~ from my home to yours, living the Working Pantry lifestyle ~

Friday, May 17, 2024

Hunkering Down in 2024: Week #20

This week has been filled with doctor appointments, more medical tests and medication fills, refills and adjustments.  And you know what that means ... money! money! money!  

(Please understand that I am not 'poor mouthing' our situation. We are blessed beyond measure and to 'poor mouth' would be doing a disservice to our efforts and to God's provisions to and for us.  He has been faithful!  I am sharing for the sole purpose of showing you that setbacks happen to everyone in their financial journeys, and I want you to see that we are no different in ours.  In sharing our journey, I want to be as real as possible, and right now this is our real!)

We knew this week was coming and financially prepared the best we could for it, that included ...

Purchasing no groceries this week ... honestly, we didn't need anything.  (Thank you, well-stocked pantry!)

Combining errands with doctor appointments to save on fuel.

When we had to eat out, and yes, there were times when we did have to, we chose the least expensive route.

We said 'no' to any extra spending and as a result, we made it through this expensive week without having to dip into savings.

I guess the takeaway from today's post is that when you know you're going to go through a season of extra expenses, prepare for them as best you can.  This can look like (1) paying the minimum payment on bills so you'll have more to offset the extra expenses (2) save what you can specifically for the extra expenses (3) say 'no' to any extra spending and (4) don't beat yourself up because you can't do what you originally financially planned to do.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how you plan for extra expenses that you know are in your future.

How about an update on our financial goals for the month ...

With all the extra expenses we've had, are we going to be able to achieve our financial goals for the month.  It's the middle of the month and we've got a third of it accomplished at this point.  It's taken some digging, scratching and getting creative to get this far ... but we've dug in and done it!  Yes, this is hard, but we can do hard for a season in order to accomplish our goals!  

One more thing:  For those ladies who are following along with our ladies Bible class over on From This Heart of Mine, Lesson 1 in our study of 'Mary of Bethany: Choosing the Better' has been posted HERE.

until next time,

mrs. patsi @ A Working Pantry

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27 

Sharing 44 years' experience of frugal, prudent living and pantry building 

My second blog:  From This Heart of Mine, where I share my love for God and His Word through my personal Bibe study.  Physical preparedness is important, but not near as important as spiritual preparedness.  Ladies, join me over at From This Heart of Mine and study God's Word with me.

You can view my privacy policy HERE.

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  1. I commend you on all your efforts to stay ahead of the game as much as possible. It can be really hard

    1. Lee Ann, thank you! Yes, it is hard, but it is so worth it when you look back and know that through sacrifice and hard work you did it! It brings a sense of simple satisfaction that no amount of spending can!

  2. First and foremost, I pray all the tests provide answers and a good path to treatment for your husband. Full healing if the Lord wills it. And yes, I know how it goes. More on that below.

    "With all the extra expenses we've had, are we going to be able to achieve our financial goals for the month. It's the middle of the month and we've got a third of it accomplished at this point." THIS is a profound testimony of very GOOD news!!!!!! Thank you so much, Patsy, for sharing that. You gave some excellent tips, too.

    When I had foot surgery last year (extensive foot surgery), we expected it all to be covered by insurance. Our private medical insurance was expensive at over $1,300 per month so that it would cover everything after any deductibles. It was a huge, disheartening surprise when that didn't happen. Out of pocket expenses exceeded $6,000 and we had to put some of that on a credit card. Then, when we thought all of it was taken care of, months after the surgery, we got a large bill for lab work not covered. We managed. God provided for some other unexpected expenses during that time, totally unrelated and we had a lovely, scaled back holiday season. My own advice? Should anyone wish to read it? You can't plan for everything. Life happens. Recognize and be thankful for the blessings that *are* there within it. Such as...

    For the 1st time in 11 years I can now walk unassisted on uneven ground and stand for much longer periods, meaning I now *can* do so much more than I *could* do for a very long time. Praise God!

    We had a low balance and high limit on that CC. Our income is such that it wouldn't set us back forever or cost a fortune in interest. Praise God!

    Recalculating is possible. It's become the theme of our retirement, it seems. That's okay. We trust in a power far greater and wiser than ourselves. Pray for creativity/creative solutions. They'll come. Maybe not in the form you expect, but TRUST. Just as your sharing is showing, Patsy. And that sharing is priceless for your readers. Thank you! --Elise
    P.S. Sorry this was long.

    1. That's great news about your foot! What a blessing!

    2. Thank you, Lana. Words can't express what an amazing blessing it is. --Elise

    3. Elise, thank you for your encouraging words! So glad that all you went through to get your foot where you could walk without assistance paid off. God's blessings come in all shapes, sizes and forms, don't they!

  3. You have done well in spite of circumstances. When we have an extra expense I take out my budget ledger and take a look to see if we have any categories that are flush with money that I can steal from. Right now know that we have a lot of extra in the clothing budget so I would go there first. I also try to plan ahead when I do the monthly budget and go ahead and move extra money left over at the end of the month to areas where we may come up short. I did that this month when I moved grocery and household money that was leftover to the medical budget.

    Efforts to get the grocery deals this week fell flat when number one we left the grocery lists at home. UGH! Then items I wanted to stock up on were very short dated and priced higher than I was willing to pay. So we will carry on and hope for a better chance to restock.

    1. Lana, those are some good tips, thank you for sharing. We're not finding good sales either, but like you, we will keep trying.

  4. I manage well with the normal monthly bills but those unexpected ones can take a real bite. I am lucky in that most medical bills are covered by our Govt. plans and I also have a bit of private insurance that helps with extras and with dental and glasses. But, for things like dental work or new glasses I do have to pay up front first and then get reimbursed so I do have to plan for those things.
    Each month, after the 1st of the month bills are paid, transit pass is loaded and money goes into the grocery envelope, I take a look at what is left and what is coming up. At the end of May I need to pay for my A/C unit - rent it each year and they do the installation and then take it out and store it for me over the Winter (a cost I am happy to pay). I also then need to budget for an increased electric bill for about 4 months over the Summer.

    At the end of June I am having some dental work done so that will need to be paid up front.

    At the end of July I need to put aside money for a family get together and celebration in August. These are all extras outside of my usual savings that go for long term items like my apt., clothing, Christmas & birthdays - all those extras that still need to be saved for each year. It can be a bit of a juggling act but staying home a bit more and using up food from my pantry and freezer means that I can free up some funds from those areas.

    1. Margie, yes, those unexpected expenses can play havoc with a budget, can't they! Trying to meet those expenses without tapping into savings can be a juggling act. It sounds like you have a good system in place.

  5. So good to know that you are still able to make progress toward your financial goals, despite these added medical expenses, Patsi. The added stress is so much worse when finances are exceptionally tight and, for me, it's often tough to push through the "woe is me" sentiment that sets in. I think, at least in my situation, knowing that I have a deep pantry helps. If push comes to shove, there's always something that can be concocted for dinner. If I can get by with what's on hand, those grocery funds can go to better use in covering the increased debts. I also resort to essential travel only and combining all errands into a single trip, making sure I have a cooler and ice packs in the trunk for perishables. If push comes to shove, I will go through the garage and closets and purge those unused items via MarketPlace or a consignment shop nearby. I just sold an old and neglected small patio table and 2 chairs for $20 (and should have asked more, in retrospect; I had 15 inquiries all waiting to purchase if the sale fell through). That $20 covered a dinner event I was committed to attending and left me with an additional $5 in my pocket -- I was fed, entertained, and brought leftovers home for today's lunch without dipping into my wallet, and I cleared out an unused item from my garage that needed to go anyway.

    1. Lori, that's really smart to sell unwanted items to help offset unexpected expenses. Like you, knowing that we have a deep pantry to fall back on helps and is usually the first place we look to trim down. Maintaining a well-stocked pantry is a great 'insurance policy' and backup plan for tight times, whatever their cause.

  6. I cannot tell you how brave and hard working you two are. It is an honor to read of your example. How I hope and pray God will honor your hard work as you honor Him.......and that He will provide in unexpected ways. Kim

    1. Kim, I am humbled by your comment, thank you!

  7. I agree that it is not 'poor mouthing' if you are merely pointing out that unexpected things come up yet we are blessed all the same. God is so good to provide, and never more so than in days when things are difficult.

    Like Lana, we too look to those areas where we've built up a substantial balance in our budget to borrow from.