Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tthe numbers just don't lie

Spent the past day or so, first tweaking my budget from last year (I tend to run Sept thru Aug, revisit in Jan to see how we're faring)as I finally have accurate numbers. I then grabbed my receipts (I save every last one, until it's time to enter them into my budget accounting spread sheet -I use actual paper and pencil). I sensed that there was some overage areas, some better areas, additional areas that could use improvement. Bottom line: the numbers do NOT lie. Sometimes I need a wake up call, and I certainly got one tonight as I plugged in the last of this past Fall 2013 expenditures. So how can I rein in some of these cash outlays?

1-DD no longer has to be driven to/from work, so my gas (even though I get 42 mpg) expenditures will go down. 2 five week long months didn't help either (I fill up every Tues). Dec is a time for me to save as I'll be off 10 days or so at Christmas. Other than appointments, which I try to bundle, there won't be much driving around

2-We'll be eating what is on hand, and I am limiting my additional expenditures for December groceries to $128.33. This will bring me back in budget. I set aside $300 of my money towards groceries, but with DD's "rent" of $100, I spend $400/month on groceries-all inclusive except for cat products, which I tally separately

3-Christmas is paid for, no real CC debt to deal with, thankfully

4-I just paid the auto ins for 6 months in advance, renters ins was paid a year in advance in Sept, and I just bought GC for the car wash. Added to my GC left over from last year and my birthday freebie, I have a year's worth of prepaid car wash services (I go once a month) I also have enough seasoned firewood left over from last year (I over bought) so I don't anticipate needed any this season. Good friend up the street has tons, for free, if needed (lost many trees last year)

5-I continue to tweak efforts to better and further reduce all utilities. This is an on going battle. Case in point, I just did 3 "super" loads of wash, all done in cold well water, all line dried/drying on clothes horses in the LR, near the wood stove. I baked a chicken and roasted squash at the same time for supper.

6-a bit more restaurant food (mostly celebratory) than I realized. Time to close those purse strings shut. I am pretty good about meal planning ahead, and bringing snacks when out and about. I am human, however, and sometimes stumble. Time to get refocused.

7-paid handyman services are pricey!! I did manage to make this rental more comfortable for us, get some tasks I simply couldn't do myself, taken care of. I don't envision needing hired help again until perhaps next Fall, to reinstall the precut, 6 ml poly sheets over the windows (much easier to take down as needed). The other tasks are things that are completed, won't require being addressed again. I pulled some funds out of my EF to cover this luxury, but am now mindful on just how little more I wish to spend on their services.  Don't get me wrong, glad I spent the money, that I was able to do so. I am just ever so mindful of how GOOD of a customer I have been for them.

8-clothes-just replace what must be replaced. DD and college boy are on their own in that dept. and I am trying to wean the younger over as well (my goal is by age 16). That said, many needs are being filled under the Christmas tree this year. : )   I shop sales, take advantage of special deals/incentives etc and do like second hand aka charity/thrift shop bargains. We all have plenty to wear for now, just will replace as needed.

9-As previously mentioned, Christmas expenditures (gifts) are completed. I already have a ham in the freezer and can pull together appropriate sides. I do wish to get some frozen shrimp, an annual splurge, along with some ground pork for my French meat pies for Christmas eve, but beyond what is on the list or a super deal, I really can't shop much in the way for groceries the rest of this month. Plenty on hand, we're not starving by any account. There are no other celebrations such as birthdays until April, so this will give us some time to recover.

10-eat down/use up the stockpiles. I have at least 6 months to a year's worth of laundry detergent, multiple bars soap etc. Some of these were acquired at rock bottom prices, and I have always tried to pick taxables up when there is a good deal, not necessarily remaining brand loyal either.

My concern is that although I returned to work and received a check starting in Sept , 6 checks later, and my checking account is not building up as I feel it should. Having analyzed the receipts, I understand why. Now to get serious and let those dollars build as we reply upon that cushion to live off of come Summer. Additionally, my house fund has taken 2 serious hits as I bought 2 used cars for the older 2 kids. College boys' is an outright gift, DD's, however, is from the no interest bank of Mom, and she has already made her first payment. Gotta get that account as fat as possible, and remain on the path to my next (modest) forever home.

How is the budget looking on your end as we enter the expensive time of year?


Hawaii Planner said...

Like you, I'm in the process of tallying up our 2013 spends (actuals - although I use a spreadsheet :-)), and determine where we're off track, under, can afford to trim, etc. Our lives have changed pretty drastically since I set the budget up last year, so it will be good to review all of the numbers.

We finally are getting our grocery spending back in check - something we've struggled with for quite some time!

Anonymous said...

I am working on ours today and not enjoying it at all. One long conversation with the car insurance company makes me want to scream!

CTMOM said...

Judy-have your tried Progressive? cheapest for me