Every Day

UPDATED: 2024 Budget: Rest of the Budget that I Can or Can’t Cut

We have certain things in the budget that are every day bills that we can’t really cut. We pay for cable TV, internet, and a home phone that we have deemed necessary for the moment. Hubby wants the cable TV because he enjoys it. Some things are entertainment for him that many people could go without. The bill runs about $ 192. a month but does include our internet and home telephone so I guess it is really not too bad. Since I believe they will have a rate increase this year, we are budgeting $ 215. per month. We have no other choice for internet here. The home telephone we use for our alarm system. I will be trying to negotiate a better price again with a telephone call next week.

We have to pay property taxes and school taxes every year. They are hefty. But that is the cost of being a homeowner. Our property tax bill for 2024 was just under $4900. Since our school taxes for September 2023 were just under $6000, we have budgeted $ 12000. for 2024. We based that on the fact that they keep reassessing us every year. We have no mortgage so we just go to town hall and pay them.

Healthcare is another thing that we can’t go without. Medicare is going up this year from $ 164.90 to $ 174.70 month for each of us which is an increase of $ 235.20 for the year. The total for that Medicare for 2024 is $4192.28 for the both of us. But our Medicare Advantage plan is going up $ 137. a month for 2024 which is an increase of $ 1644. a year. That really shocked us. That is a lot of extra money that we have to budget. The total for the Medicare Advantage plan for 2024 is $5040.

We spent $ 1306. for drug co-pays in 2023, so we are budgeting $ 1600. for 2024 or about $ 134. a month.

We spent $ 858. in medical co-pays for doctors, tests, etc. in 2023. Fortunately neither one of us was in the hospital this year. So this was a cheaper year. We will budget $ 1000. for 2024 for this.

So our total medical that we are budgeting for 2024 is $ 11,832.28 or about $ 987. per month. You know I often wonder what happened to all of that money that we paid into Medicare all those years we worked. If you could see what they actually pay doctors, hospitals and labs, it is almost nothing. And many times we have to fight to get them to pay it. So did that money that we paid in and that people are paying in each year, get spent on something else or is it paying for the people who administer the plan? It seems a shame in this country that the elderly, especially those living on social security, have to pay this. I don’t know how they do it.

Then there are dental bills. We paid $ 1242. for our dental insurance in 2023. That covers 2 cleanings and exams for each of us. It does not cover fluoride or varnish. It covers X-rays once a year. Then everything else we get 20% off. I go every 6 months and Hubby goes 4 times a year so he has to pay for 2 of the cleanings. They cost about $180. each. Plus we budget about $ 1500. for tooth repairs. His fees go up every January. Also the plan goes up just a bit every year. So we have budgeted $ 2950. for 2024. So for 2024 we are budgeting a total $ 14,782. for medical and dental just to stay healthy.

We also pay for pest control. We have voles in the area that can destroy our lawn so they are treated every 3 months along with treatment for all other things like spiders(which I hate), bees and taking down hives, and all other bugs. We just got notice of the third increase in less than 2 years starting in January. They haven’t told us what the increase will be however. This week when I am making calls, I will call and find out. There are only 2 good pest control companies in the area and we used the other one first and they were terrible. So we have to stick with this one. Right now we are paying $185.18 every 3 months or $ 740.72 a year. I would almost bet that it will go up $ 30.+ every 3 months. So we are budgeting $ 220. every 3 months for 2024 or $ 880. for the year. I will know next week so we will see how close we come to that.

We pay the town for water and sewer quarterly. We paid a little less in 2023 because we didn’t have to use the sprinkler system a lot because we had a lot of rain. But it usually runs about $ 341. per year. Since they have a rate increase, we are budgeting $ 360. for 2024. We can try to conserve as much as we can on this one.

Our garbage and recyclable bill comes on our January property tax bill which I should get soon. Since we have a new garbage can that we have to pay for and the prices have gone up, it will be higher than last year. We may also have to purchase another can and pay an additional $50. per year for that can. I will update this when I get the bill.

We pay Guardian monthly to monitor our alarm system. That is $ 44.27 a month or $ 531.24 a year. We will budget $ 575.00 for 2024 or 47.92 a month.

Snow plowing cost us $500. for this winter. It went up $ 100. So we will budget $600. to pay in the Fall of 2024 in case of another increase. We have had a very warm winter and have had no snow so far this winter for him to plow. However, the cold front is starting to come in and I am sure there will be plenty soon. It is a good insurance policy.

We donate 10% of the money that we have to spend every year. That goes to our volunteer fire department which we also pay for through our property taxes, the Tunnel to Towers organization, etc., and various people who we see during the year who need help to buy their groceries or drugs. I will keep this amount private.

We have property in Texas that we own with 2 other people so we pay one third of the taxes for 2 city lots. Those were $ 74.94 this year. So we have budgeted $ 100. for 2024.

We paid $395. in 2023 for maintenance of our sprinkler system so we have budgeted $ 425. for 2024.

We have set aside $ 5,000. for gifts for family birthdays. anniversaries, and holidays for 2024. This amount changes depending on things like family graduations, baby gifts for neighbors, etc.

Our Auto and Homeowner’s insurance gets paid yearly in March. 2023 it was $ 1831. Since I am hearing from almost everybody that it is going up by 20-40%, we will budget on the 25% side which will be about $ 2289. or $ 190.75 per month. We will get our bill sometime next month and then we will know for sure. I will update this post with info when I have it.

Hubby gets the Buffalo News online. It costs us $ 29.99 a month or $359.88 a year. It goes up often so we will budget $ 395.88 for 2024.

We have other subscriptions. I purchased Hulu on the Black Friday deal for $ .99 a month. We will pay for the year and then cancel. So that is budgeted at $12.00 for 2024 for now.

We also pay for our WordPress subscription for this blog every other year. It runs about $100. for 2 years. It is due this Fall. So we have budgeted $120. in case of an increase.

We have Paramount + which we get free through our Walmart+. We pay $106. per year including tax for free shipping and delivery services. We pay for tips of about $100. per year. So our total for that is about $ 206. I will budget that amount for 2024.

We also pay $ 5.99 a month for Peacock. We are keeping track of how often we use this, If not much we will cancel it. But for now we will budget $ 80. for the year.

Hubby pays about $20. a year for Quicken. We will up that to $ 25. for this year.

I did not renew our Instacart and B.J.’s subscription for 2024 and I have no plans to.

We have budgeted for 4 new tires to purchase when our snow tires come off. That will cost us around $ 800. We also have $200. budgeted for oil changes this coming year. Plus we have budgeted another $1500. for repairs and $92. for our AAA membership. So a total of $2592. for 2024 or about $ 216. a month. Then we have to add on our inspection and registration of the car which is $ 37. a year for inspection and $ 81.50 for a 2 year registration. So that brings the total for all up to $ 2669.75 or $ 223. a month.

We have purchased our cars for many, many years with cash. Our car right now is a 2013. However, cars do eventually wear out. So for the past 10 years, we have budgeted $ 4,000. a year for a new car. We will continue to do that until we have to buy one. So we have again budgeted $ 334. a month for 2024.

The gasoline budget is one that we can control. We spent a little under $50. a month in 2023 or $ 600. a year. We have budgeted $700. for 2024. We don’t know if the prices will go down or up. I am betting up because of inflation and everything else that is going on here and overseas right now.

We spent about $ 400. in 2023 on beer, wine, and liquor. We have cut that back to $200. for 2024.

We will also budget about $8,000. to do one last garden outside and pay for the spring cleanup in the spring. I am hoping it will be much less than this or we will have to get estimates from a few companies. So we have budgeted $ 667. a month. Plus we just got the bill for fertilizing the lawn, so I have added another 450. per year for that. So a total of $8450. for all in 2024.

We hope not to have to buy any clothing this year. But just in case one of us needs some item or shoes, we will budget $ 35. a month or $ 420. for 2024.

We also have a miscellaneous category that covers stamps, cards, wrapping paper, shipping costs, printer paper, envelopes, occasional supplements, etc. We budgeted $ 1,200 a year for that for 2024.

We travel to visit family during the year. Those visits include many tanks of gasoline, Thruway tolls, gifts, out to dinner expenses, etc. We have budgeted $3500. this year for those.

Lastly, we have budgeted $ 6,000. in 2024 for home maintenance. This also includes cleaning products. This helps build up this account so that when we need furniture, appliances, or to replace our furnace or air conditioning which we did this year or to replace our roof or any other repairs. We have to hire some painters this year for inside and I know that we will hire a carpet company do some tiling for us and to shampoo all the carpeting and furniture in the house. It is time to get it professionally done. So this is $500. a month.

This may seem like a lot of money to you for two retired people. But I don’t expect that anyone would have the same expenses as us. It is to just show you what we are doing this year and how important it is to have a budget so that you know where every dollar goes. Without knowing where every dollar was going all these years, we would not be able to afford our retirement. Budgeting is what got us here. It keeps you in control and shows you over the years where the unnecessary spending is. We have been retired almost a quarter of a century and have only gotten increases at 62 because we started collecting social security. Many years since we got no increases in social security and the rest of the years except 2023 were dismal. Plus except for 2023, the primary medicare has increased every year. We have Hubby’s small pension but that has only increased $2000. over the last 22 and 1/4 years. You can imagine what all of this money purchased in 2001 and how it hardly purchased much in 2023 especially with the high prices on almost every thing. If you look at an inflation calculator, it will show you that if you purchased a $1.00 item in 2001, it now costs $ 1.73 in 2023. That is a cumulative rate of inflation of 73.5%. I also believe we will be in a world of hurt in 2024. Fortunately we saved a lot of money over the years by investing and saving. I took our money out of stocks and bonds about year ago. I guess I timed it right because they made $ 0.00 over the past year. All of it is now in high interest rate CD’s. But now you understand why we watch every dollar. If we want to continue to save, we have to.

People believe that they don’t have to budget when they reach retirement. It is more important than ever that you continue to budget and track every dollar. Otherwise you will end up broke. Everyone has to save to beat inflation over the years.

We will be taking the rest of today, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day off. We are exhausted from the last few weeks of company. Time to do nothing for a few days. So I will wish each of you a very Blessed New Year. Stay safe.

It’s time now for me to go frost the cinnamon rolls for brunch.

13 replies on “UPDATED: 2024 Budget: Rest of the Budget that I Can or Can’t Cut”

I calculated that in 2024 we will be spending $9552 annually on our Medicare Part B and supplemental Medicare insurance policies and our Part D. This was a great lesson for me to sit and figure out what we will be paying in total health care for 2024. I estimated $720 in drug co-pays and $1200 in co-pay office visits. That brings our annual total to $11,472!!! I had NO idea we were paying that much. Wow.
We don’t have the same higher expenses like you guys do (water, sewer for us are free and we use ROKU to stream in at a cost of zero). Because of my recent diagnoses we have been slowly switching to more organic foods and household supplies. Very expensive. Forget about other people. I don’t know how WE are doing it! LOL! But we are.

Happy New Year, Precious!

Thank you for sharing so freely. I am not retired, but have been in the learning and preparing mindset for several years. Reading your budget helps me think about categories that I do not plan for or pay for currently. I do think back to years ago and to your other blog how you and your husband have always been frugal and it makes me smile to think about how you prepared for these times and are able to weather the storm due to this. You are such a role model for us all.

I am still working on closing my budget for 2023 and crafting my 2024 budget. 2023 my electric was 13% over budget and food was 11% over budget. I have to think about how to get these back in line.

It’s fantastic that you track so closely & evaluate all of your spending. Two thoughts/questions, for your planned 2024 spend:
1) For the security system, do you live in an area with medium to higher crime? Would getting a security camera (which is typically a good deterrent, but a one time expense vs ongoing monitoring service) feel like an option? Security systems are pretty uncommon where we live, although basically everyone has a security camera.
2) For the yard/garden, that’s a super, super high cost. I have no idea what you have in mind, or how big your yard is, so hard to know what a realistic estimate might be. One idea would be to look for an up & comer gardener who would be interested in using your garden/yard as an example for other customers, in photos, and you could serve as a reference, for a more moderate price. Could you also divide the project into chunks? For the more physical part, higher inexpensive labor (high school or college students) to do the heavy lifting, and more of a trained professional for the detailed work.

Anyway, just a couple of ideas. We also track all of our expenses, and have a good sense of where the money is going. We typically choose 1-2 categories per year to trim back & monitor more closely.

Hi HP,

We live in an area with a very low crime rate. However, when the boys were in high school, we also lived in a very safe area. Our home was broken into. That is the worst feeling in the world. We had a monitored security system put in right away. Every house since, we have had one. We feel safer with one. So it is an expense that we will gladly pay,

Thank you for the tips on the yard. However that is the going rate in our area. Hubby can take care of the yard now after the spring cleanup but all of the planting and digging of grass is too much for him. Our soil here is hard as a rock. We are lucky to be able to get a good landscape company. The high school and college students don’t work around here. No one can find help. But I appreciate your thoughts HP. Thank you for sharing.

We have tracked our entire life. I think that is why we are able to do what we can. Tracking shows you where the money you don’t need to spend is going.

Hi Precious! We finally got home from our visit. Everything went well and we had a nice time with our extended families. Got home to jump right in to picking up our granddaughters and supper tonight. I gave myself a break and ordered pizza. Kitty was glad to see us.

I appreciate so much that you have made this detailed post, Precious, it gave me so many things to think about now that hubby is retired. I plan to take some time next week to go over things you wrote more carefully and see how they relate to our life. I already figured out about our health insurance and it is going to cost $656/mo until hubby goes on Medicare in July. This is more than we had been paying. I also had figured out that my sinking fund will be about the same as last year. We got our new valuation and rate for our property taxes and, believe it or not, our taxes went down $20 for the year even with the higher valuation. I have no idea how they figured it, but I will take it. LOL!

Little granddaughter is coming tomorrow for the day and she wants to go with me to Kroger and get groceries. I think Hubby will go too and hopefully he won’t want to put a bunch of extra stuff in my cart. LOL! Then the weekend is busy too. Not sure we will be able to catch our breath until Monday. Hope to get back to the Y also next week. Having Covid over Christmas sure did put a crimp in our holiday this year.

Hi Chris,

I am glad you are home and hopefully rested today. Yeah on the pizza!

I was hoping you could get some tips from it. Everyone’s budget will be different due to income and basic expenses and then likes and dislikes. Good luck working on it. Yeah on the reduction in the tax bill. We had one too. Most everything has gone up in price so having one go down was a welcome surprise.

That is why I leave Hubby home! Not really! He hates grocery shopping but I have to admit the very few times he has gone with me, he adds to the cart too. Usually a lot of junk food which is not good for any of us.

I have just discovered how I can comment! I have been reading your posts for a long time now.

I am reworking my budget after reading yours and the thoughts behind it…but I just had to mention, that in Naples, Florida, our city bill includes water and sewer, and garbage pick up for about $380 every other month!! (a few of my neighbors pay over
$600 every other month. Not sure “why”.) More than your yearly bill! Water is so expensive here. Our bill includes garbage pick up twice per week, recycling bin once per week, and horticulture (yard stuff) once per week. We can get large items picked up with just a phone call…like an old recliner, refrigerator, etc.

Thank you for your wonderful posts. I will comment more in the future, I am sure.

Hi Jane,

Well, thank you for reading and commenting.

Water and sewer is reasonable here except when I have a $300. bill in the summer to water the lawn. It was low in 2023 because we had a lot of rain. But the water and sewer that I show in my post is only the metered water and sewer charges we get billed by The Town every other month. In our property tax bill we pay another $1639.10 for the year for maintenance. We pay our trash for the year in our property taxes in January also. I just looked at the bill I paid last week. The trash was $245.09 for the year. Broken out it would be $20.43 a month. I just don’t think about these property tax charges because they are part of our tax bill that we pay once a year.

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