Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finally tackling the monthly spending

I went ahead & added up all of our September spending (month-to-date), because things have been very erratic from a spending front. Lots of unexpected (and some planned for) move costs, start up costs on a fresh house/pantry, etc. *shivers*

Putting all of this information together helps me see the hot spots, and feel more in control of our spending in the weeks ahead. It gives me a good picture of where we're at, how far we're over, and areas that I should be paying close attention to.

Our new monthly budget is around $11,400. We're at 60% of the month elapsed, and we've spent almost $5,700, or 40%. Once I factored in the known mortgage payments that just haven't hit yet, but are definite amounts owed, we're at 62% spend, so pretty much on track. Here's where we're over & under for the month:

Areas where we're over:

  • Groceries - we've spent $630, and our budget was $540 for the month. No surprise. We had to fully restock with the move.
  • Dining out - obviously, we were out of our house & in a hotel, so there was lots of dining out. Since then, we've also planned more social activities than usual (meeting new people for lunch, visiting family, etc). I'm okay with this, as I think it's an important step in getting comfortable with the area. Budget was $100, and we're at $272.
  • Gifts - budget was $100, and I spent $253 on a plane ticket for my sister to come up & visit in a few weeks. Super excited about this - it's part of how I wanted to spend my "fun" portion of my yearly bonus.
  • Travel - budget was $0. We spent $169 on a rental car until our cars were delivered. Long story, but I don't think we're getting reimbursed for this.
  • Health - budget was $100, I spent $180 on a weekly pilates/yoga class. Totally worth it so far!
  • House - budget was $100, and we've spent $420. Wow. Lots of needed house expenses: propane tanks for the barbecue, laundry soap, dishwasher soap, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo. All things we couldn't move &had to replenish.
  • Boys - budget was $50, and we're at $193. Expenses include: lunch money (perhaps this is food?), school pictures, Halloween costumes, and a couple of new books.
  • Liquor - the budget was $0, but I spent $110 on a case of my favorite wine, & beer for M. Again, something we couldn't move. I like a glass of wine on the weekends. :-)
  • Boys clothes - budget was $0. Spent $90 so far for new socks, and a couple of extra pair of athletic shorts for soccer practices. I thought we had plenty, but Sam outgrew his. Also, new swim trunks x2.

Alrighty, and here are the categories where we're under:
  • Boys lessons -budget was $150, and we've spent $10. I'd earmarked this money for soccer, and we did end up paying $300, but were reimbursed $290 from the registration I paid six months ago for the team in our old area. Net difference was $10.
  • Gas - budget is $275, we've spent $70 so far. We didn't have our cars for a while, & I have had plenty of no driving days, while I've worked from home. We may be able to lower this monthly budget. Woohoo!
  • Utilities (both houses) - budget is $600, and we're at $300. We haven't been at the vacation house, & haven't been using much at the primary house (only the contractors). That said, I haven't gotten bills for our new rental yet, so that should drive this up, as we'll be paying for utilities on 3 houses. Also, we canceled cable, probably permanently, and have no cable bill, which will help.
  • Childcare - budget was $800, but we've spent $0. If I accept a new job, that will change, & the budget will likely go up to $1200/month.
  • Personal - budget is $70, and I've spent $0. I expect to remedy this shortly, & get a pedicure, a haircut & a massage. So, I'll be going over, using the rest of my "fun" bonus budget.
  • Car - budget is $100, and we've spent $0. That said, Sam hit our car with a ball & split a piece of the front bumper (yikes), so that will eventually need to be repaired.
  • Cleaning - budget is $500, and we've spent $0. This is more than normal, as we want to do a deep clean on our rental (it's filthy with all of the movers, & electrical work that's been done) & also a deep clean on our house in Seattle to get it ready to have renters - once the contract work is done.
  • Skiing - I also had planned to spend $900 on 4 ski passes for the year (they go on sale for the cheapest annual price in September) , but that's probably not an issue now that we're in California. :-)

Ahhh, just putting this together helps me feel so much more in control of our spending! Yeah!

Also, breaking down my recent stock vest & bonus, here's how much I made, and how we're spending the money:
  • Net stock award - $41,000.
  • Net bonus (guessing, as lots of other things were lumped into this paycheck) - $15,000
Total = $56,000.

  • 401K loan payoff - $39,600
  • Flooring at our vacation house (long story on this, but we're just going to pay it, despite the terrible job they did) - $1,000
  • Money earmarked for my "fun" (includes: spa day, ticket for my sister here, and likely a ticket for me to have a long weekend with another girlfriend in October) - $1,000
  • All remaining money ($14,400) went to beef up our emergency fund. We know we will owe a lot again in taxes due to the relocation benefits, etc. Emergency fund currently stands at $35,188 - so just over $5,000 above where I'd hoped.

That's pretty much it. How are you doing with your September spending? Do you also find that laying out all of your monthly expenses helps to reduce your financial anxiety? :-)


  1. Wow! That's a lot of money in and out but that comes with moving. I'm sure you are relieved to add it all up and see exactly where you're at.

    1. It's definitely a lot of money, which is why it's super critical to stay on top of it, & not let it all fritter away. Not that it's ever happened before. ;-)

  2. I am so out of things here with your move and all. So you are going to rent out your WA house instead of sell it? I hope the money you have to sink into getting it rental ready isn't bad and you can recoup it or at least rent it out for what the carrying costs are.

    Our month is not going so great as all the remodel expenses are hitting us now and even though I have the money saved for it, it still hurts to see it all fly out the window, ya know? lol As soon as we get the rooms ready to use again I am sure I'll feel better.
    Plus we've had some unplanned car repairs, vet bill/surgery for a dog and additional costs associated with the remodel, plus now the added drugs/tests/dr. appts. for my foot/blood clot problem. Oy! Does it never end?.....don't answer that! lol

    I look at your $11K mo. budget and I think, gee, if I had that much $ per mo. to spend I don't think I could psychologically do it. It's just out of my realm of experience. If it was me overseeing that size of income, I'd spend about half of it and squirrel away the other half so that Hubs could have retired early....probably 10 years ago. But that's just me and because that's just my nature....which comes from having experienced very VERY bad times(like having $10 to your name and no place to live and no one to fall back on). Being destitute with nowhere to turn changes a person and their relationship with money.

    But this is about you, not me....8-)
    You are keeping things together and keeping if not on track, near the rails.
    Keep it up!!

    1. We are keeping our Washington house, & we'll be renting it. We have an extremely low rate (2.5%, I think), and will break even with the rental income (or, that's our estimate). We're in the process of remodeling it, as it's much easier with everyone out of the house.

      We do save quite a bit (mostly for retirement), which isn't listed as part of our monthly budget, as it's automatically deducted & not part of our "spendable pool". We are on track to retire early - I think between the two of us, we just passed the $700K mark. We're also considering our Washington house as part of our retirement. We'll likely sell our Oregon house. Part of our retirement plan is to have diversified funds - some in traditional savings, some in the stock market (bonds as we get closer), and much of it in housing (renting out).

      All that said, we've certainly thought of selling the Washington house, moving to the Oregon coast (where the cost of living is incredibly cheap) & living a much simpler life. Maybe our next move, actually. Right now, M enjoys working too much to give it up. I'm on the fence. I enjoy it with the right job, and feel too guilty to give up a super high earning offer.

  3. Yep, getting all the money in order is definitely one of those things I dread sitting down and actually doing, but then get incredibly relaxed afterward. I even sleep better.

    Glad things are starting to settle down for you all. Pedicure, Massage, Wine - in that order!

    1. Exactly - it makes me feel so relaxed to know that I have a great handle on where the money is going.

  4. Gosh that's a lot to organise - but at least it's done now. It's great that your ef is back where you'd like it!

    1. It all kind of came together, with the bonus & stock, & move, & miscellaneous spending. So happy it's settling out a bit! :-)

  5. I hate moving...used to have to move once a year for work (did this for four years) and didn't get much stipend from the company. So expensive and I wasn't smart about it either. Congrats on getting through all of it and getting settled.

    I previously had a fixed monthly budget that didn't change. I looked at the "average" for each category so far that year and thought that gave me the financial flexibility I needed. Instead it made me crazy! Will try your method of adjusting the budget in October.

  6. Before you set budget for specific categories, you must determine its importance first, which are considered high priorities. In that way, there will be no regrets on where your money went. And this gives you the chance to keep track of your expenses and savings.