Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our Financial Status - Update #2

So a second month since my confessional post has passed and I am here to update you on how we did this month so you can hold me accountable! As a reminder, you can see how we did during the first month here.

After last month, I predicted that we would be over budget this month on both gasoline (due to traveling to see family) and groceries (as we were hosting Thanksgiving) with the hopes to offset them in other areas. Let's see how we did:

As a reminder, I'm not showing you actual amounts spent, as I'm not comfortable posting THAT much financial info about ourselves. The amounts shown are how much either over or under that we were in those areas noted.

INCOME: On budget.
The number actually show $201 over budget due to being reimbursed for some spending (rebates, credit card cash back and buying some things and getting paid back for them). So since these were all associated with having to spend money first, I am not considering them "gain." =)

OVER BUDGET AREAS:
Gasoline: $82 over budget. As I noted above, I had expected this due to some extra traveling.
Groceries: $25 over budget. Also expected, but not nearly as far over as I would have thought, so I consider this a bit of a "win".
Restaurants/Fast Food: $131 over. Yikes! This is really a tough one for us obviously. We had some company and went out to eat a couple of times, so I guess that's why we were so badly over. Need to stick to this one better!
Baby Supplies: $16 over budget. I was well below budget last month ($34) so this isn't a big deal. There were a lot of great diaper sales going on and I took advantage of a couple of them. So this should set me up to be in really good shape in this area for a month or two. =)
Pharmacy: $63 over budget. We were a bit sick this month. Also, I went to the doctor and was given a new prescription that costs more than my last one, so I will have to update our budget to reflect this change.
Doctor: $40 over budget. Since both of the kids went to the doctor last month, we were one copay above our budget. I thought we would "catch up" this month by not having to go, but I had an appointment this month that I had forgotten was scheduled, so although there was only one appointment in the family, I didn't have any money in this area of our budget prepared, so we were over one copay again.
Home Supplies: $54 over budget. We had to buy a water filter for our fridge. I had not anticipated this (things like this slip my mind usually). On the plus side--this reduces the money we spend on bottled water and other drinks (because we can drink water in their place).
Coffee Shops: $10 over budget. These aren't necessarily "coffee shops" but usually stops to convenience stores (that's just how I categorize them in Mint).
Veterinary Services: $139 over. We had the dog boarded while we traveled and she was groomed while she was there.
Gifts: $200 over budget. We're doing birthday and Christmas shopping.

ON BUDGET AREAS:
Mortgage (very predictable)
Credit Card Payment (What we've set aside)
Life Insurance (very predictable)
Auto Insurance (very predictable)
Pest Control (very predictable)
Television (very predictable)
Hair/Salon
Late Fees (yes, they were zero, and that is the plan)
Newspaper (very predictable)

UNDER BUDGET AREAS:
Babysitter/Daycare: $135 under budget. With Thanksgiving holidays and Patrick being sick, we used sick days instead of paying for those days the kids weren't in school.
Utilities: Water bills was $5 under budget, and our electric bill was $130 under budget! We have to plan for the extreme hot and relative cold, so I have budgeted $200 to heat/cool our house as an average. Since our bill was only $71 this month (!), we saved big money!
Clothing: $54 under budget. This is set up as a rolling amount, as we do not buy clothes every month, but when we do, it is more than one month's budget. In other words, after buying Abigail and Patrick some clothes this past month, we have $54 that will roll into next month to accumulate until we need to spend more on clothes.
Auto Service: $30 under budget. This should help make up for being $63 over budget last month!
Make-up/Toiletries: $9 under budget.

So all in all, another decent month. I expected being over budget in groceries and gas, but completely did not anticipate we would do so poorly in eating out. Sigh...still a weakness I guess. It seems we made up for it in areas we were under budget though, so in the end it is okay. If we can just get rid of that eating out problem, we can send more money to credit cards!

Speaking of which...we have not put anything else on the card that we paid off last month. It is actually stored away and we will close it as soon as we have more room on other cards and know we don't need it for an emergency. We have "snowballed" our payment and sent the month we didn't need for Card #1 payment and sent it in addition to the regular payment to Card #2.

On an unexpected note, we have closed Card #2 and will work on paying it if off from here. We got a notice that our rate would change to a variable rate on December 1st. Not wanting a variable rate on ANY loan, we opted out, which closed the card and will allow us to pay it off at our current rate. It's a good thing, as there is no possibility of us using that card again.

We are looking into refinancing our home under a program the VA loan people have going on (we have a VA loan now). It will result in a lower monthly payment...by about $250. We can then sent that amount to paying off debts and get them down faster.

Also in the upcoming month--I will be reimbursed half of my medical deductible from having Abigail. This is just a perk from my employer. =) We are going to put 2/3 of it in savings to help build it and use the other 1/3 to pay for our Christmas gifts this year. Hooray! It will actually show up as an additional credit card payment though because we've been shopping some great deals already (while not overspending, of course) and I just turned in the paperwork on Tuesday to get the reimbursement, so I should have it soon.

For December, there will be an additional credit card payment for this reason and we will once again probably be over in gasoline due to traveling. Hopefully it won't be too bad though because I won't have to commute to work for about 1-1/2 weeks. =)

What else can we do to help ourselves? Any suggestions?

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