Just entering Nov/Dec receipts into my Excel budget sheet and looking at "almost year end totals" (rounded) in some of my categories.

Dog annual - $2659  ($1105 was in Nov/Dec for emergency issue, all well now) The total includes food, medications and shots, pet-sitter fees while away from home, vet services.

Grandkids annual (2 under 10 yrs) $1341 which includes restaurant, entertainment, gifts, meals and snacks

I have the other standard categories.....meals, medical, household, utilities, cell, etc but the dog and grandkids always seem to surprise  me at year end. 

I don't plan to change anything yet, but next year will be the first full year both hubs and I are retired.  The whole purpose of starting a detailed budget about 6 years ago was so I knew where I could or should cut back when we relied on retirement savings.  

I have no clue where we fall into averages, because that has never made a difference in our decision making.  But we will have to alter some of our spending starting next year. We have a lot of categories where that will be fairly easy to do.

Wondering where others cut their budgets when lifestyle changes hit?

 

 

 

If plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. --Chris Guillebeau

Original Post

First thought. Do you know how much you need to cut from your budget to make it work? That would determine what kind of tweaks to implement. If it's  a lot of money, then the changes need to be more drastic. In our situation, we tackle the flexible spending first. Food, clothes, vacations, household goods, eating out. Consider cheaper alternatives when planning. More chicken less beef, stockpiling loss leaders, cooking from scratch, buying clothes/household items at thrifts, using cashback sites or cashback cards when booking planes, airbnb, restaurants, events, or staying home and seeing local sites. When family or friends visited we would have a cookout, picnic in the park, or cook at home and do board games. We visited local factory tours, the park, state museum, places like that. We'd lessen the amount spent on more regular expenses. Utilities, phone plans, car and home insurance. Lower or raise the thermostat, consider another carrier (we use Republic wireless), shop around for policies. We've considered our alternatives. Do we need a car? Is public transportation available, and can I rent one when needed? We can't do without, but buy used and only have one car. We've had limited flexibility in our housing situation, but that might be an option for you. Downsizing. One thing we've found helpful, is to be deliberate in our purchases and try to align spending with what is most important to us.  So visiting family is more important than our wardrobe or haircuts, and we shift the budget accordingly. Hope this helps. 

 

Olivia posted:

First thought. Do you know how much you need to cut from your budget to make it work? That would determine what kind of tweaks to implement. If it's  a lot of money, then the changes need to be more drastic. In our situation, we tackle the flexible spending first. Food, clothes, vacations, household goods, eating out. Consider cheaper alternatives when planning. More chicken less beef, stockpiling loss leaders, cooking from scratch, buying clothes/household items at thrifts, using cashback sites or cashback cards when booking planes, airbnb, restaurants, events, or staying home and seeing local sites. When family or friends visited we would have a cookout, picnic in the park, or cook at home and do board games. We visited local factory tours, the park, state museum, places like that. We'd lessen the amount spent on more regular expenses. Utilities, phone plans, car and home insurance. Lower or raise the thermostat, consider another carrier (we use Republic wireless), shop around for policies. We've considered our alternatives. Do we need a car? Is public transportation available, and can I rent one when needed? We can't do without, but buy used and only have one car. We've had limited flexibility in our housing situation, but that might be an option for you. Downsizing. One thing we've found helpful, is to be deliberate in our purchases and try to align spending with what is most important to us.  So visiting family is more important than our wardrobe or haircuts, and we shift the budget accordingly. Hope this helps. 

 

Excellent suggestions Olivia!  Did you go to one vehicle?  I think that might be a little drastic for us at this point.  I think staying or not in our home is our biggest decision right now.  We are mortgage free, but thinking about traveling RV style to check out living in other areas of the US. We'd both like to move to other regions, but it seems like an overwhelming decision to make for many many reasons.

We started married life with one vehicle and evaluated whether a second one would be necessary every so often. We always managed without a second. // Moves are very stressful, so it's good to be cautious. If you have enough lead time, it can be mitigated a bit by getting rid of stuff. I took a spin on Marie Kondo's method and asked myself what pieces of furniture or books or music CD's I loved the best and wanted to keep and systematically got rid of the rest. Then we moved to temporary digs and realized we needed even less. (Much was stored.) We finally moved cross country a little over a year ago and the hardest part was finding new medical folk once we landed. Our pared down stuff pretty much fit into our rental. // There are resources for RV people-- magazines, organizations in case that helps with your research. 

 

Olivia posted:

We started married life with one vehicle and evaluated whether a second one would be necessary every so often. We always managed without a second. // Moves are very stressful, so it's good to be cautious. If you have enough lead time, it can be mitigated a bit by getting rid of stuff. I took a spin on Marie Kondo's method and asked myself what pieces of furniture or books or music CD's I loved the best and wanted to keep and systematically got rid of the rest. Then we moved to temporary digs and realized we needed even less. (Much was stored.) We finally moved cross country a little over a year ago and the hardest part was finding new medical folk once we landed. Our pared down stuff pretty much fit into our rental. // There are resources for RV people-- magazines, organizations in case that helps with your research. 

 

Wonderful suggestions, Olivia!! Yes, the medical is something we've been looking at when we investigate potential moves out of our area. That's a full time job!!

I’ve been on retirement income 20 years. At age 40, I was forced into medical retirement. I had a child in jr. high and a child just beginning college. I was glad I had been frugal and I am a major budget nerd. I only worried if G-d was going to let me live to see my children to adulthood. Thankfully, He granted that prayer. On my 2019 budget, I had two major purchases. One I’d been saving for 11 years and one I’d saved 7 years for.  In 2018 I suffered the loss of my service dog. He was struck and killed by a driver putting on lipstick. 2018 was a long year as I began the search for a new service dog. On July 27, 2019 (the exact date I lost my first dog) I was matched with my new dog. That’s when I had to write out the check for $69,000.00 USD for the new dog. But I knew that in 14 years, my dog would have to retire. He was $27,000.00 USD, so I factored in for inflation. I’m now saving up about $100,000.00 USD if in the future this dog retires. The second large purchase was a used van that could carry my dog, lift and scooter. I bought a used van for $10,000.00 USD with only 31,000 miles on it.  I get four retirement checks and I always put 25% back into a savings account. At age 60, I’m planning on building an adapted home. I have the down payment saved and my current home is paid for. I will make a small profit off my old home, plus downpayment and I’ve calculated that my house payment will be $700 to $900 per month. That is a 20% debt to income ratio. I’m single, but my dog is treated almost human, since he is on a restricted diet and we are never apart. I have to budget in monthly health exams for my dog, $100/month and weekly pro grooming, $240/month. Because of my long history of using a budget, I’m able to plan ahead and I always calculate in Holiday and Birthday expenses. It can be done. It’s just mind over checkbook. 

Jobelle! What an amazing and beautiful dog! I had no idea the cost to the owner was so astronomical. I am so sorry to learn about the dog you lost to a careless driver, that has to be heartbreaking.  Thank goodness you are a "budget nerd" and it sounds like you have done outstanding planning to be in the financial position you are in now.

I have no doubt you will attain your goal of finding a new home the suits your aging needs in a great location! Thank you for such encouragement and for sharing your success!  You are very inspiring!

Thank you Mint Julep. I get the same reaction when people say “it’s just a dog, go to pound and get one.” It’s not that simple. Also no insurance covers this and no, the Veterans Administration does NOT provide these dogs. The way I can “justify” the extreme cost is it allows me to live independently.  If Pilot gives me 10 years of dedicated service, that’s $7000.00 USD per year. What nursing home can I live in for $7000/year? None. And none I’d want to live in. So, I will stay as independent as possible, for as long as possible. On my new home, the biggest frustration (and hard work) is sifting through a life times worth of stuff. On active duty (my ex-husband and I were both active duty US Air Force) we moved so often, we never accumulated much. Even though we each had a large amount pounds of stuff, each, to move, this time it’s all on me. And now that some days I’m stuck in a power wheelchair, I can only do so much. Even though I’m approved and have the downpayment, I’m giving myself one year to get moved. I no longer entertain, an old school mandatory requirement of old military days. But I doubt I’ll ever have to entertain 15 guests at my dining room table! Waterford for 15. Sterling flatware for 24! Six different sets of fine china! Yes, my candlelight dinners were stuff out of movies! My children don’t want this stuff, so I have to find homes for all of it! But, when I go through things, I recall that Nation where we bought it, the memories of living around the world, twice over! I’ll just pace myself and try not to beat myself up if I don’t get much done in one day. Oh! If only Pilot was clever enough to pack boxes! 

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