Well, here it is.
A year ago today was the last day of getting ready for the movers to arrive. My husband and younger daughter were already out here for several weeks. My older daughter and I spent those weeks continuing to purge and pack and get ready for the movers.
We were exhausted. In pain. Ready to drop.
Thinking about the past year, I sat down and crunched some numbers. When we were deciding whether or not to accept my mother’s request to move out there, with her offer to pay for the movers, I sat down with our budget at the time, and tried to compare it with what we might expect to be paying out here. I thought I was erring on the side of caution as much as I reasonably could. Basically, we had to decide if the increased costs out here would be made up for by not paying over $1400 in housing charges. Living on a fixed income while expenses kept increasing meant we were slowly falling behind. Being overly cautious with the numbers, we felt we would be ahead of the game by about $450 a month.
Now, a year later, I can look at our actual expenses and compare.
Keep in mind, I am just looking at our regular budgeted expenses, since there’s no way to account for things like the hot water tank dying, or the van suddenly needing hundreds of dollars of work done on it.
In the end, we are ahead of the game by just over $320 a month.
Some things are not quite reflective of actual costs. For example, we are paying $20 a month more for our vehicle insurance and registration, but before the move we were only paying for the insurance; the registration was paid for annually, and we could shop around for private carriers. Here, there’s no choice. Just the public insurance company, and both are paid for together.
Then… there’s the rest.
Our electricity bill has tripled. In my previous comparison, I had expected it to quadruple. Still; painful. At least now we’re on an equalized payment plan, so starting this month, the payments will be the same, and we won’t be getting any more almost $600 electricity bills!
Before the move, our TV and internet were bundled. Out here, the only way to get internet was by satellite. It took a while, but with the new satellite the company has available, we now have internet speeds and reliability, as well as a data package, comparable to what we had in the city.
At triple the cost.
We also have to have a land line now, since we’re in a cell phone signal dead zone, so that is a completely new expense. With a long distance plan added to it, it ended up higher than I had worked it out to be when we first tried to do a comparison.
Our cell phones, on the other hand, are now combined in a bundle with one company, and that’s one bill that is actually lower by over $100. Our grocery budget has gone up by $400 (note that this includes not just food, but personal care items, household needs, pet supplies and bird/deer feed).
Our gas budget has stayed the same, but only because we ration our trips as much as we can. Our prescription budget had to go up, but our content insurance went down.
Now, normally this would mean that we’re ahead of the game. But when we start taking into account the things we need to do here, and how much it will cost, we’ve not actually gained anything financially by moving out here.
It’s a good thing finances were not the only reason we agreed to move.