Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Money Went Where?

It creeps up!

Last year this time, I was meeting my monthly expenses.

This year, not quite.

And it took me awhile to figure out why.

First, my car insurance went up--nearly doubled, in fact, raising from $56 a month to $93. But I did it because if I bought my car insurance from State Farm, they would deign to insure my home for a thousand less dollars per year than any other insurance company. As longtime readers may recall, my homeowner's insurance took a skyhigh leap after the garage fire three years ago.

Then, I started paying $50 per month on my granddaughter's Sallie Mae loan.

Then my two-year great Comcast bundled deal wherein my cable, internet and telephone (complete with all sorts of bells and whistles I didn't have before, like caller ID--which I love--call waiting and long distance) turned out NOT to cost the advertised $99 per month, but is more like $128 per month.

And then, the biggest budget-breaker of all, gas prices went through the ceiling. I budget $30 a week for gas. My minivan is not great for mileage, but I used to have some money left over from my gasoline line item. NOT any more! It now costs me $62 to fill up, and I consider myself lucky if I can make a tank and a half last the whole two weeks.

All of this is leaving me with too much month at the end of my money.


Back to the budget for some major over-hauling!


Roberta said...

Hi Grace, Something jumped out at me from your post. You are paying your grandaughter's Sallie Mae loan? Why? She has many more years to work than you do. I don't know the whole story, but that just seems wrong to me.

Sharon said...

At least you know where the money is going now. I can't believe how much my normal bills have increased in just one year. I'm always readjusting and trying to figure out why I can't save as much. (Of course it would help if we didn't have to keep pouring money into the maintenance of our home and car!) Hang in there, I'm sure you'll be able to balance your budget.

Grace. said...

I hear ya, Roberta. But I've been putting my granddaughter through college for awhile now and it's a promise I made to her. Paying this debt affects my cashflow, NOT my retirement contributions. She had a baby which caused her college attendance to drop below half time, which is why Sallie Mae wants to be paid. Once she returns to full-time, this payment will temporarily go away again.

Living Almost Large said...

Grace, question, perhaps you can blog about. Do you help your grandchildren and children with college and stuff because you are hoping to help them mature into productive adults? That if you don't help it will make them more dependent on assistance?

Grace. said...

LAL--I help with my grandchildren's college expenses because their parents can't or won't. This particular granddaughter's mother is intellectually limited by fetal alcohol effects--I adopted the mother when she was 11 years old. But my granddaughter is bright and normal and fully capable of completing college.

Anonymous said...

Can you get a higher deductible on your car insurance to help lower the costs? Also, is cable TV really necessary. The airwaves are free, you know. A simple $23 antennae can save you beau coup bucks! If your TV is analog and not digital, you'll need a $40 converter. I did this 2 years ago and now my kids are doing it today. My daughter gets 62 channels for free. Some are in HD.

Do you really need those phone thrills? Don't you have a cell phone? I only keep my land line for local calling only (simply to call 911) for only $14.95 per month. Do you really need call waiting? Do you really need to know who's on the line before you answer? If so, cancel call waiting and let them leave a message. If you like the messenger, pick up the phone!
Are the college costs tax deductible for you?

The costs can be restructured. Many cable shows are available for free on the internet. You can plug your computer into your TV and watch the show on a bigger screen.

Roberta said...

I understand. Believe me I do. I have a bit of a similar situation with my grandson. He is only 11 but my daughter is a single mother, with no child support. Since he was born I have spent over $75,000 on him between day care, camp etc.
But I cannot help him with college. That he will have to figure out for himself.
That is already $75,000 that didn't go into my 401K retirement fund. I am trying not to get upset over it but it is difficult. You want to help but who will help us?

Anonymous said...

Call Comcast and ask them to give you the advertised price and to fix it retroactively. Ask for a manager until they do it for you. Last summer there was a big long post on GRS where people did this with Comcast. $30/month is not chump change. (We also recently did this with both our internet and our phone companies and it worked!)

I'm glad you're going over your budget! Definitely post if you want input from random judgmental people on the internet about difficult decisions. :)

Anonymous said...

Grace, I agree with Roberta and LAL. It would be really interesting to hear about how you support your children and grandchildren (only if you are comfortable doing so, of course!).

Barb said...

grace-do you have all the discunts and deductibles available to you re the insurance policy. In all honesty 50 is not bad for allie may. as far as comcase, if it was an advertised price, I woudl absolutely go back to them-tell them you want what was promised to you immediately. I only have my phone for the security system, but I am having a hard time with cable, I may never give it up. gs is never going back down in the near future-is it worth rethinking your car-or transportation methods and costs?

Anonymous said...

Roberta, it's like they say on airplanes: put your airmask on first, then help the little ones. Lifesaving advice, but very hard to take. Also, you probably never realized at the beginning that it would ever add up to $75k, alas.

Morrison - lots of great suggestions. Sorry to hear about your statue. It must seem like losing a friend. I hope she flies home soon.
- Diane

Jerry said...

So sorry to hear about your insurance increase. That stinks! Can you shop around for your homeowner's? It might lead to some savings.

impromptublogger said...

It may be time to trade your in gas guzzling van for a smaller car.

Living Almost Large said...

Is it acceptable to not help your family? Who will help you?