End Of Year Expense Totals; 2019 Budget and Goals.

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:

Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 10.29.29 AM

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.

2019 Goals

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!



  1. Another holiday with another emergency ! 10:30PM Dec 23 finished baking cheesecake and nut rolls and candy cane brownies and filled the dishpan to clean up. Went to rinse first dish and no water! Check the water tank from well and no pressure tank is totally filled. I went to fix by Draining some water and water starts spraying from my furnace overflow valve, so had to shut down furnace! Called for service arranged for today and have no idea how much this will cost! What budget! So Next morning Dec 24 th took off for our scheduled family Christmas celebration at my son’s and babysitted my daughter ‘s two kids yesterday so they could still see Hamilton and dinner with best friends. Take off from here at 6 Am to a frigid house and the repair guy coming at 8 AM! Three o clock get the basal carcinoma removed from my calf. I am so ready for a better 2019. I plan on a lot of the same goals as you with health and happiness being at the top of My list. Sincerely, Lara


    • Oh Lara I am so so sorry. How awful. You really have your plate full. Hopefully this will be the last of it and going forward everything will be perfect in 2019.
      How much did all of this cost you?
      This is why an emergency fund is so important. I’m worried myself should I ever live alone and own a house. It’s a lot to handle.
      Let me know how much all of this cost you.
      UGH is all I can say. Just UGH!


  2. So it was the internal motor and a broken flat wire and had it replaced with a new cap with gasket so the well pipe is sealed with no opening. This total bill was $1813 .so in all the three system failure – septic, sump pump and well and vanities, And the faucets and sinks Total cost $7590.. Lara


    • Lara…….OMFG!…….almost $8grand. Wow. That’s a lot of money. I’d be very upset if it were me. UGH. But, let’s look on the good side, at least you had the money to do the repairs AND now you’re set in a much better place to meet the future! I know our day is coming and I am not looking forward to it. That’s how it is when you own a home. Things break down or need maintenance. Thankfully we have equity, which hopefully keeps on rising and we can cash it all in one day. If ever. Choice is ours.
      Thanks for the update. I am wishing you a more peaceful 2019 (and 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023……etc. etc.)


  3. Yea , it’s even more crazy adding in the tornado clean up and added taxes from Roth conversion bring it over $21,000 since May, Lara


  4. What a great post! You know, I have been caring for my month in Kentucky (home for a short time now) and she kept a ledger of their daily expenses for years and years. On New Year’s Day, she would total and average everything. This last visit, she asked me to take a ledger for myself and one for each of my daughters so they could see how she tracked their spending and managed to build a healthy savings. If only it had rubbed off on me. I do keep track every month but need to reel in the spending.

    I am glad you treated yourself to some new clothes and not just new to you. That is my weakness and shoes, and buying for my daughters and their daughters.

    Great goals for the coming year. Do you use Goodreads? I just pledged or challenged myself to read 33 books this year! Ha! Probably not likely but I can dream.

    Happy new year!


    • Hi Mommy Hon. I’ve been reading a lot of eBooks on loan from our library. I download them onto my iPad and read them as if they were on a Kindle. When the time is up…whoosh!….they just disappear off the screen. No late fees. No hassles getting back to the library. I like it. I don’t read the books as much as I read the magazines! Love those magazines. I probably read one per day!!!
      I track my spending each and every day. I keep a spreadsheet and post every day what and if I spend anything. I know instantly when its time to stop spending. Bummer. But likeable!
      Thanks for your comment.


  5. We just retired and are trying to cut as many unnecessary expenses as possible, one of them being the darned Comcast bill! We’re stuck in a contract until October,so we have time to figure things out. Do you still have a landline? Seems stupid to pay for cell service and a landline. I think we might go to just internet service and stream what we want to watch.


    • Karen, we got rid of our landline years ago. Both hubby and I each have our own cell phone. Works better that way. We both also have iPhones (7s) and shared data. WE keep our cable because we need to hear the local news everyday. We live up in the mountains and can’t get a clear signal, so cable (actually satellite) is our only option. My daughter recently gave up cable and has no access to news. Two weeks ago there was a big explosion in her neighborhood and she had no way of knowing what it was or what to do. She called me to ask if I could find out what was going on. I live 100 miles away from her! Eventually we found out what was happening from Twitter. Until then, it was a bit scary.
      Is there any way just to get basic service from Comcast? That might help.


  6. Loved the article and the honesty of the info. Budgeting and full time RVing go hand in hand, especially if you don’t t have side hustle to supplement your income. Thanks for the great read.


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