Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Budgeting When You Don't Know What's Next

I'm slowly settling into the cold, cold north, and attempting to get on some kind of schedule.  I'm trying to play it by ear.  Since my sister is out of the house, and I am in the house most of the day, I'm attempting to do most of my big sewing and crafting during the day, and putting it aside in the evening so that I can lower my footprint in her small house.  Especially important as I may be here longer than a few weeks (more on that later). It may well be that son moves into a subsidized apartment before I leave this location.

Note: I am very distressed that my camera seems to have gone missing. If I have it, it is buried in the pack of the storage unit. The packers (of course) did the last out first in method of unpacking and we neglected to pull out what we would have called "hold baggage" during all those government moves. Which means the duffel with my son's basketball shoes and long sleeved rugby's, my in process creations and very possibly my camera are in the large black hole, unreachable. Eventually I may have to purchase another camera as my phone does not take sales worth (or even blogworthy) pictures well.

Meanwhile, I've been attempting to get caught up on the end of the year/first of the year paperwork that most of you have already completed.  With every thing that is going on, I have yet to do taxes, or the financial aid for forms for my son. I have not gone through the papers (the shredding is in a box at the back of the storage unit).  Most importantly, I have not done any kind of budget planning or schedule for the coming year. Even though I don't budget on the same level as many folks who read this blog, I do make a basic outline every year.  I generally budget after I have planned my calendar (including planned trips, classes, birthdays and holidays, social and other commitments,) and evaluated any specific upcoming needs.  After I do my budget, I come back and adjust the calendar and make notes.

As I sit and type this, so many things are still up in the air. I don't know how long I will be at my sister's or what kind of housing I will be in afterwards. While this is a topic for a blog post all by itself, we have been discussing some different options. My original plan was to rent an apartment and possibly buy a house in a year or so with my sister. However, rents in Denver are quite high, and I have been looking at condos (with little room for the dogs to run). My brother has suggested we look for a house now, with his assistance if possible, and we sell my sister's house AFTER we move and purchase. It needs work that would be much easier to do empty. As I say, lots of things are still up in the air. It would need to be a large house, with two women who have at home businesses and separate hobbies.......

So, how to budget with such an in flux situation? Certainly, in many cases I can rely on my past expenses (adjusting if needed for geographical cost of living changes). I know what I spent on medical co pays and medicine last year-and have added a few specific requirements I know will need to be taken care of this year. I have a fair idea of car costs overall (I expect we will see the same kind of fluctuations in fuel this year as the last).  I'll budget the same "per day" costs for travel and adjust as needed. I'll also plan my costs for gifts and social events based on last year's costs with the knowledge that these CAN be lowered as needed.  My costs for personal care and clothing is quite low already and can be further adjusted.

There are some expenses that will be added AND adjusted. I'm shopping for food in a different market and need to learn the best stores and tricks all over again, as well a the location of farmers markets and the like.  As I mentioned elsewhere, I've decided I want to take my crafting business to the next level. This may require some additional supply expense (I think its time to treat myself as a business and get wholesale accounts, lol).  I'm going to be looking at different markets as well-I hope to combine travel and large craft markets further afield as well as a web page. Finally, I hope to add savings to my budget pot (taken from all my fun little income streams).

What's not known, and may not be for awhile, are those so called fixed expenses - housing and utilities. Until those are known, it's impossible to make a true, accurate budget. However, to be clear, I have been researching condos and apartments and asking about utility costs. I do have a pretty real idea of what those costs might be.

Meanwhile I'm spending as little as I can.  On the other hand, I am stocking up on items when on sale, including groceries, Denver worthy attire when I find it on sale, and business items. I'm giving my sister money and buying groceries. My tiny house profit is in savings, waiting to see what the future will bring!

And now I am off to dress warmly.  Denver has sunshine almost every day but March is the snowiest month-I will be either hibernating or traveling south next year from Jan-March! Then I'll think about dinner, finish two baby quilts (pictures will be posted, if even from my phone), start an Easter Birdhouse, and plan a day trip for next weekend! 

19 comments:

  1. i'm so glad to hear that you were able to make a profit on the sale of your home. i know that you were concerned about getting your down payment back. that would be impossible in some parts of the country right now. you are a brave soul to take on such change on your own and i wish you all the luck in the world.

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  2. Well, in fairness I did not get my downpayment back, by anymeans. I made a small profit and after doing a couple things, it alone iwll not be enough for a downpayment. I would need assistance from family or another couple years if I decided to take on anther mortage.

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  3. This is the first you've mentioned of living with your sister. Coincidentally, we just brought my husband's sister into our home to live so our home will have a caretaker during our extensive travels. We were already taking care of many of her needs, including financial, because she has some physical and mental limitations, so bringing her into our home appeared to be a win-win for everyone. We're on week two, and it's going very well so far, but still an adjustment for everyone concerned.

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  4. Brilliant. Making moves without plans or knowing what expenses will be. Simply brilliant. You can't afford another home and will need assistance from your family for another couple of years? How about forever?

    Brilliant.

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    1. Hmmm. In the interest of discussion I have posted this one. For the record, I commented that I would need help from my family OR need to wait a couple years to make a down payment. No for involved. As to it being a Brilliant decision, its probably the smartest one I've made in awhile. Close to family support, good life quality and lowered expenses. Life is an adventure....

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  5. It still sounds like you're having an interesting time.

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    1. That it is. Realizing every day all the lifestyle options and choices available. Its making the choiced that is tough.

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  6. You went ahead & followed your dream. So glad for you.

    I am also impressed that you can wait patiently. I've found that the hardest thing to do....just to wait until the time is right. I'm learning, but it's been a challenge.

    Good luck! & thanks for posting.

    pam

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    1. Thanks. Eventually I have to make a decision, but having the time to do do is lovely.

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  7. Tamara the idea has just come onto radar and may may not work. She has an old house and a tight payment
    Brother had suggested buying a large house using his down payment and fixing up her house after we were ensconsed elsewhere. With some sweat equity she would make enough of a profit to make it worthwhile. I agree that there are challenges and she is the only person I would share a home with includin my own daughter.

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  8. In my experience, people that leave non-constructive posts are generally looking for a way to bring someone else down, rather than working to fix whatever issues caused them to respond as they did in the first place.

    There is thoughtful dialogue, and then there is simply attacking. The first comes from a place of compassion, the second from a place of pain and misery.

    Kudos to you Barb for taking the high road on this one.

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  9. Well, from my experience, whenever you move, you gotta figure you're going to lose a couple of things. So don't fret too much about the camera. But, also from my experience, that camera will eventually turn up ... probably in time for Christmas!

    In any case, enjoy your adventure, and don't let the little things get in your way!

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  10. Tom, actually in my experience something gets lost and at least one thing gets damaged..its the cost of moving.

    I agree, the camera will probably show up when I least expect the thing.

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  11. Sometimes you have to go with your gut, and see what's next. We just love to feel we are always in "control" and there are turning points in life where we have to trust that we have the wisdom and experience to handle what comes next..even when we cannot fully predict or plan it.You sound like you have plenty of both: wisdom and experience, so this journey will ultimately lead to just the right situation, at just the right time.What a blessing to have family and options, too!!!!!!

    PS:I'm with Tamara on the "jerky" comment.Some people have nothing better to do!

    I enjoy hearing about your journey..good luck!!!!!!!

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  12. P.S. of all things ,when we moved I lost two large pyrex containers from my kitchen that held my whole wheat and my bread making flour!! There must have been one box that got lost or donated to goodwill by mistake.. we were moving in a hurry and I think we "donated" some stuff I did not mean to!! LOL!! Somehow, I do not recall what else might have been in that box, and have not missed it for 9 months so I suppose it was stuff I could live without.

    I did have to go out and buy 2 new containers and flour though!!

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  13. I enjoy following you. I think you're doing a great job weighing out your decisions and am so happy for you. I really admire you! Keep sharing your adventure! You are a blessing.

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  14. hope you find the ideal place! I was just thinking it would be nice if ya'll could find a nice duplex with yard - then you'd be side by side yet still have privacy. I don't know about housing in Denver -sorry. I think you'll know when the right thing comes along and it's good sometimes to be near family. I'm off by myself where I live - the majority of extended family is about 4 hrs away - one 2nd cousin lives about an hour away and my brother is 6 hrs away. sometimes I wish we lived closer together.

    Susanna

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  15. Good luck, Im sure you will end up right where you are supposed to be (but I have to agree with you that nearly anywhere is better than Denver in the dead of winter!!).

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  16. keep up the good work, i too think you are doing a great job and also enjoy reading about how you are handleing retierment....ronaldj

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