Monday, May 13, 2013

2013 is 1/3 over - how is your budget looking?

The end of April marked the first third of 2013, so I thought it was time to check our progress against our 2013 budget. We made a ton of changes this year in an attempt to lower our spending and aggressively pay down our mortgages. Now that I know I have to modify my life to reduce my stress, we’re actively considering a variety of work scenarios for me, which means that we need to ensure we’re sticking to our budget and looking for additional ways to cut back.

 All up, our finances are on track from an aggregate perspective. However, many of the small category failures are “hidden”, given that we refinanced our mortgages and saved quite a bit of money on our biggest expenses. My revised budget takes this mortgage savings into account, so we need to bring all of our smaller categories back into line. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to hit our target across all budget line items in 2013, but we need to give it every effort.

Let’s start with the good news first! J

Areas where we are under our projected total for the year, with 33% of the year elapsed.

·         Primary residence utilities – way under – at 15% of the yearly budget. We’ve made quite a few cuts to our various expenses to get this in check. Reduced cell phone expenses, cut our cable substantially, worked hard to corral our water & power usage (with admittedly mixed results J).

·         Childcare – at 27% of the yearly budget. This is because my original budget didn’t take into account my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account – I have $5,000 deducted from my paycheck each year, and get reimbursed when I spend the money. Most of it is now gone (childcare is expensive!), but I used that money to offset much of our childcare spending for the first few months.

·         Health – at 21%. I don’t expect this to continue, given recent events. But, I won’t be paying for anymore race registrations, so I guess there’s that.

·         Primary residence mortgage – 9%. As I mentioned, this is due to both the refinance lowering our expenses, as well as skipping a month as part of the refinance timing.

·         House cleaning – at 26%. So happy to see that our efforts are paying off! We’ve been really disciplined about trying to lower this to every other week as often as possible. We’re going to cut this entirely in September, so we’re slowly cutting back.

·         Christmas. We’re at 0%, for obvious reasons. Haven’t started making any holiday purchases, so I’m not sure that we get any credit for this one. ;-)

·         Vacation house mortgage – at 18%. Same as our primary residence – we refinanced.

·         Skiing – 0%. We purchased our ski passes way back in October of last year, so this expense is still upcoming for next year.

·         M’s clothes – 0%. He’s spent nothing so far. J

Areas where we’re close to being on track:

·         Groceries – at 38%. I’m pretty impressed with us! I set a very aggressive goal, so while we’re not entirely there, we’ve made huge strides. J

·         Kids lessons/sports/activities – at 38%. It’s hard to budget, as the activity fees are due at random times, but I feel like this is close enough!

·         Gas – 41%. We’re over due to skiing, and the summer will bring lots of driving to the beach, but we’re consciously trying to cut back. Still work to do here, though.

·         Vacation house utilities – 42%. Not surprised that it’s a little high –we paid our yearly fee for someone to watch our house in January. I expect us to actually finish under budget when the end of the year rolls around. We cut cable & internet, so this should end up being pretty low.

·         Gifts – 49%. Almost all of our primary gift giving events are now over (or, will be by the end of May), but this still needs further trimming. My grandmother’s 80th birthday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, my birthday. . . We have Father’s Day & my husband’s birthday coming up, as well as smaller gift giving events (kids parties, etc).

·         Boys (misc) – at 44%. This is all of our spending on the kids that’s not covered under another line item. So, if we take them to the movies, or bowling, or buy them a book, it’s all in here. Super impressed that we’re even close, because we’ve previously really struggled to keep this in check. We’re clearly getting better. J

·         Liquor – at 45%. Well, I can’t drink much (or at all) with my new medicine, so even the occasional glass of wine doesn’t look like it’s going to happen too often. We also committed to drinking everything we had on hand before we bought new wine, so we’ve been doing well.

·         Insurance – 33%. We’re exactly on track, I guess. No surprise there. I still think we pay a ridiculous sum for this, hoping we can secure a better rate.

Areas where we’re WAY OFF:

·         Dining out – 71%. Not terribly surprised, even though it feels like we’re being relatively disciplined. This is still a huge cut over previous years, but I know we’re slowly trickling money. We’ve cut back on meals out as a family to the very rare treat, but I do take the boys for frozen yogurt, and buy them snacks when we’re out more often than I’d like. Our budget is $100/month, which goes very quickly.

·         Kids clothes – 125%. L Oh my. The shoes! The shoes kill us! Our budget was $275 for the year, and their karate uniforms were $80 alone. The rest was spent on shoes, and replacing ripped jeans. We go through *a lot* of jeans.

·         My clothes – 76%. This is actually not correct, but I pulled the numbers through end of April, & just returned a few things in May that aren’t reflected. Wish I hadn’t pulled the trigger on new running shoes, but c’est la vie. So far for the year, I’ve purchase: a pair of running shoes, a new bathing suit, and a dress. All purchases were planned, & I don’t really see the need for anything else, so I think I’m in good shape.

·         Travel – we had nothing allocated, & we’ve spent around $1,000. All of this is covered, as I’ve made more than this by selling things on eBay.

·         Personal – 56%. Well, I think *I’ve* stayed on track relatively well (personal covers haircuts for everyone in the family, plus the occasional pedicure for me), but the boys sure get a lot of hair cuts. J

·         House – 323%!!!! Our budget was $1150, and we spent over $2500 on our new door. It was an absolutely must have (the wood was rotting, and leaking into the house), but it destroyed our budget. Perhaps we need a second fund, as this budget item was meant to cover things like household supplies, etc, not really repairs.

·         Dry cleaning – 110%. Well, not really, but I forgot to create a line item for this one, so we’ve spent $110 so far. My husband wears a lot of suits, so this isn’t an optional expense.

·         Car – 109%. We had to pay for new brakes & a big service appointment. All in one month. The rest of the expenses have been within budget. We’ll see if we need to raise this next year.

·         Boys college – 70%. The majority of our spending on this comes at their birthdays (February & March), as that is when we add the most money to their accounts as gifts. This is a flexible amount. If we have extra money, we put it towards this. If we don’t, we skip it.

·         Boys birthdays – 118%. We estimated $275 and spent about $325. Considering that our plan had to change day of for Sam’s birthday (skiing –we got rained out), I’m pleased that we kept so close to our original budget.

·         Taxes – 244%. Yeah, ick. We’ve both updated our withholdings, although now that we’ve done that, my employment situation may make that a (mostly) moot point. ;-)

Biggest areas that I’m focusing on, as I think have the most potential to end the year on track, or I still feel like we have the most work to do: gifts, dining out, groceries, boys, personal, and house.

 What about you? How are you doing on your 2013 budget, with just over 1/3 of the year elapsed?


  1. Eep, 1/3 of the year is gone? I guess we're close enough to June to be halfway there. What a scary thought. I really need to review my goals and how I stand. I think I'm doing ok, but need to do better. At least it seems you're meeting 2/3 of your goals!

    1. I know - it's FLYING by! If I don't review my goals, I forget about them. ;-)

  2. Not bad really.. you have a lot of year left!! :) I'm happy with how we're doing, we have more in savings than we ever have. Hoping so it keeps on going well with us! Good luck, keep on keepin' on!

    1. Awesome work on your savings, Carla! We've actually tremendously cut our expenses, but that's probably more of a statement of how much we were spending before, rather than our current diligence. ;-) Always more to cut.

  3. I think you are doing great! Yes, there are a few areas that you went over on, but it probably evened out with the lower amounts in the other categories. I'm hoping to replace our front door for under $2,500, but after the first two estimates we received, we may just fix the wood and replace the storm door and call it a day! Everything is so expensive!!

    1. I know - house repairs are just nuts. I almost died when we got the quote on the door, and that was in a very small town. Had we done the repair at our main house, it would have been a ton more!

  4. I think you achieved quite a bit!! I chuckled reading quite a few of your "over" things (like hair cuts, kids' shoes or car expenses) because we are totally in the same boat :)

    1. I know! I could cut the boys hair myself, but I'm not sure that would be such a good idea. And the shoes? Well, we only buy one pair at a time (meaning, they just have the one pair + sandals for swimming/etc) & that means they wear out faster.