Finally! I’m down to my last two categories – Personal Spending and Housing. I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to work through the $1,000 Challenge! It has been a great experience and has forced me to carefully consider every dollar I spend. Notice that I didn’t say it had been fun…here goes:
This is fairly straightforward for me. A little less than three years ago we refinanced our house. So refinancing again isn’t possible and wouldn’t be helpful anyways. The lower payment has been a huge help and I’m grateful that the refinance happened before being divorced. I typically set aside about $50 a month for maintenance and repairs but rarely spend the money I set aside. The reason for this is fairly straightforward.
Over the past 7 or 8 years we have done a tremendous amount of repair and maintenance to this home. First we had to have a new roof when a freak windstorm came through town and distributed our shingles all over our neighborhood. I have never been so glad of a windstorm in my life as we knew the roof would have to be replaced soon. Our homeowners insurance company wrote us a fat check and we got a new roof within 2 weeks! Just before that the AC had gone out and we replaced the entire system. A few years later the siding on the house was (literally) rotting off so we replaced it all with a 50 year siding. While we were at it we also got new exterior doors and new glass in many of the windows.
Our newest repair involves the plumbing. Over the years we had already experienced a slab leak which we had repaired. Two years ago we had our second. There’s nothing like walking into your kitchen and realizing that the floor looks and feels like a water bed. I’m not kidding. I walked into the kitchen and the flooring was about 6 inches higher than normal. When I stepped on it waves went rippling out across most of the downstairs. Not a good feeling…
After a good long talk with a family friend who owns a plumbing company in another city we decided to replumb the house. Several of our neighbors had already experienced multiple slab leaks and there was a high probability that it would continue to happen as the pipes failed. And I really didn’t want to experience the ‘hey the floor is a waterbed’ feeling again. So the insurance company wrote another big fat check and we got all new plumbing and flooring throughout.
So basically every major system in this house has been replaced in the last 7 or 8 years except for electric. My dad is an electrician so I’m feeling pretty good about my chances in this department. The AC, plumbing, roof, and siding is all new. I even had to buy a new water heater a few years ago. There just isn’t that much maintenance to do on an almost brand new home. I still put the money aside though and (surprisingly) always seem to find a way to spend it on something. The something just normally has nothing to do with home maintenance. Don’t judge me. Okay, okay. I’m going to cut this by $10 a month and only put aside $40.00 per month for maintenance.
I budget $10 a week for personal spending. And yes, I am aware that this amount is rather small. I’m not willing to even try to cut it. But don’t feel sorry for me. Remember that I have the home maintenance money to spend every month. :-)
Miscellaneous Savings: $110 on yard maintenance
Transportation Savings: $0
Utilities Savings: $65 ($15 on internet and $50 on cell phone)
Groceries: $80 (I decided to see if I can get by with $20 less per week as I get back to shopping more often and waste less food.)
Kid Costs: $0
Work Expenses: $0
Personal Spending: $0
Total Savings: $265.00
I didn’t come anywhere close to my original goal of saving $500 per month – although I knew from the beginning it would be difficult to do. However! I am thrilled with the savings that I have accomplished and feel like my budget is as streamlined as it’s going to get. It has been really good for me to go through my budget with a fine tooth comb. I am so thankful for Brian and his book and the inspiration that it has given me to save as much money as possible. My plan is for every penny of my savings to go into my retirement account. I estimate that if I continue with this savings plan for another 87 years I will be all set to retire in style!