Sunday, December 11, 2016

Number crunching...

Today was a bit of a day to try and cross some lingering things off my list because I have been a bit too weary to do much.  Little things.  Niggling things.

  • Wrap the present for my mother from my brother that I purchased for him.
  • Submit receipts to Receipt Hog
  • Fill out rebate forms for Menard's
  • Write thank you notes to four folk
  • Run the dishwasher
  • Fold the laundry

Of course, those things mean getting up and about on my feet, which have been hurting more, so I thought I would take the time to work on the calluses that I get.  I have two foot files and a Pedegg.  So, I can usually soften up my feet.  And I have peppermint pumice scrub for when I am done.  The issue these days with trying to tend to my feet is that without my wool socks on, they turn blue pretty fast.  Really, it is more black that blue, but saying that they turn blue sounds better to me.

It is not that they become so very icy in my hands.  That I can sort of ignore.  It is looking at them.  Their appearance.  Seeing black feet is really, really, really disconcerting.  Seeing your own feet turn black is really hard to stomach.  At least it is if your name is Myrtle.  SIGH.

The other task that I actually started yesterday because it is such a lengthy one is to enter all my projected 2017 expenses into my checkbook program.  I have 15 transaction a month, five to the small, targeted savings accounts, nine debits, and one deposit.  I have a three-year average of my gas and electric bills, so I make those two amounts add up to the total, adjusting the amounts depending on the month.  The water bill is charged in increments, so my usual bill is static, if you count an ever increasing set monthly amount actually static.  [I pay 50% greater  than my bills the first year I was here.]  I charge everything possible for miles credit, so I have a budget amount for that transaction.  This way, I have a fairly accurate account of how much money I will have any given week of the year.  And as the year unfolds, I change the projected amounts to actual, growing quite giddy any time I am under budget (and a bit morose whenever I am over budget).

With having now seven free prescriptions, switching to generics and using the mail-order  program, along with another two free prescriptions through manufacturers, I just couldn't understand why I am not getting anywhere with my bottom line.  So, I went back over my budget line-by-line.  What I realized is that I am spending $1,200 on OTC meds that my doctors have asked me to take, and that is with dropping the four I just am not keen on taking anymore.  That's a HUGE amount of money for someone on a small fixed-income.

With the increases in real estate taxes, house insurance, car insurance, and medicare premiums and co-pays and no increase in income, things have been tight.  Each year, I do an over/under in each account (checking, savings, and those tiny savings accounts).  Between sewage repair and the breaking appliances, I am ~$1,570 under this year.  Since those three expenses were ~$3,500, that means I did manage quite a bit of penuriousness this year.  That doesn't even include the surgery and all the tests and procedures and extra specialists, which were not budgeted well either.

In the new budget, I massively increased the OTC line and increased the medical line.  That means I had to drop my groceries budget, since I have squeezed as best I can elsewhere.  That was a disappointment for me.  I hope I can stick to that.  As it is, I have a $3 cushion each month.  My goal is to be even more careful with my shopping to make best use of the savings tools I have.  And, of course, to come under budget on gas and electrical each month!  I love me some utility penuriousness!

I actually also have my projected over/under for 2017.  In 2016, the only "over" accounts were the ones for taxes and the Highlander (turning 13 in January).  My long-term goal for my real estate taxes account is to have a year's worth of taxes as a cushion in them.  I am losing the mortgage exemption this year (they give you a two-year cushion when you no longer have a mortgage), so I have no clue how to really budget for taxes.  I have substantially upped the monthly amount in preparation, but I hope that I have exceeded the minimum amount needed so that I will end 2017 with an increase to the small cushion I have in that account.  I think it will take me three-four more years to reach that goal.

I am really proud of having started a savings account for the Highlander.  That way, when I needed brakes this year, I was able to pay for them without stress.  For such an old vehicle, I should save more monthly, but $40 is all that I can swing.  I am fairly sure belts and hoses will be next.  Thankfully, I already have enough for that in my Highlander account.

Amos?  Well, his account is the worst.  He had four appointments between his annual check-up and now.  All the while, I've been saving for his teeth cleaning in February.  I had strong words with him over needing to take better care of himself in 2017.

Still, if you think about it, when I decided to try and save monthly for larger expenses that come throughout the year so that I could better handle them two year ago, I definitely made the right decision.  Each month, I set aside 29% of my income in order to do this.  And I dream of the day where I can somehow manage to live "under" all my number crunching so that I can prepare a bit for what's to come.

I should note that I wouldn't have been anywhere near where I am without my sister's help with the sewage repair bill and my medical expenses.  She sent me small monthly sums six of the 12 months, which really help me from falling into financial despair.  Having a bit of help makes such a difference when your chronic illness often leaves you taking three steps back for every two forward.

Nothing to do with number crunching, but the last task of today was to send a message to my doctor about the new pain (really, a girl shouldn't have to battle pain in her tongue).  I see her on Tuesday, but I wanted to write out a few thoughts about struggling with the all the pain I have and the medication I am currently taking.

I think I have earned a Dr Pepper, don't you?

No comments: