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February 2007 – Here’s How Much We Made, and Here’s Where it Went

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Last month, I changed how I report January’s Income and Expense. A few of you expressed that I should go back to the old way, because it told a lot more information in regards to the interest that we are paying and the finance charges. I agree. The way I tried in January also took me longer to do in Quicken, because it goes against how Quicken does things. So, I decided to go back to what I was doing before.

So, here is January and February. As always, my comments are below.

Income: The gross income for February was wonderful. My husband had a three paycheck month due to his last paycheck at his old job and his new paychecks at his new temporary job. I also lent a few hours to help with my husband’s temporary job (since it was switching from me to him). Blog income was the highest ever. I obtained three advertisers that paid for 6 months in advance. Normally, advertisement is paid on a monthly basis.

Auto:Fuel: We didn’t do too much driving in February. Pretty much when the weather is snowy and cold we stick around our house so we don’t use much gas.

Cigarettes: The spending for cigarettes increased. Prices went up some and I had some tobacco go to waste (I roll my own cigarettes). Gosh, I will be glad when the spending here is zero. I am still trying to get ready to quit.

Clothing: We’ve actually been trying to not buy any clothes for a while unless the deal is significant. My old boots finally gave out so I had to buy a new pair. I did manage to find a pair on clearance. One tip for those trying to make boots last (and are purchasing lower end boots). Do not get boots with zippers! The zippers often break. Try to get some that you have to tie.

Food: February was a great month for groceries. We got the spending for the three of us very close to $300 for the month. While it is probably possible to do better than that for a family of three, I am very happy at that number for us. I am working on a post that details more about our grocery spending. The dining was higher than I would like. We went out a total of 5 times. Again, for us when we are running late or something, we go for the fast food. We will still work to get this expense down.

Gifts Given: I managed to not go overboard with my husband’s birthday gift this year. He received an iTunes gift certificate.

Grooming: Grooming is zero for February. You all are probably going to think that we don’t groom ourselves. Well, we do. I just stock up like crazy when the price is right. We still are using shampoo/conditioner from years ago. We also cut our own hair and I am low maintenance gal. Plus, many free samples (like razors and shampoo) are usually available πŸ˜‰

Household: Someone last month thought that I conceal things in household. That is definitely not my intention on my monthly reports. It’s just that my household category is extensive and I track MANY things. I asked before if people wanted to see it, and no one seemed interested. Household is where I put everything related to running our home, and from this point forward I will post a report that breaks it down. To see this month’s breakdown, please click here

The biggest spending here was for office. A while ago our laptop adapter went kaput and we had to purchase a new one.

Interest Expense: This is the cost of interest for our mortgage and school loans. Not pretty. Once our credit cards are paid off we will definitely be paying off some of our student loans.

Medical: Here’s the new big expense. Our health insurance policy that we pay out-of-pocket. I do have the next bill, and it raised to $800 every two month because my husband and I are both 30 now. Yuk. The Medical:Other category is for everything else like over the counter medicines, bandaids and the like.

Taxes: This category takes into consideration all taxes paid from income, as well as sales taxes and property taxes. There’s not too much that can be done here. I could always lower my tax withholding, but I am one of those that likes to get a nice refund at the end of the year.

Utlities: No, I didn’t go crazy and get a mega cellphone plan LOL. I decided to get a yearly plan for our Tracfone instead of paying every other month for a recharge card. So, the $106 is for the entire year. Breaking it down, it is a savings of approximately $21/year.

Electric isn’t the greatest but our Gas wasn’t too bad. I can say right now that March is probably going to be the worst month for these two. I am going to be happy once the weather is warmer!

Oh, and I’ve learned to not use space heaters!

FINAL THOUGHTS
Overall, February was a very strong month for us. In the end, we had a net income of $2,217 and that would be the big reason that we were able to pay down some debt and contribute to our newer savings account.

I can’t help but think how quickly we could pay off our debt if our income stayed at around $5,000/month and we continued to keep working on keeping our spending low. I have to really give this some more thought.

As always, any comments/suggestions are appreciated.


14 Comments

  • Reply Tim |

    Are you going to put the entire $2217 towards the debt, or are you going to put $1k towards cont/emergency fund and the rest towards debt?

    what does “I am still trying to get ready to quit” mean? ;o)

    congrats.

  • Reply jim |

    You probably already know this but you can deduct your blog expenses from its earnings (like the Blog Giveaway expense)… you might be able to deduct some of the office stuff too.

  • Reply tlange |

    Quitting smoking will do several things for you

    1) You might preserve your health to get out of debt, or continue to smoke and the related health care costs could plunge you further into debt. You would be able to pay a lower health insurance premium if you were a non-smoker.

    2) It will save you money that you could put towards debt or savings.

    3) You will feel better, your sense of taste and smell will come back, etc.

    4) If you smoke indoors, your clothes, house, possessions, you will not smell like smoke. Your children will greatly appreciate this.

    You have to just quit, don’t get ready for it or wait for some health related crisis to force you to quit.

    For the record, I have never smoked in my life, but both of may parents did at one time and both quit cold turkey back in 1981. My father is still living. I lost my mother to cancer last year (colon cancer) which doctors said could have been attributed to smoking even years ago!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Tim – some of it already went towards debt for the portions of payments that went towards the principal. Until I hit my magic savings number of $2,500 – I’m only paying the minimum payments on my cards. Everything else extra goes towards the savings.

    Sonja – Car Maintenance will show up under Automobile:Service. Since I haven’t spent anything so far this year, it doesn’t show as a category. I put any repairs there, as well as oil changes.

    jim – this year will be the first year that I use an accountant for our taxes because of all of the new blog-related stuff. My quicken file is actually more detailed than what is shown here (I collapse some categories for the report) and part of that is keeping some things separate that I *think* might be deductible. Then next year I may tackle our own taxes.

    tlange – thank you for the reasons for quitting smoking. There are many reasons to quit. One thing I’d like to clarify is that I do not smoke in the house. I actually dislike second hand smoke (go figure).

    Actually, lots of changes are coming soon.

  • Reply J |

    Tricia,

    I am also a closet smoker. It is very embarrassing. I hate it when people tell me to quit. I have quit….about 14 times.

    I would never tell an overweight person NOT to eat that candy bar from the vending machine. I would never tell a person to quit drinking coffee. But yet, people feel the need to tell me to quit all the time.

    I have started running more. For a few hours after my jog, my desire to smoke is completely gone!! Per a study last week, the dopamine released by the vigorous exercise mimics the pleasure of nicotine. For me it only works with heavy aerobic exercise. I do pilates every day and it never reduces my urge to quit.

    Methods I have tried:
    Patch- makes me dizzy and sick to my stomach
    Gum- perfect for getting a fix at my desk, expensive, just as addicting as cigarettes, had to start smoking again to get off the gum
    Zyban- worked well, reduces the cravings, but as soon as I stopped taking it I started smoking again
    Cold Turkey- worked best for me, after going cold turkey the physical need is gone in a few days, the psychological needs stays forever!

    The most I have abstained from smoking is two years. As a smoker, I know all the reasons not to smoke

    You can do it!! If you decide not to, I will still like you anyway!!

  • Reply Jason |

    Cool site. Just started reading. Perhaps I’ve missed something along the way but just wondering where your mortgage or rent is in your expenses?

  • Reply JW Thornhill |

    I really appreciate it now when others post there budgets or spending plans, because it help us to see what we could do to improve ours.

    Thanks,

    JW

  • Reply Dave |

    Just curious why you wouldn’t adjust your withholdings so that you aren’t having any more taxes taken out of your paychecks than necessary. While it is nice to get a tax refund come tax time, why not get that money as you earn it. Getting a tax refund from the government is the equivalent of loaning the government money, interest free. You should get the money as you earn it and enjoy the interest from a high-yield savings account. Just a thought.

  • Reply Tricia |

    J – thanks for adding your personal perspective to quitting smoking and for giving what worked for you. I am probably going to go cold turkey with ALOT of chewing gum.

    Jason – my mortgage is in there, sort of. Under Interest Expense, that is where I list the interest portion of my payment. The payment that go towards the principal (which isn’t much at the moment since my mortgage is still quite new) is reflected on my monthly net worth. I keep track of it this way in Quicken so I can track my mortgage balance.

    Dave – I’ll write a post about the tax withholdings πŸ™‚

  • Reply J |

    Tricia,

    Congrats on the upcoming new addition. BTW, the most effective way to quit smoking for me was getting pregnant. The day I found out, smoking immediately made me sick to my stomach. With the morning sickness and everything, nicotine was the last thing on my mind. I was able to stop for two years while I was pregnant and nursing.

    The pregnancy budget blog will be very exciting!!! I am looking forward to reading it.

    ::sending you good thoughts::

  • Reply Chris |

    How do you track all your spending? Receipts?

    One thing I found effective, if you don’t already do this already is that since you keep track of monthly expenses…keep them on file every month. I now have 2 full years of monthly expenses and it lets me graph and compare the cost trends of food, utilities, etc and compare them to the previous years to see if any new trends are appearing (such as the gradual increase in our water costs over the last 2 years, leading us to strengthen our conservation efforts).

    You seem on the right track with your budgeting.

  • Reply Renee |

    Hello!
    Thanks for being brave enough to post all of your personal expenses online! It’s a great encouragement to me to see someone else in a similar situation as me that is making good progress – I am a little younger than you, but I have been getting into some debt lately and I also pay expensive health insurance out of pocket. I’m about to try prosper.com to get a low-interest loan to pay off a high-interest credit card (interest rate pretty much doubled when I was late on a payment – eek!)
    Anyway, just wanted to say cool blog, and I’m now subscribed to your feed.
    -Renee

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