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My revised projected income/expense scenario

September 14th, 2016 at 04:09 am

Whenever I have a major change in income, I like to update my Projected Income & Expense Sheet; it helps me develop a roadmap for the months ahead.

As anticipated, the weekly unemployment benefits I'm now receiving (yes, I discovered 4 weekly checks had been deposited in my checking account already...i thought this would be delayed another month due to my severance) will help me squeak by on essential expenses for the 6 months I can expect to receive them, thru January 2017.

But just barely.

Unemployment benefits in CT for someone with my previous income are $598 a week gross, or $520 a week net. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?

My total essential monthly expenses come out to $1,936. (Thank goodness I paid the mortgage off years ago.) I think that's a pretty accurate figure since I based it on the average of the first 8 months of my actual expenses in 2016, year-to-date through August.

Seems like nearly every expense rose at least a little, and some things, like my car insurance and food, rose a lot. However, I anticipate getting a fairly significant discount on the car insurance after signing up for Safeco's "Right Trak" program when my policy renews in October.

My food costs seem astronomical for a single person who doesn't even eat meat or cheese (I'm budgeting $300/mth though I have spent more!), but I do buy a lot of organics. I know I can scale back some of the pricier things I buy. I just need to be more careful, and go back to doing more of my shopping at Shop Rite, not Whole Foods! (Not that I shopped at WF often; it was more of a treat, maybe once every 2 months.)

My biggest single expense increase is my health insurance (no surprise there), which went from about $175 a month while I was employed at the bank for both medical and dental to $513 a month, sans dental, now. I will probably go with the Affordable Care Act during open enrollment this November, though I am worried about how competitive prices will be after hearing how United Health Care and Connecticare both are dropping out of the marketplace. Not sure how many insurers that leaves (maybe just one??), but it is never good to reduce the competition! They were all so eager to do this becus they envisioned millions more captive policyholders who would be required by law to buy their health insurance. Now they find they're not making as much money as they thought, so they want an out. Doesn't seem fair if people still are legally forced to buy health insurance.

I'm fairly confident I will benefit this winter from cheaper heating oil prices. I filled up my tank this past summer and that should last me through December with just one more fill-up needed to get through the worst of winter. (Furnace tune-ups have risen quite a bit over the years; I get it done every fall. This year it will cost me about $170.)

So as mentioned, I will do okay through January. I have NOT included any freelance income in my calculation, to supplement the unemployment benefits, because unlike last time, I no longer have the one big freelance client I had before, a real estate brokerage I used to work for. I basically cut the cord when I joined the bank.

It would feel awkward reapproaching them now because what I basically did in my last contact with him was to tell him I couldn't do a job when he gave it to me. It was ghost-writing a long magazine article, something I did every quarter for him. I should have told him in advance so he wouldn't be left in the lurch, and that's why I feel guilty, but I was working f/t at the bank by then and just wasn't thinking that far ahead.

I have just 2 small clients now; one gives me fairly regular work but it pays peanuts and the other is more substantial but rarely gives me work. I am looking for other freelance opportunities, of course, along with p/t, contract and perm jobs. I find that Craig's List is a surprisingly good source of freelance gigs.

Of course, to make ends meet, I'm following the routine I developed last go-round: eliminating entire categories of spending, including clothes, dining out and purely discretionary stuff like that. I'm allowing myself 4 haircuts a year but only when Great Clips has their sales.

Still, I am loosening the reins a little, allowing for my $5 yoga classes on occasional Saturdays.

5 Responses to “My revised projected income/expense scenario”

  1. Andrew Says:

    This is an important sheet to maintain to help keep track of expenses when adjustments to income happen. I have a family member in a similar situation and will send them this link. Thank you.

    Andrew L., Director

  2. snafu Says:

    While the loss of employment was an unexpected surprise, you seem to be adjusting to your new circumstances. I suggest reviewing your auto and home insurance coverage. Auto may be lowered as you are no longer commuting and the car is older, possibly less KBB value. The house likely increased in value with new brick work and replacement costs have certainly increased.

  3. snafu Says:

    arrgh...lost a sentence to say how much I admired your transition. I'm so frustrated and bored with medical induced stopped employment.

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    I don't think you should feel awkward approaching your former client. You didn't mean to blow him off; you just couldn't take the job. If he was offended by it that's on him, but you shouldn't assume that he was.

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I agree with Ceejay. Approach the client humbly, explain that you are available again if they need you, and then let the client decide where to go from there.

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