Thursday, October 2, 2014

Empty Nest Financials....September's Results

So we have finished a full billing cycle of expenses without kids at home and the results are in and they look good. 8-)

Since #2 Son left mid August I will use July's bill to compare what we paid before he left with the September bill showing what we paid after he left for school.

The cable and phone bills stayed the same as was expected and him being here or not didn't impact the bottom line on those services.

Then we turn to the water and electric bills......

*  The water bill went down from $74.24 in July to $47.68 in September.  The difference in activity was 1 less person showering and less clothing and dishes needed washing.  In the first 4 weeks after #2 Son left I did 3 loads of laundry.  And no, I didn't just get lazy and let the dirty clothes pile up for a month. lolz  Likewise the dishwasher didn't need to be run as often either.  And there are now 14 less showers taken every week.   #2 Son usually took 2 a day minimum, sometimes more in the warmer months.
A decrease of $26.56 in water usage costs.

*  The electric bill went from a high of $173.44 in July to $95.47 in September.  Overall, part of this decrease was due to little to no a/c use in September while July saw moderate usage.  #2 Son has a window a/c unit in his room so since he was not here late Aug./early Sept. that electricity drain wasn't turned on, thus less kilowatts used.
We also turned off the upstairs computer he use to use.  That machine has a faulty ON switch so it was kept on 24/7 and wasted electricity every danged day.  I am sure this was also making the electric meter spin extra too.
A decrease of $77.97 in electricity costs.  I don't expect this is going to be an ongoing/usual savings but I will continue to compare it against the same month's usage in 2013, when #2 Son was home to add to the consumption of this utility.   Who knows?  It just might be the new norm.

There were also 2 other categories we saved money in as well due to #2 Son being away at college.....

*  We no longer pay for private music lessons.  This amount ranged from a low of $80(the last 2 weeks he was home)to a high of $200 per month.  It was usually in the $160 a month range.

*  We pay less for our car insurance.  Between #2 Son being an "away at school" driver without a vehicle(meaning he doesn't drive much, if at all) and donating the 3rd spare car to charity our insurance has gone down by $1,332.82 a year.  Another $800 or so should be added to that savings once the insurance carrier processes the removal of the minivan from our policy as well, which will give us a savings of approx. $2,132.82 per year.
I look forward to paying in the neighborhood of $1,277.16 a year instead of our old $3,409.98 bill per year.  At the moment(before the minivan gets removed from our coverage)we are paying $173 per month for insurance instead of $284 per month, a $111.00 decrease in costs.

And then there is food.....

*  The jury is still out on whether we will see significant savings on the food/toiletries/pet food/paper goods budget long term.
Yes, I was able to bring the spending down $95+ in September from July's amount.  But August, when #2 Son was only home for half the month I spent $24 MORE than in July?
I hope the downward trajectory of September's food spending continues but I won't call it a "win" in the decreased expenses column until I see how I do in October and November too.
And all bets are off in December on the decreased food spending since #2 Son will be home on a school break more of that month than not.

All totaled in September we realized a $470.53 savings on water, electric, lessons, insurance and food spending.
Can you see me smiling from here?!?

Of course we are saving hundreds in the running of our home, but now are spending thousands on college expenses.
Looking at it that way, these savings don't thrill me quite as much......lolz
Not to worry since the kid's college bills are coming out of his College Account and not our regular income or savings.  We finished putting this money away for him earlier this year.

I don't expect all of these savings to continue or stay at this level but I will monitor it all in October and hope for the best.

Electric use will go up when the heat goes on in October, but by comparing it to the electric bill from last year(when #2 Son was here), I can still get the gist of how much we are savings this October vs. last October.

Overall, I am surprised at how much the bills went down and am eager to see if we can maintain or lower the costs even more going forward.
After all, every dollar I can hang onto and put into savings means it's that much closer until Hubs can retire and we don't have to worry about running out of cash in retirement.

How did your expenses fair once your kids left home?
Did you see a noticeable decrease in costs?




  1. Nice savings! I'm hoping for maybe $150 a month, between food/misc and electricity. We'll see - she's only been gone 2 weeks, LOL

    1. Yah, your DD's school starts late in the year...what's up with that? ;-)

    2. Dunno! everybody that not from around here asks that! The universities go on the quarter system and don't start until late Sept. Winter quarter starts right after first of year and Spring quarter ends in mid June.

    3. Most places I've seen/heard of start late Aug. or first of Sept. and end 1st semester early Dec. and go back late Jan or early Feb. Spring semester ends early May.
      That's it then.....they start late and end late(June).

  2. Mine went off to university, graduated, and now is home and will be going to grad school in Jan or Feb. I am waiting to see how much my bills go up.

  3. Now that one is back to college, our gas bill dropped significantly and is almost manageable again!

  4. I have another year but it got me thinking. Water bill should go down by about 10 showers. Electricity not much since it's just her curling wand a few times a week and her laptop. Food is the biggie. She packs a HUGE lunch every day plus I feed her boyfriend A LOT. Just wondering - Do you give your son spending money while he's at college? My parents gave me $50 month for laundry, snacks, hair goop - it was the 80's:), hygiene stuff, occasionally fast food. She has money saved from working that we thought she'd use to buy books but I'm wondering if it should be her spending money? Thoughts?


    1. We required each of our 3 to hold a part time job(senior yr. high school and/or Summer before college)and save a part of what they earned to use for spending money. My parents didn't give me spending money back in the 70's and I don't plan on giving mine a reg. handout. Now and again, I'll slip them a gift card or some cash but no monthly stipend. I figure I am shelling out THOUSANDS on tuition/room/board/books so they can have some skin in the game and pay for something small like their entertainment cost. ;-)
      The older 2 worked part time jobs while in school but so far #3 child hasn't found a job at school. He will work on his Winter break however for the bakery he worked at this Summer before leaving for school.
      The school #2 attends has FREE laundry facilities(including in the room costs) so no quarter rolls for him! lol I have a stockpile of toiletries for him and we are subsidizing his pay-as-you-go phone for now. He knows that at some point, if he stays at this school, he will have to find more money to finish 4 years or take out a small amount of loans. We bank rolled each of our 3 a certain amount which was enough to cover about 75% of the cost so they each had to figure out how to spend this money and how to save it to stretch further.

      My feeling is kids in college should contribute to their education in some way. If the parents are paying full shift, they can come up with fun money.

  5. Thanks for replying! Trying to figure it out before next summer:). We have DD on our cell phone plan plus pay to have her on our car insurance. That's an expense that my parents didn't have. Sometimes I feel like I'm a scrooge parent since my parents did so much for me. Nice that laundry is taken care of for your son.


  6. We saved LOTS of money after our kids moved out. Our savings account was always quite skinny when they were at home. It has grown to a quite healthy amount since they moved out. Our checking account also manages to stay quite a bit larger than it used to.


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