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!