I’ve been in the process of revamping my budget for the last two months. Following a budget isn’t a one-time thing. It’s something that is constantly changing, as is life. I usually wait till a month is over to see how I’ve done. Basically, following a budget takes discipline and that is a human quality I just don’t have. The good part is that I am working on it. The bad part is that I am working on it. There’s no doubt that I have gotten a lot better following my budget than say, last year. I’m not, however, ‘there yet’. Life is constantly rearing its ugly head and getting in the way of me sticking to my budget.
I’ve paid off my two airline mileage cards because its apparent hubby and I will not be taking airflights anywhere. There might be a time when I might fly someplace with either one of my kids or something but the odds of that is near zero. Due to hubby’s heart condition, he really can not tolerate cabin pressure nor long air flights any longer. That’s a shame because we really racked up thousands of airline miles. I am considering donating our miles to a good cause, but I’ll wait and see on that for now.
So, I’ve narrowed our credit card spending down to two cards: one that gives 2% back on groceries and gas. This card will be used then specifically to buy our weekly groceries and fill up the tank. I’ve allotted a $500 a month limit on this card which is supposed to cover $100 a week towards groceries and $25 a week to fill up our good-gas-mileage car. Our other car is really for towing the RV and for long road travels. That gas allotment always comes out of savings as these are planned adventures.
The 2nd card has a $200 a month limit and this is allotted to a big box store where we usually shop once or twice a month to buy other necessities such as vitamins, odds and ends for the house, toiletries etc. The reason why I stated the $500 and $200 limit is because at the end of the month, after ALL our standard, regular bills are paid, the $700 cash is what we have left over. It used to be around $900 but I’m paying off two zero-based charges of new tires for DH’s car and our new mattress. The tires will be paid off in September which will free up $122. The mattress is only $50 a month and has another year to go.
Technically, this budgeting strategy looks like it will work. On paper. But in real life, not so much. Why? Because every month it’s always something. Last month DH ‘needed‘ some more ham radio components. This month, within a day or two he already exceeded the $200 limit because he ‘needed‘ parts for car maintenance. Last month we went out to eat at a little bit too expensive restaurants. We’ve since stopped that. Next week is Memorial Day and our community pool will be opening for the season. Our membership, for two seniors is $100. Ka-ching! I signed up for watercoloring class because the free one I attended at the library ended last month. I really can’t teach myself how to watercolor from YouTube videos. That was $140 for 3 lessons. The instructor had a very expensive lists of ‘must have’ art supplies. I didn’t buy one thing she suggested. Instead I bought less expensive items online but I still shelled out $56. (BTW, the teacher publicly frowned on me in class, which forced me to buy 2 recommended, specific tubes of watercolors @$15 a tube!! That was a $30 plus tax purchase. Meanwhile I had purchased 18 tubes of water colors, online for only $39. That’s $2.22 a tube! See what I mean? LIFE!)
DH and I technically aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s not as if we are spending money recklessly. We’re just living our lives, within reason and with a conscious effort. Needless to say I’m going to pay off the tire charge and free up some monthly cash. The charge is more affordable now that I’ve paid in to it for a few months. I’m not changing the mattress purchase because $50 is a moot point. Thus the reason, why I explained to DH, if we want to have low cost hobbies, maintain our vehicles, join the community pool and have an occasional meal out (we’ve since had a $12.60 breakfast at a McDonald’s) he has to put in at least two days per month to bring in that extra bit of fun cash. Period.
Ditto for me. I’ve been earning a bit of extra cash thanks to my social media work. Later on this month, the library is offering a free course in SEO (Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic, increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.)
My revamped budget will reflect the added income and hopefully will cover our normal, day-to-day little expenditures.
Fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted.