One of the reasons that I continue to blog after 7 years is that I enjoy having a record of our lives. I decided to go back and read what we were doing last year at this time and it is amazing how similar my years are starting to look. I am also able to see where we are financial and make plans that should work.
This year has brought about many life and financial changes for us. The biggest change is that Matt is working a part time job. Our goal is to return to a stable financial ground and then begin to complete some of our “wish” list. I spent several hours between last night and today looking and gathering data in order to get a good picture of where we are and how to achieve our overall goal for 2018. I am planning to continue the monthly review post as this make finding things much simpler. I have decided on two big changes that will occur. First, we are returning to cash for both gas and groceries. I am talking the actual cash that you carry. I will plan to transfer money to cover any Costco trips on the day the trips are made as well. It has become very easy to just bring out a card but that is not how I want to live so to stop takes a drastic action. The second is more of a mind set change, we are budgeting all money except for extra earnings. These extra earnings from apps will be used for eating out. We enjoying eating out and this is basically fun money that the whole family can enjoy. Other small changes in amount will also help us gain a more stable financial ground.
As you read you will see I like the idea of January being a time to reset our budget. Now on to the numbers…
- We increased our overall debt this year by $6500. Our current minimal credit card payment is $989.69 a month. The plan for at least the first six months is to keep this minimal payment the same each month, which should get us started in the right direction in order to reduce it by $10,000 this year. We will focus on paying extra on the small cards as we earn or save it.
- Extra earning in our budget is money earned from apps. I know that this amount may decrease this year due to several of the apps are no longer paying out. I have said all along every little bit helps and it adds up quickly. In 2017, we earned an additional $2,315. In 2017, this money was designated to help pay on our Disney trip. This year, we will use the extra money as a “slush fund” it will cover unexpected expenses or treats including eating out and gifts.
- Groceries- I am amazed by these numbers in a good way. We did not include the cost of purchasing a cow but we also are eating more food as the kids grow. In 2017, we spent a total of $5,578 on food or an average of $464 a month. These amount include anything we use in the house such as toothpaste and laundry detergent as well. I set the January grocery budget at $160 due to our December stock up. Otherwise, the grocery budget will be reduced to $475 a month!
- Gas- We are going to change the way we budget for this as well. We will begin budgeting $70 a week strictly for gas, this will actually decrease the monthly budget by $20 but should be easier to maintain especially for 5 week months. Along with this change, I am changing the “insurance category” to included taxes, tag and repairs. This will increase $20 a month to $92.
- In the past, we have had a “pool” fund however this is changing to “Summer fund” which will include the pool along with summer camps and swim team expenses. My goal for this fund is $2000. . We will plan to place $100 a month into this fund with an additional $400 from each of my “extra” paychecks going into it as well. This first year is budgeted a little differently as the money will need to be available sooner, so we will use our income tax return to fund at least $1000 this first year.
I am actually excited to start with our new budget and see if I can save even more!