Monday, July 29, 2013
The new month approaches, and several are naming it, "Austerity August" for a variety of reasons. It's fitting as August is always my most challenging month, financially speaking. I am going into the new month with all of my bills paid in full, except for the CC bill which will come in a few weeks.
I've transferred my monthly payments for the car loan that I paid off early, into my savings account. I'll make my next "payment" to myself at the end of Sept. I will continue to do this until I reach the month when the former loan would have otherwise been paid off (July 2014) Then, those same funds will be set aside for my next car purchase, hopefully a year or 2 later. I also hope to see my house savings account grow quickly, as I anticipate needing little, material wise, the next year. Should we move, that will incur cost, as will some things for a possible new rental. As with this location, I would use what I already have on hand, whenever possible. If we do move, I anticipate needing to address:
-a bed for DS #1
-2-4 window A/C units. (one per bedroom) I currently have 2, which were the worst condition ones from my marital home, and they need replacement. One has side "wings" that are simply broken, so I've duct taped them closed. Hoping for Freecycle on that as one can easily spend $200/unit. I also hate to invest in new A/C units when I don't know if my next home (purchase) will have central A/C or not.
-perhaps 2 dressers (one for DD and one for DS #1)
The rest of our basic furniture needs have been addressed this past year, including some wants such as rugs, decorative pieces. If we move, once settled, I wouldn't be surprised if wants/needs arose. That is normal.
To date, I am left with over 2 months worth of household budget in the checking account. I just need to get through until Sept 15th, when my next check arrives. In the meanwhile:
-we will aim to have days where the car sits in the driveway, all car trips will be bundled, as usual
-we will eat down more of the food on hand, before replacing it. Yes, some fresh items will be purchased such as milk, but otherwise, unless it's a phenomenal deal, expenditure will be kept to a minimum
-we will forage for wild raspberries, freeze for Winter use
-arrange to go apple picking, again putting up for the next year
-I plan on purchasing bulk "second" tomatoes for canning. I've sent out emails to 2 organic farmers to see if that is an option this Summer. Tomato crop so far looks like it will be phenomenal this year, and we certainly do use a lot of them
-a keen eye will be kept on food, to avoid waste.
-we continue to eat less meat at meals
-more and more scratch cooking
-many items are getting used up, but there is no urgency to immediately replace them. One more serving of yogurt is on hand until . . .? - we have alternatives
-restaurants? we rarely frequent them. It will be DD's birthday next month, the option is still available for her, if she chooses to eat out to celebrate. Otherwise, we simply won't. I have to make it at home instead (unless I have a GC)
-back to school/work clothes shopping will be held off as long as possible. I've always done this, especially as the kids are still in Summer gear for the first 2 months of school. I do NEED to purchase dress pants for myself. So far, the second hand market has not yielded any success. I keep trying
-no vacation this year. I am still recovering from shoulder surgery. Perhaps a day trip or 2 can be worked out, however. a trip to the movies, a pizza night out (got gift certificates), picnic at one of the parks in town
-all laundry will be line or inside air dried to further reduce the electric bill
-we are adjusting to our small, kitchen refrigerator. I am contemplating shutting off the undercounter, "bar" refrigerator used for overstock. Not much in there, this would yield savings, once we eat more out of the current fridge such as the 5 lb bag of carrots taking up 1/2 of the bottom shelf
-while the dishwasher is used, it is set to "air dry" for savings
-I use a wash basin in the sink. It costs me money to pump the water into the house (well) and it costs even more to heat it (oil burner)
-A/C, if needed, is reserved for at night and we gather in my room and stay cool while watching TV
-light usage continues to be monitored. Days are getting shorter, I've noticed already
-all bills will continue to be reviewed such as cell phone, cable, newspaper.
-our medical bills are in flux as our insurance changed to a high deductible plan, effective July 1. We have to eat $4000 in medical bills before ins. pays out 100% of the rest, assuming that the provider is in plan. Fortunately, well physicals, immunizations, well woman care are covered at 100% so this "donut hole" doesn't exist for those visits. Ditto semi-annual dental cleanings. This is an interesting change, we are getting accustomed to it. While my take home pay is projected to rise a bit, as premiums for this type plan are lower than my previous ins., after taxes, it will be a wash most likely. I need to adjust my household budget to reflect this new system.
-I have looked into selling some books at a used book store for "credit" at that store. I'll need to see what they have and glean if they carry things I'd be interested in. To purchase, I have to use 1/2 store credit, 1/2 cash-it's policy. So I am thinking on this vs simply donating these books away, taking a tax slip and being done with it. I really don't want any more books in the home. We are definitely frequent flyers at the library. : )