Tuesday, June 5, 2012

May Budget

A couple of months ago I confessed that I was revamping the way I buy groceries. It has been really hard to do this, because it is so easy to buy cheap stuff, but it's not stuff that I want my kids to be eating. Unfortunately, about the same time we decided we wanted to spend more money on groceries, I lost my job. We've talked and tweaked and discussed and modified and we're working hard to make a budget that works for us. These are the things we've decided from all this gabbing we've done:

  • We want to pay more attention to the foods we are buying instead of the money we are spending
  • We don't want to spend more than we are making
  • We want to get out of debt
  • We want to buy local
  • We want to be able to have some "fun" money and not feel guilty for splurging every so often
  • We want to be happy with what we have and make sure our kids are healthy and happy
  • We want to remember that no matter our circumstances, we're relying on God to provide for us
February's budget
March's budget
April's budget

If this is something you are interested in, this is the budget template I downloaded from Faithful Provisions. I won't disclose every little financial detail of our budget, but I do want to show you some of our findings.

May turned out to be one of those months where we were done in by miscellaneous expenses. We really weren't supposed to have a lot of extra expenses, but maybe that made us a little cocky. Let me show you what I mean...

I predicted that I would earn $75 from mystery shopping. Unfortunately this was a very slow month and my income was actually just $54.46. 

I predicted that I would earn $20 from surveys and rebate checks. I'm happy to say I did better than usual in this area. I made $62.00.

I predicted that I would earn $10 from miscellaneous income (selling household items, etc.). I was happy to see my actual income from this was $55.00.

So, when all is said and done, I did make more money than I had budgeted for, which is always good.

As usual, many of our payments are set in stone. This includes our mortgage, power bill, cell phone bill, security system, cable/internet/home phone, truck payment, motorcycle payment, World Vision donation, gym membership, and school tuition for Brianna.

This month we budgeted $200 for groceries. We did spend $218 on groceries but I don't feel bad about going over budget. When looking through our receipts there are only a couple of things that were "junk food" type items, and I got them at really great prices, so it doesn't bother me.

We budgeted $100 for eating out as a family. We went well over our budget, spending $143. But we have good excuses for this! Three times this month we had friends over for dinner. We used our "eating out" budget for any money spent towards cooking for them. We also took a rather spontaneous trip to Georgia to see our family there. So we spent a bit of money down there eating out. I went out with some friends from church one night and we had dinner and ice cream. And one night we ordered pizza for some friends of ours who were sick, and we put that under our "eating out" budget as well.

Stephen gets $50 budgeted towards eating out on his own and he spent just $30 which is awesome!

We budgeted $700 toward gas. We spent $691, so we were pretty close! About 3/4 of the way through the month, we had a surprising turn of events. Stephen sold his beloved Jeep Wrangler and bought a new (to us) Toyota Celica all within about 36 hours!! It was a pretty spontaneous decision on his part and I'm really proud of him. He ended up making enough money on the deal to buy me all new rims for my car! (I'd been rim-less for a couple of months and it was driving him crazy!) And he still had money left over after that. The Celica gets almost the same gas mileage as my car, whereas the Jeep was getting only about 17mpg or something crazy like that. Stephen is thinking this is going to save us a lot on gas money starting in June. In fact, June should be a great month (we hope) for gas due to no school, no Kindermusik, the new car, and being on the motorcycle more.

We set aside $50 for school expenses, which included parties, snacks and any gifts for teachers. We stayed under that, spending just $32.

I had also budgeted $50 for diapers, trying to be realistic that we wouldn't be spending just $2 again!! We did spend more this month, but still just $33 which I think is reasonable.

Now for the bad news. Our miscellaneous expenses were through the roof. Some were choices we made, and some were things we couldn't avoid. We spent a lot of money on allergy medication this month, for example. Thankfully Stephen is the only one in the family with allergies but it still adds up! Our garage door broke and we spent $350 getting it repaired. Funny story though - the couple who fixed our door gave us a "nice customer discount"! Wahoo! See, it pays to be kind to the people fixing your house! I went to the dentist and found out we had a $180 balance from months and months ago that we didn't know about. We racked up on garden supplies this month which is fine because our garden is doing really well and we should have an abundance of food from that! We had a $135 fee for Kindermusik that's a one-time thing. And I convinced Stephen to buy a windshield thingy (okay, obviously I don't know the technical term) for his motorcycle. It's a darn good thing, too, because just two days after he purchased it, it HAILED on him on his ride home from work! He got a couple of good welts on his arms but his torso and head/face were totally protected! You're welcome, babe! Totally worth the extra expense for him to be safer on the road! Again, this month, when you take out the expenses that were really needed (like repairs and fees and paying debts) we really didn't spend that much on miscellaneous expenses. I'm hoping to take that down even more in the month of June.

Since posting our last month's budget I've had two different people suggest that I cut Stephen's hair at home to save money. We may try this but he only spent $8 on haircuts this month, and only $15 the month before. The kids and I don't spend any money at all on haircuts so it just doesn't seem like a huge expense, but at the same time I have to remind myself that any money saved is money in the bank! So we may try this this month!

I would love to hear any feedback you have for us - tips, support, what you do, etc. Although I would like to say, you don't need to direct me to any links concerning Dave Ramsey or Clark Howard. I adore both of these men, but we are planning our budget based on what works best for us. I do appreciate any other personal advice though!

Where does my meager income come from? Check it out! For the month of May:

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