So I have been thinking about January. I know it is still over 6 months away, but it is on my mind. Typically that is when we adjust the budget. I am already thinking about what changes may be on the horizon. Now, all of this is just in the kicking it around stage in my head. Since G-man will be working more hours at the office and the 2nd job is gone...we have to first make sure that things are going along swimmingly with all of that before we can make any changes. But here is what I am thinking about:
1) Taxes. We have always had to take extra money out of our paychecks for state taxes because G-man's second job didn't take them out (his weekly amount fell below the state minimum). We are hopeful that this will be a thing of the past since the overtime he will earn will already be taxed. Our total income isn't going to drastically change, just that accounting will become easier.
2) Medical. We save about $1400 ($55/paycycle) towards medical expenses (excluding backbills, OTC) above the $2500 FSA. Funny thing this year....we are on track to not need the majority of this extra amount. Of course we don't know what medical or dental emergencies may come up in the coming months. Provided we have a quiet second half of the year, we will have roughly $1100 left. I am not at a point where I feel that we can stop this extra savings all together, but we may not need to save THIS much for this line item next year.
3) Camp. Alas, our days at camp are dwindling. This year the kids will be going for 5 weeks, and the funny thing is that the 5th week was over half the cost of the 4 week program! Camp still came in at $640 for both kids.....a little less than half of what we have spent in the past years. We currently save $100 a paycycle for camp, and once camp is funded, that money is saved for Christmas. Whatever isn't used gets put toward something else. This year, we know that we will have about $500 from "camp" money that will get redistributed. Christmas money...will depend of how Christmas spending goes (and yes, I plan on spending money at Christmas....and no I will not cut out Christmas for the sake of debt).
Looking ahead, we are talking about redistributing some of this money. It will continue to be saved, but it will be called something else. For example...maybe we save $25 per paycycle for medical...and the other $30 can go somewhere else. I have no idea what these numbers will actually be. Again...still kicking it around. But we are hoping that we will have a nice little pile of cash already by the end of the year to start our new sinking funds, and then we will continue to add to it.
In a way, this is debt prevention. There are areas in our budget that are just too tight, and the tendency is to use plastic to fill the gap. We know that isn't the answer. We are hoping that at least we will be able to curb some of that.
So, we are hoping that in January we will add in a few Cap One accounts for:
Clothing. We know we do a poor job allotting money for this. At almost 12 years old, the kids are still actively growing and clothing needs to be replaced. And shoes! I looked at their shoes this weekend...good grief. They both really need new shoes but I am hoping to squeak through the summer and let them beat the rest of the life out of their current stuff. It will be nice to have money put aside so when they need new stuff, we have money to draw on.
Home Maintenance. While our house is old (c. 1910) and there are ALOT of big projects that we would like to do, this fund will be for the day to day stuff. The flush kit on the toilet breaks.....plastic for the windows....fertilizer for the lawn....the pool. Stuff is going to happen because that is just nature of the beast.
Appliances. We have the EF, but there are also things that we know will happen. If you know it will happen, it is only an emergency if you aren't prepared. The time has some to get prepared. Our refrigerator is circa 1992, and the microwave has already started to be a little flaky. The washing machine and dryer are 10 years old. None of this will last forever. And when they go, I want to curse a little, then brush off the dust and just deal with it. We need to put some money aside for that day. Unless something wild and crazy happens....I know that this account will probably never be fully funded. We will get a few hundred dollars, and then something will break. But I would rather have $300 to put toward the purchase than none at all.
All of this is still theoretical. And no...none of this "extra" money is going to debt. This is purely an adjustment of the budget to allow for things that should have been there all along. As I said, it is debt prevention.