Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our Financial Status #26 - March 2012

So we've made some great headway this month in the area of debt reduction.  A lot of money flowed in this month and there are other big opportunities coming, but there were also some really ugly spending habits that reared their heads.  You can probably guess that they were in the area of eating.  We're truly awful at that and really need to reign it in. I mean, I know I say that frequently, but I hate to think of what more we could have done by now if we'd done better on food spending.

So let's move forward and see how March looked:

We came in at just over $300 over our expected income for this month. Some of that was some extra National Guard activity pay (Chip was on orders for some extra time this month) and some was a reimbursement we've been waiting on. 

Electricity/Water: It appears I am $78 over budget this month, but that's just because I paid two power bills in one month (March's and April's).  In reality, I was $25 under budget for the month and that will roll over into the budget for April and I should still be under there.  Hooray for building up some wiggle room for the warmer months to come.
Doctor: $20 under budget.
Mortgage/HOA/Timeshare: HOA and Timeshare were on the money.  But we were a full mortgage payment's ($1619 previously) less than planned because we refinanced and didn't owe a mortgage payment for April 1st like we would have.  I'm using that extra amount to put some money aside for child care for this summer while Chip is gone for his Army stuff and making an extra $500 payment to Chase. Booyah. 
Toiletries: No spending this month on toiletries. Love my stockpile.

Tithe: I haven't previously indicated our tithe on this section (or any other) before. That's because it's really not optional.  We're believers in Christ who believe in giving the first 10% of our income to God's work. Because I knew this would always be on budget, I haven't been including it, but decided to add it so that you, as readers, would know that we are not leaving out this important part of our financial life. 
Auto Insurance: No surprises here.
Television: As usual.
Term Life Insurance: Done
Mobile Phone: Nothing new here.
Alarm Monitoring/Pest Control: Regular charges here.
Pharmacy: We were on the nose with the pharmacy budget this month.  That means we didn't make any headway in knocking down the rolling "over budget" amount though.

Gasoline: $300 over budget. Some of this was wrapped up in Chip's National Guard travel that was extra this month.  He will get paid for his travel in next month's paycheck, but all in all, this bill will only go up it appears (with rising gas prices).  I think I'll have to find some way to increase this budget to be realistic.
Auto Parts/Repair: $70 over budget this month.  Between a couple of oil changes, a headlight that was out and the stuff to restore your headlights (which really works, by the way), this bill was over and above the usual this month.
Eating Out: $364 over budget. Obviously reporting this is not making us change our habits.  We seem to be eating out more than ever although I know it is stupid and a waste of money.  As I mentioned above, I'd hate to think how much more we would be knocking down our debt if we didn't do this. I've gotta' find a better way to change this because shame and accountability on this blog don't seem to be working.
Groceries: $249 over budget. How can 4 people eat so much when you add this up to the eating out numbers. It's depressing.  That's $600 I should have been able to tuck away towards debt. I hate that.
Home Supplies: $41 over budget. Just some work done here and there.  Hopefully this will roll off in a few months.
Childcare: $120 over budget. This was spent for a sitter to watch Abigail for the two days that Chip was on orders with the Guard.  His paycheck covered this amount plus some debt repayment to the military PLUS some active duty hours that will count toward his retirement.  All in all it was a good thing, but it was an expensive two days.
Hair: $80 over budget for the month.  But since I have this on a rolling budget, I'm still underneath that rolling budget amount for the year because I don't often have my hair done. =)  Hooray for treats that you save up for. 
Clothing: $8 over budget for the month.  I bought some swimsuits online for Abigail as well as an adorable dress that I just couldn't pass up.  They were all great deals but they put me a bit over budget for the month.


  • To rub salt on a wound of a month that was successful but could have been much more so, I had to pay a speeding ticket in the amount of almost $400. Ouch. Same day...Chip got a $27 parking ticket. If I believed in Karma I would say that it was frowning on us that day. 
  • Spent $55 on three birthday presents for this month.
  • Spent $1600 on bedroom furniture for Patrick. Yes, it is a lot, but this is stuff that he will take with him to college and then out into the real world, so an investment is good.  I also hope to recoup some of this cost ($500 to $800) by selling his old furniture. 
  • Spent $50 on a groupon deal to get a canvas print of a photo.  I've been wanting to have one of these done with a picture of our two kids together and I finally bit the bullet when I saw the good deal. 
  • Spent $5 to order some caterpillars for a project I will share with you soon. It is awesome!
  • $112 on a hotel room that will be reimbursed via the Army's travel pay.
  • Spent $10 on lottery tickets for this past weekend's Megamillions lottery.  I don't believe in the lottery, but my husband wanted to play. Although I don't believe in it, I didn't stop him from spending $10 on something that was fun for him for a few hours. 
  • The big one: Sent $4500 to credit cards!!!  WOO HOO!
Caveat: The below numbers are a bit different this month.  We made a lot of headway with debt repayment this weekend, but when we refinanced, we took on a few thousand dollars in closing costs that we didn't previously have. I know, it seems like taking some steps back, but we'll recoup our closing costs in about 18 months while using that money to pay off debt. All in all it is a good move, but this month's numbers don't look nearly as exciting as they feel.

Debt Paid off Since February 2012:+$6065.97 (see comment above about refi)
Debt Paid off Since October 14, 2009: $17,191.22
Change in Networth from February 2012: -$7097.10
Change in Networth from October 14, 2009: $41,497.83

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