It’s that time of year again when I look at my annual fluctuating expenditures, contemplate where and if I went wrong and how I am going to adjust for the upcoming year in expenses. I only track the variable expenses such as food, clothes, car repairs, home maintenance, travel, entertainment and meals out. Most of my other bills are on automatic and don’t fluctuate much, such as car, medical and life insurance, some budget utilities, cell phone, internet services and streaming media.
I keep the variables on a spreadsheet and at the end of the year, it’s very easy to just total them up, divide by 12 and get my new monthly totals for the upcoming year. Here are the results:
I am very happy I got our food bill down under $500. Next year I’m aiming for $475. I’ve been doing a lot more meal planning and cooking up one-pot wonders, such as Tuscan Bean Soup, Pot Roast and Pasta & Fagioli (beans). I also only do one main shopping trip a month now and then just buy perishables weekly (milk, eggs, bread).
I try to keep our annual vacation expenses under $2,000. 2018 had us RVing at Pigeon Forge/Dollywood TN, Letchworth NY State Park and 10 days in Maine. 2019 will have us in Las Vegas/Grand Canyon thanks to free airline miles, RVing for 6 weeks in Key West Florida in the winter and another 10 days at Kennebunkport Maine at the end of the summer.
Our gas usage seems reasonable for two cars. Eventually one of the cars will be sold. This is NOT the year however BUT we know its coming.
For 2019 I am going to try to eliminate restaurant meals as much as possible. With all the new cooking DH and I have been doing, I think this goal may be attainable.
We spent a lot of money ($2140) in home maintenance last year. After living here for 17 years, the house needed a good sprucing up. Car repair came to only $452 since DH does most of that work himself. This figure will go down in 2019 since most of the home maiantenance is done!
I also expect our medical co-pays to go down since I am no longer seeing Dr. Rip Off. Medicare denied her claims AND her referrals to medical exams. Hope they sue her!
Clothes. This we need to discuss. Normally we spend $300 a year on clothes. That’s because we only buy at Goodwill or consignment shops. Not this past year. This past year I wanted NEW clothes. At a discount. Which we did! Since we’re spending less time in Florida (down from 6 months a year to only 6 weeks) DH and I had no winter clothing. So, we bought top quality clothes from L.L. Bean and Lands End, all on a 50% to 40% discount to the tune of $736.16. We got warm down parkas, fleece shirts, wool socks, hats and gloves, flannel pj’s and night shirts…..the works! The rest of the year we only spent $187.73 for summer wear and that came out of Goodwill.
We get three deliveries of propane a year @$500 each (sometimes a wee bit over). Whatever $500 can buy, that’s what we use because that’s all we can afford. I keep the temp at 64F during the night. 68F during the day when we are home. If it gets cold, I supplement the heat with portable heaters. Propane also heats up our hot water. I limit my baths to once a week and we both monitor our showers.
We spent $54 a month, on average, on entertainment. I’d like to set that back down to zero in 2019. There are so many freebies around her, it’ll be very easy to do.
1. Started taking my Blood Pressure meds twice a day, as per my docs orders. My BP is way too high. It’s time for me to take better care of my health right now. Especially my weight (belly fat)
2. I finally joined a gym to get me through the winter (only!) I use the treadmill 2X a week and take one yoga class per week.
3. Better meal planning. I revamped my personal recipe folder and am filling it with favorite wintertime recipes, such as chicken or turkey slow-cooker noodle soup, pot roast, Tuscan bean soups as well as one-pot meals.
4. Do as much cooking and baking from scratch. Limit meals out in restaurants due to their high fat and even higher salt content.
5. Read more E-Books, download more audio books which are great listening to on the treadmill!
6. Listen to free music on Spotify all day long! I always have peaceful music flowing in my home now. Helps create a relaxing, stress-free, peaceful environment.
7. Watch more streaming media (Netflix etc) rather than the (fake) news and boring TV sit-coms!
8. RV travel to more national and state parks vs those high charging, overcrowded, private RV parks.
9. Once a year, DH and I use up our frequent flyer miles and travel to someplace we’ve never been before. For free!
10. Keep purging, streamlining and downsizing our home. Get rid of clutter each and every day. Don’t let it pile up! I only own what I need and I only use what I own. There are no extras here.
11. Get and keep our energy costs under control.
12. Brought back Friday Night Pizza Night. For less than $3 bucks, DH and I make the best pizza around!