We did not go out anywhere yesterday. It is too cold and too snowy. Roads are not in the greatest condition either. The news is saying they are very icy. Since they are predicting another major storm today and tomorrow, we will stay safe and warm in our home. Staying home saves on gasoline and also saves on natural gas because are not opening doors to go outside which lets warm air escape.
For a few days now, I have been using darker and richer coffee in our reusable cups in the Keurig. This allows me to use less coffee by only filling the cup 1/2 way instead of full. I also am using 1 squirt of Skinny Syrup instead of 2. I can’t really tell much difference between the 2 and the 1. I use the half and half sparingly too. Just enough to make my coffee taste good. Not only is the half and half expensive but it is in short supply here right now. I try to stay stocked up with 3 half gallons but that is not easy with the shortages.
Yesterday for brunch, Hubby finished the rest of the ham and noodle casserole. I ate some other leftovers… a bit of this and a bit of that. The remainder of the ham I have frozen in portions for future use. Today, we had egg, sausage, and cheese McMuffins. We are being mindful of using up what is in our pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. But we also are eating all of our leftovers. Waste not want not. I am buying as little as possible this month so I can use up some of what we have here which saves me money on gasoline also.
I have not been grocery shopping at all this week and I don’t think I will get out. Knowing the forecast, last Sunday I went on the Walmart site to place a grocery order. The first day I could get a delivery was tomorrow. I think most everyone was scheduling orders because of our forecast. Well, we got another 5 inches of snow yesterday which brought our totals since Saturday up to 20 inches. Then it started snowing again today and we got 6 more inches. So we are at 2 ft. 2 inches so far. Walmart cancelled my order for tomorrow because of the snow. We have more snow coming tomorrow and a lot more on Friday. God Bless my snowplow guy, Nick. He has been here plowing my driveway three days straight. And I don’t think he is done with more coming. We don’t have it as bad as the south towns. Orchard Park which is where the Buffalo Bills Stadium has been getting nailed since the game on Monday was played. They have had a total of 18 inches since the storms started on last Saturday. Less than us but they have to shovel the stadium out again for a game on Sunday. And they are predicted to get another 14-18 inches more before things calm down on Saturday so they will be hustling to get the stadium cleared again.
Dinner last night was peachy pork chops and olive oil and garlic rice. I cooked up 4 small pork chops so that I would have 2 pork chops for dinner tonight. I will dice them to make stir fried rice for dinner. I will add the pork, sauteed onions, diced carrots, and an egg to the rice along with some soy sauce. Hubby cooks up the rice for me in our small rice cooker. It turns out perfectly and gives us just enough for 2 meals.
It was very dark when I got up this morning at 4:30 am. So I had to use lights in the kitchen. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to start writing this post for you. It is now 7:17am and it is still dark. The sun should come up at 7:43 am. We will see if we get sun or the storm rolling in. They predicted the storm starting during the night but it hasn’t started yet. 99% of the schools in the area are closed today and tomorrow.
Our utility company sent me an e-mail to read our electric and gas meters. It is our turn to read it this month but they only gave me today and tomorrow to read it. It was like a blizzard out there today so I am hoping it won’t be as bad tomorrow and I can read it in the morning and submit it. I managed to make to to the mailbox today. We had no mail delivery since last Saturday. All I got was a rebate check for $22.99.
We are doing everything that we can to try to keep these utility bills down but it is a never ending battle. Since most of the country has been in a deep freeze for a week or more, the demand is up so the cost will be up. But we are still only using a light when it is dreary in the room we are in. I am mindful of how I cook to save energy. I still save warm up water when the shower is getting hot to reuse to clean the house or flush toilets, I am still taking navy showers. I close the bathroom door for a while before we take showers so that the room gets really warm. In the winter we only take showers every other day. Our skin gets so dry if we take them every day. The heat is programmed on our thermostat. When I got up this morning, it was 64 in here which is what it is from 10:00 pm at night to 7:00 am in the morning when it goes up to 68. At 9am, it will go up to 70. I just layer when I get up in the morning until the heat comes up. Hubby is always cold and he layers when it is 70 in here. I have to keep him comfortable. We have plenty of blankets on the beds so that we are very comfortable at night.
We watched NCIS Sydney again this afternoon that Hubby had taped. I am liking it a lot. I did some reading, cooked dinner, and ran a very full dishwasher afterward. I don’t run the dishwasher ever until I can’t fit another dish in it.
I watched a couple of You Tube videos too. I am going to share one. The you tuber is in Brittany, France. She and her husband are retirees from Great Britain. They have about 2721 euros net to live on monthly after taxes etc. are taken out of their money. That equates to about $2916. a month U.S. or about $ 34,992. net per year. It would be considered low income here. But any income earner can learn from this video. She shows her budget every month and has many other videos that you might find interesting. I like watching her once in a while to see how other people in other countries budget and live. Here you go:
We had a very quiet weekend, 15 inches of snow, and frigid temperatures. Needless to say we didn’t go anywhere.
On Saturday, I cooked the ham that I purchased on sale in December. We had pineapple, brussel sprouts, and mashed potatoes with it. On Sunday, I made a ham, noodle, and cheese casserole and served the rest of the pineapple and brussel sprouts with it.
On Sunday morning I fried up mashed potato cakes with those leftovers, scrambled eggs, and fried up some ham.
Saturday night, Hubby took most of the ham off the bone. We left some on to make bean soup. I also made some dices for the soup. That was all frozen until sometime in the future when we want soup.
The rest of the ham was sliced for sandwiches and breakfasts and diced for ham salad and casseroles. Most of it has been frozen.
Our Buffalo Bills playoff game was moved from Sunday to this afternoon because the snow and winds were very dangerous yesterday. We had gusts up to 65 miles per hour. It snowed most of the day and the wind blew it everywhere. I was glad that they changed the game day because I was really worried about my son and daughter-in-law making their way there. Right now, they are making their way to the stadium and hoping to get a parking spot. It is still snowing at the stadium right now but it is supposed to ease up. Just shoveling the roads for people to get there, the stadium, and the parking lots is a huge issue. It will be really, really cold there. But that won’t stop the fans from showing up.
We watched a movie “Let It Go” on Saturday. Then there were other playoff games on. Yesterday was another lazy day and Hubby watched more football and basketball. I did wash a large load of clothes in cold water and hung most of them to dry. Then I read my book.
Later I started looking in my pantries and freezer to see what we could find to eat during the game today. I dug deep in the freezer and found these yummy appetizers that are pictured above. We will air fry them in our 11 in one oven. I also have some ranch dressing and carrots and celery sticks to add for some nutrition. It will all be a nice treat during halftime and will be our dinner.
Not much else going on here now. I am off to read and then watch the game later.
A while ago I posted what foods we no longer purchase. This is a continuation of that list showing other items that we do not buy which will save you a lot of money.
Most store purchased cleaning products. I do buy Comet, carpet cleaner, Bar Keepers Friend, and gas stove top cleaner. I use bleach or denture cleaner tabs to clean toilets. Most other cleaning items are made using vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. I have many store products still but when I run out of one I do not replace it. I don’t like all the toxic chemicals in the store bought products.
Paper towels. I use rags and microfiber cloths. We just wash them over and over again. If a rag gets really messy, we just throw it away. I save my paper grocery delivery bags to drain bacon.
We gave up using fabric softener sheets years ago. I don’t like the smell in my clothing. My wool balls take the wrinkles out of my clothes when I use the dryer. I prefer to hang clothes.
We are using up all of our laundry detergent and then will make our own.
Disposable wipes. I use a rag with homemade all purpose cleaner.
Sponges. We use a dish brush that is reusable and can be washed in the dishwasher every time we run a load of dishes.
Air fresheners, I don’t like the chemicals or smells.
Dishwasher cleaner. I use a cheap packet of Kool Aid lemonade.
Jet Dry. I use vinegar.
Most makeup. I use a little foundation and/or powder, blush and lipstick. I never use makeup when we are home alone.
Salon haircuts and color. Hubby cuts my hair and I don’t color my hair any longer. Some of the chemicals in hair dyes can cause cancer.
Dry Shampoo. I use cornstarch.
I have never gotten fake nails at a salon or put on my own. I no longer use nail polish.
Perfumes. I don’t like the smells.
Skincare products. The only thing that I use besides a bar of soap is Noxzema Classic Original on my face. It is the only thing I have used since I was in high school. Yes, I have some wrinkles but not many considering how old I am.
Hair conditioners. I see no need. If my hair starts to get fly away, I just use some vinegar when I am showering.
Very little toilet paper. We have a Bidet. I mostly buy a little for the guest bathroom.
Sprays to grease or oil pans. I just fill a reusable bottle.
We never buy straws.
We do not buy shaving creams or razors. We use our electric ones.
We buy no magazines. They are a waste of money. It is mostly ads.
Christmas or any seasonal decorations. I am in the process of giving most of them away.
We quit buying Christmas gifts for extended family many years ago.
We only buy candles for our emergency storage.
Plastic containers. We are using what we have and then will toss them when they no longer work. I try to use glass jars now for leftovers.
Ziploc bags. We are washing and reusing what we have. I do buy food saver rolls to make bags to preserve our meat and fish though.
I no longer buy jewelry. I have plenty and do not wear it very much. I have given special pieces to my granddaughter.
Gym memberships. We do our exercising at home or on walks.
I no longer buy heels. Besides being afraid of falling, I believe they are not good for your feet.
Books. I use the library or my Kindle.
I have never purchased meal delivery services and never will.
That is it for today. Feel free to add to this list in the comments.
I am in the process of thawing a large ham(17 lbs.) to cook on Sunday. It will give us a couple of dinners, bean soup, and many cold cuts that we will slice on our meat slicer. Some of the cold cuts along with some diced ham will be frozen for future meals. I refuse to pay the prices that they want for cold cuts.
We had bacon and easy over eggs for breakfast this morning. Tonight, Hubby will bread some haddock and fry us up some fish fries. I will also put some French fries on the air fryer setting on my new oven. We love Chiavetta’s fish fries but they have gotten very expensive and are much smaller than prior years. So we are doing our own. I will have to keep my eye out for a haddock sale again because this is the last package I have.
Yesterday I went out in a blizzard. I had planned on picking up Hubby’s prescriptions so I went at 9AM. The roads were slick but I took it easy. It was only 8 miles round trip. While I was driving, I noticed just how beautiful the snow was on all of the pine trees. On my way home the snow turned to freezing rain. Shortly after I got home, it turned to rain and washed all of the snow away. But it was pretty while it lasted. Anyhow, I paid $ 180. for 3 prescriptions. We pay this for these 3 scripts 4 times a year. Drugs are so expensive. But at least, I was able to scan my receipt into Fetch and get 1150 points. Hubby was up when I got home and was grateful that I had picked them up.
I cooked up a pound of bacon and we made bacon, egg, and cheese McMuffins for breakfast. We made them again today too. And there is leftover bacon for tomorrow morning.
For dinner yesterday, I had pulled out a mason jar out of the freezer of leftover homemade chicken soup to defrost. An hour before dinner, I added a pint jar of chicken and broth that I had canned 2 years ago. By doing so, I knew that we would have enough for dinner then and today. Hubby used the rest of the crusty Italian bread to make garlic bread and broiled it in my new oven. So that was our dinners for two nights. It was so delicious and the perfect meal for this cold and stormy weather. Today we had up to 60 mph winds. It was ugly here. Thousands of people lost power. We were lucky that ours stayed on.
Hubby gave me a badly needed haircut. So $.00 out of pocket. He does as good a job as my former hairdresser did. But he is $ 45. cheaper for just a haircut.
Spectrum who is my Cable TV, home phone, and internet provider announced today, out of the blue, that they are raising the bills effective on January 31st. If I estimated mine correctly, it will cost us $6.00- $ 7.00 plus tax more per month. I will wait until I get my bill the beginning of February and change my budget to reflect that. Keeping up with all the increases is starting to be a real pain!
We stayed in today which saved us gasoline, time, and money. This afternoon we watched NCIS Sydney. I am really starting to like that show.
I have not ordered anything online at Amazon or Walmart or anywhere else so far this year. I may make an order for a Walmart delivery order when I have a larger list of items that I need that are cheaper there than elsewhere.
We are trying to eat through the meat in our freezer. We want to eat it while it is still perfectly good and not freezer burned. I am rotating it eating up the oldest first. Then I can give it a good defrost which it really needs. Clean it up and start from scratch. By not using up most of my grocery money these next few months, I will have the money saved in the budget to replace the freezer items which is mostly meat, vegetables, and fruit.
I keep adding to my list, many things that I am no longer buying this year. There will be an upcoming post on that.
Did you save any money these last few days? Are you eating out of your pantry, fridge, and freezers?
We had a wonderful weekend. I hope you all did too.We ate leftovers on Saturday for dinner. Yesterday I made a beef stew with beef tenderloin end cuts cubed, fresh celery, carrots, onions, and canned potatoes in the crockpot with beef broth. It was delicious and we will have it again tonight. Here is a picture of my dish tonight. Sorry, it is so blurry. There was so much gravy that I made that Hubby said he wished we had some crusty type bread. So I picked him up a loaf of crusty Italian bread at Top’s this morning to serve at dinner tonight.
The highlight of our weekend was watching our Buffalo Bills football team beat the Miami Dolphins last night to take the AFC East Championship. I can’t wait to watch our first playoff game at our stadium against Pittsburgh this coming weekend.
These are the items I purchased today: one loaf of Italian bread on sale for $ 2.99, 2 boxes of Top’s Rotini on sale for $ .99 each, 4 cans of Hunt’s pasta sauce on sale for 4/$5. minus a $ 1.00 digital coupon = $ 4.00 for all, 5 Prego spaghetti sauce on sale for $ 1.49 each when you buy 5 jars totaling $ 7.45, and 1 tomato that was not on sale for $ 1.67. Hubby asked for another tomato like we I purchased last week. This was not on sale but was so delicious last week. My only other option was boxes of 4 tomatoes each that looked awful compared to this tomato. They were on sale B1G1 but when I did the math, it worked out to about the same price per pound that I paid for this tomato. I didn’t need 8 tomatoes either. So I made the best choice for us. I paid $ 18.09 and saved $ 15.66.
Since I was getting low on pasta and sauce, when I saw these sales, I stocked. I don’t mind jarred sauce because I doctor it. My tip for the Hunt’s is that I use it in place of tomato sauce in recipes and for homemade pizza. I can usually find it at $1.00 a can like I did today or sometimes under that. It is a 24 oz. can and I can’t find tomato sauce for that price. I just use what I need and then put it in small portions(small jam jars) in my freezer. Then I pull out what I need the night before I need it.
Other than those things today, I did a load of wash using cold water and a Tide To Go stick to treat a stain on one of my house dresses. I checked the dress when it was washed and the stain was gone. I hung the laundry to dry. I changed our sheets on our beds and remade the beds when they were done. I cleaned the kitchen and sink so that it is nice and clean to wake up to. I hate waking up to a mess in the morning.
I got my exercise doing all the walking while grocery shopping.
Tonight I am going to let You Tube put me to sleep. I did not sleep well last night at all.
Did any of you save some money these few days? Please share your tips with us.
I didn’t post yesterday because there was nothing to really tell you about that was on the agenda. We had cheese and crackers and meats leftover from the charcuterie board(when my family was here) for brunch and then I made hot meatball sandwiches smothered with mozzarella for dinner. We are trying to use up a lot of leftovers so they don’t go bad. Otherwise, we watched TV and I read my book for a while. We also cleaned some items out to donate.
This morning I had to take the donations up to Goodwill. We have been cleaning out the house and donating what is like new or in good condition.
After Goodwill, I went to Top’s again to get another package of bacon while it is still on sale with the Super Coupon for $ 3.99. I have to pass Top’s to go to Goodwill. They only let you use one SC in an order and it was a good way to pick up another one. We eat a lot of bacon especially for breakfast. We also used up some lettuce the other night that was still edible. We threw away what wasn’t. It really aggravates me that the lettuce is of such poor quality that it goes bad quickly. However, I found a package of Romaine on sale today for $ 3.99 that looked great. No orange or bad spots on it. We will see how long this lasts. If it doesn’t. I am done buying it.
I have always been annoyed that Top’s very rarely marks food down at reduced price. Once in a while, they mark down a piece of meat but that is about it. Well today, I saw a reduced price rack of bakery goods. I had never seen it before so I assume it is new. The entire rack was full. As I was perusing it, I remembered that Hubby was craving an apple pie the other night. So I looked for one and they only had a different kind. Then I spotted this apple cobbler in the picture. It was $ 2.64 marked down from $5.29. I can’t make an apple cobbler and bake it for that price. Hubby is thrilled and we will have a piece for brunch. Today’s groceries cost $ 10.62.
This was dinner tonight: cheeseburgers and French fries with gravy. I have been eating my French fries with gravy since I was in high school. We(friends)used to go to our favorite hangout restaurant after school and order those. We will most likely have the same thing tomorrow night since I cooked 4 burgers.
Before I talk about today, I have to tell you that I changed my mind about what I was cooking for dinner last night. I had forgotten that I had thawed a large chicken breast 2 days before. It needed to be used. So I butterflied it and made orange chicken. We had tossed salads as a side.
I did not go out anywhere today. I am trying to only go out once a week to run errands. The only exception would be if we had doctor appointments. I am hearing that gasoline prices are going up again. So I want to make sure that the discounted tank of gas that I got yesterday lasts as long as possible.
Breakfast this morning were bagels with jam/cream cheese with our morning coffee. There was no lunch. I did have an afternoon snack of a couple of Tillamook sausage sticks. Dinner tonight was the BLT’s that I had planned for last night. They tasted so good in the middle of winter. Hubby made some SF lime jello after dinner so we can have a sweet treat later.
More cleaning was on the agenda today and Hubby vacuumed more rooms in the house. There seems to be dog hair hiding everywhere. But I think we have finally have gotten it all taken care of.
I read more in the money book I started. I also watched a couple of You Tube videos today but fell asleep in the middle of them. So I had a wonderful afternoon nap that I must have needed.
So I spent no money today. However, I probably will next week. Some of the best deals especially on meat are in January every year. I got our ads for next week in my mail today. There are some great deals at Top’s next week that I will be taking full advantage of.
Brrr! It was 28 degrees when I got up at 6:15am. I quickly grabbed my coffee to start my day. I am leaving the curtains and shades closed again today unless the sun is shining and I don’t think that will be a possibility.
After checking my planner, I took my navy shower and got dressed for the day. I decided to go out and run my errands and took a second cup of coffee with me in my travel cup. I like to go out early to avoid the crowds.
My first stop was at Top’s gas station since I only had 49 miles in the tank. The gasoline price on the pump was $3.499 per gallon. I had $ .90 off per gallon using reward points. So I paid $2.599 per gallon for a total of $36.00.
My next stop was in the Top’s grocery store. I went to the pharmacy and got 2 bottles of fish oil and 2 bottles of Vitamin D3 on sale for B1G1F. I also had a digital coupon for $ 1.00 off one of the fish oils and I got $ 2.99 off because it is 6% off Senior Discount Day. So my total was $ 45.79. Vitamins are expensive. I try to buy them on the January sales.
Then I got my groceries. I got 1 package of Sugardale thick sliced bacon using a Super Coupon for $ 3.99. On sale I got 1 package of Top’s soft tortillas for $ 2.00. Then I went looking for the vine tomatoes that were on sale for $ 1.99 a lb. and the new Kinder single bar that was Free with a digital coupon. I could not find either. I ran into the store manager and asked him why things were not stocked when they knew it was senior discount day. There were boxes all over the aisles. He asked what I was looking for and I told him. He found out that the Kinder bars had not come in. Then we went to produce for the tomatoes.There was no vine tomatoes just like I told him. He said to me that they had sent grape tomatoes instead of vine tomatoes. I thanked him and said I will go to Walmart and look for a tomato since I need it for BLT’s for dinner tonight. He asked why I would do that since they had nice slicing tomatoes. I told him they were $ 2.79 a lb. and I was not paying that price. So he took the one tomato that I wanted and repriced it to $ 1.99 a lb. That is the label you see on it. My total at Top’s for these groceries was $ 6.59 after the 6% discount of $ .55.
The reason I did two separate orders at Top’s is because the groceries come out of our grocery budget and the vitamins and supplements come our of our OTC pharmacy budget. I forgot to give you that amount in my budget. I will update that sometime today or tomorrow.
Also in the Top’s picture is a bag of frozen pepper stir fry that I always purchase at Dollar Tree for $ 1.25. It is cheaper there than any other store in my area.
I stopped at Aldi’s to get their on sale Bagel Skinny’s for $ 2.49. These cost me between $4. and $ 6. at my other stores. Hubby loves these for breakfast with my homemade peach jam. He was almost out of them.
I also stopped at Walgreen’s and found these Christmas cards on sale at 50% off. I had none left this year. So I ended up with 56 nice cards for a total of $ 13.98 + $ 1.12 in sales tax.
At Walmart I picked up things that were on sale at Top’s but cheaper here than the sale prices at Top’s. I got 6 packages of taco Seasoning for $ .57 each. One jar of salsa for $ 1.77, 1 loaf of bread for $ 1.32, and 2 packages of extra sharp cheddar cheese for $ 2.00 each. My total was $10.51. The cheese is cheaper by a penny each at Aldi but we do not like their bar cheese. It tastes like there is a coating on each surface and it is disgusting. We needed the bread because we are having BLT’s for dinner and making a loaf of bread was not on my schedule today.
You will also see in this picture that I picked up a 100 stamp roll of Forever stamps at the Post Office. Stamps today are still $ .66 each. On January 21st they go up to $ .68 each. Today, I paid $ 66.00.
All of this took me over 2 and 3/4 hours even though I organized my route driving. The stores were much more crowded than I thought they would be and the post office was jammed. So it was a lot of waiting in line.
When I got home, Hubby was up. I made us each a sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffin for brunch.
Oops, I also forgot to tell you that my property tax bill had come so I went to Town Hall and paid that too. It was about $ 60. less than last year’s even though our assessment went up by $30,000. I was very happy with that. It was just a few dollars under $ 4,800. I will update that category too when I get to it.
Well, the rest of the day, we will watch TV, eat dinner, and I will read a little bit more in The Tightwad Gazette.
Happy New Year to all of you! May you be Blessed all year long. I decided not to waste this first day of January just resting. So these are the things I have done today:
We have only had just one light on today. It is dark, dreary, and cold. When I got up this morning it was 22 degrees and as I write this it only 30. I think the cold front is here. We also got about 2 inches of snow overnight. So I kept the blinds and shades down all day to try to keep the warmth in the house.
I did some cleaning today. Last year, I purchased three inexpensive house dresses to wear in the house when I clean. They are comfortable and silky and feel so good that it helps me get the chores done. By wearing these I am not getting my good clothes dirty and they will last much longer.
This morning I washed the sheets from two guest bedrooms in cold water, a small amount of detergent that I buy cheaply at Walmart, and dried them in the dryer using the wool balls. While I was folding the laundry, I left the dryer door open to let the hot air come out into the room. Every little bit helps.
I finished getting my 2024 Planner ready for this year. Then I did my Net Worth statement today in my Money Planner. I always do it on January 1st and then compare it to the last day of the year. So next comparison will be December 31, 2024. I also made sure that my budget is all set in this planner. I put a small notebook in my purse so that I can write down each purchase in the car when I am out running errands. This way I can track every dollar when I get home and keep the budget updated. I have a lot of errands to run tomorrow.
One of my goals this year is to read one money book a month. I found the Tightwad Complete Gazette in my cabinet that I keep all of my books in. Hopefully I can read it in 31 days. If not I will finish it in February. I plan on reading books all year that I already own. I will not be buying any new ones. If I need to read something fictional, I will go to the library or online to read it.
Washing my hands today with bar soap after cleaning. We have bar soap at every sink and I use it in the shower. Hubby still has some Old Spice Liquid Bath soap that he is using up. Bar soap is so much cheaper than buying the liquid stuff which has gotten very expensive.
For breakfast this morning, I sauteed some onions and put them in our eggs. Then I added some cheese. I cooked 3 slices of bacon for each of us in my microwave using the bacon tray.
This afternoon we each had a Keto snack from our stockings that our son gave us for Christmas. We won’t run out of these Keto snacks for months.
I asked Hubby this morning if he wanted me to cook an elaborate dinner for New Year’s today. His response was “We have leftovers from a couple of meals in the refrigerator. Let’s eat them.” I had enough of two leftovers. So I let him pick what he wanted to eat. We had leftover taco meat so he made a taco bowl. I ate leftover tuna noodle casserole. We toasted to the New Year with a glass of red wine. No food goes to waste around here!
Entertainment for Hubby today was watching college football games. I watched a couple of You Tube videos in the little bit of spare time I had. Tonight we will watch the Alabama vs. Michigan college football. We will watch with no light. The TV is enough light for us.
I washed a few dishes in the sink that I don’t put in the dishwasher. I filled one sink up with a few inches of water to wash and the other sink with a little warm water to rinse. We try not to waste water around here.
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.