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Ashley’s June Budget

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Hi all! Happy Independence Day to the U.S. readers! I hope you all have a safe, happy, and healthy long holiday weekend! I’ve scheduled this post ahead of time because I’ll be spending time with family all day today. For those of you who would like an update on our Utah trip, we decided to split the drive into 2 days on the way there and drive straight through in 1 day on the way back. We’re coming back Sunday (meaning, we won’t be home until late Sunday night). I’ll try to write a post with this trip’s expenses as soon as we return.

I promised an update on our budget for the month of June. This was my second (and last) month of trying to do the envelope system. This month I’ll be using the YNAB free 30 day trial (and it sounds like some readers will be doing it with me!). I’ll certainly update about my experiences with that along the way, but for now let’s cut to the chase of how I did with our June spending.

Overall, we didn’t do terrible. I feel like I’ve given you a ton of budgets lately (“old” and “updated” – see this post), so instead of boring you with yet another budget, let me just give you the bottom line.

Here are our budgeting “fails” for the month:

  • First: We went way over with groceries. I had budgeted $380, and spent $453. Some of this was due to expenses from hosting the toddlers’ second birthday party. But some of it was just due to unnecessary spending on ‘gourmet’ grocery expenses (like cheeeeeese), and a big Costco trip. I have raised my grocery budget back up to $400 (where it was set prior to starting blogging), and I am excited to stick to the $400-limit. I will NOT go over this month. I will NOT go over this month. I will NOT go over this month. If I say it, it must be true. Yes? (psssst: but using the YNAB system, its okay if I go over a little because I can take that money from another category).
  • Second: We failed on our “eating out” budget. I had budgeted $75 and spent $149 (nearly double!!!) The funny thing is that I really don’t even remember eating out much this month. Then I look at my spreadsheet and see a string of drink stops (Starbucks, Sonic, Wendys – who has the best strawberry lemonade in the world!) All of these stops, individually, is only in about the $4 range. But they sure did add up! There are only 2 actual dinners out….ALL the rest of the expenses are little trips here and there that added up. This was total lack of constraint on my part. I WILL do better this month!

And here are our budget “successes” for the month:

  • First: Our childcare expenses were much lower than normal this month, so we saved a couple hundred dollars there.
  • Second: I was proud of myself in that I was “under” budget in all of my “miscellaneous” categories besides eating out (to jog your memory, the other categories include:  entertainment, personal maintenance, and “other”). I’m thinking I might be able to lower the “other” budget a little but I want to wait a month and see how things go. I was barely below budget this month ($120 out of $125 budgeted), but since I’m saving for so many different things now, I’m hoping I can reduce this category of spending.

All of my other expenses were pretty much in-line with what they should be (either at- or under-budget). The only other categories with higher spending were in debt payments (where we paid nearly $2000), and my gym membership (since the first month I had to pay $240 – to account for first and last month’s payments + an initiation fee). This should decrease back down to $70. (Side note = I realized in my updated budget I had my gym line-item as $50, but that’s the base fee…I’m paying an extra $10/child for gym childcare, so the monthly cost should be $70).

Whew! Lots of words! Now onto some numbers:

June Income: $9406

June Expenses: $5706

Income – Expenses = $3700 surplus (woohoo!!!)

 

How will we spend the surplus?

$500 = snowflake payment toward Chris’ license fees

$3200 = put money in savings (to build up one month’s living expenses)

I made our license payment earlier this week and it amounted to $1569 ($1055 regular snowball payment + $500 June snowflake payment + 14 extra for the processing fee). This brought the total amount due to just under the $2500 mark (at one point this was over $10,000….though when I started blogging here in March it was just under $6,000). I’m excited to think/hope that the license will be paid in full by August AND that we will hopefully have enough set aside to start living off of last month’s income in the month of September! Fingers crossed!!!

How have you done on your budget lately? Left with “more month than money”? (< a Dave Ramsey saying) What are you doing to try to cut expenses and/or make more money?


Ashley’s May Budget Update

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Ashley’s May Budget Update

I recently gave a debt update so I won’t rehash those details here. Instead, let’s talk about how we did on our budget for the month of May.

Item Budgeted Actual
Rent $1055 $1055
Electricity $100 $79
Water bill $75 $57
Gas bill $75 $18
Sprint (2 lines) $150 $115
Cable/Internet $85 $85
Car Insurance $90 $90
Health Insurance $350 $350
Waste Management $35 $35
Debt $1500  $5453
Miscellaneous $250  $425
Groceries $380 $406
Baby Purchases $600 $500
Gasoline $100 $109
Savings for Irregular Purchases $190 $190
Total: $5035  $8967

 

So let’s talk about this stuff…..

Rent is “set.”

Our electric bill was within budget, but I already got the bill for this month and its over $100. It surprised me how much it jumped, but I think its only going to continue to rise across the summer months. I’m going to alter the budget for the summer months, increasing the amount allocated toward electricity to $150, and decreasing the amount allocated toward gas to $25 (same dollar amount, overall, but redistributing the funds away from gas and toward electric).

Water budget stays as-is.

Gas budget decreases to $25/month (see above).

Sprint budget will decrease to $115. I’m a little disappointed because I jumped through some hoops to lower this bill and was told it was lowered to $100….but then taxes and fees get added on and the final amount was actually $115. Still lower than the old bill, but not by as much as I’d hoped.

Cable/internet stays as-is.

Car insurance stays as-is.

Health insurance stays as-is.

Waste management (trash) stays as-is.

Debt. Can we get a moment of silence in appreciation of the DISGUSTING amount of money applied toward debt during the month of May? I mean….seriously. I looked at our monthly income for the past year, and the amount we paid toward debt was more than our TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME for the following months: January 2013, March – April 2013, June – July 2013, and Sept 2013 through Feb 2014. Insane.

In terms of miscellaneous and groceries, I went “over budget” in both of these areas (mostly because of my one day falling off the wagon). I’m going to give it one more month trying to stay within these budgeted amounts. If I fail again (what will be the third month in a row), then I may bump my grocery budget back up to $400. I’m really trying to stick to $380 or below!

This is the first month in a long time I went over on gasoline (but not by much). I don’t do a lot of driving so this doesn’t concern me too much, and the amount budgeted ($100) will stay the same.

In regard to savings for irregular purchases, I’m going to increase this a little. After our discussions about dental health, I think I need to start setting aside a little more money for upcoming dental visits for the husband. As a reminder, we have been saving $190/month:

  • $40 for semi-annual fees (car title/registration fees)
  • $50 for car maintenance (oil changes, saving extra for any necessary repairs and for potential new-to-us used truck fund for husband….probably won’t be needed until winter).
  • $50 for dental/vision….will increase to $125/month
  • $25 for travel and Christmas
  • $25 for 3-6 month expenses

My plan is to increase this amount from $190/mont to $265/month (an extra $75/month for dental).

 

Finally,  let’s break apart the “debt” figure to see why this is so high!

First, let me give an update on the snowflake payments I made from our April surplus (note, these funds are NOT included in the May figures because this money is from April surplus funds).

At the end of the month, we had $3197 leftover.

After talking to the husband we allocated the funds as such:

  • $1,000 toward our 3-6 month savings (I know readers have disliked this in the past, but husband is really pro-savings so this was a compromise, rather than allocating all toward debt).
  • $1560 toward Wells Fargo
  • $181 toward Mattress Firm (paid off account)
  • $460 toward back taxes. I never mentioned it, but similar to Steph, we pay estimated quarterly taxes. Key word being “estimated.” We weren’t too far off, but we did owe a little money, so we paid toward taxes out of the surplus.

Note…I realize this actually totals to $3201 (not $3197), and I never accounted for this $4 overage anywhere in our budget. Soooo, yeah. I wasn’t worried about it since its only $4. Not a big deal.

Here are our May debt payments:

  • Wells Fargo = $4140 (that’s an $800 “regular” payment + a $3340 “I cant take it anymore, must pay this off” payment).
  • Sallie Mae Federal (8.25% APR) student loan = 62
  • Carmax car loan = $470
  • Bank of America = $35
  • ACS Student loan = $25
  • License Fees = $55
  • Medical Debt = $666 (<yikes!)

A little update on the medical debt drama. I have now established payment plans for 3 separate entities at $25, $50, and $75 respectively (amounting to $150/month).

Do you remember all the drama I was having with our insurance company and the Mayo Clinic? Well finally I received a response…..the insurance agent we had spoken with (who said a flat rate of $100 would be applied toward the bill) was wrong. That’s only for out-of-network hospital stays. Ours was an out-of-network consultation. No money is granted for that. So after literally 5 months of back-and-forth, we were left empty handed. I called Mayo Clinic and asked if they would give me a reduced bill if I paid in full. They could do 10% (I pressed for more, but no luck), so I whipped out my debit card and paid off the entirety of the $516 bill. This was certainly rash and probably not in our best financial interest since this debt is interest-free and I could have applied that money toward our Bank of America credit card. But I was so exasperated and irritated with all the time and energy I’ve spent on this bill that I just couldn’t take it and I wanted it out of my life forever. Would I do it again? I don’t know….I’d probably put the money toward BoA. Did it feel good in the moment? You betcha!

So there’s that.

Future debt payments will be as follows:

  • Sallie Mae Federal Loans (8.25%) = 62
  • Carmax = 470….PenFed = 400 (after just refinancing we have a new lienholder and a lower monthly payment)
  • Bank of America =  1005 (snowballing payments: $800 from WF, $100 from Mattress Firm, $35 from BoA, and 70 from the car refinance since our payments are now lower)
  • ACS Student Loan = 25
  • License fees = 55
  • Medial Debt = 150

Total debt payments = $1697/month

And any surplus will be allocated toward BoA. My goal is to eradicate it THIS MONTH (June) so I’m hoping for some leftover funds at the end of the month to do so. You can see all my revised financial goals here.

This has turned out to be incredibly long so I’ll cut myself off here. Back this afternoon with an update on our income for the month of May.

Hope you all have a great Monday!!!

Any suggestions or advice for my current debt-reduction plans? Any areas where you see room for improvement?


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