Monday, October 12, 2020

We have set the 2021 budget

 On average since Jan 2, 2019 our budget has floated from $8794 to as low as $5062. I've tracked the changes which sometimes incurred every month and the reasons why it changed. The average is $6,690. 

SO with our health insurance changes, higher co pays and 1/3rd increase of out of pocket. (OUCH). AND doing worse scenario for Daughter 4 not working (her doctor doesn't know if she can handle doing Door Dash while in treatment) due to cancer and keeping her in her own home. I just added her $18000 (not counting medical costs) into our budget. She needs $1500 a month to run her home. AND I am paying extra each month on the mortgage. 

We come in at $5500 for us and her $1500 is $7000. Hubby asked how that could me when it's only $310 more than what the budget averaged with increased insurance and daughter. 

What did I change?

Insulated curtains on windows. Keeps the propane down and the electric as the furnace is not kicking on all the time. Opening up house in morning to cool house down and closing curtains when the heat of the summer day comes in. Opening curtains in the winter to help keep lights off and warmth brought in. Covering the crawl space vents at the heater ductwork. Same thing.

Turning down the heat when furnace is on, turning OFF the AC when we leave when it's on. Right now I turn the furnace off when the mornings are no cooler than 55 and I have the furnace set at 70 (68 in the dining room where the thermostat is is 63 in the front room and too cold for Hubby even with long sleeve flannel shirt over his tee shirt.)

Turning off FANS when not in room.

Not using the dryer except to defur dogs beds. I have started hanging out the pillows and blankets to air them out instead of fluffing in the dryer. They actually smell better that way.

Using an oil lamp for mornings at the dining table and a candle at supper... Not for romance though he thought it was. 

Using LED through out the house, using LED for night lights so we are not turning on bigger or more lights. I turn off coffee pots. Unplug computers. Unplug phone chargers You would be surprised what vampire electric appliances cost you. 

Keeping frigs and freezers full (they run less). 

I changed where I get my BP meds because I can't take blue dye. I am now paying $5 for 90 instead of $25 for 30. 

Our prescription meds goes up next year and might costs us more than Good RX will. I just have keep track of what and where I get our meds to see if I can get this amount down. 

The electric bill hit over $200 last year for 5 months. It only hit $166 once this year the rest of the time it was $140 or lower. This month was $105... $45 lower than last year.

I conserve water from showers etc. to water the dogs and plants so the softener isn't using as much salt.  We have dropped 4 bags a year in usage (our salt is based on water used). That saved us $32. PLUS we just have them bring 8 bags and what ever doesn't fit we add later saving 1 service call of $50/yr.

We have rerouted the field tile to go to the pond except one that goes to the county. We will be having some more spouting put on the barn to tie into the pond field tile so we won't need to be running the water pump to put water in the pond to keep the fish alive. That should be happening in the next week or so. Amish is doing it when they get out of the field.

He got the internet/house phone dropped down from $125 to $85.

Our house insurance and car insurance dropped down  and then the umbrella insurance got cut in half. 

I started pricing dogs items and cut the price by 1/4th. Vet wants them to have dental treats as they fight if you try to brush their teeth. Instead of cutting them in 3rd I cut them in 4ths so I have and extra 10 days of the dental. Vet okayed that change. We changed vitamins for them that include the things that Wilbur and Rascal needs and it's okay if Charlotte has it also so I don't have two to three different pills to shove at them. They all hate taking pills but okay with chewable. They think it's a treat.

I cut back on buying chips, Fritos, tortilla chips, chip dip, trail mix completely(he now makes his own) and granola bars. I cut back on candy bars (both of us). I buy these items at the dent store along with cold cereal there also. Though this time Dollar General brand cereal was actually cheaper. I will go back to making yogurt.

I cook from scratch... that takes my time and has at times been an issue, but to stay healthy (so I am not spending so much out of pocket ) I need to cook from scratch.

I buy bulk when it's cheaper, break it down and store it. 

I change the non food as the cleaning rags are right with the paper towels. I use Bounty select a size and still will tear them into 4ths when using them if that is all I need for a smashed stink bug, or in half for grease. I use less than needed with cleaners.  I always price out furnace and frig filters before buying and I buy for the year if I can get them cheaper.

I grew a lot of my herbs/mint teas this year cutting that out of the budget. Last fall I spent over $250. On herbs and teas. I didn't need to buy any this fall.

I cut the grocery budget by $400 a month... first I went back to only going every 2 wks instead of every week. Second I started back into making a lot of my own mixes. Third I change where I bought what I didn't grow and save a lot of money on produce that is organic. 

The garden budget has been cut in half. I have saved several of my own seeds and found Amish that are growing some of the produce that will save me money also as they are willing to barter.

Since I am not running around much and not going to Son 2 's to take care of his cats as he's not going either for work. My maintenance and fuel has dropped by 3/4ths. It also dropped my car ins.

Daughter 4 is looking over her budget again with her 3 children to see if there is any where for her to cut also. 

Paying off the house early is going to make the difference of living only on SS or needing the IRAS to help pay the bills. 

Do you set a budget for your finances?



  1. I don't know how you get it all done! But, cutting expenses is great.

  2. isn't it funny how much you can save on several little things? It adds up!

  3. We do have a budget but it rarely changes unless a bill changes but that is usually only a few dollars. I have a Nonbudgeted catagory that allows me to adjust others easily by a few dollars. Our entire budget is bare bones. House is paid for and Hubby is on Medicare. We save 25 percent of our income each month because we are debt free and strive to stay that way by paying cash. Our grocery budget is only $250 so it keeps me working hard to stay under it every month.

    1. our goal is to be debt free in 7 yrs. We have 3 more years to medicare. When we are debt free * yes I know paying off more than a quarter of a million on the house is a HUGE task* we can come real close to living on our SS and not touching our investments unless needed.

  4. Your budget inspires me. After helping my children so much I will also be looking harder at my budget for the new year. Prescription prices are an interesting subject. Even with my daughters low co pay on her Medicare/Medicaid, I have found a cheaper option. We tried good ex and gold ex. Both saved us substantial money. Several months back I checked out the prescription plan that Kroger partnered with good ex on. I paid approximately 70.00 for a years subscription. It covers up to 5 people who do not have to be related or in same household.even paying that fee, I'm saving way more on what I was paying. Daughter has Humana. I've bad nothing but constant issues trying to receive refills through the prescription mail order plan. My own Medicare starts in January. We will be choosing a new plan for both of us this next week. I believe there may not be another option for us than the Humana. I may keep the Kroger prescription plan. Perhaps their affiliate store is available to you. I also have found that checking the different prescription discount plans for each individual prescription could be quite radical in price. Although time consuming, in my most difficult times I've never been envy to use 5 different discounts on 5 different prescriptions. I wish you well.

    1. our local store is closing so I have to drive at least 40 min to the nearest store but am going to join as they are the only ones that carry my BP meds.

  5. I have had a budget my entire adult life, no matter how little or much I made. I have never understood how people can spend ANY non-vital money without first looking at their budget. But I know they do.

    I was a bookkeeper for many years and I routinely had people ask me for help either setting up a budget or balancing their checkbook, including my boss who owned the company. I always helped and showed them what to do to get hold of their finances. They always got glassy eyed and never got better at it. Not. one. person.

    I do believe a lot of people think there is something magic about finances, and they simply can't grasp a hold of it. They say to themselves they simply don't make enough or they HAVE to HAVE so much to live on. It's actually the other way around. First, how much do you have to live on, then figure out a way to do it.

    But then for me it has always been a rather fun game.

    I have also noticed that really adept people, like you and Brandy, will figure out how to stretch the dollars even further when a crisis comes along, as in a child who needs to be supported during her health crisis or feeding a very large family during an economic/health recession.

    When things get tough, you push up your sleeves and get tough right back.

    1. trained by the best. Daddy and Mother made sure we knew how to do it. They both wrote out the budget, didn't count on their minds to remember and always shared it with us kids even after we were out of the house. I do the same with mine.

  6. I don't think you missed anything in your budgeting efforts. I don't know why, but I have never thought to buy ahead on furnace filters, and the right size is sometimes hard to find. I'm sure your ideas will help many.

    1. I didn't do it ahead until we bought this house. Hard to find the right filters locally so had to be a hunt and find