Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Financial Wrap Up

January is coming to a close, & I'm planning to call this month - The One Where We Spent Less than Budgeted. Definitely a shocker, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time. :-)

Our budget for the month was $12,679, and we ended up spending $12,557. Of course, we spent more than expected in some categories, and far less than expected in one notable category. The way our refinance on our vacation property played out, the first payment is being withdrawn tomorrow (2/1), instead of 1/31 as expected. This meant that $2600 that was allocated for that mortgage was not spent. Given the "slush", I reallocated some funds & purchased each kid two tuition credits, and made an additional $1000 payment on our HELOC. (The HELOC will now be the focus of our additional mortgage payments, as it's currently at the highest interest rate.)

Here's our income for the month:
  • Employee stock purchase (it's taken out of my paycheck each month & then sold quarterly) - $1,993
  • Stock dividend from an investment - $490
  • Reimbursement from my dependent care account ($5K is taken out of my paycheck during the course of the year, & I get reimbursed for daycare spend - up to $5K) - $1645
  • Paychecks - $11,268
  • Total income for the month = $15,396
I am coming closer & closer on groceries each month, but have never actually hit our goal of $600. Maybe I should just raise to $650 & find another category to trim? Decisions. . .

Categories where we were over:
  • Groceries. My nemesis. Budget was $600, and we spent $651.
  • Dining out. Very ambitious goal was $100, and we spent $383.95. When creating the budget, I forgot that we were taking the kids to an overnight water park, and would be eating out for four meals in a row.
  • Boys lessons. All of our normal adventures were covered, but I didn't know that baseball sign up happened in January. Lesson learned. Budget was $0, and we spent $320.
  • Vacation house utilities. I inadvertently forgot to set up bill pay for a bill in December, so I owed double the amount (plus a small fee, so annoyed at myself) in January. This month's budget was particularly big because we pay a yearly fee to a maintenance/home watch service. Budget was $650, and actual spend was $742.57
  • Travel. Again, forgot that we were going to the water park. The deposit was paid some time ago, but this includes tax on the room, the locker rental, etc. Budget was zero and we spent $50.
  • Childcare. We ended up having to pay for extra care when schools were closed a few weeks ago, but we still had to work. Couldn't be helped. Budget was our standard $1675, and we spent $1765.
  • Health. I registered for two races. I don't have a very big line item for this category, but if I get into running, training, and races as I hope, I'm going to look at raising this permanently. Budget was $0, and I spent $146.10.
  • Makeup. Goal was to spend $0, but I brought a eye brow pencil (which I'll say is AMAZING - brand = Anastasia) & spent $14.78
  • Liquor. My goal was to spend $0, but I ended up buying beer for M a few times. He likes beer after skiing, and our house was stocked on wine, but beer-less. We spent $18.29. 
  • Charitable donations. We didn't have any money line itemed this month (we have everything auto-deducted from our paycheck), but ended up donating $100 to an auction at my son's school.
  • Clothes for M. Budget was $0, but he needed jeans. Total spend = $97.35
  • Boys birthdays. I picked up a few items, and I had budgeted for these categories in February and March. Total budget was $0, and I spent $137.54.
 Categories where we spent less than anticipated, on track, or paid down more than expected on a loan, etc.
  • Primary residence mortgage. Typical payment is $4850. We applied extra principal, and came in at $5835.
  • Boys college. We had nothing budgeted, but ended up using some of our extra funds to buy two tuition credits per child, so total spend was $652.
  • Gas. Budget was $450, and we spent $404.
  • Primary residence utilities. For some reason, not very many bills have come in yet this month. I'm sure next month will be larger as a result. Total budget was $675. Total spend was $390.
  • Boys clothes. I returned a few things I bought in January. Budget was $0, and we came in at -$45.96. Yeah!
  • Clothes for me. Same as above. Budget was $0, and we came in at -$108.76.
  • Personal. Budget was $75, and we came in at $34.
  • House. Budget was $75, and we came in at $56.67.
  • Car. Budget was $50, and we came in at $9.71. We did, however, buy a 2011 Audi SUV, but that came out of cash & wasn't part of our regular monthly budget. Love it!
  • Boys (misc). This is my catch all category, since we don't have an entertainment line item. Budget was $25, and we spent $17.25 for two movie tickets on New Year's Day - took my son to see Alvin & The Chipmunks. :-)
  • Insurance. Exactly at our budgeted amount of $199.50. :-)
  • Cleaning. Budget was $380, and we spent $300. The cleaner couldn't make it when it snowed.
  • Christmas. Budget was $0, and we spent $0. Haven't started stocking up yet.
  • Vacation residence. Budget was $2600, and as noted, we spent $0.
  • Skiing. Budget was $200, and we spent $154. We didn't get to ski last Sunday, as it was raining.

If you made it all the way through that laundry list, you deserve a prize! Focus for the month ahead is to find a few categories to trim back, as our car insurance is going up substantially with the addition of a new car. We'll be removing our third car at some point, but haven't made any final decisions on that.

How did you do with your January spending? On track? Over? Under?


  1. Hey, under is under! Good for you!

  2. How do you keep up with all of these expenses? I often wondered how people can keep track to more than one residences! KUDOS to you!!

    Great job on staying under!!

  3. Good job coming in under!

  4. Thanks, guys!
    Sharon - I have a wildly detailed Excel spreadsheet that I just copy forward every month, make tweaks based on planned expense, & go from there. I spend about 5 minutes each evening paying any bills that come in (most are automatically charged onto a credit card, and that bill is paid off at the end of the month). I also go through my bank statement (online) & my credit card statement about once a week to look for any charges that I missed, and enter them into my spreadsheet.