Friday, July 10, 2015

Budget Assessment 3: Housing, Insurance, Cars and Technology

I started a budget assessment in my last couple posts and today I’ll continue by looking at the first four categories in our budget: Household, Insurance, Cars, and Technology. These four categories make up 55% of our monthly expenses

The Housing categories include our rent, gas, electric, water, and sewer utilities. There’s very little we can do to reduce this category at the moment.  We are fairly diligent about energy savings although there are a few ways we could cut back a little more including:
-       Fixing the broken dryer timer, we have to set an alarm to remember to turn the dryer off since the timer is broken and there have definitely been a few times we forgot and over-dried our clothes/ wasted a bunch of electricity.
-       Fixing the small leak in our shower faucet and toilet. I’ve put in a work order with the rental management company so that should be fixed soon.
-       We can always look into moving into a cheaper place but probably won’t consider this until our lease is coming up next March as the termination penalty would outweigh any monthly savings.
-       More cold water washing, more line drying, shorter and cooler showers and other energy cutting things we can do to help reduce our energy use each month.

The Insurance category includes health, short and long term disability, life and rental insurances. I don’t feel that we are over-insured as we have very modest coverage for life and rental insurance; health insurance is what it is through my employer. Perhaps the disability insurance is a variable that could be cut however I think that would be a last resort and I honestly feel like keeping the insurance is a higher priority to me than paying off debt. It’s a fairly low cost of $31 a month and since my income is our only income and I have already experienced something (the pregnancy) that took me out of work, I feel it’s important to keep as a safety net until we are able to set aside a more substantial emergency fund.

In the Car category we have insurance, fuel and a small amount for maintenance. We perform almost all of our general maintenance for tire rotations and oil changes so there’s no reductions there. Bigger repair jobs we usually save up for out of our variable income and do it ourselves if possible. We have the lowest insurance rate I’ve been able to find so we’re also stuck there. The only thing I can think of that could help reduce these expenses is:
-       Riding our bikes more. I am working up to being able to bike ride to work and hopefully will feel comfortable in my ability by the end of summer. This is probably the least bike-friendly place I’ve ever lived (both my sister and my father have been hit by vehicles in this town) and my lack of confidence and skill on a bicycle need some more work before I’m willing to head out into serious rush hour traffic.
-       Walking or biking to the grocery more. There’s a store within walking distance and a bigger store within biking distance.
-       Be more diligent about combining errands and reduce the number of trips we take over to visit my family (about an hour and a half away from us).

For Technology we’ve got our cell phones, internet, and Netflix. We recently switched our internet provider and have the lowest rate we could find. We’re also fairly diligent about checking around for better cell phone rates but always end up staying with T-Mobile as the lowest cost provider. The last item in the category is Netflix. At $8 a month and our only set entertainment budget item, I hate to say goodbye to our cheap entertainment but I think we can cut it without too much pain.

In summary, I’d like to achieve at least a $10 cut in our utilities, a $10 cut in our fuel use, and the $8 cut for Netflix and get that $28 dollars allotted elsewhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment