Monday, January 2, 2012

December financial wrap up

Putting this together hurt a bit. December was a *very* spendy month. Our spendiest ever, by my calculations. . . Executive summary - we overspent, and the biggest offenders were: our plumbing bill (over $1K), our refinance of our second mortgage (planned, and slightly under my original estimation but still counts towards our "spending), which was close to $2K, and my pre-purchase of $1000 of gift cards to the gym we belong to, in order to get $200 of extra gift cards. Without these purchases, we were right at where we'd like to be for the month.

Without further ado:

First up, a summary.
  • Our regular income for December was $14,088
  • We received an $800 refund from our mortgage holder, as part of our refinance 
Total income for the month was $14,888.

Total spend for the month was $18,340. This is approximately $3,190 over our intended spend for the month, and obviously more than we made. That's never a good sign.

We spent less than planned on the following categories:

  • Gas - We budgeted $550, as our December involved lots of holiday gatherings & visits out of town. We spent $390.
  • Vacation house utilities - I expected to have to pay our yearly maintenance fee, but haven't seen the bill yet. This means that we were under for December, but I'll need to bump up the budget for January. Budgeted $650 and spent $176.
  • Primary residence utilities - We budgeted $675 and spent $660, so I was very close on my predictions for how much the power & water would be.
  • Child care - We budgeted $2000, knowing that  in addition to our standard monthly child care bill, we would also need to enroll the kids in one week of winter camp ($180/child for 4 days). My parents ended up watching the kids for us for a few days, which saved us some money. Total spend was $1645.
  • Health - I estimated that a doctor's visit (having my foot x-rayed to find out what was going on with my break) would cost $50, but it came it at $31.
  • Car - Our standard monthly budget is $50, and we spent $39.
  • Boys (misc.) - this is for the random items we buy them, admission to events, etc. December was filled with plenty of activities & Christmas gifts, so we didn't spend anything in this category. Budgeted = $50, spent $0.
  • Cleaning - we spent less than expected, as a $60 charge hasn't posted for a cleaning service we had done last week.  Budget was $395, spent $320. I'll adjust next month's budget accordingly.
  • Vacation house refinance & mortgage payment - budget was $4000 (I had to estimate closing costs) & we ended up paying $3949.

We spent as planned in the following categories:

  • Primary mortgage - we spent the $4800 as planned on this.
  • Insurance - we spent $199, as planned.
We spent more than planned in the following categories:

  • Groceries - my goal was to spend $550, and we spent $741. I forgot about an expensive sandwich tray we needed to bring to a party, dishes for several other events, etc. We would have hit our grocery budget without these expenses, so it's worth noting that for a standard month, $550 may be do-able.
  • Dining out - we spent $226, vs the $150 I had budgeted. This was pretty much blown by a few meals at the airports waiting for flights.
  • Boys lessons - not sure where I should have put this cost, but we ended up having to buy our oldest son new ski boots, so I added it here. Budget was $565 (swimming lessons for the next quarter, for two kids), and we spent $674. The good news is that I can sell his old boots, so that should help offset some of the cost.
  • Boys clothes - budget was $0, and I spent $326. Some of that was necessary (new winter coat, new shoes for both kids, etc), but much of this was me just taking advantage of "good deals", which is silly. Hence my goal of 2012 to limit clothing for the kids to $500.
  • Clothes for me - budget was $0, and I spent $579. Out of all of the spending for the month, this one is truly embarrassing. I was in the malls way too often for Christmas shopping, & shopped like it was my job. Again, see above for my 2012 goal. No excuses, just a total failure.
  • Gifts - budget was $0, and we spent $101. I know that $50 was a recurring charge for a service I bought my father for a birthday years ago, but all I know is that the other $51 was spent at Fred Meyer. Maybe a gift card for a baby shower gift?
  • Travel - budget was $0, but we ended up getting an opportunity to take a last minute (adults-only) getwaway to Las Vegas & spent $374, including parking at the airport. This was the full price of the trip, which included two night's hotel, fancy meals, & a couples massage. It was a steal of a deal!
  • Personal - budget was $250 (meant to include my occasional haircut, haircut for the boys + M, etc) & we spent $1109. This was a conscious overspend, as the gym where we take the kids for the occasional emergency day care, where I get my hair cut, etc offered a buy one $500 gift card, get $100 free. I bought two. I'm hopeful this will be enough to last all year, and plan to use one of the $100 gift cards for my birthday for a massage. :-)
  • House - the budget was $50, and we spent $1312. We had a water leak outside of our house, and the vast majority of the spending in this category was for the plumber bill. Fun times.
  • Liquor - once again, this bill surprises me. I should have known that December was going to be high - we were in charge of holiday drinks for several of the parties we attended (pomegranate martinis, because you can pre-mix!), M participated in a holiday beer tasting, and we stocked up on tax free wine when we were in Oregon last week. Budget was $40 & we spent $256.
  • Boys college - we had some extra cash & added $326 to their college accounts. Earlier in the month. Obviously I should have waited to see where the month was going to end before doing that. Hindsight & all. Budget was $0, and we spent $326.
  • Christmas - budget was $50, but we spent $181. I ended up getting $300 or so back from people two weeks ago, but it got mixed in with my Las Vegas spending money & don't know exactly how to offset this.
I've now officially tracked our spending for four months, & what an eye opener it's been! I don't know how we managed before I tracked, estimated & budgeted for the upcoming months, and make tweaks based on anticipated spending. Do you track your expenses? How do you do it? I'm boring & use Excel.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Love the word 'spendiest' We record our spending everyday but actually recording that in our lovely Excel spreadsheet is another thing. This year is going to be different for us. Good Luck with your 2012 goals.