Budget Details October 2014

One of my readers, Walnut, asked if I would share my budget. I have not shared my budget in a long time and it has definitely changed.

I should say in advance that I will share my budget, and you are welcome to make suggestions but I feel like I am living very tightly already.

When I was getting out of debt the first time it was much easier to live on an rigid budget. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become extremely tired of having to live like a miser.  I don’t think it’s healthy to live that way, especially if it’s not absolutely necessary.  A little joy goes a very long way toward optimal health.

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It’s also much easier to live like a miser when you live in the city, can walk to the store and are not employed. Back then I remember wearing the same shirts, shorts and underwear until they had holes in them which I dutifully repaired.  I have never really had a “clothing” allowance in my budget and I wear the same pair of black jeans to work every day until the material begins to fade and looks tacky for office wear. This is usually around a year. I have four blouses that I wear every week to work.

We prepare all of our food from scratch.  I am 51 and have learned that my body requires a real food diet, high in animal protein. I won’t compromise my health by living on mainly starches and carbohydrates.

I have also over the years realized that we do much better if we have just a bit of money to spend each week. I fully admit that my $20 usually goes for another meal, but my husband and I each have $20 a week to spend on what we wish. When I go any lower I find myself feeling so poor that I feel like I lose hope. My son with Down Syndrome is the only one that watches television and living in a rural area we don’t get any channels, so we have DISH network.

Four people are existing on this budget. My son and husband eat twice a day, my mother and I have to eat three times a day. My mother buys her own “extra” food.  I bring leftovers for lunch at work. Sundries are items like toilet paper, aluminum foil, parchment paper, sandwich bags, dish washing detergent, clothes detergent, etc.

Please don’t hate on me for having pets. We have several dogs – it’s almost a necessity living where we live as they are better than a security system.  We have predators like coyotes, bobcats, snakes and others, not to mention the traffic walking from south of the border.  I enjoy having chickens and fresh eggs, and we have two cats.

It helps my anxiety level to have a land line for the times when our broadband is down (which happens quite often – and I do deduct a portion of my Internet use for my blogging business) and our cell phone carrier service is spotty. The phone company is giving me a discounted rate since I don’t use the service very often.

I wouldn’t be without Amazon PRIME. It is one of my few luxuries. I have saved hundreds of dollars in gasoline and time by being able to order the product and have it delivered rather than drive 30 miles into town and then going from store to store trying to find it. I also use PRIME for watching free movies and television shows. I haven’t explored the free music option.

So there you have it. My budget.

INCOME $3,290.00
OUTGO
Household/Other
Mortgage $470.00
Car Payment $286.00
Groceries + Sundries $710.00
Pet Food (dog, cat, chickens) $135.00
Gasoline Mrs. A $100.00
Gasoline Mr. A $100.00
Allowance $160.00
DISH $44.00
$2,005.00
Utilities
Electricity $220.00
Cellular Phone $70.00
Internet $75.00
Trash $50.00
Land Line $21.00
Water $50.00
$486.00
Credit Card Payments
Chase $65.00
Chase $65.00
Bank of America $25.00
Chase $120.00
$275.00
Monthly Sinking Funds
Yearly Car Tabs $30.00
Tires/Auto Repair/Triple A $28.00
Eyeglasses $10.00
Auto Insurance $105.00
Amazon PRIME $9.00
Medical $200.00
Electricity $140.00
$522.00
$3,288.00


I am paid twice each month by my employer, on the 15th and the last day of the month. I really wish we were paid every other week, but that is out of my control. My son receives supplemental security and my mother helps us out with $200 each month.

I have my paycheck direct deposited into three checking accounts. One portion goes to the checking account which is connected to my auto loan and then my car payment is set up to automatically transfer from that checking account to the loan.

I have the money for my husband’s gasoline, pet food, groceries and our allowance going into the Wells Fargo account. Once each week I move my husband’s gas money and allowance to his checking account.

The third checking account holds the money for our bills. I also have several sub-accounts through Capital One (formerly IGA Direct) which hold individual sinking funds so that money is not touched. I finally have all of the bills set up to be paid automatically through Billpay, and all sinking funds are automatically transferred to Capital One.

This is my newest method for managing our money and so far it seems to be working well. I really like that once the money is gone in the Wells Fargo account, then we need to wait until the next payday in order to buy more food, and I can honestly say “We are out of money.”  Because we are out of money until my next paycheck.

I typically buy all of our groceries on sale, if possible. We mainly eat meat, vegetables, healthy fats, and some fruit. My husband will not stop drinking soda and junk food. I do buy some of that with the week’s grocery money. My mother, my son and I don’t eat any dairy products, bread products, pasta or grains. Because we are usually stocked up with at least a week’s worth of food and sometimes more, it is easy enough to continue making meals and eating once the money is gone.

I do have some blogging income but I also have blogging expenses.  I am continually on the lookout for ways to bring in more income so that I can eventually retire.  But of course, first I need savings and retirement, of which we have neither at this time.  Frustratingly, when I do net income from my blogging it goes for car repairs or some other thing that has cropped up. I do have $400 in an emergency fund and try to add to that as I can but I don’t get much of a chance to grow it.

 

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10 comments to Budget Details October 2014

  • Thanks for sharing, Mrs A.

    I’m interested that you don’t eat any bread or pasta: is that a health choice (no white carbs) or a dietary requirement? I’ve found it’s certainly a lot easier to control weight gain by reducing carbs, but your liver needs to replenish from time to time.
    Myles Money recently posted..Happy Birthday To Me!My Profile

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Miles – I have a genetic mutation which reputable sources suggest avoiding gluten to avoid health issues. When I started on the GAPS Diet (for mild depression and anxiety) I cleared up a whole slew of little health issues, aches and pains, etc., so while I miss pasta (not so much bread) it is worth it to me to avoid those foods. I did easily lose 60-70 pounds and have kept the weight off which is another reason why I prefer to eat the way I do now. Thanks for your comment! ~Mrs. A
    Mrs. Accountability recently posted..True Confessions: I Bought a Brand New CarMy Profile

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  • jestjack

    Liking the mortgage payment….$470….Does that include escrows….taxes and insurance?$470 a month doesn’t buy much in this neck of the woods. But $220 for electric seems a bit expensive. And almost $850 for groceries and pet food…that’s serious money. Any way to cut costs? That’s about $200 a week …I feel faint…. Thanks for the candor!

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  • jim

    Wow – just came across your blog. What have you got? $275 in credit card debt? Hell, I’ll send you that if you promise to cut them up, never use them again and read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. If you’re interested and will really promise to lost the credit cards and read the book, email me. I’ll put the check in the mail – and no, I am not kidding.

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  • Thanks for your comment. Let me offer you some smelling salts, Jestjack. I have written quite a few blog posts on electricity and how I monitor our usage. We live in Arizona – obviously the biggest usage is air conditioning. I have experimented with raising the thermostat higher than 79°F in the summer but my son with Down Syndrome ends up with a serious heat rash under his arms. I am not willing to make him suffer like that and risk a serious infection to save a few dollars on electricity. You missed my electricity sinking fund account. I actually put aside additional money every month because our electricity bill can go up to almost $500 during the summer. We don’t use the heat in the winter. Ours is an all electric home. We cook 2-3 meals a day on an electric stove. We have an electric water heater which is on a timer that only allows it to heat the water two hours daily. Our water is pumped into our home with a jet pump which pulls the water from an underground tank. I have tinted the windows, I have done what I can to make my home energy efficient. Our home is a 20 year old Cavco manufactured home. It is well insulated as the home stays warm during the winter without using heat. During the summer is another matter, however.

    I live in a rural area and bought my 3 bedroom 2 bath home and property for $53,000 in 2001. Yes, $470 includes taxes and insurance. Cool, huh?

    As for the food, pet food and sundries budget, I could possibly cut the amount if my husband would agree to stop eating his chosen junk foods. There are four adults eating 2-3 meals daily. Three of us avoid processed foods, never eat out and we cook all meals from scratch. I watch the ads and buy everything on sale that I possibly can. There are rarely coupons for “real” food. We mostly eat meats, vegetables, healthy fats, soups. We don’t eat a lot of fruit or sweets. Every single one of us has an autoimmune disorder so we all feel much better when we eat this way. I for one am grateful to no longer be obese and feel comfortable in my body.

    Just out of curiosity, how much money do you spend on food each month? How many people are you feeding? How many adults, how many children. How old are the children? Does that amount include all meals? How much money is allotted for fast food or restaurants, is there a separate budget line for groceries vs. eating out? If there are children, do they get free meals from school so that the family only has to provide the supper meal? Do you eat real food? Can you tolerate filler foods like pasta and bread? Thanks!
    Mrs. Accountability recently posted..I Challenge You To Donate $10 to Help a Fellow Personal Finance BloggerMy Profile

    [Reply]

    jestjack Reply:

    Hi Mrs. A,
    Well we have one grown child left at home, DW and myself. We spend $200-$250 a month at the grocery stores. This includes detergent, cat food, and groceries. I shop at Aldi once a week and at the full service grocery once a month. We do eat out on occasion BUT do so using gift cards from our credit card rewards. We do try to eat healthy, so not a lot of soda and junk food in our diet. We do enjoy pasta and bread but not excess. DW actually buys her bread at Panera Bread with the use of gift cards from our CC rewards program. I am a coupon clipper and last month was able to take advantage the rewards program at the full service grocery store to get 25 gallons of gas…FREE. Retail value of $87. True story. We tend to eat simple meals and DW can get a ton of meals out of a baked chicken. My electric bill this month should be right around $53…all electric house…. thank you Geo Spring….but we heat with wood stoves…haven’t burned heating oil in over 8 years. Still likin’ that $470 mortgage!

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  • Walnut

    I agree – your budget over all is pretty tight. One place to review might be monthly auto insurance. I know you drive a number of miles, which probably puts you in a higher rate bracket, but have you priced out other insurance recently? Are you insuring two vehicles or more? It seems like you might be insuring three from the price.

    Can you encourage your husband to use his allowance for his soda/junk food? This will save a bit from your grocery budget. The line item for allowances seems high, but it is justified since you don’t have an entertainment or clothing budget. My “slush fund” budget is $50/month and I only seem to use about half of it. I then return the rest of the cash to our general budget or savings.

    Do you track the amount you spend on meat? If so, have you priced the weekly purchases against buying a side of beef or pork once a year? I purchase a quarter beef this year for the first time and it priced out to a very reasonable rate.

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  • Ambi

    Wow – I find this budget very tight and impressive. As to those comments that imply you are spending too much in food, my household of 2.5 (one on the way) spends more on food monthly than your larger household does. And we don’t have any specific diet requirements, though we do have to limit food to less processed and lower fat food. You are right in that there are few coupons and true sales on “real food” like meat and veggies, which we also have to buy quite a bit of. Keep up the great work!

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  • Fascinating stuff! That’s a tight budget, but it’s exciting too. What are your ultimate goals?

    I’ve got to look at my budget as well.
    Financial Samurai recently posted..Should I Buy A Fixer-Upper Property?My Profile

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    The prime goal at the moment is to get out of debt. There is so much that needs to be done but I definitely need to start saving for retirement. Thanks for stopping by and commenting FS!
    Mrs. Accountability recently posted..Balance Statement Credits – Are They Worth It?My Profile

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