The last time I blogged about this topic, I informed you that we will be spending $75.00 per week for food and $100. per week for other incidentals. They were covered here: A New Budget for 2018.
We have been using the $ 75.00 per week food budget for quite a while now and it works well. I have stayed under budget all month. Matter of fact, I only spent $32. last week and I still have my $75.00 for this week. Are you wondering what happens to that money if I don’t spend it? For this month, whatever is left over will go into savings.
Starting the first week in January 2018, $75.00 will go into my cash envelope every week. Whatever is leftover each week will roll into the next week or weeks. It is nice to be able to build up the budget for the weeks that I see a great deal on meat or something else that we use all of the time. It can also be used for something special when company comes.
The same will happen with the $100. per week in the incidental budget. It will get put in it’s own cash envelope.
I am using cash as a learning tool for all of you. I find that you really think more about what is a need or a want when you have to hand over hard earned cash. It is just too easy for a lot of people to put these things on a credit card each week and go over the budget. Then before they know it they have either gone into debt or added to the debt they already have. If you need to get rid of debt, cash is the way to go. If you can track what you are spending and pay that credit card off every month without fail, then go ahead and use the credit card. Otherwise use cash!
Next, we set our budget for eating out. The amount we settled on is $100. per month. We only plan on eating out once every couple of months. Cooking at home is the way we will go most of the time. We have a favorite restaurant that is very expensive. We prefer to eat there so $200. every other month will allow us to do that. That envelope will also build up with what we don’t spend. With the diet we follow we will not be eating any fast food.
Gasoline is set at $50.00 per month. We don’t put a lot of mileage on our SUV except when we travel so this should be plenty. We will use our credit card for this because it is convenient. It is too darn cold here to have to run in to pay for gas. We will track this in Quicken.
I believe this is most of the flexible spending that we do. Most of our bills like cable, internet, telephone, insurances, utilities and property maintenance, etc. are pretty much set in stone. I have finally reconciled with the fact that Hubby wants his cable TV, internet and phone so that will be $188. per month. Yup that is what our bill is now. It just keeps going up with this new company, Spectrum. UGH! As much as it pains me, I have given in to the fact that Hubby loves his cable.
Our utility bill for natural gas and electric for the past year was $1724.39. I know it’s high but Hubby is always cold so we have to keep him warm. If we can lower it in other areas except for heat, we will continue to do those things efficiently.
To change the subject a minute, my washing machine is working perfectly again. Was it a fluke that perhaps a valve hung up? Maybe. Will it happen again? I hope not. But Hubby and I have money saved to pay cash for a washer and dryer when and if we need them. For when I do need one, I really appreciate all of you who gave me some ideas by telling me about your washing machines. Thank you.
Our cellphone is handled by my son. We have already paid him one year in advance for all of 2018. We get one heck of a deal by doing this through him.
We own our home so have no house payment. But we do have hefty property and school taxes so we put that money aside each month in our tax savings account so that the money is there when we need it.
Our medical and dental is expensive especially since we are older. It seems like we are always running to one doctor or another, the lab or the dentist. We keep the money in our savings account and track it with Quicken. Anything that we don’t use cash for is only tracked with Quicken. We do whatever we can health wise to keep these bills low. We have managed to become healthier and have gotten off of 4 different medications this past year. We are trying like crazy with this diet to get off another one. That is saving us a lot of money and making a healthier lifestyle for us.
So I hope you have your budgets ready for the New Year. If you don’t have a budget, make one. You don’t want to be one of those people who realize all of a sudden that you are spending thousands more per year than you are bringing in. If you are it is time to get out of that hole, pay off you debt, start saving and live a stress free life. The best to everyone for 2018.
I will be spending a lot of time the next two weeks clearing the clutter out of our basement for the New Year, planning what I need to take on my trip to Disney, and spending time with family. So I will be on here sporadically when I have something to share.
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!