Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Financial Status #27 - April 2012

We didn't make as much headway this month on our debts as I had wanted. It seems that "things" just kept coming up.  And we ate out a lot.  That shouldn't be any surprise to those of you who actually read these updates; it's something we really need to work on. That's something I say every month and rarely do things change. What will it take to really motivate us to seriously reduce spending on food?

We did make one big leap in straightening out of finances this month though. I'll talk about it in the notes at the end.  And next month we'll have one of those "extra paycheck" months, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Here it is - the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly:

INCOME:
Our paycheck income was $21 more than expected this month.  The great news is, we got an additional $2041 refund of our mortgage escrow (after refinancing last month). With $1300 of that, we made a huge step in our financial freedom and my sanity - I'll talk about that in the notes. The other $700?  It "disappeared."  At least I thought so until I started typing up this post. I can see where it went in our eating out and in the notes section now.

UNDER BUDGET:
Car Parts/Repairs: $5 under budget for the month, but we had a big month here last month, so I'm waiting for that to roll off our annual budgeted amount by having several smaller months in a row.  That's the plan at least!
Electricity/Water: $61 under budget.  I have a fixed monthly budget here and in the spring and fall I'm usually under while the summers usually propel be way over. My goal is to balance out at the end.  A trick I'm using right now...I'm overpaying (slightly) my water bill so that it will help offset it later when the power bill is more of a strain on the budget. Working so far.
Home Supplies: $5 under budget. Meaning, no spending here. This budget is for small items that don't fit under "grocery" or "toiletry." 
Childcare: No spending this month, but we're way over our rolling budget right now from previous months.
Hair: No spending this month.  Last month I bought some hair-cutting tools to cut Patrick's hair (I've been cutting it but with the wrong tools. Let me tell you, the right tools make ALL the difference!).
Clothing: $12 under for the month, but thanks to some previous spending months, I'm over budget on our annual budget here. And I still need to get the kids some summer shoes for church. Otherwise though, this should taper off for a while. And even if we need anything else for the kids, I have some credit at the consignment shop, so I should be good there. 

ON BUDGET:
Tithe: I've just started including this one on this post: 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 hadn'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. 
Mortgage/HOA/Timeshare: Nailed the new budget. What's beautiful? This budget is down $600/month from where it was 3 years ago thanks to refinancing and lower HOA fees.  Hooray!
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.
Doctor: On budget this month.  Actually I will be getting reimbursed for this copay (Abigail was sick) but since the reimbursement hasn't come through yet, we'll just call it "on budget."

OVER BUDGET:
Gasoline: $76 over budget. Since I didn't raise my budget when gas prices increased, I don't feel too bad about this one. Now that they are starting to (slightly) come down, hopefully we'll be back on track soon.
Groceries: $235 over budget.  Now we did feed a family in our neighborhood this month but not for $250. I really can't account for all of this, which bothers me. I know when and where we spent it, but I don't know why so much this one month.  I'm hoping some of it was because we bought groceries on the 2nd and the 29th of the month - instead of those being in other months, but that still should not have been THAT much over!
Eating out: $387 over budget. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I'm just being honest here. We ate out far too much. We really need to curb this back. It's not cheap for a family of 4 to eat out even when you are eating out at less expensive places.
Pharmcy: $10 over budget.  Like I noted under "doctor" above, Abigail was sick this month. We had to buy her some Albuterol for her nebulizer. We did keep these costs at a minimum by using Publix pharmacy and taking advantage of the fact that you can get some drugs, like amoxicillin, there for free.
Toiletries: $35 over for the month, but I had a buffer from previous months where I hadn't spent, so although I was over budget for the month, I'm still under budget for the year.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: 
  • The big news - we sent $1300 to our timeshare company to buy out of our ownership. Yes...we still have the Lending Club loan that we are using to pay the loan for it. But we no longer will have the burden of it and its maintenance fees and our inability to use it hanging on our shoulders. You might call this a loss, but I call it a huge win to my sanity. Love it!  We'll be done with the loan in about 18 months and be free of it forever! Hooray!
  • Sent $200 extra to our church for a capital campaign that is underway.
  • We had to pay $12 for a video game rental that Chip forgot to return to the Redbox (and I didn't know he had, so I didn't remind him). We also had a $2 late fee from the library. I hate these kinds of charges - the careless ones - but we all make them from time to time. We had a good long running record of not having them, so that makes when we do THAT much more frustrating to me. 
  • Gifts must have eaten up some of that escrow refund. We spent money on three birthday gifts, Easter,  and one wedding gift this month. Can't really complain about these though.
  • $32 spent on snacks for Patrick's classroom for one week. No big deal - we only have to do it twice a year and it gives us 6 volunteer hours credit. 
  • Spent $19 to take the kids to a play center one day (priceless fun as a family, that day) and $49 on a Living Social deal that will send Patrick to an awesome summer camp for one week this summer. He'll love it. 
  • $60 spent for dog grooming. Necessary evil. Honestly - she hadn't been fully groomed in about a year and this place was about $25 cheaper than where we'd used previously, so we saved where we could on this one.

Debt Paid off Since February 2012: $540.10
Debt Paid off Since October 14, 2009: $17,731.32
Change in Networth from February 2012: $907.53
Change in Networth from October 14, 2009: $42,405.36

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