We finally lived a month really focusing on controlling all of our spending and, Wow! We spent only $2893.59 which is $1,000 less than the best month we have had to date. We reduced spending in almost every category. For details on how we did it please see below.
Campground Fees – We are volunteer work kamping so no fees this month. We have a beautiful site and there is minimal work that needs done in the off season so it has been more than a fair bargain.
Groceries – We have struggled in this category but this month we put a new plan in place. (I would just like to point out that in the entire month, I didn’t buy a single pie. Clearly the overage is due to Tracy’s reckless purchasing of salad components. She’s the Ron Swanson of salad.-Lee) We have regular meal plans and have eliminated waste down to the minimum. Towards the end of the month we did struggle. Meat continues to be a problem as we don’t have a large freezer and are somewhat at the mercy of that week’s prices. What we are doing now is buying whatever meat is on sale and menu planning around it which takes some creativity on my part. We also just ate whatever was in the cupboards the last couple of days to avoid making a store run until the first of the month. I am in no way prepared to declare victory in this category, but it’s a huge step forward.
Dining Out – We went over because we celebrated my last day of work. We could have skipped those meals but in my mind certain things deserve a celebration.
Entertainment – Very happy with this category because we managed to do several things this month, yet didn’t spend a lot on them.
Cell Phones /Internet – This category has a new baseline with the minimum Verizon phone plan we bought. Since that will now be my work phone this may actually go up, but for now we are holding the line. This includes 80GB data (and we use every bit of it, every month), an AT&T phone, a Verizon phone with 1GB of data (mainly use the AT&T wireless), and an AT&T Ipad.
Home Improvement – Look at who is getting serious about the budget!! Lee spent $25 and that was on a new outlet in the kitchen. Major improvement!! (I wouldn’t even have had to do that, but it’s getting pretty cold at night, routinely down to the low 30’s. We have a space heater in the bedroom that’s plugged directly into the power pedestal, so it doesn’t go through the inverter, which doesn’t have enough amp pass through to handle it. There’s also a built in electric fireplace in the living room, which also bypasses the inverter. So we had a toasty bedroom, a toasty living room, and a freezing kitchen, which is exacerbated by the constant opening and closing of the outside door. So, I put in a dedicated outlet that bypasses the inverter, and the cost was for the outlet box, a new outlet (I don’t like to reuse old outlets) and a special thin saw to cut through the very thin wall veneer. I didn’t want to risk using something bigger and tearing the paneling. So now it’s toasty warm everywhere, and as long as we are on electric hookups, we won’t need to use our propane furnace. – Lee)
Cigarettes – We stocked up in Reno in anticipation of moving to the Redwoods and that is the cost of a 15 week supply of tobacco and tubes. For the year we have spent half of what we anticipated and that budget amount was $4300 less than we were spending while in a sticks and bricks. As usual, I know smoking is bad, but if you are on a budget and want to smoke, rolling your own is absolutely the way to go. (I know not many people smoke anymore, but if you do, seriously consider doing this. Before we hit the road, we were spending $130 a week, $6700 a year on smoking, which is a truly ridiculous price to kill yourself slowly. The same amount of tobacco and the tubes to stuff it in is $25 per week, or $1300, and it takes about 90 minutes a week to roll two cartons. That’s over 80% savings. And the machine is only $75. – Lee)
So there we are. In order to prove this is not an anomaly we need to see what happens over the next few months. It does prove it can be done though, at least short term, which is very comforting.
(I am currently hard at work preparing a truly epic “I told you so” speech. – Lee)
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