How Life Keeps Getting In The Way Of My Budget.

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.

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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.

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12 comments

  1. Hi Cindi! I have been enjoying your increased posting schedule for some time and I can see how you are becoming more relaxed with your writing. Very readable as well as informative! It took some sleuthing to find this incarnation of your blog when you left the old one but I am really happy I made the effort.

    Got a question re your SEO class. A while back you had indicated you were monetizing your blog and I watched for ads or some evidence like that, but didn’t see any. Since you write so well it would appear to be a natural fit, so I am just curious if you have made that work?

    Because I try to keep tight control over my incoming emails I have NOT signed up for yours, but I DO check your site every day or so. And I have been concerned over your husband’s and your evolving heart issues. Are you still using the Salt Free spice I recommended however long ago that was? We have really, really cut down on the sodium here and are trying to implement a plant based diet at home, with a few exceptions at Panera (healthy chicken in the salads) as one of the few places we eat out. And there we order a whole salad split in 2 bowls for way less than ordering 21 half salads. Good thing we can agree on what to order 🙂 As you know, every little bit counts.

    We first watched the Netflix documentary Forks Over Knives a few years ago and boyohboy did that create more interest in giving up red meat/dairy/oils/etc. We are re-learning how to create menus and use the enormous variety of salad greens/ legumes/ nuts, etc. http://forksoverknives.com and Facebook also. I hope you can check this out and find some ideas!
    Jeannine in Iowa (where the storms are about to hit)

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    • Hi Jeannine. I’m so sorry I left so abruptly. But I just needed to break free. I hope you can understand. I am so, so happy you have found me again. I’m not truly hiding. LOL.
      I’m in the process of monetizing my blog. Probably this week. I ‘ll do much better with Word Press than Google. What they did to me was despicable. I’m part of the class action suit against them but I don’t think I’ll ever see the money I earned with them ever again. Lost in internet space I suppose.
      Anyway, I’m looking forward to attending the SEO class and getting more involved with social media. I seem to be a natural with it. I don’t, however, think I’ll vlog. I do have some YouTube videos up (The Adventures Of Cindi and Nick) It’s a lot of work. But again, we’ll see. Always learning and doing something new, right?
      Nick is doing fine but I have to watch him like a hawk. He’s still in denial. Think he’s still Mighty Mouse. He’s not and has to be careful. No heavy lifting etc. We found this new pink salt from the Himalayas. Supposed to be better, more natural than table salt. Nick likes it. Plus we did buy some salt-free herb spreads as you recommended. Aldi sells it all, so that’s another good thing!
      I started watching The Kindness Diaries on Netflix, also some English Gardening reality shows, Street Cooking and The Secret. I’ll check out your Fork Over Knives as soon as I can catch up. We’re basically on a Mediterranean Diet. Please oh please, I don’t think I can give up any more food…..LOL! I’m exhausted. I’m back to eating some carbs and thankfully haven’t gained any weight. I think that’s because I’ve been working out in the garden and setting up the RV lately.
      Anyway, welcome back. I’m glad you’re with me again. Tell your friends and family! OK?
      Thanks so much for reaching out and for you kind comments.

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  2. Hi Cindi, I am baffled with all your working your budget and moving money from savings and cutting categories that you decided on two credit cards that only pay 2%. .Your $1200 on regular yearly gas purchase and probably another $1000 for RV travel at the 5.25% Top tier rewards. Bank of America 123 would reward you with 3.25% more rewards and 3.25% on your $5000 in groceries. You could also switch that 5.25%rewards monthly to your groceries. This would give you $260 on your food purchases as oppose to $96.
    Their travel rewards credit card rewards yearly would give you an extra 20,000 points or $200 on camping fees. The transfer of $100,000 of the CDs from Fidelity to Merrill no cost and hot count as cashing it in would have given you bonus of $200 before April and I think $100 now. You could easily get over a $1000 in rewards! Taking this advice. Sincerely, Lara

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    • Hi Lara. How could I transfer the CD without paying a hefty penalty? I’ll check out the Bank Of America. Right now one card is paying me back 3% monthly. The other is 2%. But in increments of $25.
      Thanks for the info.

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    • Lara, I want to ask you a question. Do you find that you spend more when you know you have a quota to fill in order to qualify for cash back? For example: some cards pay in increments of $25. I find myself accidentally attempting to spend more so I can get the $25.
      Just wondering. THX.

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      • No I do not spend more to get $25 back. As for the caps are how much they will pay the rewards on and I do not usually spend $2500 in a quarter. Lara

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      • Lara, thank you so much for your reply. I am def going to check in to this. The rewards are substantial and can make a difference, for sure. Between both cards, I spend about $1200-$1500 a month. I’d def go over the cap on the Bank Of America. I have to look at my spending and figure it out.
        Thanks again for the info. You rock, girl!

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  3. You would contact Merrill Edge with your CDS numbers and then they do the $100,000 transfer and then you apply to Bank of America for their 123 credit card card and travel card as a Premier Honors Level client getting 75% bonus on both rewards cards. I am not sure if they require a checking account I had one, at the premier honors level it’s free checking.I use the 123 card for groceries and gas because I shop one huge order a month to six weeks and I switch the 5.25 % to groceries towards the end of month and then switch it back to gas at the beginning of the month fill the tank twice before I switch back to groceries. Shop ShopRite on senior day and get 10.25 % off all groceries there stocking up on sale items. Then do a run across the street at Aldi. I use the travel card for everything else I purchase. at 2.65% . Go Curry Cracker had layers even more by buying gift cards discounted on a site he wrote about. Sincerely, Lara

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  4. I think it may be a three month average balance of $100000 to become a Premier Honors Client. I transferred most of my Fidelity account to get a huge bonus. Lara

    Liked by 1 person

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