As I’ve talked about before, we’re “losing” Tim’s income starting in 2016. By which I mean that we’re putting it aside in case he loses his appeal, and we have to repay it.
That means that there’s suddenly going to be a $766 shortfall in the budget, which caused a kind of squirmy panic that I chose to ignore as much as possible. But it’s January, so now it’s time to face the music.
Not as bad as I thought
For whatever reason, my mind seized on $300. I was convinced that on several occasions we’d only been able to put away $300. Take away $766 and you have… a problem.
But it turns out that there were nine months last year that we put away at least $800. (If you’re wondering how we managed that, take a look at the year-in-review post.) The three remaining months were:
- The month we finally get the HVAC taken care of.
- A month with a particularly nasty credit card bill
- A month when we only put away $396
Not bad! The HVAC was planned (and pricey) so I don’t really count that.
The second time we actually had to take a little out of savings. But that was also before I started taking the one weekend of overtime each month. Had I been doing that, we would have landed in the positive.
The third time… Well, I’d missed a couple of days of work, and the credit card bill wasn’t great. Even so, $396 is better than the $300 I fixated on.
Accentuate the positive (balance)
Even calling it $396 is a narrow view. That isn’t the only money we put into the savings account that month. There was also $166 from saved savings. Which means that our savings account actually went up by $562.
Of course, $562 isn’t $766. (I took calculus!) But that was also just one month out of 12. Sometimes expenses pile on.
Most months, we put away at least $800. So taking away $766 means that we’re, at worst, generally back to zero. Or +$34 if you want to nitpick.
But obviously we don’t want to just tread water. So let’s still look at this through the prism of being -$766 each month.
I got a $2/hour raise. That’s essentially an extra $350 after tax. Which means we’re $416 short.
As I realized above, I need to start including saved savings. This year’s will be especially impressive with a minimum savings of $152 a month saved: $92 from cutting the cord, $20 from a cheaper Internet plan, $26 from switching to Ooma and $14 cutting Netflix down to just streaming.
Based on that, I think it’s safe to assume an average monthly saved savings of $182. $236 short.
I’m going to have the plumbers install a reverse osmosis machine later this month, which will mean we can get rid of our water delivery service. That’ll save $84 a month. (Yep, it was that painfully high. One of our other perceived frugal failures.) $152 short.
We’re trying to keep the house cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. (Remember, nudity is frugal.) Apparently that and the heinous insulation costs continue to pay off. Starting next month, our averaged bill is going down by $65! $87 short.
I’m determined to actually make a nominal profit on from this site. I estimate that I made about $3,000 from it last year, but $1,500 of that was a one-time contract gig.
Now that I’m on Pinterest (follow me, dammit! I mean… please?), I’ve seen some uptick in traffic and AdSense revenue. I’m also trying out another ad service.
I’m going to try to push a little harder for advertisers and/or sponsored posts — but only ones I actually believe in. If I can get even $100 more a month among all those efforts, the budget shortfall will officially vanish.
Of course, some of this money already exists. That is, we already dump any AdSense payouts and saved savings into the main savings account. But it wasn’t counted on. It was gravy.
So while they’re not increasing our savings rate, those amounts prove that we should be able to keep our heads above water — and then some.
Except this month.
Unfortunately, the credit card bill due in two weeks is painfully high. A bunch of expenses came due at once ($300 for yearly termite protection, $200 for car tags, etc.), and they Voltroned into a monstrous $2,200 bill.
About $290 is stuff that will come out of my fun money, and another $90 comes from the vacation fund for some of Tim’s birthday expenses. But the other $1,800ish has to come out of general funds, and we’re about $300 short.
But there will always be bad months. As long as this is the exception to the rule, I think 2016 is looking pretty good!
How do your 2016 finances look? Any financial goals for the new year?