Economic Shutdown: A Household Financial Cleanse With Eddie & Rebecca Goepp – Unexpected Expenses

Untitled-design-7-600x450 Eddie:

We are now over 75% (77% to be exact) of the way through our “Financial Cleanse” and despite tightening the belt figuratively, I, alas, don’t think I can claim that it has helped tighten my belt literally. Either way, through Sunday, May 24th, we have only spent about 60% of our take-home pay. This includes paying for all major household expenses (mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities). Just 60%! The next week will be the home stretch, and we’re encouraged by the progress thus far. Here’s a rough estimate of where our money has gone:


Category % of Total
Total Net Income 100.0%
Total Expenses 60.2%
Mortgage / House 28.1%
Utilities 2.2%
Cell Phones 0.5%
Food 4.5%
Gym / Club 1.5%
Medical (incl. medicine) 1.8%
Car Expense (gas, lease) 8.3%
Cable Internet 1.5%
Necessary Pet Supplies 0.5%
Miscellaneous 1.9%
Charitable 9.4%

These numbers are exciting to review and very revealing. Our home expense is 28% of our take-home pay… for those who have purchased a home before, you’ll recall that lenders typically like to see the PITI ratio (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) at 28% of gross income, and we’re in-line on a net basis. Our next largest outflow is in the charitable category followed by car expense. There’s more to come on the car expense as we had an unexpected (and unfortunate) event take place over Memorial Day weekend. But have no fear, there is a lesson to be learned!

Thus far through May, we’ve spent $363 on food and nothing on dining out. Assuming our spending holds steady through the end of next week, we are on track for huge savings in the grocery category alone, not to mention the substantial savings from not dining out. Before I make this comment, let me just say that this exercise is IMPOSSIBLE unless all parties in the household are on the same page.  I’m very appreciative that Rebecca has been 100% on board for our “financial cleanse.” So once again, I’ll turn the blog over to her….take it away Rebecca:



Our “typical” monthly food-spend in the Goepp household that I’ve been using for comparison’s sake looked like this:

Econ Shutdown Budget Lines 20150526

I love looking at these numbers because it makes me see that these cut backs and small changes have been SO worth it. We are on track to save roughly $600 on just our grocery bill alone. I was pleasantly surprised to see that number. One would think that number wouldn’t have been so substantial with us eating at home for every meal, but we are being very deliberate in what we buy and how we use it. We are also not entertaining friends and family, something that we really LOVE to do, but also can be a strain on the wallet for sure.

Just as a quick recap, here are our weekly meal plans from Week 2 & 3: Week 2

Week 3 Hands down, our favorite dinner was the Shrimp Taco night! We deemed it photo opp worthy! Assorted roasted veggies and grilled corn with shrimp on corn tortillas. The game changer on this recipe was the avocado dip… just avocados blended with strained plain Greek yogurt and lime. DELISH!! Highly recommend.

Econ Shutdown Grill Pic 20150526


Looking back on the savings thus far, I feel that this post couldn’t have come at a better time, I will be completely honest and say that somewhere between my tenth PB&J this month and being stuck at the office really late last night, I was REALLY ready to order Chinese food.  Throw in some crazy pregnancy cravings for frozen yogurt that have gone unfulfilled, and I will say that there have been a couple occasions that I’ve been really ready for June. Just a few fleeting moments, but all the same, it feels good to get that off my chest.

Speaking of confessions, here’s another...I’ve been hoarding dry cleaning. I realized that I was purposefully watching the pile of dry cleaning grow intending to take it in June when “Economic Shutdown” is over… Recognizing this led me to do two things. 1.) Order some of those dry clean at home Woolite sheets, (They claim to clean your dry clean only clothes in the dryer.)  I’ll let y’all know how it goes… And 2.) Tell Eddie a month isn’t really enough, and we need to think through what “Economic Slowdown” might look like moving forward. I say that because my hoarding an expense until the “Economic Shutdown” is over, is kind of missing the point of the exercise. He agreed, and so that means we’ll be sharing our plans for the future next week!

One topic that I’ve gotten asked about is putting the ax on spending money on gifts. Mother’s Day was the big holiday for May, and we shared with our families ahead of time that gifts would be small and handmade. We were really fortunate to be able to share some exciting news with our families on Mother’s Day, and it was a perfect opportunity to create a gift that was both meaningful and FREE.99 to make! Our moms opened a gift that was the gender reveal for our little one due in November. (I printed the sign at home and then used frames we had…)

Econ Shutdown Gift Pic 20150526

While this was fun and very special while being FREE, I think we also both feel that gifts are something that we will work back into our budget in the future. I think keeping gifts reasonable is important. We also have started drawing names with our families on Christmas which makes it a lot more financially feasible as our family is growing and still a very special opportunity to give to loved ones.

One thing that, unfortunately, came up this week, as we alluded to earlier in the post, was an unexpected car expense. Driving home from a cookout on Saturday night, we caught a nail in the tire of the Nissan Leaf! Huge bummer. By morning, it was flat as a pancake. One blown tire turned into purchasing two new tires in order to keep the car’s balance in-line…so we walked out of Costco’s Tire Center $280 dollars poorer. Always looking for the takeaway lesson during Economic Shutdown, while this expense was not anticipated and the $280 was certainly not pleasant to part with…having the additional cash flow due to saving in so many other areas make the “Uh Oh’s” in life a lot less painful…We didn’t have to dip into our emergency savings to cover the cost of the new tires.

Econ Shutdown Leaf Tire Pic 20150526

Yes, that’s our buddy from the Tire Center photo-bombing our documentation. As unfortunate as this was, we did say “hey, let’s take a picture and include it in the blog!” Always a silver lining I guess.

So another great week has come to a close. We hope that everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. We are blessed to live in a great country and we are thankful to our troops! Tune in next week for a final look at Economic Shutdown and a preview of Economic Slowdown.


Economic Shutdown Part 4: The Final Week