Every Day

The Other Cash Budget

As you all know, I am using $75.00 cash per week for our grocery, HBA, and cleaning budget. Every week I put another $75.00 into that envelope.

But I am also using another cash budget and that is the budget that covers lunches out, our haircuts or my color, our home decor(little things like pillows, etc.), stamps, clothing, car washes, gasoline, etc. You know the things that you are always reaching into your wallet to pay for weekly. We have determined that we need $100. per week to fund that. So I have an envelope for that in my Dave Ramsay wallet also. The same day that I put the money in my grocery envelope I also fund this other envelope.

I have a hair appointment next week and I always overspend on my hair, so I am trying to cut back on this expense. I definitely need a haircut and perhaps roots done. But I am considering no more highlights since they are so expensive. I might even color my hair at home again. We’ll see how it all works out.

Hubby and I rarely eat lunch out especially now that we are on the Keto Diet. Home decor is not something that I buy on a regular basis but sometimes a pillow will wear out. We won’t be buying much clothing except as we go down sizes and those sizes will be cheap clothing just to hold us to our next downsize. I have no problem buying at second hand stores. 

Car washes only happen in the winter. Gasoline is about once a month unless we go on a trip.We use very few stamps a month unless it is Christmas card time.

So Hubby and I are thinking this money will be enough. If not we will up this budget. 

We will lose a few points by not putting all of these expenses on our credit card. However it is worth it to me to not have to check all of these little expenses on our bill. Only our fixed expenses will be put through the charge account.

These expenses will be tracked each month on the envelope. The extra envelopes in my wallet house my ECB’s and coupons for CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen coupons so that I am always ready to stop at these stores when I happen to be in the area.

This wallet is always with me so I go out the door knowing that I am prepared. 

I am hoping to bring our spending down on some of these expenses. It is too easy to just pull out the card instead of paying cash. It makes it way too easy to spend more than you want. Even though we have always and still do pay our credit cards in full every month, I want to try it with cash and when the cash is gone each week it is gone until the envelopes get funded the next week.

I know that I have many people reading here who have credit card debt. If you do you should be paying cash for everything and not running your credit card bills any higher. That is how people get into major trouble. Pay down that debt by working out a monthly budget and sticking to it. Use cash for your groceries and everyday expenses and see how it works for you.

Every Day

2018 Budget Continued

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!

Every Day

A New Budget for 2018

We are doing things a little bit differently this coming year so that we can keep our eye targeted on the budget and not overspend. We have an expensive item that we are saving for so overspending is OUT!

As I told you in a prior post, we are budgeting $75. per week for the two of us for food, cleaning supplies, HBA, and plastic and food saver baggies. We have used this food budget the past couple of months and it is working well. 

So then we talked about how much should we spend on allowances( more on that in a moment), hair salon appointments, home decor ( little things, not furniture or flooring), clothing, car washes, etc.

Basically these are items that we have some control over and that fluctuate from time to time. As far as allowances are concerned, we don’t really use an allowance system. If we need to spend money, we just do it. So no allowances for 2018 for us.

Hair salon appointments have gotten out of control. I spend on average $ 110. to $140. a month on my hair. I have haircuts, color, and highlights every month/or every other month. Yes, it is a high end salon in our area and it is a luxury I enjoy. It also saves me from making a mess in my home when I am coloring my own hair. However when I realized that this works out to $ 1320. to $ 1680. per year just for me, I was aghast. I didn’t realize how expensive it was until I looked at the annual amount. Hubby spends $15. per month on his haircut or $ 180. per year.  

So I am going to try to go longer between haircuts. Perhaps that will be 6-8 weeks. I am also considering going back to coloring my own hair and forgetting about the highlights. I hate the idea but I also hate the idea of spending that much money at the salon every year.

Home decor are the little things like pillows, plants, candles, etc. that we bring home to add something new to the decor. These can add up fast if we don’t pay attention. Since I don’t like a lot of decorative things that I have to dust and maintain, I am pretty minimalist in this area. 

Hubby and I have all the clothes we need so we just replace things as they wear out or as we go down in sizes. I have to get some new pants soon. You should have seen me trying to keep my slacks up in the market the other day. I needed a belt. That is when I realized I had to go down a size. So I will be hitting the consignment store for a few new to me pairs. I don’t want to buy anything expensive because I plan on losing more weight. 

It will also cover all of the little things like stopping for a car wash, paying for dry cleaning, the little things we buy at the gas station store, a magazine we want, etc. You get the idea.

So after lots of conversation and deciding what this would cover, we are going to spend no more than $100. per week in this category. We believe that $ 5200. per year is more than plenty for this spending. 

So these are two categories that we have decided in our 2018 budget. We will be doing our best to stick to them and reporting it to you to keep us accountable. 

How are you doing setting your 2018 budget? If you have never set a budget before, take a look at your spending for 2017 and set a reasonable one. When you don’t know what you are spending that is when you get into trouble. I have heard from so many people that they didn’t realize they were spending $10,000. to $20,000. more per year than their income until they tracked it. They said no wonder we had so much credit card debt. It is a lot easier to track your income and expenses every year than it is so be stressed out and wondering how you are going to pay those credit card bills. Pay off the debt, don’t add another dime to it and you will see how nice it is to be debt free and saving for emergencies and things you want.

More to come soon.