Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our Financial Status - Update #11

So, another month has gone by and here I am to confess our successes and our shortfalls.

$530 over budget. Hooray! This is a result of Chip's biweekly paycheck depending heavily on biweekly bonuses. We never know exactly how much his check will be for until it arrives. Obviously he and his store have been doing well this month.

Auto Service/Parts: $54 under our $30 budget. This is a rolling budget so although Chip did buy the stuff to change my oil this past month, we were already so under budget that it made no impact. I like that this one rolls from month to month though because we will need it to. Like for September when Chip is having some work done to his car.
Baby Supplies: $210 under budget. Yet another rolling budget. I set it up to be $50 a month to cover diapers, baby food and other baby essentials. Now that Abigail is older and doesn't need anything but those diapers, I have changed the budget to be $20 a month. I think that should cover diapers since I get good deals on them. =)
Make-up/Toiletries: $5 under budget. We spent nothing in this category (we budget $5/month in this rolling month-to-month category), but had $16 roll over from July, so we were "officially" $11 over budget. We'll just sit a while and let this one work itself out in a couple of months.
Clothing: $40 under budget. I budget $40/month for clothing and we spent nothing this month. Plus we had $8 credit from July, so we'll have $48 extra rolling into September.

Auto Insurance: No surprises here.
Television: No surprise.
Term Life Insurance: Just as expected.
Alarm Monitoring: This is a new item in our budget because when we bought the system we paid up front for 3 years of monitoring. That time has passed, so now we'll pay it monthly, but it will be a regular no-change charge, so this will appear as a regular in this category.
Pest Control: Once again, nothing unusual here.
Hair care: On budget. We have a credit in this column because this budget rolls from month to month, but in this month alone, we used the amount allotted for the period.

Gas/Fuel: $189 over budget. Chip now has a commute much longer than he did, so if he is going to be staying at this store, we will have to re-evaluate the gasoline budget because this one just isn't cutting it.
Mobile Phone: $3 over budget. This is another one that rolls from month to month. This month in particular we were right on target, but last month we were $3 over, so that overage rolled into this month. Maybe next month we can cut back and allow that overage to be eaten.
Power Bill: $20 over budget. I budget $200 for utilities (water and power combined). This month our power bill alone was $220 (welcome to the South). Our water bill did not clear until September. And our power bill for August (paid in September) is going to be outrageous when it shows up here next month. But it will even out again in the fall. This one is a rolling budget as well.
Coffee Shops: $5 over budget. I took Patrick and Abigail to the coffee shop after church one weekend to get some chocolate milk and a muffin as a treat. It had been a rough weekend and we all needed a treat.
Eating Out: $118 over budget. I know. I'm truly ashamed. We did so well in July and then blew it in August. I really plan to do better in September although it will be hard during the road trip (see comments below).
Groceries: $48 over budget. I have no explanation or excuse. I just went over.
Doctor: $60 over budget. We budget for one copay a month. Chip had one regular $25 copay and one $60 copay (urgent care) this month because he had a severe bout of strep.
Pharmacy: $17 over budget. This is a great example of how a rolling budget works. We actually had over $55 in pharmacy costs for the month, but had "credit" in our rolling pharmacy budget because we hadn't used it all in previous months. And it paid off. We don't need the pharmacy every month, so I budget $5 a month. Then it usually evens itself out.
Home Supplies: $39 over budget. Our budget includes $5/month for "home supplies" which includes anything to run our household. This month I spent $44 on stamps just to have some around the house. They should last for a while because I hate finding myself without them. It's another rolling budget though, so it should work itself out eventually.
Mortgage/Rent: We were over budget this month to the tune of exactly one monthly HOA fee. That's because both August's and September's payments cleared in August. Therefore, September will be exactly that amount under budget and it cleans itself up.
Childcare: $170 over new school budget. This was an impossible to budget month in this category. The kids changed schools and moved to a school that had different tuition rates. Plus Patrick now is only charged the "after school care" rate since PreK is free. However, although our weekly rates are lower at this school, we had to pay 2 weeks at the old school, two weeks at the new school plus registration fees at the new school. It was impossible to estimate, so we came in $170 over the budget with the budget based on the new school rates. However, the budget for this category is now $280 less than it was when we were at the old school. Hooray!
Taxes: $422 over. Because we don't budget to pay income taxes monthly. But thanks to a mistake on our part, we had to pay some taxes from 2008 plus the interest.
Gift/Gift Shipping: $74 over budget. We had a birthday party to attend and another gift to buy. Plus 5 birthday cards to mail. And I shipped photos of Abigail's 1 year photo shoot to family. And I mailed out 3 baby gifts that I've been needing to ship.
Pet Grooming: $67 over budget. We really need to add this to our budget. Maybe $30/month?

  • After our Income Tax Fiasco of 2010, we have now paid up on our taxes. Hooray. We're $2100 poorer after paying the federal and state taxes, interest and penalties, but we no longer owe anyone. And we did it without putting a penny of it on the credit card. I am really proud of us. A year ago we would have had to put it on the card (due to lack of emergency fund and discipline) and probably would not have fretted a lot about it.
  • We revived our emergency fund completely. It was $1500 before the tax thing. After the tax problems and trying to make do during that time it got done to $25. However, it is back at $1500 now. Yippee!
  • We were able to send $250 extra to credit cards (above the minimum payment). It isn't as much as I like to do, but since we sent $422 to the state for taxes and restocked our emergency fund, I can't complain too much!
  • The kids and I are going to take a trip to my mom's house for Labor Day weekend. We wish Chip could go, but he has to work. And since she hasn't seen the kids since Memorial Day weekend, I need to take them. That means our gasoline charges and food charges will be up for the weekend. I'm going to try to offset the food costs the rest of the month. The gasoline will already just have to fall where it does because it already needs to be re-evaluated.

And that is August in a financial nutshell at our house.

How did you do this month?


  1. This is awesome. I love how frank you are about money. Thanks for doing it!

  2. Thanks, NGS - I try to use this as both an accountability tool and a means to let other people know how our "normal" spending habits go. We screw up...a lot...on this road to get out of debt and I want others to know that they aren't the only ones. I know it has made me feel better in the past to read similar posts from others, so I do what I can to give that to someone else.



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