How can I keep having a "new" smaller budget over and over?!
This time it could be a big change. We will have a decrease in income starting this summer, which is expected to last a few years. It could initially be a decrease of losing up to 60% of our income, with expected gradual recovery beginning after a year. Worst case scenario.
We'll have enough to cover basic expenses, but I need to get back to keeping that variable expenses as low as possible. I'd like to see it around $400/month for food, gasoline, car maintenance, animal feed, pets, clothing, hygiene, hobbies, dining out, etc.
That means keeping myself and DS11 happy and healthy is priority as stress aggravates our symptoms and our medications run $250-$300/month total. We are both off medications currently.
Right now, a frivolous expense adding up is DS11 has a computer coding class after school one day a week. It's 40 minutes after school is out with a 25 minute drive. I've been getting fast food on the way for both boys and myself. Bad habit!!
They are so, so hard! But, it is good practice for aging. Yep. I am on a VERY tight one now as I want to be able to stop most all working within 2 yrs. I seems where I would LIKE to be. Ain't getting any younger, no matter how hard I try! So facing fact that my own spending MUST be limited. I have spent some "discretionary" funds that probably should have gone to paying something else in advance but, I know that once I do stop working there will be almost no chance to buy these things. Plus they will actually save me, or make me some $$$.
I can tell you that you CAN NOT eat out...you MUST plan trips to save gas (ie. feed store, grocery, etc. all in one trip). Put a calendar on frig to add to planning such trips. We all know about gardens, canning, freezing foods -- which you already DO. Continue. Use more of what you have rather than buying something. Yeah, I need to eat more eggs! Soon I can milk again and that will offset any milk, cheese, butter, etc.
It sounds so simple and is so hard to start. Then, it becomes second nature. What helps me is writing that budget down...then using cash in hand for my allowed purchasing. You really get tight when you have only $5 of your allowance left!!!!!