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Income and expense breakdown, 2018

December 30th, 2018 at 10:38 am

Earlier this year, I wanted to downsize my job from full-time to part-time, and I wanted to see if I could cover most or all of my ongoing living expenses working part-time.

The answer is YES, I covered 96% of my expenses, which this year totaled just $38,822. There was a shortfall of about $1,600.

UPDATE: The agency paid me my last paycheck for 2018 on 12/31; the paycheck was late because my boss failed to sign off on my timesheet on time with the holidays and all. So that added an extra $897 to my income, and bottom line, my 2018 expenses now exceeded income by only $690, not $1,600. So I actually covered 98% of expenses!!

I didn't start this little experiment until March, so my income this year had the benefit of 2 months (January and February) of full-time income. So I anticipate that in 2019 it will be harder, unless I rein in my spending some.

Of my Top 10 Expenses:

7 increased from last year (property taxes, food, out-of-pocket medical/dental, lawn & garden, maintenance, heating oil and gas for the car).

1 category stayed about the same ("Household").

1 category (health insurance) decreased by 35%. This is my 3rd largest expense, so I'm happy about this!

Here's a rundown of my Top 10 biggest expenses this year with some extra analysis thrown in:

1. Stone patio, $9,200: It's beautiful, and something needed to be done in back, although yeah, awfully expensive. I had a party last summer to celebrate it and hope to enjoy it more this summer with various friends and family. This was a one-time capital improvement, and the most expensive one on my radar, so not having this one expense could by itself fix my current income/expense disconnect.

2. Property taxes: $6,294. Not much I can do about this unless I move.

3. Health insurance, $4,098. I'm happy to say that this is a 35% decrease from what I spent in 2017, when I was still paying for COBRA.

4. Food, $3,900: This is 16% more than I spent in 2017. I had hoped to wrestle this number lower, but truth be told, I feel that eating quality, wholesome, organic food is important.

5. Out-of-pocket medical/dental, $1,722: This represents 69% more than I spent in 2017, and it was mostly due to about $745 incurred in doctor visits when I scratched the cornea of my eye. Because I have dry eyes, I am much more careful to not sleep if I think there's something in my eye. And to use eye drops more often than I do now.

6. Lawn & garden, $1,547: This is 43% more than I spent in 2017, and I'm unhappy with this number! I thought I could keep it down by having my mower do the lawn for every other week, but I also spent some money on these neat little acrylic shelves with suction cups I bought for my growing cacti/succulent collection. I also had to spend $200 to have someone clean up a crab apple tree that was damaged by a storm.

This year I'll continue bartering with my neighbor to do some yard work I can't do, in exchange for my editing services.

7. Household, $1,394: This is my one "catch-all" category for items I don't know where to put; usually, routine things for the house fall in this category.

8. Maintenance, $1,303: This included some new outlets in the garage, new ceiling fixtures wired indoors and new fixtures on either side of the garage.

9. Heating oil and furnace cleanings, $1,236: It is what it is....heating oil prices really fluctuate. I was able to take advantage of one promotion where if you wrote a review on the oil company's Facebook page, the 1st 50 people got .10 off per gallon.

10. Gas for car, $1,025.

5 Responses to “Income and expense breakdown, 2018”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    I agree, eating wholesome, healthy food is important and probably saves you money in the long run.

    Chances are, you won't be doing any more major stuff like the patio and the tree. But you sort of know what you need for this next year.

  2. Jenn Says:

    I second (third?) the opinion on organic produce. I think it's an investment that keeps your medical expenses down. Many of the common pesticides and herbicides used on US crops are known carcinogens.

    I find some good deals on organic foods at Grocery Outlet. Not sure if you have those in CT.

  3. Dido Says:

    No kitty expenses? are you grouping Luther's food expenses in with your food and his vet expenses in with your health care? Or were all of these under $1,000 and not included above?

    Between my girls, I spent over $400/month this year--about half that on food (I found a food that has been doing wonders for Bridget's health, thank goodness), and half on two pricey vet episodes--annual vetting for both girls, a tooth extraction for Buffy, and then both girls got a kitty stomach flu which involved a lot of testing before we figured out what it was. That was a pricey year at the vet, but they are now both teenagers so pricey vet years may become the norm.

    And are you including meals at restaurants in with food? What about any entertainment--Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu subscription, or is that in with Household Miscellaneous? And charitable contributions? Again, under $1,000 so not included?


    I'll also agree with the above on organic produce. I do similarly and my grocery costs are about the same (assuming your food costs above are all groceries).

    And, yes, not doing as big a project as the patio next year will definitely help you keep outgo in line with income!

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Dido, I have another 10 or so categories where total expenses were less than 1%, so I didn't bother to include them here like I've done in previous years, to avoid being too granular. But yes, I have kitty expenses that totaled $414 for the year! Please share what food it is that you like so much.

    Dining out is its own category, and this year, it was just $389. Amazon Prime and Hulu is included under Entertainment, which came in at $518.

  5. Dido Says:

    PS, the food I like so much is from smallsforsmalls.com. They use all natural, human-grade ingredients, with three flavors: Chicken, Turkey, and Beef, each with some green beans, peas, and kale or spinach. It's grain-free, which is important for my diabetic kitty. The kitties like it, and my other kitty, who upon turning 13 started having chronically loose stools, losing weight, and getting patchy hair, has been thriving on it. Her GI problems have resolved, she's regained the weight, and I think the hair is beginning to fill back in--and she's been on it less than six weeks. So I am THRILLED with it since I was beginning to believe I would lose her in the next year, despite all blood-test indicators being completely normal.

    They offer a 50% free trial and after that their pricing is based on the amount you order. If your order is small, the food is over $9 a packet, while if you order 24-30 packets, it's $7.88 per. My two cats go through about .4 pack per meal, so a pack lasts for 1.25 days. If your cat eats about the same as mine (who weigh 13 & 14 pounds) that would be .2 packs/meal or 2.5 days for $7.88 which works out to $1.58 per meal. That's clearly a lot more than you are currently spending for Luther since that works out to $1,150 per cat per year, so $2,300 for me, or about $192/month for two, $95.83/month for one (or about $3.20/day).

    I was already paying $1.36 per meal on the prescription food that this replaces, so it wasn't as big an increase as if I were going from premium regular canned food, which costs almost a dollar less per meal. (And of course, I'm feeding this exclusively, while you could always mix this food with other food.) Lavish, but, to me, worth it, especially if they live longer and healthier lives.

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