I have been revisiting the some of the series on savings and credit cards over at M3 to refresh some skills. The instructions given in the post are feasible, and I need to implement them for this Christmas. I also need a small emergency fund set up for things such as illness etc. Let's discuss my reality for these situations.
I have to much and the balances owed are high as we have furnished the house with much needed items. Furnishing, we have to have a place to sleep and electronics because we cannot live without them. Plants because we like fresh things, table and chairs for outside because it gives us somewhere to sit besides the concrete. Total, six credit accounts that require payments each month and only one is currently receiving over the minimum payment in order to pay it off in a set amount of time. (One is from days of going in over my head but it is being corrected and virtually all of those old accounts have been made good increasing my credit score.)
Total payments being made = $226.00 verses actual scheduled payments of $155 if the minimums were paid. The idea is to pay off one account, then the another and so on while I save money for emergency situations and holidays. The credit will be available in event of true emergency.
The budget for groceries is set at $200 a month, actually is a bit more but by leaving it at $200 while planning I have money left for the little things that come up each month. The budget is averaged out to $50 a week which is $25 per person per week and one of us is a child.
I recently inherited a couple of herbs, oregano and sage (the others died) but these two are thriving. I purchased a couple of pepper and tomato plants at summers start and recently purchased basil and mint julep on clearance. The basil needs to spread a bit before I am comfortable using to much of it but it will grow in time.
The savings from buying already dried herbs may be small considering a bottle big enough to last use a considerable amount of time is 50 cents to $1 but it adds up over time. That small amount of money can be used toward another grocery item such as fresh bananas, apples or oranges. It also helps with the almond milk that we purchase when I cannot find coupons for it or a sale.
I no longer use creamer since I went back to spending a little bit more on my coffee. It is a trade off for my waistline.
Rent and Utilities
The rent is currently $142 which is based on our income; increases in our income mean an increase in our rent. It is set until the renewal of the lease, though last year my rent went down because of a utility allowance. The current amount of rent I pay is still less than my initial lease agreement amount.
The water bill is included in the rent along with trash pickup. We are not allowed washing machines or dishwashers. There is a laundry room housing two washing machines and two dryers which are out of order to often. There is another of each in the works and we will be glad when it comes through. There are only eighteen apartments out here but at times it is difficult to get to the machines especially after a storm or during times of extreme weather because we all wait.
It is a $1 to wash, 75 cents to dry. I save on the fees for drying by hanging my clothes either over the shower (blankets, etc), on the front porch (on hangers) or using what is left of one of my drying racks. The rack served its purpose even though I will not be happy when I finally take the remaining parts of the $20 metal rack for recycling purposes. I am looking into an over the door rack to save floor space and a larger rack to hold more than one load during winter months. I save on washing costs by using the front load machine which holds larger items or the equivalent of two loads of laundry in the front loader. I have increased the laundry budget from $10 a month to $30 a month as our needs have changed and attempt to have money left out of this budget from month to month.
The light bill ranges from $40 to $150 depending on the weather. It is still easier than level billing which would put us in a bind every month of the year.
Until next time may you find your budget is friendly to your needs and simple to manage.