and paying tax jointly with my wife, I pay federal tax of 25% and income tax of 6%. However, the state tax, social security tax and Medicare tax are fixed in California state and cut across every citizen of all ages, whether married or not.
The taxes from my income take a large percentage from budget annually and this also hampers my investments progress and my economic plans. My budget has incorporated some of my long-term and short term goals and I am forced to contribute minimal amounts because of the obligated taxes according to the law.
- Buying and holding– a person is liable to pay tax on managed funds or shares held for one year or less at the regular rate of income tax. However, holding the assets for more than 12 months receives a discount on the capital gain of up to 50%
- Using tax efficient funds– making investment on funds like index funds which has low turnover ca reduce the liability of capital gains, and improves a person’s after tax returns
- Investing in retirement plans– a person can make contributions from their pre-tax salary so that the money is taxed at a very low concessional rate instead of marginal tax rate (Broomberg, 2013).
Association of Accounting Technicians. (2013). Cash management. London: BPP Learning Media Ltd.
Broomberg, E. B. (2013). Tax strategy. Durban: Butterworths.
Bullivant, G. (2010). Credit management. Farnham, Surrey, England: Gower.
Randal O’Toole (2007). Why California Home Prices are So High. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/why-california-home-prices-are-so-high. [Last Accessed 21th October 2014].
Rich, J. (2013). Improve and increase your credit score: Credit management strategies that will save you thousands. New York: Entrepreneur Press.
Servigny, A. ., & Renault, O. (2004). Measuring and managing credit risk. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Weston, L. P. (2012). Your credit score: How to improve the 3-digit number that shapes your financial future. Upper Saddle River, N.J: FT Press.
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