Sunday, February 16, 2014
Update: trying to keep a lid on expenses
Food wise has been good: we preplan the night before, as I always have, taking out items from the pantry, defrosting meat as needed, checking that other needed ingredients are located in the freezer or a substitute selected. The Crockpot has been a true friend, DD helps set it up before leaving for work, I can often prepare the sides or get help doing so from the kids. February's grocery budget is spent; we have a bit left to cover milk. 2 weeks to go in a short month, I think we can do this. DS was given some more groceries to tide him over as he is feeling pinched due to some unexpected bills. I willingly gifted him, but reminded him that he can't expect me to cover his groceries. We're in crisis mode here.
While I did get paid 2/14, direct deposit, my check was significantly lower than usual as I am doubling up on my required deductions (HSA, medical ins, union dues, long term disability) to cover the 3/15 and 3/30 pay periods. I should have a teeny check 3/15, as now 5 of the 10 work days will be paid leave, and even tinier will be the 3/30 check (assuming that I return to work 3/26 as originally planned), with 3 of the 10 work days being paid as I will be back to work).
We continue to try to cut expenses, during this austere time, so as NOT to have to pull funds out of savings, which took a hit when I bought cars for the older 2 (one is required to pay back the bank of Mom), and my "new to me" Prius. Remaining out of debt during this uncertain time was deemed essential. Funds are there if desperate, we continue to try to live off of what is coming in, reducing expenses at the same time. Some are fixed such as rent, auto/life/renter's insurance.
Some expenses are on hold: car wash, gas, wood for stove, restaurant, lawn care. this offers some reduction.
The variable expenses are the areas of potential savings:
-oil: since we are currently not using the wood stove, I am home 24 hrs/day (mostly), and it's been unusually cold, I anticipate that this correlates to higher oil use.
-electric-again, with me recovering, there have been "opportunities" for increased electric use such as machine drying clothes since I can't carry a basket upstairs. DD is home this morning, so we plan on doing some colored clothes in cold and hanging them up. Planning like that will help control usage.
-plowing-that's Mother Nature and we've had a stormy Winter this year
-cable-reduced previously, how much lower can I go?
-trash-tends to be under $10/month since we compost and recycle heavily. Status quo I suspect
-personal care-we continue with hair services, no clothes at the moment
-medical-luckily, it's pretty much covered if we stay in network, as we hit our high deductible
-newspaper-I dropped that to Sunday only, still contemplating losing it all together
-accountant-I set aside $/monthly to cover tax preparation
-groceries-I dropped this from $300 + DD's "rent" of $100 to cover her portion, to $100 from DD + $100 from my budget. Significant reduction in stockpiles is noted, more will be evident over the next 6 weeks and longer, possibly, as we "recover" from this lack of income crisis.
Some possible income:
-I own some bonds that I can cash in, originally intending to do so in order to buy my next home
-I have some nice jewelry (wedding rings, gold n semi precious rings and earrings I no longer wear)that I planned on selling, then using the proceeds to have my broken pearl necklace restrung. I need to find a reputable jeweler that would give me a decent price
-I have several cases of quart canning jars to unload, a size no longer practical for my family, that I could post on a free tag sale community forum or Craigslist
-I also have my hardcover, Nancy Drew's-not sure if they are worth anything