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Home > January recap: good news and bad news

January recap: good news and bad news

February 3rd, 2015 at 11:37 am

The good news -- I met my mini goals for January. I kept to a list at Target, and I stayed away from Amazon Deals. The bad news -- see for yourself! Here's our variable spending for January. We *way* overspent what I had roughly budgeted. It's not pretty at all. But one of my goals was to track this and post it on here to hold myself accountable. So that's what I'm doing.

Let me premise this by saying that I would like to keep this variable spending under $2600 a month. If I can do that, then I have about $900 extra a month that is undesignated. We didn't have to borrow to cover this overspending. But, if I don't spend it then I can use it to cash-flow things like medical expenses, or send it to my different savings goals. This month, we basically used almost all of this "extra" on variable spending.

I guess this means there is a lot of room for improvement! It also means that maybe my $2600 isn't realistic for us right now? But I can definitely try to do better.

Here are the spending details. In a later post I will focus on my plan of attack for February.

Automobile $62.84
-- Gasoline $43.84
-- Parking $19

This is by far the least we've spent on gas lately because of the low prices. We filled up each car once.

Cash $40

DH withdrew this. Maybe lunches at work? We rarely use cash for anything.

Clothing $167.36

Underwear for our potty-training DS1. And for his dad Smile New pants for DS1, since his are all getting holes in the knees. And holes in the knees are COLD in winter. Two sleep sacks for DS2 in the next size up. He is growing like a weed.

Food $1680.81
-- Groceries $1051.10
-- Dining out $629.71

I usually budget $1000 for groceries, so we weren't too bad there. DH and I often buy lunch at work, and we plan to get take-out/delivery once a week for dinner. We also usually meet friends with kids for breakfast once on the weekend. We try to keep dining out to $400 a month. We went way over. Being tired with poor meal planning is to blame. Even with food in the fridge, we have been turning to take-out when we're tired. Not an excuse, but an explanation.

Gifts $13.72

Books for a baby shower gift.

Household $393.15

A new dual stroller to make it easier to wrangle both boys at the same time. Supplies to set up a pumping station for me in my office, since I'm not going near the community fridge for that. A bottle warmer (probably not a need.) Rest is household supplies like laundry detergent, dish soap, batteries, ice melt, etc.

Leisure $74.11

TV episodes of our favorite shows, movie rentals, a few Candy Crush in-app purchases while up with DS2 in the middle of the night. DH's subscription to Google Play Music.

Miscellaneous $110.58

Not really sure what this all us. Some of it is from a Target trip where I lost the receipt and so couldn't categorize the expenditures.

Personal care $807.06

Ok, this is huge! To be fair, $400 of it was for a new breast pump when I discovered the motor on my old one had gone kaput. A large chunk of the rest of it is diapers. I did stock up when Target was having a spend $100 get a $20 gift card offer. It also includes some toiletries. But probably mostly diapers. Boy do we need to get DS1 potty trained!

Total $3349.63

So, yes, we spent a lot of money this month. When I look at any one category, I don't feel like it's too unreasonable, but when I see the total I definitely do! If you're curious, here's what my rough budget looks like for these categories:

Automobile $130
-- Gas $100
-- Parking/tolls $30
Cash $20
Clothing $150
Food $1450
-- Alcohol $50
-- Groceries $1000
-- Dining out $400
Gifts $100
Household $300
Leisure $100
Miscellaneous $100
Personal Care $250
Total $2600

I'm open to thoughts and suggestions, although I'm slightly terrified to hear them. Please be nice. Please don't rant at me for spending $1000 on groceries. Although I'm not happy to be spending almost $3400 a month in these categories, I am comfortable with spending $2600 a month and still being able to meet our other financial goals.

7 Responses to “January recap: good news and bad news”

  1. ironicone Says:

    Will insurance cover your breast milk pump? I thought part of the new healthcare laws was that those items were covered by insurance?

  2. Wife of the Deacon Says:

    Well, I think that spending is unique to the spender and depending what their plans and goals are. My goal for January was to simply honestly track the spending. I was surprised how high it actually was, and see clear areas for improvement.

    Track for February and see the variance, modify from there.

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    How long do you have for lunch at work?

    I have 30 minutes for lunch. 2-3 minutes of it is spent warming up my veggies, ten - 15 minutes spent eating, and then the remainder I like to walk around reading on my phone. Sometimes I'll spend time on Duolingo, or make a phone call ...

    IOW by bringing my lunch I am able to utilize almost ALL of my time for eating and/or pleasure/relaxation.

    It is only a side benefit that I'm also saving money. But it is a pretty good side benefit.

    Just something I thought I'd throw out there.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    I think it is great you put this out there. You learned something. And on some level this could be considered a baseline. The eating out is definitely one to work on. I would suggest planning a week of meals you can make a home. Consider ones that are easy to put together even when you are very tired, as simple as grilled cheese or soup. Others could be meals that you prep ahead of time, such as a weekend and either reheat the next day or freeze and later thaw and heat.

  5. chloe Says:

    ironicone: I think you're right that insurance would cover it. But I turned down the prescription while I was pregnant because I thought I had a great one at home that I was comfortable with. Then, it stopped working and I need one ASAP for work the next morning so I went out and bought one. I think my FSA would cover it, but I can't find the receipt and I know we'll spend all of our flex money this year anyway. Next time (there probably won't be a next time) I will take the prescription.

    WotD: Thanks, I appreciate hearing that. I, too, will track in February and see how my spending varies (with a few goals.) Maybe this was just a really bad month.

    FrugalTexan: If I could pack my lunch, I think that would be a huge benefit. Both health wise and financially. I think I'll aim one of my February goals at this. Thanks for your comment!

    CCF: So far this week we have manage to make and keep to a meal plan. Tonight we just ate tortillas spread with refried beans, cheese, and salsa, with a side of apples. But it was fast, easy, tasted good, and my three-year-old actually ate it! I think we will have to eat more of these easy meals like you suggest.

  6. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Don't be too hard on yourself because some of these were one-off items, I doubt you'll be buying a dual stroller and breast pump again in February after all.. Keep up your good habits & find a way to tweak the bad Smile

  7. TD Says:

    I'm with creditcardfree - the easier the meals, the easier it is to stick to a meal plan. I also like to make sure that I have easily made "junk" dinners available, too. Sometimes we want to do takeout or dinner at a restaurant because we've had a bad day and want to indulge a little (along with being too exhausted to cook). I try to keep a frozen pizza or something like that around that can just be thrown in the over. It still tends to be healthier than going out, and of course is cheaper Smile

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