Early Budget Update

I’m still in the midst of the big audit of our last 3 months’ spending. What a train wreck! I’m glad I saved as many receipts as I did, so I can better categorize discretionary spending and not just lump it into “personal.” We need to have a categorical breakdown of that spending so that we can adapt our habits to our circumstances.  What isn’t on a receipt I have to fill in from the card statements. I suppose it’s a blessing that we hardly ever use cash, as that would be rather difficult to trace. I am counting the records of our cash withdrawals as spending, then deducting any receipts for cash sales from that so that they’re not double-counted. It’s time to dust off my accounting skills.

Meanwhile, I split the essential bills and the income, i.e. the money that’s not student loans, off from the rest of it to see if we were within bounds on the basics. And…no. We’re not. See for yourself:
$235-Heat/Electric (highest bill so far, this month)
$ 91-Phone/Internet
$ 52-Water
$ 24-Garbage
$ 44-Life insurance (for 2)
$ 22-Health insurance (for me, unless the State guts the program)
$ 11-Local paper (keeps us informed, can’t read it online)
$ 10-Netflix (keeps us fairly sane)
$1484 per month total
Less $1420 per month stipend=
-$64 per month.

Well, that’s not sustainable now, is it? It’s a good thing I’m getting all that federal and state grant money, right? That should tide us over, shouldn’t it? Well…it’s $1,982 per quarter. That’s almost $600 less than this time last year. After paying off the (gasp!) $1,000 credit card bill we racked up and taking care of transcript and application fees for grad school, that gives us $73 per week. I wonder how far I can stretch that.
($20) gas
($16) bills
($15) boys’ allowance
($ 5) church offering
$18 for whatever else may come along.

Yeah, good luck with that.


About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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4 Responses to Early Budget Update

  1. Patience says:

    That is tight, no doubt. It’s funny how utilities vary from state to state. We pay about $15 more for water than you do, but about $12 less for phone/internet and it’s hard to compare heat/electricity because our heat is gas and is combined with the water bill. I agree that netflix is a very good value and a great source of cheap entertainment.

    • poorlocavore says:

      I wish we had separate electric and heating bills. It’s gas heat, but I think the hot water is electric. It’s also hard to compare month-to-month the way the billing is set up. But we found a better deal on the phone/net-we can get DSL (we have cable net now) for $30 less per month.

  2. Cassie says:

    Good job shopping the phone/internet. Your new cost sounds better. That’s in line with what we pay–$50 a month. Then we buy 2 cent a minute calling cards to use for any long-distance.

    Do you have car insurance in there?

    Looks like your budget is very close. Is there any option for either of you to do some part-time work to supplement your income? It doesn’t seem to me like cutting back any farther is realistic.

    I’ve missed reading a few of your blogs and I’m enjoying getting caught back up.

    • poorlocavore says:

      Welcome back!

      Long distance is included in the new plan-if I ever hear back from them for installation! It’s been a few days now. We had switched to cheap prepaid cell phones earlier in the year, from our $90-per-month family plan. I prepaid the car insurance in October to save the $2/month installment fee.

      Dear Wife is already working as a T.A. for one of her professors. I’m sure I could manage a few days or nights per week, and it would do me good to get out of the house more anyway.

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