We’re at the halfway point, and all systems are go. We’ve got a few slippery items on the budget coming up. Jaron’s tax refundable college expenses, for example, which depend on how much scholarship money he earns. We’ve also got income tax return money and a potential bonus in March. I’ve made conservative estimates for all of them so we’re on the safe side, and we’re still well on target. The budget did get “blowed up” in December, but it worked out fine because we were on top of it. We knew we wanted to spend more on Christmas than we had allocated, so I rigorously updated the budget throughout the month based on our purchases. This allowed us to shift things around on the fly to make sure we weren’t impacting our mortgage payoff plan, but still continue to bless others during the holiday season. I’m not sure how most people follow their budget, but for us the discretionary items are flexible, as long as the bottom line balances out.
We cancelled our YMCA membership, which we rarely use. We also cancelled Sirius radio, which we use in the van all the time, but is easily replaced with local and internet radio. A new expense I’m looking at this month is our water bill. It is consistently over $110 per month. That seems high to me. We’ve got high efficiency toilets and appliances, and we’ve got rain barrels for the yard. The only other culprit I can think of is the long showers we tend to take. This has been a pet peeve of Lianne’s for years. When she was younger her mom would knock on the bathroom door if she was taking too long. We’re going to implement something like that to see if we can save some money and help the environment a little. Davin is doing his part, of course, by taking as few showers as his mom will let him get away with. He also unwittingly saves on washing machine use by wearing the same outfits until his mom or sister notices, either by sight or smell, that it’s time to dress him in something different. 🙂 Man, I love that kid. I don’t want him to grow up.
I started a high level post-mortgage budget to help keep us motivated. The increased cash flow opens up a lot of opportunities. The plan is to save half of that extra money and spend the other half. I sent the spreadsheet to Lianne to get her sign off and to get her excited about the future. I asked her a few times to take a look at it. As we were getting ready for bed I asked her, “Did you take a look at the budget spreadsheet I sent you?”
She looks at me for a moment and says, “Is that the grid thingy?”
Oh boy … “Yes, that’s the spreadsheet.”
“No. Haven’t seen it.”
Lianne!!! I’m telling you, it’s exciting to see where we could be if we continue on this track for just a few more months. Take a look at the spreadsheet! 🙂