Ka-*Ching* In, Ka-*Ching* Out
One of the problems with trying to keep to a budget is that the theoretical cash flow on your spreadsheet doesn't always match the actual cash flow in your life. Some income ebbs and flows, and some expenses do likewise. (Although, as a general rule, you can usually figure on expenses rising to exceed income.)
One of the positive changes recently was that one of the medications I take regularly has become available in generic form. If we didn't have good insurance, the monthly cost for those pills would have been over $500; because we do have good insurance, I've only had to pay about $80 a month. Still, that's been a stiff chunk of change every month. (Especially when you add in all the other pills we take; between Hilde and me, we usually figure prescription drugs will run $400 to $500 a month.) Now that I can get a generic version, the cost drops to $5 a month. A $75 a month saving... that's nearly a thousand dollars a year. That's a welcome bit of news.
On the other hand, my work boots are starting to wear out, with stitching starting to come loose in multiple spots, so I went online earlier tonight to see about getting a new pair. I paid about $120 three years ago for the current pair. (If I didn't have ridiculous EEEE-width feet, I could have paid less for other brands, but having your feet not hurt when you're wearing shoes is a pretty good motivation for paying for shoes that actually fit.) Same online merchant, same manufacturer and model... and the price had jumped to $210 in those three years. *gasp* *splutter* *choke* What the hell caused that big a price jump?
Overall, though, the economic news in our household has been more positive than negative lately. My new job has been a significant player in that. I get a higher base pay than the last job, plus a 10% bonus for working the late shifts, plus I'm back to a 40-hour work week. (I'd been doing 32 hours at the previous job.) Because the commute is less than half what I'd been doing, I save about a tank of gasoline each month, plus the shorter commute saves me an extra $5 a month for my auto insurance. It all adds up, and our financial comfort zone (depending on the vagaries of the Unexpected Expense of the Month Club) feels a lot more comfortable since getting the new job.
(I don't remember signing up for the Unexpected Expense of the Month Club, but they keep sending the selections regardless -- sometimes the selctions are small, and sometimes they're knock-you-on-your-ass-whoppers -- and there doesn't seem to be any way to cancel a membership.)