According to the list I created back in January, October was supposed to be our month to save money/cut expenses through green living. I was probably going to talk about composting, recycling, DIY cleaners, switching to energy-efficient lighting, or setting the thermostat at a constant temperature. Instead, our focus shifted to un-jobbing.
With my resignation behind us now, I agreed to work until December 23. There are a lot of reasons for such a drawn out departure. First, this is the time of year that we always apply for 1st quarter grants. As much as I may not want to work there anymore, I also don’t want to leave them in a bind. They do good work in the community and they can’t do it without funding. Second, this should give them plenty of time to find a suitable replacement that I can help train. But mostly I’m doing this for me. I want to finish our year-long project of attempting to live on 50% of our income and I want to save as much money as possible between now and then.
Personal finance is a constantly evolving process. It seems that every month something in our budget changes. This month is no exception and next month will see even more changes as I begin to eliminate a few categories. The biggest change that we made in October was to separate our travel and entertainment dollars from our living expense dollars. We did this by opening a new checking account at a local bank. I think this will allow us to better control our day-to-day expenses and also won’t make us feel so restrained when it comes to having fun. We’ll know we can go to the movies or take a weekend trip because the money is in an account earmarked for only that purpose. We’ve also designated certain side hustles to deposit directly into this account.
This month we were WAY OFF TRACK with our absolute expenses. Our Ting cell phone bill was $27 higher than normal, our electric bill was $50 higher than expected, my student loan payment increased by $65, our fuel costs jumped to $188 because of an unexpected trip to see my sister and our groceries were $327.
On the upside, we had relatively low flex expenses this month, though they were still more than what they should have been. 80% of what we purchased under flex expenses in October was for someone else. Despite adding Hulu back to our television line-up, our entertainment costs remained low too. Savings wasn’t so bad either.
If we’re going to make a real go of un-jobbing though, we’ve got to be better at controlling our grocery, gas, and household expenses. Up until now, we’ve set goals but no hard rules for our budget. We knew it was okay to go over on groceries or spend a little extra here and there because our income was steady. That won’t be the case come January. I’m currently working on a budget that does have hard rules (like returning to a cash only envelope for groceries). Once I have that completed, I’ll be sure to share.
If you glanced at that list I was referring to earlier, you’ll note that our focus area for November is on cutting expenses by staying healthy. This is our month for eye exams, mammograms, and the dentist. Let’s hope we still have some money left to budget at the end of those adventures!!