The savvy dental hygienist: Your personal budget in 5 minutes per month

September 15, 2014

Dr. Doug Carlsen has talked to dental hygienists about their retirement number (and how to find it in less than 10 minutes) and managing personal finances.

Dr. Doug Carlsen has talked to dental hygienists about their retirement number (and how to find it in less than 10 minutes) and managing personal finances. Now he is back with some easy ways to make sure your personal budget is in check and keeping you and your family in the black.

Below are his tips...

Make sure your checking account is balanced each month. Quicken can balance for you. This is fine, yet check for any spurious entries.

Credit Cards: Again, check for spurious entries.

Simple budget tracking comes next. Couples need to be aware of these “hot” problem areas:

Clothes: The average family spends $300 per month. If it’s higher, track it. If someone has unopened clothes in the closet, this is a sign of major trouble.

Personal Hygiene: This area can go nuts. It includes haircuts, mani-pedis, facials, massages, yoga, Tibetan bell therapy, and any other alternative way to settle you down. Yes, you need it, yet watch the price. The normal couple spends but $150 per month. I’ve seen spending easily top $500 per month. If over $150 per month, track it.

Home Improvements and Maintenance: This is the biggest personal obstacle to a family’s savings. The average for is around $400 per month, or about $5,000 per year, yet for those with $600,000+ homes; the total can easily top $15,000 per year. Given that the hygienist family needs to save at least 15% of a $100,000-$150,000 family income, or $15,000 to $22,500 per year for retirement, that extra $10,000 spent presents a large impediment to savings.

Gifts: The average is $300 per month. This amount can explode in family’s 50s when grandchildren emerge.

Dining Out: This is another large problem area. The average is $400 per month, yet I know of couples and families that dine out every night of the week, spending well over $1,000 per month.

Hobbies: Average is $150 per month. Carlsen’s weakness is mountain biking and skiing. These eat up $300 per month for him alone!

Vacations: Average is $500 per month. Families can easily spend over $18,000 per year, or $1,500 per month. Vacation time is important, yet keep it to 6% or less of your personal income.

Finally, talk to your spouse about your personally hot spending areas.