Last night when I couldn't sleep I perused some blogs. Ima Saver had a brief entry in hers about using the envelope method. I like her way of doing it so I figured out how much we would need to put back per week if we did it the way she does it rather than how we do it now. In reality, there isn't much difference but my mind was reeling last night so I was up late playing with numbers. What was left came to about $200. The shop income varies but that's a rough guess. Huh? $200 a week after we pay bills? We never have that much! So, where is it going?
Let's figure this out. From the $200 let's subtract $40 for cigarettes. Yes, I know we need to quit but honesty is vital here so I'm stating for the record that that is an expense. Okay, we have $160 left per week. Now let's subtract $50 a week for gas, understanding some weeks it might be more and others it might be less. We now have $110 left each week. Most weeks we spend about $45 at the grocery store. Again, this varies but that's a fairly accurate figure. We're down to $65. Throw in the $8 or so a week for laundry, the $20 or so DH gives me throughout the week for whatever I might need and we're down to $37. From that subtract the drinks and snacks he likes to get when out and about and whatever little incidentals might come up. Uh huh, that's where it goes! But wait, somewhere in there we eat out and we do it too often! Hmmm, no wonder we're always short on bill paying money!
So now I know why we never have $200 after putting money in the envelopes. The question is: what can we do about it?
Well, the first and most obvious thing we can do is quit smoking. That frees up about $40 a week, though not immediately as we'll use the nicotine patch which is expensive. It's cheaper than cigarettes, though, and once we're finished with them the money spent for them will be available. We're already pretty frugal with groceries and because of dietary restrictions we can't get much lower than $45 a week so that will need to stay about the same. However, we can reduce the food we waste and further reduce eating out which will help a lot.
So if we just quit smoking and cut back on eating out, $70 or so a week will be freed up. Hmmm, in theory, anyway. This all looks fine on virtual paper but how realistic is it? That's what I don't know.
Something else for me to ponder today while at work....