It is a cold, dreary, drizzly day in mid-Missouri as I sit to write this. Leaves are beginning to change color and fall. I am reminded of a statement my grandfather used to make that he was “figuring himself rich” on days like today. Mind you he was far from rich, but he would use days like this to work on bill paying and “budgeting”, and planning for the future. I have adapted his ways to a version of my own. It is simplified budgeting and planning, but it works for me. Maybe it will be of use to someone else.
I have to admit that I have never been a lover of numbers or budgets, but I discovered in my retirement years and living on a small fixed income that planning and budgeting of some kind was an absolute necessity. Let me explain how I approach this necessary “evil”.
I have two sources of income which come in at two very separate times of the month. One, the smallest amount, arrives on the first of each month. From that I budget my utilities, gas, electric, water and sewer. I always plan to keep a $100 balance in my checking account so I don’t have to pay a fee for keeping that account open. Later in the month, anywhere from the 15th to the 21st, I receive my Social Security. From that I figure to pay my rent ($575), a $100 repeat bill, my internet ($25), my life alert ($70), groceries ($75), gas for my vehicle ($30), donation to the Food Bank ($25). Usually I will have a total of about $300 left out of my income. Of that, I put $150 into a savings account and the other $150 I have to spend on clothes, shoes or other needs/wants. Of the amount I place in savings, half will go toward auto liability insurance every 6 months. Yes, money is tight. I could sit here a bemoan the fact that I am poor. Instead, I choose to make a game/challenge of making it work.
I am fortunate that my 6-cylinder pickup was paid for before I retired. I also was raised on a farm well before television, marketing, and society made the general population think we needed the latest gadget, electronic, or largest house to survive. I enjoy money-saving activities like growing and preserving my own food and shopping carefully at Second Hand shops. I am long past the age of trying to impress anyone with looks or possessions. I am clean and neat, kind to everyone, trustworthy, and kind to the earth. My life is free of stress and carefree. What more does anyone need?
More on my minimal life style in my next post.