Saturday, January 30, 2016

January budget wrap up

So happy that it's Saturday! I need to clean the house today, as well as get two boys to soccer games & get in some exercise. In super un-frugal news, I left M some prepared food while I traveled last week. One of which was a two-pack of flatbread from Costco that M asked for. I made a list of all possible dinner options, expecting that everything would be eaten. M didn't know that the flatbread had to be used or frozen pretty quickly. Anyway, I noticed it in the fridge when I got home yesterday & took it out to freeze & it was already moldy. So, $14.99 straight to the trash, which didn't please me in any way. ;-) Valuable lesson learned, as I could have made 4 homemade pizzas at that price!

It's the end of the first month of the year (woohoo, 2016!), so time to take stock of our first month's budget. Without further ado, here's how we did in January.

We were over our monthly budget by $850.

Yikes! That's no way to start off the year! So, what went wrong, you ask?

Areas where we were over:

  • Childcare, by $300. This is to register the boys for a camp in February (they have a week off of school). What's not reflected here is that the camp was actually $478, so I managed to keep the standard childcare costs (our nanny) quite a bit under budget ($178 less than predicted) by closely managing our schedules. The boys have a bunch of days off during the school year (another day in February, a day off in March, spring break in April, etc), so I still need to sort those costs out.
  • Entertainment, by $40. We typically spend nothing on entertainment, despite having a small monthly budget allocated for it. This month, we promised to take the kids to Star Wars, hence the overage. We should be back under by next month.
  • Groceries, by $100. The bane of my existence. I've come up with a few ways to cut this down. More to come. 
  • Alcohol, by $48. We stocked up on wine. 
  • Utilities, by $626. Wow! Not only is it our most expensive power month of the year (two houses), I also had to pay our yearly handy man fee for our vacation house. He keeps an eye on the house while we're not there. We should be back to under our budget. The utilities budget is a monthly average of our total spend, so I expect all other months in 2016 to be significantly under budget. 

We were also under budget in some areas:
  • Dining out, by $140. Woohoo! Both of the meals out were consumed when I was a) at a work dinner and b) traveling. Both times, M took the kids to a local favorite. We spent a total of $59 on dining out in January, which feels pretty great. 
  • Gas, by $127. I'll revisit our gas bill again, as it's likely too high given current fuel costs.
And, there you have it! We can definitely continue to trim things back, but I feel like we're starting to hit a frugal groove. Excited for the shortest month of the year up next. :-)

How did you do on your January spending? 


  1. It sounds like the high numbers were expected expenses (February camp, utility bill) and that those categories could be averaged out over the course of a year - annual childcare costs, annual utilities etc. It would look good "on the books" if expenses were the same every month but not possible in real life!

    1. So true! Your comment was a great reminder, because I always like every month to be evenly spread out to perfectly fit into each category. But, real life doesn't ever quite match up, does it? ;-)