Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Goals & Getting Real With A Budget

It's a new year and all the Christmas decor is down and packed away, most of the house has been cleaned, closets and drawers are or have been purged, so it's time to get real with a budget for this year. 

There are some things that I really want to do around the house this year - I started off with a huge list of things I wanted to get done and then reality set in.  Now I have this down to a couple of things that are realistic, will fit my budget and can be accomplished.

1. Finish the back yard - It is undergoing a complete makeover.
When we bought the house a year ago, it looked like this - - -

We did get the pool in last year and some basic landscaping around it.  This side of the yard is coming along -
We still need to get the fence up to hide the pool equipment and add more landscaping.

HOWEVER - Now we need to do something to this side of the yard.

We need some landscaping and some kind of screening for all hubby's plant collection.  Then the shed and some screening for that area too.  Most of the pots and things will be going in the side yard behind a fence. 

1. A shed for the side yard.  This will run about $400 for the size hubby wants.
2. Some sort of screening for the shed.  Not sure what that will be yet. cost - ?

Family Room
This is where we spend most of our time.

  The furniture from our last house doesn't translate as well to this room as it did in the previous room.  Things that I want to do for this room are - 
1. Shutters for the windows.  cost - ?
2. New Recliners - cost ?
3. Paint entertainment console.
I do have a new sofa coming soon. (paid for)
The master bathroom got a little bit of a makeover for free when the kitchen was being remodeled.  New floors, counters, sink, faucet and tile.  The one major project left to do is paint the vanity cabinets.   These are the same off the shelf builder grade cabinets as we had in the kitchen, but paint makes all the difference in the world. 

1. I think I am going to paint these black (or maybe white, I am still debating), at any rate they need to be done.

Upstairs Hall Bathroom
  It got new floors at the same time as the master bathroom, but that is all.  This needs a whole new makeover.  This bathroom needs a new counter, sink, mirror plus a new faucet and an over all new design.

2.  I would love to replace the vanity with something that has some drawer storage.  That would run around $600 plus labor.  The rest is just cosmetic.  If that doesn't fit the budget this year, at least paint for the cabinet.

As you can see, none of these things are inexpensive, so I need to prioritize. 

Now here's where the "fun" and the "challenge" comes in.  I took a good look at my bank account over several months and tracked where my money goes.  I've always thought I was reasonably thrifty - not cheap - but thrifty.  It is amazing how $5 here and $20 there adds up.  

When I took a good look at how I spend money, I found out that anything $20 or under and I thought of it as petty cash and non-consequential.  I was amazed that those little buys and spends could add up to $200 real fast.

Here are a few things I discovered were eating up a ton of money.

1. Groceries -  I need to keep it at around $100 a week.

 I usually do one big shop each week and only go back if I run out of something, but I don't plan out meals and I don't really watch the grocery budget. I like for the pantry and the fridge/freezer to be fully stocked with everything, so then whatever I want to cook, all the ingredients are on hand.   I do read the ads, make a list and use the coupons that really apply to what we like to eat.  It wastes money to use a coupon and buy something you really don't like.  We eat really well at our house, but I can trim a little here I think.  For just the two of us I definitely think a budget of $100 week is more than ample, so I am going to stick to that.

2.  Personal care - 

  I am going to curb some of those trips to the Beauty Salon.   Coloring my own hair instead of spending hours in the salon, and I really can go a month between pedicures and just re-polish at home.  I do it all the time when "time" is a crunch anyway.  Now this should save quite a bit more by itself.  Hair color at the salon is around $75 and you can buy everything at Sally's for under $10.  Skipping one pedi also saves about $40.  

3.  Give myself an allowance of $100 month for crafts and home decor.

(This is where I spend the most - I spend double this and sometimes more -  I have to get this under control)

4. Eat out only twice a month.

Even if we don't go anywhere fancy it is $50 to $60 to eat out. This needs to be a treat and enjoy Pizza or Chinese a couple of times a month at home instead of going out.

5. If I put cash in my wallet and only use it, not the debit card, it is amazing how you think twice about all those misc. things. 

 This should curb a ton of those little $5 and $20 spends.

These few things will save an average of $500 a month in addition to our regular savings. 

  This is the same budget I set two years ago and it worked for me, then we started to makeover the last house and sell it and move,   When we moved in to this new house it all changed.  Major remodeling tends to eat up money in a hurry.  Time to get this under control again.
If I can do this, I will definitely pop the champagne cork and celebrate.

Do you have some major goals for this year too?

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  1. I need to get our grocery budget under control too. Would love to hear your menu plans.

  2. Interesting to see your list. We made a big investment last year and had to tighten our belts to make it work. I didn't buy anything. It feels so good. I am using up soaps and lotions, and I really don't need any more clothes. I am glad to be emptying things out, and not just wastefully throwing away and buying new.
    It's also fun to watch your landscaping!!

  3. This post was perfectly timed for me. We need to get back to planning meals as well because we waste too much food. My hubby and I don't mind leftovers most of the time, but really should plan more meals that won't have more than 1-2 servings left. I subscribe to an online service - - for meal planning but I haven't used it much recently. It is simple to upload recipes, add what you want to make to the calendar, and generate a shopping list. Maybe you could contact them to do a sponsored post?
    You mentioned pedicures. Here in Atlanta you can get a polish change on your toes for $10 plus tip. I usually go 6-8 weeks between pedicures and have a polish change in between. That saves $20.
    I had a suggestion for your hall bathroom vanity. I was in IKEA the other day and marveled at the drawers in this one - This is one of the more traditional styles they have at IKEA. Could you and your hubby install it yourselves? My hubby learns how to do a lot of small jobs by watching YouTube videos.
    I look forward to following along. You have made so much progress since you moved in!

  4. My goal this spring is to renovate our family bathroom. It's the only one on the first floor and is used by all 6 of us. It's not getting any bigger, but I've got some ideas how it can become more efficient. Hubby is getting an outdoor shed too, which will help clear the garage of lawn care and landscaping stuff.

  5. Marty, you have some wonderful goals for 2018! I sure hope to accomplish some projects this year.

  6. Happy New Year Marty! Cutting back is on my agenda also. My biggest challenge is to use the supplies, decor, etc I have on hand in new creative ways. I never met a thrift store or craft store sale I didn't like!

  7. Happy New Year, Marty ! Great goals, and great tips to make them happen. I try to be frugal, too - but you are is very easy to fritter away 20 bucks. I am amazed when I go to the Dollar Tree Store and then at the register it's a high amount and I think "but hey, it's only a dollar". They do add up. Good for you for coloring your hair. I have been doing it for years...I have a short pixie cut that I get cut every 4 weeks. I found it VERY expensive to get cut and color, and was not always happy with the color. I use Nice n Easy...and split one box into two times. I bought a bottle at Sally's and just measure it out. But, I am thinking I could skip the Nice n Easy and just buy the components at Sally. Will look into that next time I am out. Since we recently moved to an apartment home in a retirement community I have been SPENDING lots to get things we need/want. I also needed a new hairdresser to cut my hair....everyone moved into this building at the same time and we are all anywhere from age 60 and I asked someone who cuts their hair. They told me, I looked it up online....70 dollars for a cut !!! Not for me....will keep being a "welcome walk in" at someplace frugal and try your idea of Sally's. Happy New Year and best of luck with all your plans!

  8. I hear you Marty. I always said, if we didn't need to eat, look at all the money we could save! I am recently retired so I have to definitely look at my budget. One good thing is I made sure all my needs such as new range, fridge and other appliances were relatively new before I stopped working. I have been living in my home for over 40 years so although there is no mortgage, there now is updating that needs to be done and some minor repairs. This means watching what I spend so I will have some money to do what I want to update my house. I'm happy to say I made it through Christmas without using my credit card or if I had to I paid the balance immediately. I'm sure you will have no problem with budgeting since you've done it before and can't wait to see all the amazing things you have in store for us!

  9. Happy New Year, Marty! These goals are very realistic. Eating out is probably our biggest vice.

  10. Marty, you're so organized! Your backyard transformation is amazing. Looks beautiful. Just painting the bathroom cabinets would really look fabulous!

  11. Great ways to save Marty. We got an Instant pot late in 2017 and it has changed the way I cook supper. Such better food for less! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!