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Registered nurse and construction business owner: Our budget and planning for our future

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My name is Julia Walker, I'm 27 years old, I'm a registered nurse and I make a base salary of 56,000 a year. My name is Michael Walker, I'm 25 years old, I own my own company, Walker Wilderness Enterprises, and I also work for an auction house company and I make 37,000 a year. I started by being the sole breadwinner for our family when Michael was starting his company. He had also finished his undergraduate degree at CU at the time. And so we lived on my income until we found out we were having a baby and then we realized we needed a little more money so that we could prioritize having somebody at home all the time with our daughter, that's very important to us that we raise her. And so that means sacrificing one of us working. So when I went on maternity leave, I took longer than most women do and Michael started working at the auction house and we're just kinda used to having one income right now. And it's working for us, but I will go back to work in about a month on a as needed basis just to boost the income a little bit. So we lived in Boulder after we both graduated college and I finished my nursing degree and we found that rent was extremely high. We just couldn't afford it coming out with the money that I was bringing in alone while you were starting your business. And really city life was never for us anyway. We always wanted a country life and I grew up on a farm. And my family has been very open and welcoming and we've been living with my parents for a little while now and it's been fantastic. We've been able to save a lot of money, continue to work on your company, I could go back to school. We had our daughter. Yeah, we have daycare that is free. (Julia laughs) We've definitely saved a lot of money from doing it and I think that we've had a great situation here. We haven't had any poor relationships from it and it's been good for everybody. Her parents said it was weird having a big empty house and so we're welcoming everybody back. (laughter) The farm has been an escape for us so we like to do all the farm work. We don't really seem like it's farm work to us or work at all. It's kind of an escape from our other jobs and you're just out in nature exploring, doing whatever and having the quiet relaxing area. What's nice about the farm too is we don't rely on it for income, necessarily. So we get to try different things, it's more of a hobby farm, so this summer we had cattle in which we could actually invest in a cow and put the money back into our daughter's savings account. My family actually did that for me when I was growing up for college. But we have chickens, Michael and I have a garden every year that we can the produce and have it in the winter and it's just fun. It's a good escape like Michael said. So our monthly income pre-tax is $2,880. And that's just based on Michael's income right now while I'm on maternity leave. After that we pay about $480 in taxes, so that's our state, federal, social security, medicare, it's a lot more that comes out of your paycheck than you think about initially. Health insurance we pay about $50 a month for our family, which is actually incredible. Yeah, it's through my auctioneer company that I work for and it's a really good rate they get. It is. It's really low, which is really nice. Which is a lot better than what Julia was paying when she was working at the hospital when we were on that health insurance plan. We paid about $340 a month on my plan, which was crazy. Yeah, it's a nice big difference. It is. So our take home income after all of that is about $2,350. So our rent, well we don't have any 'cause we live with my parents, but we consider our small loan for our container house while we're building it to be our rent if you will. So that's around $380. And then our gas and electric bill is 0 for us 'cause we share with her parents and they don't charge us. They haven't charged us. So that's been really nice. Which is also the same for our TV and internet. They pay for that as well. They do. We do have cellphones, each of us, that's about $84 a month. As far as commuting goes, that's one of our bigger expenses. That's about $600 a month. We had to buy a bigger car when we had our baby. So we now have an auto loan and Michael commutes quite far for his job at the auctioneers. So that includes gas and also auto insurance. And then student loans, that's on me. I am still paying a small private loan for my nursing degree that is not taken out while I'm doing my masters, so we pay that. And that's $200 for that. And then our food is about $380 a month. And we usually do just our shopping at the beginning of the week so that we kinda budget everything out and we know how much we're spending each week. Exactly. And really our only other cost is diapers right now. Which is about $40 a month. And every so often we try to go see a movie or so. So we allow about $100 for entertainment, eating out, things like that. But really our fun is at home now with our daughter and playing on the farm here. Yeah and we have a tight budget, which is nice 'cause we're able to then save money. So after those expenses we have about $566 leftover in which we put into various savings accounts. So $100 goes into Michael's 401k, that comes directly out of his paycheck at the auctioneers. We put about $200 in our joint savings account and then $200 in our daughter's college account. So we're trying to save for college every month. And I think what we wish we knew is we wish we knew how expensive life was. Having a kid is very expensive. I may or may not have told you that it wouldn't be that expensive. (Michael chuckles) But as we've learned, it is expensive to have a child. Totally worth it though. Rent is expensive. When we didn't live on the farm, it was unaffordable for us. And I think one of the most important things we've learned really is to invest in yourself in certain things. So it's okay to invest in your education, because that's improving you down the road, Improving your financial outlook, if you will. Sometimes you do have to put a car on loan, but just be reasonable in what you get. Don't get a ridiculous car that you don't need. Maybe consider a used one, we did that. Yeah, we got a used car, 'cause it was great. And it was great. A this point in our lives on one income, we're kinda sacrificing the fancy new clothes or a lot of travel right now and just really trying to stick to our budget. And also enjoy the things that really matter most, which is our family.
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