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Every Day

Going Bare Bones

This is not going to be a savings on utility post today. Instead I want to tell you that we are cutting our budget to the bare bones for the next couple of months and why.

You all know that we are retired so we have a fixed amount of income every month. This amount comes from many years of savings and investments, a pension, and social security. So we know how much we have to spend and we try not to spend it every month so that we continue to invest and save. Many of our friends spend down their income each month now that they are retired. We still live as frugally as we always did. We don’t waste our money but rather we buy when we have a need and just a few wants. It is still a joy to watch our savings and investment income go up month after month. It is a joy to know that we have enough to live out our lives and be comfortable. It is a goal to leave our family an inheritance like we never had.

As I have told you before, I grew up poor. I didn’t know it at the time because there was always barely enough. But when we got married so young, I knew we had to make every dollar count. There are times when we tighten our belts and times when we loosen it. 

Right now it is a time to tighten it! Even though we have the money we need in savings and investments, we want to save the money we need over the next few months out of our monthly amount so that we don’t have to touch those savings and investments.


We already started building that up over the past couple of months but we have not gone bare bones. Now we will and I will tell you why.


You all know that we charge some expenses every month on two major credit cards to reap the rewards. One stipulation that we have for the use of credit cards is that we never pay interest. When we get our bill every month, we pay it in full when it is due.


The past couple of months, those credit card amounts have gone up because expenses have been higher. I needed a large clothing purchase because of my diet, we have some household projects and repairs in the works, we had some travel and associated costs with that, and we had about $3,000. in dental bills out of pocket. It would have been more if we hadn’t purchased a dental discount plan which was $1147. for a year. Last months credit card bills totaled over $2900. which were paid in full. This month’s credit card bills totaled over $4600. I have sent in the payment for the largest one which was over $3600. The other credit card will get paid when it is due in a few days. We continue to pay no interest.

We have school taxes due again in September. They will be just under $5,000. We save all year for those but I would like to be able to not withdraw from those savings to pay them if possible. Time will tell if we can do it.

We have dental appointments again this month. I do know that Hubby needs some major work so we will have more high bills. 

We want to save over a $1,000. for large rock bottom food purchases at Thanksgiving to restock our freezer. You all know that certain items go to rock bottom once a year and Thanksgiving gives us many of those prices.

We continue to eat from our freezer and pantry stockpiles so that we will have room to stock up on those sales. Since we have enough food to eat only from the stockpiles the next couple of months, I will not be buying much food. Matter of fact, every food purchase on my lists will be scrutinized and crossed off if I deem it unnecessary. 

In November, I want to stock up on turkeys because we love turkey, it is on my diet, and they are at the cheapest price all year. Plus you all know that it is a great time to stock on canned soups, stuffing, and lots of other items. Christmas will bring great prices on hams which I will also stock up on. My goal is to eat a lot of $.49 to $.99 a lb. turkey and under a $1.00 per lb. ham next year. That is the cheapest meat I can buy. I know some of you can stock on $.39 a lb. chicken quarters. We don’t get those prices here in the Northeast. 

We also have many birthdays in the Fall leading right up to Christmas. I want to build a large fund for those gifts. And we will have property taxes to pay in January of about $4700. We had an increase in our assessment for both property and school taxes. With new building in our housing development, those assessments will continue to go up. Our town reassesses every year or two. 

So I will keep you updated on the many things we are doing to keep our everyday costs low. I would like the credit card bills to be just bare bones the next couple of months. And I really mean I will cut them to the bone!

If you have goals that you are saving for whether it be for a house, college fund, retirement savings, Christmas gifts, charity giving, etc., join me in making a goal to do what needs to be done. If your income has been reduced or you have been laid off from a job, join me in going bare bones and doing what has to be done to stay afloat. 

What are some of your goals for the next few months?

Categories
Every Day

Your Most Important Fund

Different people save for different things. They have Christmas Club accounts, vacation funds, a home fund, and many many others. But the most important fund that you should have before all others is an Emergency Fund.

Emergencies rear their ugly heads especially when you least expect them. The washer breaks or the dryer stops working. The furnace needs a repair or the A/C dies. You car needs a repair or you have a leak in the house and need a plumber. There are so many things that could happen that you need that Emergency Fund. 

So many times people have said, “But I can’t afford an emergency fund, I have too much credit card debt or a multitude of other excuses.” 

You can’t afford not to have an Emergency Fund especially if you are in credit card debt. Let’s say the dryer stops working. You have a few choices. You can try to fix it yourself by googling what the problem could be or looking for a You Tube video to watch that would show you how to repair it. You still may have to pay for an expensive part. You can call the service people to come and repair it. Or you can hang your laundry to dry until you have enough money to fix it. But no you want it fixed right away so you call the service repair people who cost you $85. -$90. just to come out to the house plus the cost of the repair.

Since you don’t have the money to pay for it you put it on a credit card that you already owe $4,000. on. That credit card you pay a bit more than the minimum payment every month. Your interest rate is
11% or more. So now you owe more on the card and if you don’t pay the repair off when your bill is due, you pay interest on that portion too. 

Have you learned your lesson and started an emergency fund? No you just hope that you don’t have another emergency any time soon. So 2 months later, the furnace stops working. You call someone to repair it and put that repair on your charge too. Do you see the vicious cycle that you set up for yourself? 

No matter how much money you have coming in or how much you owe, you have to save an emergency fund. Then when something breaks, you hopefully have the money saved to pay for it.

So how much money should you save? It depends on your situation. But when we first started saving for one over 50 years ago, we saved $1500. It was not easy back in the 60’s but little by little we saved it. Then we never touched it except for an emergency. If we did need it to repair something, we replaced whatever we had to spend as fast as we could. Back then, we only made 4 figures. Today you should be able to put more than that in an emergency fund. I would save $5,000. or more and hope that you don’t have to use it any time soon while you are saving up.

We finally built ourselves up to a year’s expenses in case Hubby lost his job. Then we started saving for buying our cars and bigger things. Once you start doing it on a regular basis, it just builds and builds. Then when you have a true emergency, you don’t have the stress of how to pay for it or have to put it on a credit card. 

Even if you are living paycheck to paycheck, social security to social security or pension to pension or are in credit card debt , you should be able to build that fund. I don’t care whether you can only put $5., 10., up to $50. or more a week into that fund, you have to start today to build it.

You have no extra money, you say to me. Well, then you have to either make more money or cut your expenses. It’s easy to cut your grocery budget by $5. or $10. per week or more. Just shop carefully, forego junk food or desserts, buy cheaper meats or do away with meat for a # of meals, and use every morsel that you purchase. Don’t throw food away. There are so many ways to save on food and other items that you need. But I will go into many of those ways over the next few months. I think you get the idea. 

Do not use that emergency fund that you are building for anything but a true emergency. And going to the movies, buying a cup of coffee out, going out for a drink or to a restaurant are not emergencies. They are wants; not needs. 

Please start doing this over the next week and do it every week thereafter. It will take you awhile to get it built to where you want it but it is the right thing to do for yourself and your family. 

I hope you all have wonderful weekend.