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Time for a new budget – Almost empty nest version

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I feel like I’m beating a horse to death with all these “life” change posts, but it is my reality. And while we, as a family, have certainly experience lots of lifestyle changes over the last decade-ish as a result of moves, job loss, adding new kids to the family and so on, this one is so different. What does this first phase of almost empty nest look like for me? And what does my budget look like going forward? (I found my last posted budget here.)

The kids

Their growth and leaving the nest is the reason it is becoming empty to it makes sense to start with a brief update on them.

  • Sea Cadet – Now a full time EMT and firefighter for a local county, he continues to pursue different certifications that increase his pay and he is now wholly financially independent. And after 3 years experience, has just gotten a pretty decent raise.
  • History Buff – After a year of floundering, he is working at a factory doing a more technical job around electrical components (think transformers.) He is catching up financially and returning to school to pursue a network specialist certification with the ultimate goal of going into cyber security. He is also wholly financially independent, although he typically hits me up to make a meal for him to take to work almost every day. But I love that and I love seeing him and checking in every day. He also supports his one cat, well, he and Sea Cadet.
  • Beauty – She has changed jobs a couple of times this past year, moved into a income based apartment with a high school friend, and tried a couple of different school programs. She just bought a new car, don’t ask. But does plan to return to school and finish her cosmetology license this spring, thus the need for a car. (Her last one died about 6 months ago.) She is wholly financially independent with the exception of her cell phone which I will continue to cover until she finishes her schooling or quits. She also supports her two cats. (For those that are new, Beauty moved in with us when she was 16. There is no formal adoption agreement, etc. but she is part of the family. She does still have ties and some support from her biological family. There is some difference in how she is treated financially. It is something we have discussed.)
  • Princess – She is finishing up her 1st semester of her sophomore year. This year she became financially responsible for her school costs, living expenses (rent, utilities and groceries,) and any repairs to her car. I continue to cover regular maintenance of her car (oil change and tire rotations,) car insurance, dog food (she took her 15 year old chihuahua to live with her when she moved into her apartment this year), and cell phone bill. She works as much as she can at a large financial institution and has recently been accepted into the investment club at her college.
  • Gymnast – This week he will complete his high school requirements. He has been working at the same restaurant as a server since this summer. His plan is to work a couple of jobs for the next 7 months and then move to Texas once he turns 18. He is financially dependent on me. Like his siblings before with his plan, he is saving money to move out and start life. The only caveat to my support is that I only cover one tank of gas a week and provide no spending money. Otherwise, I continue to cover all his living expenses for the time being. (Since he currently has no plans to attend any post high school schooling, I haven’t determined when my support will end. Although, it will be greatly reduced when he moves out. The kids have always been told that my financial support ended when school ended.)

My dad was recently in town for his brother’s funeral. We enjoyed a very quick visit. (Beauty, not pictured, left early feeling unwell.)

The nest

This leaves me at home, mostly alone, all the time. (Gymnast does still sleep and dress here, but rarely eats at home since his server job feeds him.) Okay, I shouldn’t say I am alone…I still have 6 dogs at home.

I mentioned in a recent post that I have decided to do a few things that will require some money. So I know it’s important I account for those in my budget. It’s time for me to look at that with a whole new eye. I have found that the hardest challenge for me has been food. (I know I’ve written on food alot over the years.) But this time it’s a different problem. I/we rarely go out anymore. More and more, I enjoy my time in the kitchen.

My problem is that going from cooking for 6+ to 1, well, that’s hard. And as a result, I always buy like the kids are all going to come for the meals. When the reality is, we maybe all get together once a month. I’ll have 1 or 2 around once-ish a week. But really it’s just me. (And I still don’t really like left overs so there’s alot of waste.)

Funny story. Last week, with the holidays coming up and anticipating my fiance moving here (this coming weekend that was supposed to happen), I stocked up on meat. Who knows how long it would have sat in my freezer. But then my dad and and Princess ended up coming into town. And the kids all made themselves available for some family time…and I was able to use my giant roast and family pack of cube steak and pork chops.

Ok, I’m rambling now. But my grocery bill is one place I really should cut back. And that’s going to take some thought.

What else should I consider or may be new when creating a budget for a mostly single person?


4 Comments

  • Reply Walnut |

    The butcher and deli counters should be your friend. They are happy to pack up one pork chop, 1/3 lb of hamburger, 4 slices of bacon, a few slices of roast beef or cheese for sandwiches, etc.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    Did you manage to get rid of the medical debt that was due to be paid off by September? Where are you on your mortgage and student loan? It’s been a long, long time since you updated and there have been a lot of changes to your life.

    • Reply Hope |

      Funny, I was just working on writing up my new budget. Coming soon.
      Followed by a debt update.

      • Reply Lisa |

        I am only one grown child out of the house, and know that it is hard to downsize meals. I have heard it isn’t easy to do for many. Not trying to make excuses for you, but you have 4 kiddos all leave at roughly at the same time and one almost out.
        Maybe looking up individual meals would be helpful.

So, what do you think ?