Friday, February 1, 2013

January Financial Round Up

I promised (myself) that I would start doing monthly wrap ups, so here's what we made/spent/etc.

  • Earned: Just a smidge over $12,000 (not including snowflakes, which aren't calculated for our monthly budget purposes.)*
  • Spent: $15,532
*This is our net pay. A few things are taken out of our checks & aren't noted below - health fees, insurance, gym membership, & charitable contributions (in addition to all of the standard tax stuff).
It's never good to have a month where you spent more than you earned, but at least for this month, the money went towards our refinances. All of the refinance money is going toward: escrow (taxes & insurance), as well as the interest on the payments, principal, etc. So, it's not lost & didn't go into fees, etc. It's just that until all of the money settles, I can't track it exactly & have just bucketed it under "refinance costs". Unfortunately, our closing was also delayed by a week, which means I also have to pay another mortgage payment that will end up getting reimbursed back to me. That will come on out of February's budget. Ouch.

Here's where we were on budget (actual spent/budget):
  • Dining out - $65.67/75 - Yes, in fact, the lowest we've spent on dining out since I was in college, probably. Woot!!!!!!!!!!
  • Boys lessons - $0/150 - covered the lesson cost out of a gift card promotion I received.
  • Gas - $259.73/$275 - our fuel efficient diesel continues to save us money.
  • Clothes for me - $0/0. Yeah, baby. :-)
  • Travel - $0/0.
  • Liquor - $0/0. Drinking the wine I found leftover at our vacation house. A girl can't really go without wine. ;-)
  • Primary mortgage - $700/4850. This is due to the refinance. We didn't actually skip a payment. The majority of this money was part of the refi, & will eventually lower our mortgage balance once the dust settles.
  • Insurance - $316.67/317.
  • Christmas - $0/-$3.88 - returned an item.
  • Vacation mortgage - $2600/$2600.
  • Skiing - $0/20
  • M's clothes - $0/0
And, here's where we were over:
  • Groceries - $511.53/$500. Still, thrilled with this number. A substantial reduction over our annual spend in 2012 - $733.
  • Vacation house utilities - $666.95/200. I forgot to include your yearly fee that we pay a local service to watch our house & fix minor repairs.
  • Primary residence utilities - $748.17/400. A good reminder to account for higher power bills in the winter months. Also, as part of the change to a new team, my cell phone bill is no longer fully covered by my employer.
  • Boys clothes - $80/0. The unexpected karate unifroms for their lessons.
  • Gifts - $10.93/0. I picked up a gift for my mom, but will be reimbursed.
  • Child care - $2070/1200. I bought gift cards during a holiday promotion that I'll use for summer camps. As a bonus, I got promotional gift cards that I used to offset the boys karate lessons.
  • Personal - $131/50. All four of us got hair cuts (I get 1-2 a year, but wanted it before my video shoot), & I got a pedicure, which was unecessary.
  • Health - $60/84.77. Registered for a race & had to pay $10 for parking at another race, because I was late. Groans for wasted money.
  • House - $221.69/100. M's cousin (who is an electrician) unexpectedly came to visit, & we took the opportunity to have him help wth some repairs.
  • Dry cleaning - $0/64.08. This is a category that I completely overlooked in our 2013 budget planning. These are for M's suits for work.
  • Car - $268.88/100. Our car tabs were due. Again, poor 2013 budget planning on my part.
  • Boys (misc) - $27.38/0. S needed ski poles, as he's moved to advanced runs.
  • Boys college - $144/$344. I mistakenly thought my mom had given me money for the boys college accounts for Christmas, & would use her $200 to offset the rest of the cost of the tuition credit.They are each $172.
  • Cleaning - $200/550. This remains a very heated subject at our house. I've gotten M's agreement to try & cut back one cleaning/month. I'll have to be creative about how we schedule it. The other $75 was for a cleaning at our vacation house, after we'd visited a few times.
  • Boys birthdays - $0/26.68. I purchased some party supplies early. This was budgeted, but not for January.
  • Refinance - $0/5787.97

Phew! Hopefully February (as a short month!) will be filled with lots of opportunities to come in under budget, and will allow me to recalculate all of our "house" expenses, now that the refinance projects are complete. Yeah!

How did you do in January?


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  2. Hopefully the upfront pain of refinancing your properties will save you a lot of money over time (I may have missed it but how much do you think?). Well done on eating out less (in my opinion the number one money sucker in anyone's budget) and still coming in within $11 of your grocery budget - you did great! I agree, one still much have some budget room for wine - found wine is even better.

    1. Thanks! And yes, can't give up the wine! :-)

    2. Forgot to answer your refi question. We should be repaying the 401K loan by the end of September. We're saving only a couple of hundred dollars/month until that's paid off. Once that's paid back, we'll save over $1,000/month. By taking the loan, we're able to buy down our primary residence under the jubmo loan category for the lifetime of the loan, which has huge, huge savings.

      Given how quickly we can pay back the 401K loan (under 9 months), the numbers work out well.

  3. You're kicking that grocery budget! I bet you'll be so glad when the refinance is all sorted!

    Good luck in February - I'm glad it's a short month :)

  4. The grocery numbers are quite a feat, especially with growing food prices... so congrats! I did ok in January, but anything estellar. Looking forward to a tougher Feb, but I can always hope it will look better!

    1. Thanks - food prices continue to kill us, & I'm constantly looking for areas to cut back. We'll see. Luckily, February is 3 days shorter! :-)

  5. Since your DH is so picky on the fresh produce and all, I'm curious on lowering the food spending....did you see a decrease in quality of what you bought/ate or did DH "suffer" a bit in going without his usual level? Or was the lower spending more about less waste, or eating down what was on hand, or tightening up on other types of food?
    You know me and food spending--a bit

    And don't even blink about the refi/mortgage deal, since that's highly irregular to be an issue on anyone's monthly budget. I'd only worry at your income level if a significant chunk of the overspending in Jan. was on usual bills.
    Time to rework the budget holes for Feb....You did well!

    1. Good questions! Well, M was traveling for part of the month, which helps on two fronts. He's one of the main consumer of produce, so I was able to stretch out purchasing of a few expensive items. Also, he wasn't around to shop multiple times/week. ;-)

      I have also made the following other changes, which I'm sure help (although, very slightly, given the porportional amount they were contributing to our grocery bills):
      -Stopped buying English muffins for the adult breakfasts (we typicall have this 5ish times/week with eggs & fruit). Replaced with homemade English muffin bread. Yes, I make M eat it even though it doesn't rise & it's very "dense" :-)
      -Stopped buying sandwich bread for the kids lunches/sandwiches. Replaced with homemade bread. Finally mastered that recipe.
      -Stopped buying premade pizza crust. Replaced with homemade.

      I'm also keeping a close eye on food waste, prepping food in large batches, & making extra snacks (muffins, granola, etc) for the kids to have on hand. My oldest especially is hungry ALL the time, so I need food to fill in the gaps for him.

  6. You did awesome with your grocery budget! I think when we set a goal and come in that close, we should be happy with ourselves!! :) It's funny seeing the income differences between bloggers though, it would take us close to 4 months to bring in that amount, and yet we all budget the same, try to save, etc... I really find it great that so many of us are so supportive of each other really have support and advice to offer no matter what position we're in! :)

    1. I love that about blogging. I get amazing tips & inspiration for people at all income levels & it's just so fantastic to share the journey with other people who care about where their money is going.

  7. I rarely dine out as a part of my money saving ways - been like that since I started cooking. On that tip, though I do tend to go overboard with groceries at times, but I'm working on that. At the end though, I just keep my mind on mine and my husbands retirement income strategies so that I realize if I actually want to keep this going for the rest of my life, I need to cut back on the baking supplies and just stick to the produce aisle.