Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our Financial Status - Update #16 - January 2011

If I were to tell you that January was a rough month, it would be an understatement. I mean, we had food, clothing, and shelter, and for that, I am grateful and should consider myself one of the wealthiest people on earth.

But it just came down too close for my taste. We had to access the emergency fund to make it happen. I'm glad it is there for that purpose, because in the past we would have resorted to using the credit cards for that $800 we took out of the emergency fund. We did spend $139 on the credit card for doctor's appointments and pharmacy visits.

We were $1721 under budget in the income category. Yep. Ouch. Seriously.

$5 under budget. I have no idea how we did this, as we are NEVER under budget here, but it is nice to know we can do it!
Auto Service/Parts: $30 under budget. Hooray! That means that for now, we are $90 below the rolling budget, which would be awesome if we needed a small repair and had made room like this in the budget. However, we don't need repairs right now because as you can see above, we are well below our income budget!
Eating Out: $54 under budget. HOORAY! This really should have been less, but I caved. Twice. Once I had a really bad day at work and needed food away from the office and with friends. So I spent $6 at a Mexican place for stress relief with Chip's blessing (I only thought it fair to ask since we were buckling down so much). Also, once we spent $23 at Wendy's because it is one of Patrick's favorite places to eat and we hadn't eaten anywhere but home for a while and we made the conscious decision to eat there. The others were just no excuse choices. So all in all, not too bad. I'm still very proud of us since this is one of our weakest spots.
Home Services: $41 under budget. Hooray! Nothing owed this month!
Home Supplies: $5 under budget. No purchases this month.
Childcare: $265 under budget, it's exactly what we expected. This is the savings that we're getting from Patrick not being in after school care while Chip is not employed. Once Chip goes back to work we'll have this expense again, so I'm not changed it right just doesn't roll from month to month.
Clothing: Spent $0 this month, giving us $71 in the rolling budget.

Auto Insurance: On new budget. After changing our method of payment (automatic withdrawal rather than a check) we were able to lower this budget by $5/month.
Mobile Phone: This actually showed up as one month's payment under budget, but that's because the payment cleared on December 31st and put December "over" budget by the same amount. So it's really a wash, so I'll put it "on budget" to reflect our true spending.
Television: Actually showed up as one month's payment over because February's payment cleared on the 31st. Actually spending for both months will balance out to "on budget."
Term Life Insurance: On budget.
Alarm Monitoring: No surprises.
Mortgage/HOA/Timeshare: On budget.

Electricity/Water: We were a mere $3 over budget, so I cannot count this one as too bad! =)
Groceries: $130 over budget. This one is a bit frustrating. We spent $130 on the 31st. And we could have waited to shop on February 1st. So I'm hoping this will show as under budget on February's grocery bill.
Doctor: $25 over for the month for office visits (Abigail had two ear infections, strep and severe bronchitis and also had a follow up to make sure she was not developing pneumonia). I will get reimbursed for one of those though via work. $96 over for a trip to the ER for a nasty rash that Patrick got over Christmas while visiting my mom. $? over for a nebulizer that we had to get to keep Abigail from developing pneumonia. We'll have to wait to see the bill for that thing after insurance deals with it.
Pharmacy: $34 over budget. See above for explanation.
Baby Supplies: $2 over budget. We were so "over" our rolling budget that I reset it to not roll. Then this month we spent $22 on a great deal for diapers, so we were over. It will start rolling again though and we'll quickly be under once again!
Hair Care: $10 over budget for the month because both of the guys got a haircare, but that still leaves me $63 under the rolling budget, so I'll be able to get my haircut SOMETIME once the income increases and still have some extra left!


The bad:
  • We only made the minimum payments this month on credit cards.
  • Our emergency fund is down to $700 right now from $1500.
  • We used the credit card for $139 to go to the doctor and get medicine for Abigail because the funds just were not there when we needed them but our little one was sick. We should have used the emergency fund instead.
  • I think I'm going to hold off tithing this month to restock the emergency fund because it is getting way too low for my taste. I've prayed about this and think it's an okay step to make for our current situation. Whenever we get our tax refund, I will back-pay our tithe (I'm not bargaining with God here, but it is what I have been praying about and this is the solution I think we were given).
The good:
  • We've got plans. They include: dropping full coverage insurance on both cars (it's justified and I'll discuss more in a later post), dropping Chip's term life insurance (he'll be getting a larger policy for much less through the National Guard), examining using Tri-Care vs my employer-based insurance. All of these will save us $$.
  • Chip will be going to MEPS tomorrow and find out details about when he will ship off to OCS. That will be full time income, which I will welcome. After the completion of OCS he will get a $10,000 commissioning bonus. That will be a HUGE chunk payment to debt. I can't wait to send that one off! Until OCS he will be drilling once monthly with a unit in Savannah, which will bring in a couple hundred dollars a month. It's not huge, but it will certainly help!
  • We're only waiting on one item to do our taxes. We should be receiving a refund. I'm estimating about $2000, but we'll see. Whatever it is, it is going into savings (after catching up with our tithe) until Chip has income again just to give us a cushion.
  • Still planning on doing an etsy shop I think. I've just got to see some money to get it rolling better!
  • If we had $1700 less income than expected and only had to pull $800 out of the emergency fund, that shows that we SHOULD be able to send about $900 over the minimum to credit cards once the income is back in place. Hmmm...that's something to think about.

Debt Paid off Since December 2010: $492.78
Debt Paid off Since October 14, 2009: $18,660.17
Change in Networth since December 2010: $91.97 (at least it is positive)
Change in Networth from October 14, 2009: + $35,116.32

How did you do this month? Were you stuck paying off Christmas bills or did you do it debt free like we did?
Whew...imagine if we had racked up Christmas bills!


  1. It sounds to me like you are still on the right track, so please try not to be so hard on yourself!!! I think God will understand about the tithing, too.
    Best regards,

  2. Thanks, Jennifer! I need the encouragement, as you can tell!