Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Saving $$$ Things That Work, Things That Don't.

Yesterday I posted about my written budget.
I listed the categories that I use.
You have to personalize your budget to your own lifestyle.
My biggest expenses are my equity loan payment and my horse's board.
I can't do much about either one of those.
I don't have a house payment.
The things I could think about changing are these:
I could get rid of my land phone which I think I will do.
My cable is my mobile phone and my computer service also so I can't get rid of cable.
My TV is satellite. 
I have very minimum basic so I don't want to get rid of TV altogether if I don't have to.
I cannot get rid of my lawn care or snow plowing because I can't do those myself.
My handyman is also a necessity now as he does things or helps me do things around outside in the summer that I cannot do myself.

I can possibly get rid of my cleaning service.  I only have them come once a month mostly to clean my hardwood floors.  But I could cut that if necessary, which would save about $80./mo.
I was getting a massage twice a month and foot reflexology every week but I have cut those for the past 2 months which is a savings of $177./mo.
I decided not to buy or lease a new car so I am keeping my 2003 Honda.
So I have no car payment.
Maintenance has been minimal so far.
I don't drive far so gas is also minimal even when the price was higher.
As I've gotten older, especially the last couple years, my medical expenses have been higher.
I have good coverage and drug coverage but there's still things that you have to pay out yourself.
I have upped the deductible on all my insurances.
I have unsubscribed to all magazines and newspaper.
I have no automatic payments going out to charities anymore.
I will always have vet bills because I will always have pets!
Unfortunately, I am still over budget every month!
A lot of it is from those expenses that come once or twice a year that I haven't set aside a fund for.
I have to figure out how to do that.
I think I will try to call my utility, cable and satellite companies and try to get my fees reduced.  
I heard you should try that!
I also know I can get my grocery bill for the month down.
That's something I can work on right now.
Cook at home.  Don't eat out.
When possible use what you already have in your freezer and pantry.  
Be creative.
Menu plan and buy only things from the list you take to the store.
Don't ever forget your list and try to wing it!
Don't shop when you're hungry.

If you have Aldi, shop there!  
It's amazing how much less you'll pay and their brands are just as good.
Buy fruits and vegetables in season.
Don't scrimp on quality.
I buy organic when possible and I won't stop that.  So look for sales and the best prices elsewhere if Aldi doesn't have it.
Go meatless at least twice a week.
These are the things I know will work.

The thing I am having trouble with is my willingness to give up some things 
how I am distributing the money in my envelopes at the beginning of the month.
I don't think the answer is robbing from other envelopes to buy groceries I want.
The answer has to be to reduce the money in the other envelopes because obviously I've put too much in them!
How will I do that????
The first thing I am trying is menu planning.
I'll let you know how that goes.
if any of you have any ideas about any of this, please leave me a comment!



  1. Aldi came to our town when I still had 4 teenagers at home, 3 of them boys. I changed our regular meals to what I could buy at Aldi. We ate a lot of casseroles. Aldi now carries organic fruit and vegetables, too. It does save a lot to eat at home.

    We do have a local grocery store that butchers in our hometown. I used to shop the sales, but now that I am unemployed, I have time to shop early in the day and often find meat on "manager special". If it is on it's last day, they mark it down a lot. I take it home and freeze it so it works out perfectly. I usually do not pay over 1.99 for any beef and .99 a pound for chicken or pork.

    We went to "basic" cable through Time Warner and only pay $28.47 a month with taxes. We get many HD channels since we have an HD tv and it picks them up. We have also found that we are not as limited in choices as we thought. We love PBS and watch a lot of interesting programs that we would have missed when we used to watch goofy reality shows that will remain nameless. We also found that you can watch the news at 6 pm and be just as informed as watching it 24/7. We do not get a lot of sports and really do not care :) Thank goodness for me.

    Depending on your income, utility companies sometimes have special programs for those on limited income or retired. And if you need any major home repairs, contact your county officials and see if they know anything about CHIP grants. These are federal and state grants that are structured like loans without payments, but are forgiven 20% a year as long as you live in and don't sell your home. So after 5 years they are forgiven. You apply and are awarded "points" and over 65 gains you points. You never know. My neighbor qualified and is getting a new furnace and her bathroom remodeled into a stand up shower due to her hip replacements.

    I love your envelope method. When I first went to work at 17, that was my budget. My car payment was one whole check so if I paid it that week, I had no money for gas or food. I had four envelopes in my purse and carefully divided each check into one of them. And when it was empty - it was empty! I had no room for error. I think having to start out that frugal helped me later on with budgeting. I will say every time our finances would drastically increase, we would go on a spending spree and have to remind ourselves to restrain! It is not easy. I used to hone in on sale racks Now I try to take the high road and walk away I have all the clothes and other I need. I need to use what I have. Not always easy.

    When I made my retirement budget, I thought I had budgeted for medical. And I did. What I did not realize was the quantity of co=pays for prescriptions. I went from zero to 8 daily prescriptions. Right this minute I have all generics, but sometimes when one is changed, it is not, and it can add $20, $40 or $60 a month to that line item and I never know until I get the bill. Sigh.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me all these helpful suggestions. I really appreciate it. There are some on here that I will definitely be able to use.


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