:::: MENU ::::

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

by

After an absence, I have decided to bring back our monthly spending reports. I am still trying to find our January – March receipts so I can post those reports. I’ve checked every known “receipt stash” in our house and they are no where to be found. I probably put them somewhere safe, but forgot where I put them.

Anyways, here’s how much we made and here’s where it went. Before you go too much further, you may want to check out a little FAQ that I did about these reports since I switched things up a bit.

First things first. It was an awesome income month for April (note – this is net income). I received a new advertiser on here and my husband sold a $900 piece of equipment. I also worked some overtime. That’s why we were able to pay off $2,300 of our credit card debt last month.

Now onto the spending…

Our automobile costs are pretty steady. During the summer I expect our gas spending go to up since we will be going out more for drives and such. Our insurance cost should go down because I plan on removing the full insurance coverage from our car sometime soon.

Cigarettes. There isn’t much I can say here except that it is higher than normal this month (which seems to be the case when I work overtime). But the spending should be zero!

Entertainment was high for April. It includes a trip to a gaming place with my son as well as the purchase of a video game and a few DVD rentals. I did splurge here.

April was a horrible month for groceries. When our fridge broke, we ended up using the freezer filled with ice and then a cooler for things that needed to be kept cold. You can only fit so much in there. We ended up making way too many trips to the grocery store. We also spent a bit with going out to eat.

There was a bit of spending in our household category. Here’s the breakdown:

I bought a little cycler for using under my desk while working. I have been having horrible knee problems from sitting most of the day and I thought it might help. My desk doesn’t have enough clearance to use it which is a bummer. I sometimes use it while watching TV.

Our office spending included a new chair for my husband’s desk. After a few Walmart cheap versions that broke, I finally talked my husband into getting a new chair (he was using a broken chair for a few months). We headed out to Office Max and bought a nice chair on clearance. Don’t buy office chairs from Walmart.

The interest paid category includes the interest for our non-credit card debt (mortgage and student loans). I don’t like that number, but there isn’t much we can do about it at this point. I’ve tried refinancing our home mortgage through our current mortgage holder but my request was denied.

Our internet bill recently went up. It was at $25/month but AT&T decided to raise it. I have to have high speed and that’s the lowest price available. The same thing goes for telephone. I have to have a certain plan for work so I have to live with the price. On a personal level, we rarely ever use the phone. I checked, and we made less than 10 local calls. Long distance is a different story since our families live far away. I’m a chatty Cathy when I get on the phone with my mom. If we ever don’t need our current plan, I will definitely check out something like Skype.

I am looking forward to summer utilities. That gas bill will go way down and so will our electric. We have also been talking about canceling cable, but I’m not sure if I can do that yet. Without cable, we do not get any channels. I would miss the local news and the major networks.

Overall, April was an awesome month. There is definitely some fat that can be cut so it’s a good thing I’m back to posting these. It forces me to take a look. For a while there, as long as we were paying extra toward debt, we were doing fine. The numbers don’t lie. We need to slash some of our spending.


22 Comments

  • Reply Rob Madrid |

    Regarding TV I’m in the same boat as you. I’m not a Trent, even though I don’t watch it much (at least when the wife is gone) but I don’t think I could live without it. In my opinion it’s a worthwhile indulgence.

    Any chance you could quit smoking? My sister did and rather suprisingly started banking the 20 bucks a week a year or two latter and she’s got 2400 in the bank. This from a lady, who like me, can’t save money if her life depended on it. Quite an accomlishment!

  • Reply Mark B. |

    Great snapshot.

    I only see 2 items that were inflated: Food and the office chair.

    Hopefully with your fridge working this month that food number will drop, and you won’t be buying another office chair. Things look good for you for May to have lower expenses.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Reply justine |

    Gosh, it’s always shocking to see the actual costs of interest in someone’s budget. Everyone who is in debt could benefit from actually calculating each month how much they pay in interest. For many, it’s probably a rather shocking number that most people live in denial about because they never see it aggregated or as a specific line item. It must be exciting to think of how much money you’ll have to spend elsewhere once you get out of debt and therefore stop paying interest! It’s great that you were able to bring extra $ into the house to work toward that goal this month.

    And now to state the obvious…I wish you the best of luck with finding the strength to quit smoking whenever you’re ready. Besides helping your finances, you’ll be so much healthier and a better role model for your son. My partner finally quit when I made it clear that I would be pissed off and unsympathetic if he ended up leaving me too soon in life due to a smoking-related disease πŸ™‚

  • Reply CP |

    I don’t understand why you were denied for a refinance? Find another broker or bank, I say this coming from a family with Loan Officers. Now if you were denied for something you didn’t qualify for, different story. Trust me, shopping around for a motgage or refi is good, don’t assume the current loan holder is going to cut you deal. You would be surprised by the better deals out there is you ask.

  • Reply SavingDiva |

    I have to admit that I was shocked by three categories–food (you explained), Gas (143) and Electric (83). Have you switched to CFLs? Or just switch a few major light bulbs to CFLs. Turn your lights off when you leave a room and make sure lights are off when you leave the house. My electric bill went from $45 (2-bedroom apartment) to $13-$15/month (1 bedroom apartment) by switching to CFLs and turning off lights. Good luck!

  • Reply Tricia |

    CP – I was pretty surprised too. Would you happen to know if there is a minimum amount to refinance with most companies?

    SavingDiva – April was a bad month for weather. Just wait till you see May’s gas bill. I was shocked. But we were very cold this year for a long time. Just now we are getting leaves on the trees.

    We have CFLs in almost every room of the house. The only exception is our spare room which we don’t use and the lights in the basement since we barely use it.

    We also plugged in our freezer when our fridge broke. I really think that thing eats the electricity. As soon as we can, we are turning it back off.

  • Reply Susan |

    Tricia: Is your cable tv, phone and internet bundled either through the cable company or telephone company? This could save you some money if they are not. These items can be deducted for business and you do need all three. Hope you will try Chandix for smoking which will destroy your health. Are you not concerned about second hand smoke? I’m sure you smoke outside, but it is a terrible influence on your family. Be sure and keep the quality of your food up–no white flour products, lots of vegetables, and eliminate processed food. In the long run better food means lower medical bills. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply Lauren |

    I love to see how other folks with debt (or anyone, period) lay out their spending…

    For most things this resembles my boyfriend’s and my spendings since cohabitating.

    Since you’re pondering it, I highly recommend ditching the cable TV. Since moving out of my parents home 3+ years ago I had to make that decision based on fincances. I was a sucker for the local weather, cooking, and comedy channels, but couldn’t afford it on my own.
    I chose instead to stick with internet; I get my local news and weather every morning via RSS feeds on my local paper’s website and look up home projects and new recipes on the cable network’s respective websites. For comedy, there’s always Podcasts via iTunes, same with favorite TV show episodes and a lot of movies. Of course, Netflix is awesome and 1/2 as much as cable.
    It’s worth a shot for a couple of months, and summer is a great time to try to live without the draw of a TV… it will really get you making use of local attractions, gardening, or working out more πŸ™‚

    Great job during April!

  • Reply Sarah |

    I am new to the whole budgeting thing…and I actually think you spend very little money. It is kind of an eye opener with regards to how much I am spending and how much I should cut back. You’re an inspiration!

  • Reply Family Man |

    Intersting stats. You actually have a pretty tight budget. I would say your progress a debt reduction is a testimanet to that!

  • Reply Connie |

    Take a hard look at your auto insurance costs vs benefit before cancelling your full coverage. Even though your car may be old, can you afford to replace it if it gets totalled? You’re probably paying about $40/mo for your comprehensive & collision. Not bad considering you’d get a few thousand back if the car is wrecked. Even if you can’t justify the collision cost, keep your comp in case you get a broken windshield.

  • Reply Renee |

    My friend gets by with no TV because he watches everything online. I don’t know about your area, but many local news websites now have online videos of their top stories. Also, network news like CBS is often available for free via iTunes after the broadcast. Just an idea!

    I personally would have a hard time without TV since I like having animal planet or HGTV on in the background while I work!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Susan – Our cable is separate. The company sometimes has internet/cable/phone specials, but the regular monthly price is more than we are paying now. That’s because they don’t include basic cable with their packages. They only provide the expanded cable. Our internet/phone is by the same company and is not a bundle. I should try to call them and see if we qualify for a deal.

    I do smoke outside. Oddly enough, I dislike second-hand smoke. Right now I can’t seem to handle stress very well. Hopefully with more fishing and fun outdoor stuff I can de-stress some.

    Connie – the amount up there ($86) is for comp. & collision per month. Our car is still worth a little more than $5K

    Renee – my husband loves to watch Lost online. It looks much better on his computer than our TV. Growing up, I never had cable. But we lived within range of a lot of local TV stations. I wish we had that ability.

  • Reply Sarah |

    Wow, is your monthly income always around $5,000? That is really high! I have to say, my husband and I do not even make half that much and we aren’t in near as much debt as you are. I wish we made that much money! We would be doing so well, and I could pay off all our student loans and the car bill! Good for you tho!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Sarah – unfortunately, it isn’t always that high. April was a great month because of some extras in there. That’s an interesting post idea, though! Maybe I’ll graph out our income.

  • Reply danielle |

    Tricia-
    It’s been debated here what you should “do” once your debt is paid off. I think that you should print ALL of this out, from the very beginning and save it in a binder with sheet protectors. It would be a great hand me down for your son and any future descendants.

  • Reply Erin |

    hey there
    just wanted to say that i enjoy reading your blog. i have it bookmarked on my computer and check for updates regularly. I have started a personal finance blog as well, im really just getting into this so it is not much yet but i would appreciate if you would have a look at my blog! thanks πŸ™‚

  • Reply Cory |

    A great resource for dealing with Credit Card Debt is American Freedom Financial they lowered my current interest rates and gave me a more affordable monthly payment – I’ll now be out of debt in a quarter of the amount of time.

    You can give them a call at 877-513-7863 to speak to a debt specialist.

    Thanks American Freedom Financial!!!!

  • Reply Mike |

    Trish,

    I’m happy for you that you can minimize the effect of gasoline prices, but I thought you should be forewarned about natural gas prices for next winter. It’ll be easy to let that slip your attention this summer when your usage will be low, but it may be a nasty shock next winter.

    Currently, near-term natural gas futures are selling for $12.079. A year ago they were $7.87. Futures for this winter are running about $12.50-13.00. Futures for the same span for this past winter were trading about $9.60 last year.

    What does this mean? Be ready for the actual gas cost (not your customer fee, but the cost per ccf you use) to increase dramatically this winter. I would budget on that bill increasing 33%-40% over this last winter, and possibly more, if futures do not retreat from these highs or the weather is worse.

  • Reply Bryan |

    Great job on your budget. Seeing this is almost enough to make me get out of my chair right now and put together a stricter budget myself. Maybe I should look at it a few more times and then I’ll get the motivation.

So, what do you think ?