So the end of September is upon us, and it is time for a look at how another month went with our budget, and if we have anything left to make an extra snowflake to the credit card.
- Our total income was $4027.37 (that includes the $430.35 carryover from last month)
- We spent $3764.27 (that includes the $152.08 snowflake from last month’s surplus)
So another month of spending less than we earned! :insert happy dance here: That may seem elementary but I’m pretty darn excited about it. The difference is $263.10, and $180.30 of that is earmarked for irregular expenses and thus gets added to next month’s budget. That means we have an $82.80 snowflake left comprised of this month’s true surplus. It may not be as big as in some previous months but it is still exciting. We had an extra week of grocery expenses this month and an average month of earnings from my contracting work, so having a surplus to me is just great. I’ll be snowflaking that along with my “standard” $200 payment when my spouse gets his first October paycheck on the 5th. Oh and after all the”excitement” of my budget and bank account not agreeing at the end of last month, they agree exactly this month. Hopefully they will continue to agree going forward now that I am carrying over the difference between spent and earned from each month into the next month on paper.
As far as debt repayment was concerned, we paid:
- $452.08 total to credit cards ($343.08 over the minimum repayment)
- $1062.49 total to debt (all others than credit cards were paid the minimum)
And I took in $92.15 in alternative income which all went to the above snowflaking total (craigslist and ebay sales and survey payments). That was a little short of my $100 goal but close. The rest of the snowflaking number is from last month’s surplus which I carry over and then pay when my spouse gets his first monthly paycheck. I am happy we paid over $1050 in debt repayment because that number is my monthly goal. I have a few survey checks still outstanding that should come in in October and knock it down a little further. I fell short of my goal of getting the credit card debt number under $5000 but it is pretty close (it stands at $5049.61 as of right now) and after October 5th I will see a “4″ at the beginning of that number instead of a “5″. :cheer:
The two categories we went significantly over budget in this month were groceries and diapers. I addressed groceries previously, it just wasn’t a realistic number to shoot for. We don’t buy a lot of extras, we’re not eating fancy meals, and we still were coming up short. I am readjusting the grocery budget in months forward to reflect that. I trimmed a little bit from the “clothing” and “gifts” budgets to help offset that, not enough, but it should help. The diaper budget went over because Babies R Us had a big sale so I stocked up on some diapers. I expect to make up for that this month. And hopefully by the end of the month we’ll have our son potty trained and then that category will be able to be significantly reduced. I hope. I can dream.
Some categories we did pretty well sticking to the budget in were gasoline and utilities (natural gas, electricity, water). All of these came out under budget by a small amount. If you look at our budget as a whole, we went over budget this month (but still spent less than we earned), but part of that is that a big irregular expense, my son’s preschool tuition, was due this month. That makes the budget look like on paper that we went over, but in fact we had been saving up every month for this expense and had all the money saved to pay it. It just all happening this month threw the irregular expenses out of whack on paper. We did still go over our projected overall budget, but by closer to $100 instead of $300.
Looking ahead to next month, there are some challenges on the horizon. We have a large annual expense (~$185) for the furnace, a/c and water heater maintenance contract and we don’t have enough saved in the annual expenses fund to cover it yet. We have about $80 saved right now so the other $100 is going to have to come out of future months’ budget for that expense, even though I am paying it right now. Some of the pitfalls of not starting a budget until the middle of the year. By next year that should all sort out and we should have plenty saved in our annual expenses fund to cover our annual expenses by then. The fall is a big time for annual expenses, but once we get past this, we don’t have another significant one coming up until April. The amount I budgeted is correct over a year’s time span, the distribution just leaves something to be desired.
Another challenge next month is that my contracting work is lower than normal. I won’t get a statement and my check until the 15th with the exact amount, but my calculations put the number between $260 and $270. Our budget “expects” me to make $400/month from contracting work. So, well… that’ll be interesting. I am hopeful it will work out, because we should have much lower expenses in the diaper, grocery, and gasoline categories this month (we are working hard at potty training the three year old, and we also stocked up on diapers in a September sale, and with our upcoming trip we won’t be home for a week to eat groceries or use gasoline) so… we’ll see. I’m not expecting a surplus, that’s for sure.
The trip we are taking also concerns me. Not the cost of the trip itself – because it is for my spouse’s work, his employer is paying for the hotel, the transportation for my spouse, and the meals (they are provided by the conference). But for all of us to accompany him, we chose to drive (his employer would pay for his plane ticket but not ours of course, and the cost of two extra plane tickets would have made it impossible for us to come). My spouse will be fully reimbursed for the mileage but we’ll have to pay for the gas up front. I don’t know if we’ll be reimbursed in time to save October’s budget. It is about a 600 mile trip each way, plus any driving I do in the city with the kids. Once we get the reimbursement it will actually save us money in October to go on the trip (free gas and food for a week after all) but until then… well, it won’t be pretty.
So in short, I may have to use some of the emergency fund to fill the gap between payment and reimbursement. I sincerely hope not, but we’ll see how things shake out.
Here’s to spending less than we earn in October!