Good Afternoon! It has turned chilly here in Rhode Island, brr! I think it feels even colder given all the mild weather we had been having prior to Christmas. At the very least the heat has been kicking on a bit more and I find myself reaching for hot tea and a warm throw.
I’ve been spending the last few days reviewing our January budget and sinking funds (envelope system.) I’ve been watching lots of videos on YouTube to get a feel for how others handle budgeting and I am feeling confident I have a really good handle on things. Note: I like these if your interested Debt is Dum
We currently have quite a few “fixed” expenses that I won’t bother to bore you with. Most likely they are the same as yours – mortgage, insurance, etc. We are looking for ways to make some changes here- finding savings in each area one at a time. As that occurs I will share our successes (hopefully!)
While we are looking for those savings there are some other areas we have decided to concentrate our efforts in:
Grocery Budget: we currently have a $500.00 a month food budget. That is for a family of 4 (two adults, two young children.) Food prices are on the average to high to side where we live. Prices have been creeping up again on many items in recent weeks (specifically produce and dairy.) I suspect that this will continue through 2016 and I am hopeful that our $500.00 budget will carry us through. I will be tracking my goal to stay on budget and will be sure to share if we decide to change this. This budget is for food items only. Toiletries, paper goods, detergent, etc. comes from a separate budget.
School Expenses: this is our first year in public school. I am a bit surprised at how much we spent in the first 4 months of school on various fundraisers, needed items, teacher gifts, etc. I plan to add this as a regular budget item now that I have a rough estimate of costs. We will sink $75.00 into this category monthly and monitor to see if any adjustments need to be made. I know this amount seems high. I really do not foresee us spending this much each month but I would rather budget high and have money left over to move somewhere else at the end of the year.
Gift Giving/Christmas: we spent way to much on Christmas and birthdays this year. We budgeted for it but I would like to make some drastic cuts in this area. Right now I am budgeting $150.00 a month in this category but wish to have half left over come January 1st 2017. I have plans to make many gifts this year to save money. We will be talking with family members about creating some new traditions that eliminate or limit exchanging gifts. I am planning to participate in Annabel’s Christmas Challenge. Her blog is lovely and filled with wonderful information!
Credit Card Debt: I wouldn’t say we have mountains of debt (in comparison to many other American’s) but we have some that we really want to pay off. All totaled as of this writing we owe $6100.00 to credit cards. My hubby and I agreed on a plan to pay it off within 18 months -less if possible- maybe I’ll win Powerball tonight ; ) The amount we will pay monthly is dependent on some fluctuating income and our ability to find savings in other areas. I plan to update our progress monthly. This goal is VERY important to me!
So there you have a look into some of our 2016 financial plans. How about you? Any plans to pay off debt or monitor and decrease spending?