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Still working on my budget

February 9th, 2013 at 03:40 pm

The 2% Social Security tax is back and our paycheck is 2 percent smaller. Sadly, food, utilities, gasoline for the car have not decreased. We feel the pinch, most sensitively thanks to our car loan.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers suggestions for adding dollars back into our budget. Lo:

Adjust our withholding. This is good if you receive a tax refund every year, but what if you don't? I could review our Health Savings Account contributions.
Pay with cash. We try to. Comcast, our $3/month spam-free e-mail account and our mobile phone we pay with credit card. And it's still nice to have the RedCard. I am no longer using one stamp to pay a $3.00 bill. After Hurricane Sandy, I am no longer mailing mortgage payments to New Jersey. So that's 94 cents saved a month. Times eleven = Hey, that's ten dollars! We have been good, but not stellar, about abstaining from coffee out, probably because we have colds. Would you believe, addict that I am, it took me 27 hours between coffees because I was downing 56 ounces raw honey/ginger/cayenne/apple cider vinegar daily? My head was sweating too much to bother with the bloody pipecleaner effect of caffeine withdrawal.

We have found sixty-six cents this week in the self-checkout stations. I was almost at a dollar when I opened my big yap and offered to split the bounty with someone heading toward the cash-rich, vacated (but not yet voided) station. The attendant interfered and ruined my fun. Maybe this is something someone under the age of 12 who can't be held indeterminately without charges can do for me instead.

Find $10 in each of 10 categories each month. Shave $10 off the grocery bill. That sounds so doable. It's the other nine categories I worry about. If I can reamortize I can shave $10 from the car loan. I can stop making extra payments to the home equity line of credit: that would be $69 saved. It's silly to do so if we know for sure we are leaving within five months. Yet I wanted to see that $20K milestone of principal paid. Don't tell me that you haven't been tempted to push a repayment goal ahead of schedule!

We caved in and went back to Costco. We got wild salmon at $6.99/lb, ana Colombian for $5/lb. $3.00/lb (* 2lb) and $1/lb saving from a 5 lb bag of whole beans = $11 savings.

See if there's something I can sell for $10 each month. Fackit, it'd be great if people READ the ads and WANTED what I had for sale. It's not like I don't take photos, crop them appropriately, and don't add relevant details to the items.

Change habits. I don't buy weekly lottery tickets, nor do I buy newspapers. The only library I visit more than once a week is the one I can walk to without my heart bursting. Caffeine is a habit but I am changing: I am using up the powdered coffees and not going out for coffee except for once a week.

Yesterday I learned that frozen items like roasts and whole chickens can be placed in slow cookers. This is good to know.

My cold "refuculated" my thinking processes, and I believe it's because the body energy was rerouted into mucus production instead of cogitation. I got lost (!!) twice while driving, thought I asked for a $1.50 drip but got a $2.75 latte, spazzed out when I saw $20 fall out of a Christmas card (hey, the card wasn't addressed to me) and hastened the recipient to write a thank-you letter, spazzed out again trying to find the correct address of the gift giver, vamoosed to drop the card in the mail (already six weeks late, but remember, cogitation got downgraded to Priority 4) spazzed out once more attempting to corral 2012 tax statements (haven't yet found 2012 W2) and completely spaced about thawing something out for dinner. It was not a good day, unless one was a virus-fighting antibody, or you were a four-and-a-half-star rated cheap burger place in suburbia. My bladder got a good workout.

2 Responses to “Still working on my budget”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Hope you feel better soon!

  2. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Thank you. My head is very scattered, although no longer sinusy, and I could not even find the car today in the parking lot, although I did remember where I parked, and did have the alarm function on the remote control key on me. Watch me end up in Minot or Pierre when it's my turn to drive to Sacramento (hint: we take only one freeway for 15 hours).

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