Austerity Measures

I have been playing with the budget for after I go part-time and it’s going to be tight, very tight. Here’s the numbers I have now:

Income for 80 hours work:                                                                        $2,430.32

Minus Medicare/SS/federal and state taxes                                          $  681.69

Minus medical/life insurances                                                                  $  117.39

Minus 401K                                                                                                    $ 75.00

Minus credit union (for irregular large expenses like house & car insurance, house taxes and replenishment of the emergency fund                    $  300.00

College savings                                                                                           $  400.00

This leaves $856.24 per pay, times 26 pays per year $22,262.24 divided by 12 months $1,855.19 plus $500 per month in child support and approximately $280 per month in mileage reimbursement from my employer. So $2,635.19 to spend per month.

Looking back at past expenses, I have cobbled together a budget, but it’s still $216.71 over income. Here’s what it looks like:

Mortgage (9 years left on 15 year loan at 4%)                                    $627.32

Auto loan (21 months left at 1.25%)                                                     $386.97

Home repair and decorating                                                                  $100.00

Utilities (water, sewer, gas, electric, trash, internet)                         $280.00

Cell phones (four, family plan)                                                               $117.00

Gas for automobile (most of these miles are for work)                     $161.00

Car maintenance                                                                                       $ 33.62

MD/Rx/DDS                                                                                              $60.00

Groceries                                                                                                  $300.00

Fawn expenses (clothes, wine, entertainment)                                $ 50.00

School and activities fees                                                                      $140.00

Chores (what I pay the kids to work around the house)                 $100.00

Kid’s clothing                                                                                           $100.00

Cats                                                                                                             $ 15.00

Christmas                                                                                                  $40.00

Music lessons                                                                                         $250.00

Household (TP, printer ink, shampoo, etc)                                    $ 70.00

Gifts                                                                                                         $ 20.00

Vacation (really just driving to see the big kid and DIL)             $ 30.00

Gym membership (ends 8/12)                                                          $33.99

Things improve greatly when the car is paid off. It is going to be hard work, but it’s for a good cause.

Food Prep

Forgive me regular readers for being absent so much lately. Work is still a bear. When I clocked in yesterday (Thursday, had only worked three days so far) I had already worked 36.5 hours for the week. It’s hard to keep up with the day-to-day when so much time is devoted to work.

However, I knew the week was going to be a challenge and I did a bunch of food prep over the weekend, so I would not be tempted to get an expensive meal out. Here’s how I did it and what we ate this week. (Sorry, no photos.)

Saturday I made a menu and grocery shopped. Sunday, I prepped as much food ahead as I could and put it in containers in the refrigerator.

Monday: Cheese and crackers, sliced apples, peanut butter on celery (had cleaned and cut up the celery the previous day) and homemade chocolate chip cookies made on Sunday.

Tuesday: Homemade chicken pot pie made with diced chicken breast, a package of frozen mixed vegetables and a homemade chicken stock sauce in a homemade pie crust. I prepped the entire thing on Sunday and put it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap. When I knew I was running late Tuesday evening, I called home and had beloved daughter put it in the oven. It was ready by the time I got home. I served it with Orange Sunshine, also made on Sunday (recipe is on this blog under recipes.)

Wednesday: The kids were at their dad’s and I ate leftovers.

Thursday: Beef stew made from meat I had cooked and frozen a couple of weeks ago when Aldi had a HUGE almost expired rump roast on sale. On Sunday, I had cut up the celery and carrots. I had previously cut and frozen an onion to keep it from rotting. I added 16 oz of tomato sauce, 5 peeled and diced potatoes, simmered it while I finished my computer work for the job and popped into the oven a baguette just before serving. There was enough stew leftover for my lunch today. No baguette though.

Friday: After I washed the dishes Thursday night, I mixed up a meatloaf with 1# organic ground beef, an egg, 1 cup oatmeal some ketchup, soy sauce and pepper and popped in the fridge. This will cook tonight, while I make some mashed potatoes and steam fresh broccoli.

Saturday: Vegan Shepard’s pie made with the leftover mashed potatoes from Friday. (Recipe on this blog.)

By doing the meals this way, I don’t waste money on eating out and can put all the extra I am earning into the emergency fund for when I go part-time.


Eleven Minute Dinner

You left for school,

And I turned on the stove,

Boiling the carcass till the

House filled with the scent of chicken

And flakes of meat fell off the bone.

Burner off, and stock cooling,

I started the noodles,

Kneading the flour and egg and water

With my hands,

Cutting the ribbons wide.

Meat de-boned and noodles cooked,

I started the sauce,

Simmering butter and flour and stock and salt and pepper

Till it clung to the back of the spoon.

Dinner was served at the high school parking lot,

Between track practice and jazz band.

You entered the car, still flush from your run,

And ate the chicken and noodles from a plastic bowl.

“It’s good,” you said, between bites.

“Thank you.”