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post-retirement budgeting

November 20th, 2010 at 01:16 pm

When I was working I needed to manage the inflow of new money - making sure it was supporting my goals and was available when needed to purchase things. I had reserved funds that were being built up to make future purchases. Now that I'm retired I don't have the new money coming in every 2 weeks. Now there is just a big pot of money and the only new money comes from interest, dividends or capital gains on that money.

I no longer keep my reserved funds spreadsheet. I do however continue using my tracking spreadsheet, with some slightly different categories. My goal now is to make my money last throughout my retirement, while still living a comfortable and enjoyable life. To accomplish that I want to spend less than my investments appreciate each year.

If I need to make big purchases I can, just not all in one year. I plan ahead on when I think I will want to make a big purchase and then try to cut back on other things that year. For instance next year I want new carpet, so I hope my health expenses are not as high as they are this year.

I don't have a budget per say, it's more of a guideline, that I'd like to spend about this much on this category. For example, I'd like to keep my overall month to month spending between $1250 and $1500. On top of that I might add some higher one time expenses like property taxes, health care expenses or a new TV and keep overall expenses at less than $20K for the year. I usually decide at the beginning of the year the amount I would like to spend for the whole year. This year it was $18K, but I will go over that because of the unexpected medical expenses.

Each month I track the following categories. These are the ones that interest me and that I like to understand where the money is going.

Groceries - $80/month includes food, personal care, cleaning, paper products and pharmacy items.

Eating out - I budget for this category because it can get completely out of hand if I don't watch it. The goal is to only eat out only 2 x's a week and spend less than $100/month. When it gets too high in terms of either money or number of visits, I really start watching it and cutting back. This is more for health concerns than money ones. I love eating out and don't want to completely cut it out, however I think I eat healthier when I limit it.

Utilities - $380/month includes HOA, electric, heat, phone/internet and TV.

Gas - $40/month

Xmas - $600/year - many months have no entries in this category or the next 2.

Gifts - $500/year

Insurance (house and car) - $760/year

Health - $400/month for insurance and prescriptions and then whatever deductibles/copays I need for the year. This category will go up next year.

Charity - $20/month budgeted for food pantry donations, plus whatever else I do thru the year such as Toys for Tots, etc.

Misc. - I have a hugh misc category because I want to track how much I'm spending, not necessarily what for. So this includs everything else I spend money on from property taxes to car repairs, new TVs and computers to clothes and housewares, car licenses, entertainment etc. No set budget, just keep it reasonable and within the overall guidelines of monthly/yearly spending.

I used to track books too, but since I get most of them free thru swagbucks and credit cards rewards, the few I spend money on just go into the misc category now.

Each day that I shop I come home and write the numbers in my spreadsheet, then once a month I enter them into the computer and see what it totals up to. If the total is over $1500/month I try to find out why. Property taxes were due, health care costs whatever. If there's no obvious reason I try to see what category I'm overspending in and watch it for awhile. As long as I don't go out of my goal of spending less than my investments make for the year I don't worry about it too much.

I know myself well enough to know I'm not spending frivously so whatever I bought was for a reason and as long as I don't get ridiculous it's not worth worrying over.

I finished reading the library book A Mighty Fortress by David Weber. Sci/Fi - excellent.

6 Responses to “post-retirement budgeting”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    How do you manage to eat on only $20 a week?

  2. momcents Says:

    I think it has something to do with being a "Coupon Queen" - still shaking my head in amazement at all that you are able to do with coupons ...

  3. Tightwad Kitty Says:

    I would be making a spreadsheet to track your Misc items if only loosly so you can see if there is an area you need to watch more closer in the future.
    car, taxes, household goods, major repairs (like the carpets) Pets if you have any.

    I can live on $20 per week for food too! (one person only.)

    Over all a good budget.

  4. frugaltexan75 Says:


    I'm living on $20/week spending money for groceries AND miscellaneous. This month I've only spent about $60 on groceries - so really, that's more like $15/week.

  5. retire@50 Says:

    Ima - I may only spend $20 a week in the grocery category but I also spend $20 - $25 in eating out a couple times a week. Based on my tracking of last year's expenses I spent just under $600 in groceries for the year, but got back $310 in rebates making it around $300 for the year or $6/week. But I spent $1,120 in eating out. Coupons are a big part of how I can eat so cheaply, using the prescription coupons that add $25 in free groceries to my card when I get them also helps alot. I have a big stockpile of groceries to choose from so I don't usually have to buy anything until it's at the cheapest possible price.

  6. Ima saver Says:

    Wow, that is amazing!

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