After months and months of juggling numbers I think we finally have a budget set for our first year in Chile. This was no easy feat. I tried constantly to cut corners here, put more money there, and to have a budget that wouldn’t send me or anyone else into shock. The figure given to us for what it costs to put a field personnel couple on the field was simply mind boggling. For those who are curious, the figure sits right at $90,000 per year. I know…shocking, isn’t it?
Needless to say since we are having to raise our own funds we tried as hard as possible to cut every corner that there was to be cut. At one point we had our budget down around $70,000. We were pleased with how much we were able to trim off. Then we sent it to Chile to get their take on it. After those discussions our bottom line rose once more. We tried to see what we could afford to do away with in our operating budget and what we could pay for out of our own salary. It was no easy task.
But finally, after the gentle nudge of orientation, we submitted our budget, for better or worse. The bottom line? Well, we got it down to $84,507 per year. I know, I know. It still sounds outrageous and many probably think we’re going to be living the high life; so, in an effort to be as transparent as possible, let me break down our budget for you all.
Our salary is less than half of this amount sitting at around $34,000, the lowest salary for a field personnel couple. Health insurance was a large portion of the sample budget budget we were given. We tried and tried to find cheaper policies that were still comprehensive. Because of Bekah’s back we had to go with the group policy for her. This means an extra $3,173 annually. I will be able to buy an individual policy for much cheaper, and we can pay for that out of our salary. Another part of our ‘salary package’ is what is called a self-employment tax supplement. In short, since we are self funded we have to be sure to pay medicare and social security taxes, and so we have to raise that amount too, which sits at around $4,883. So our total salary package is $42,616, slightly over half of our overall budget.
Where does the rest go? Well the rest are our operating expenses; this is the money we will use directly for the ministry. Some things pertain to airfare to get there, which in our case is relatively expensive at around $1,600 per person. One of our largest operating expenses will be the purchase of a 4X4 vehicle. Most of our ministry will take place in the Andes mountains where there are no paved roads or public transit. Therefore we have to buy a car ($10,000), pay for gas ($8,200), and pay for maintenance ($3,700). Needless to say, you can see how this would quickly add up, especially when we begin to include other operating expenses such as ministry supplies, language school, Visas, or any other cost associated with relocation.
So we’re in kind of a unique place right now. We’re relieved to have submitted our budget for approval, but we are intimidated by the bottom line. Pray for us as we begin the long road of fundraising. Also pray about if there is any way you would like to support us, be it through prayer, finances, or coming to serve alongside of us once we are there.