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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Squeaking By

Are you tracking everything you spend?

I am. I even note down my library fines.  This is why I know that out of the thirty thousand dollars that I have every year with which to manage the household, I am probably not going to bring in the end of the year on budget. If I did, it would be a book-cooking miracle. But I know that it ain’t gonna happen. 

At this point, I’m just trying to see how close to thirty thousand I can get. The first year I started this particular stat was 2014, and that year came in at a little over thirty-one thousand.  Thank goodness for savings accounts. 2015 came in six percent higher than 2014, and 2016 came in two percent higher than 2015.  Since I’m trying to get our expenditures down to where we can take care of them with interest income (hah! I say), this is 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  I can’t tell if it’s because stuff is higher than it was two years ago or if I just suck at it, but I will cop to not doing a  good job. I know it's mostly my failure. So yeah, I suck.

The sad part is, we don’t have mortgage or rent to pay. We don’t have kids. Our electric bill is only $11.82 every month, which allows us connection to the grid which we currently use as a big battery (no pun intended). So why is it taking so much money to get through the month? We only go out to shop for food like once a week, and between that and sporadic trips for lumber or something, we hardly ever have to fill the vehicles. I think we buy gas for each vehicle only once a month.  

How are people with kids and mortgages and commutes managing?

Beets, rutabagas, carrots,
a kohlrabi,
and a very large parsnip
This morning I was mentally preparing myself for an unwanted trip to the grocery store but figured  I should go see if anything was ready in the garden instead, just in case.  That was a good move, because I think I got enough out of it today to last a few more days, in which time maybe something else will be ready enough to harvest. If I can get most of our vegetables from it, it will really help.  We only eat twice a day, but we eat vegetables with every meal, so we go through them pretty fast.
Rutabaga, beet, and kohlrabi greens,
kale and collards

The winter garden will in all likelihood not last beyond the end of the year if it even lasts that long, but if it helps me squeak out the rest of this year, it will still have been a very good thing. And it is helping. This morning proved it.


Maria said...

You veg looks lovely! especially the greens.

In answer to your question about how people with kids and mortgages cope (I have mortgage but no kids), I think the answer is just 'with great difficulty', or often 'with use of credit, and help from parents if available' !

And yes, prices have gone up the past few years. In the UK food prices in particular are going up alarmingly fast at the moment.

Leigh said...

This is a very interesting post, Paula. I have the same concerns and similar goals. One factor for us is that our income keeps going down while the cost of things continues to rise. Not just goods but taxes, fees, insurance, and the cost for services like electricity, water, and internet. We're buying less and less at the store and learning how to do without. I have to say that not having a television service really helps control the impulse to spend. If we don't see it, we don't know to want it! LOL

Paula said...

Thanks Maria! Can you tell if it's everything that is going up or are there some consumer commodities in particular that are going up?

That is an alarming factor, Leigh. Income going down while prices go up. In my case, I've been working with the same budget for three years now- my money is going down, but it is trying to cover more. I still haven't recovered our savings account from the seven grand we shelled out of it for the fence rebuild. The savings account is supposed to cover all the incidental large expenses that we have, including the property taxes, which we pay in full so we can take the 3% discount, and which we've covered this year and last with the brokerage account money, so I think that I'm not seeing the shrink i.e., the 'pinch', as it is because it's being buried by having another stash of money, for which I am hugely grateful. However, I also have to embrace the fact that every time we take money out of it that we're putting off our early escape to retirement. At this stage, I think we'll be doing well if we just get to retire at all, regardless of when it may happen....