We Have 4 Kids, Live in Maryland, and Make $240K/year

YNAB Money Snapshots

Welcome to YNAB Money Snapshots—where you see a real picture of someone else’s budget and finances. They’re all anonymous, because sharing money is still a squirrelly topic for many, but we think airing them out in the open makes you better with your own money story. 

As you read these budgets, keep in mind that some people make lots of money and some people make a little bit of money, but we know it’s what you do with that money and how you feel about that money that means more than any yearly salary. 

See how a couple in Maryland with four kids making $240,000/year spent their money in April.


  • Names: Tina & Jeff 
  • Ages: 40 & 37
  • Location: Maryland
  • Jobs: Software engineer and construction project manager
  • Living situation: Married with four kids

Income: $240k/year

  • Tina makes $180,000 a year as a software engineer
  • Jeff makes $60,000 a year as a construction project manager

Savings: $437,800

  • Savings: $7,800
  • Retirement: $430,000 

Debt: $607,000

  • Mortgage: $384,000 @ 3.875%*
  • Home Equity: $158,000 @ 4.25% (adjusting rate)
  • Jeff’s Car: $22,000 @ 2.74%
  • Tina’s Van: $20,000 @ 3.04%
  • Personal Loan: $23,000 @ 5.99%

*I think our original loan for the house was $490K. We did a cash-out refinance to pay off credit cards and do a bathroom renovation about four years ago, and chose to have the home equity portion be larger to give a lower interest rate on the main mortgage. 

April Inflows: $23,689

  • Tina Payroll: $13,188 (three-paycheck month!)
  • Jeff Payroll: $4,084 (paid on the 1st and 15th)
  • Jeff work mileage reimbursement: $494
  • Dependent Care FSA: $625
  • Whole Life Insurance Surrender*: $4,973
  • Girls on the Run Program Refund: $225
  • Cash rewards statement credit: $100

*If your policy has accumulated some cash value, you can cancel the policy and take the surrender value in a cash payment. We took the money and moved it to 529 plans/personal loan.

April Spending


Catego­ry Target Amount Notes
Auto Loan – CRV $447
Auto Loan – Odyssey $485
Sofi Personal Loan $3,166 The regular payment for this is $1000.
HELOC $725
College $2,492 Just opened 529 plans! We’ll plan to save $200/month here.
Monthly Bills
Mortgage $3,046
Insurance – Auto $173
Insurance – Life $273
Utilities – BGE $317
Utilities – Verizon $80
Entertainment – Xfinity $198
Nanny Paycheck $2,633
Homepay fees $230 Quarterly service that provides nanny with direct deposit payroll and W2.
Nanny Taxes $175 weekly $700
Auto – Gas $93
Family Activities $53 Part of this was renting Trolls World Tour…twice.
Family Restaurants $171
Family – Medical $18
Groceries & Supplies $2,138
Home Furnishings $84
Home Service – iCloud $3
Home Services (other) $7
Utilities – Water (Feb, May, Aug, Nov) $197
Reimbursable $477 Mileage repayment, work reimbursements
Jeff – Miscellaneous $119
Jeff – Beer/Alcohol/Vape $555
Jeff – Work Expenses $42
Tina – Work Food & Coffee $22
Sarah – Misc $98
Sarah – Allowance $41 Our kids get a monthly allowance. They have a separate budget in YNAB with their own categories.
Sarah – Dance $64
Sarah – GOTR $113 Got money back because the program was cancelled 🙁
Sarah – Summer Camp $365 We got refunded for this in May. 🙁
Lilly – Misc $55
Lilly – Allowance $91
Lilly – GOTR $113
Lilly – Summer Camp $365
Maryanne – Allowance $18
Edmund – Misc $19
Total Needed $20,286

My Savings Categories

Right now my top savings goals are:

Christmas. This one always sneaks up on me! Despite my pleas to “make christmas smaller,” it hasn’t worked and I just need to plan for it.

College. We now have 529 plans for all four of our kids. Originally, we got life insurance policies when my 10-year-old was born, and the rep told us it was a good way to save for college. After some research, we realize we should have started with a 529. 

Family Vacation. Someday after the pandemic we hope to get back to Camping at Hershey Park—our favorite family vacation.

Family Pictures. I love getting professional shots taken once a year.

My Month

Last month we spent a little more on groceries because we did some large instacart orders to avoid going out during the pandemic. Although we started cutting back spending to get out of debt, it’s been easier with everything closed!

My Story

We’ve been very fortunate to have high incomes. But, with four kids and more and more and more expenses, we’ve found ourselves living paycheck to paycheck. 

We would ride the credit card float (not even knowing that was a thing), utilizing 0% credit card offers to buy home furnishings and Christmas. I tried to use Mint to have a budget, but it was never helpful at anticipating the non-monthly expenses. Was $1000 a month of savings enough? Surely that’s enough, I thought, but even that goal never seemed to be met using Mint. 

It was helpful to have the spending data from Mint when we moved to YNAB—though our YNAB conversion didn’t happen right away. 

I started with YNAB in 2018 but had so much trouble with not being able to fund everything initially. It felt like I had no freedom at all. I tried again and subscribed last July. I’ve really been looking at it daily and reconciling frequently for the last 4 months. So, you could say my true conversion happened in December. 

Using a YNAB budget template, I determined that we need about $1,800 to fund our true expenses each month (Christmas, summer camp, auto repairs, water bill, HOA bill, and yearly subscriptions like Amazon prime, YNAB, TurboTax, McAfee). It’s so much easier to save for them each month because I force myself to make them “green,” and then I hide the category so I won’t steal from them.

Using the budget template, I also determined we were in a deficit, and there’s no way we could maintain the same lifestyle without going further in debt. In order to cut back, we stopped a lawn service that was $245/mo, I no longer get our house professionally cleaned ($160/mo), I’m cutting my husband’s hair ($25/mo), and I leave my discretionary purchases from Amazon in my cart for three days (ensuring they are budgeted for but also that I really want them). I am also trying to fix our belongings or do without before buying a replacement.

Things are going really well right now because we’re still both getting full paychecks during the pandemic. I know there are so many people that are not, so we really are so grateful for this. 

We’re off the credit card float completely and we now have the money before we spend it! We’re not quite a full month ahead, but we’re nearly there. I have everything set to auto-pay on the 1st of the month, so that’s an exciting day with the bank account. 🙂

My Financial Goals

While we still need my sister-in-law as a nanny, my goal is to not go further into debt. Once the child care expenses decrease in about a year and a half, we’ll be able to aggressively pay down debt and save for home updates.

I would rate my current financial situation: 3/5

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