Our online business has slowed down this summer. This is normal, but this year is a little worse than others. Don’t panic on our behalf though, LOL. We’re still doing fine overall and I’ll be writing for you from home for quite a while.
Any complaints I have are definitely first-world problems, BUT even financially sound people aren’t comfortable with financial change. Here are some suggestions of budget categories that can be targeted for savings.
I’m going to make this personal. Here is our budget. The red categories are the ones that my husband and I have/will be cutting in some way. The blue categories are the ones that we aren’t touching but are ripe for rollbacks if we truly need to cut back or if you need some ideas.
Here is how our budget looks right now:
- Income Taxes – $2500
- Home Mortgage – $990
- Home Insurance/Property Taxes/HOA – $750
- Rent House Home Insurance/Property Taxes – $275
- Health Insurance – $275
- Car Insurance – $85
- Gasoline – $200
- Life Insurance – $30
- Electricity – $150
- Water – $50
- Natural Gas – $40
- Restaurants –
- Groceries –
- Cell Phones – $150
- Medicines – $20
- Cable/Internet (DSL) –
- Housekeeping – $175 (average over the year)
- Lawn – $50 (average over the year)
- Miscellaneous – $200
- Entertainment –
- Cash –
- Total Expenses =
Our Red Category Cuts
- Food is always a great category to target since you can usually find cheaper options. We’re back to keeping up with our spending by tracking every cent used for food on a list on our refrigerator. There is nothing as motivating as seeing your spending staring at you in the face. We’re cutting back our food total to $500 once again and then will move down to $450.
- With our upcoming vacations using up the rest of our vacation account, we’re cutting back on our monthly entertainment spending A BUNCH. Now it’s at $50.
- We use cash for random things through the month, so now we are only putting $50 in each of our wallets instead of $100. That’ll keep us from splurging.
- Yep, we’re cutting cable. We have another 2 months of a contract and then we’re moving on to just online and Netflix streaming (part of our miscellaneous category). I don’t know how much the internet will be by itself, but I am estimating it high just in case.
- I also price out our electricity contracts every time they are up for renewal using a site for Texas – http://powertochoose.com/. I’ve been able to keep our cents per kilowatt hour between 8.9-10.9 cents over the last 3-4 years.
- Our cell phones are $150 a month and we want to try Ting next since they’ll let us bring in our Galaxy S3’s and should save us $50 a month. But our contract isn’t close to being up yet and they only cover $150 of the break-up fees. So it’ll be a while.
Blue Category Suggestions
- Our home mortgage and property taxes are a choice. The market it okay for selling right now. We could move back into our paid off rental home. We could buy a cheaper home. We could find a home in an area with lower property taxes. But we are happy with our current housing situation. Our rental home’s tenant is great and always pays on time. We share our home with our two friends. Overall, we are happy and definitely are not feeling a pinch hard enough to justify moving right now. But believe me, if we needed it, we would move and get more roommates at the same time. We’ve been there before and could do it again.
- Our health insurance is pretty much as cheap as I could find it without risking us being uncovered for the big stuff. But if your health insurance is costing you way more than you think it should, I would highly suggest looking at quotes at https://www.healthcare.gov/ or esurance.com to see if you have cheaper options.
- I also think that $85 a month is the best we can do for full coverage on a 2007 Toyota Prius and a new 2013 Honda Fit. We are insured through a GEICO local office, but I call around every 6 months just to ensure that we are keeping this premium as low as possible.
- Obviously, housekeeping and lawn care are luxury expenses. We value both services more than most of our extras, so they’ll stay until we really need money.
Technically, our income taxes will be lower too since our income has dropped to about $7500 from about $10,000. But as I wrote before, we use the easy method for quarterly estimated taxes, so we’re still paying into the pool based on what we made last year. We’ll be getting a significant refund again, but it’ll make the 2015 Roth IRA’s way easier to fund.
Have you made any budget cuts recently? What categories would you target?