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Posts tagged with: Monthly Spending

Hope’s Weekly Budget – Week of October 1


This is my budget for next week. While most are common, monthly line items, there are some unique items this week. See an explanation below.

Rent 29-Sep-17 -650
Electricity 1-Oct-17 -125
Groceries 1-Oct-17 -400
Summer Camp 1-Oct-17 -500
Auto-Gas 4-Oct-17 -35
Water/Sewer 4-Oct-17 -75
Amazon 5-Oct-17 -400
W2 Income 6-Oct-17 1732
Allowance 6-Oct-17 -80
Debt Pymt 6-Oct-17 -100
Savings 6-Oct-17 -150
Universal 7-Oct-17 -56
Gymnastics 7-Oct-17 -240
Clothing Allow 7-Oct-17 -900

Groceries – This is my monthly grocery budget, not just the week. If you have been following me long, you know it is typically $600 per month. I am 1) trying to cut back some and 2) have re-allocated some of this money to more “free” spending to allow for when we are out of town at gymnastics and grab a quick bite.
Summer Camp – Summer camp for next year for both Princess and Gymnast. I am paying monthly now to 1) lock in last year’s rates and 2) not have it come up on me at the end of the year. This is a monthly payment until the total is paid off. It will cover 6 weeks of camp.
Amazon – This is my Amazon account and is a guesstimate of the balance based on the previous month’s purchases. I use Amazon home delivery for most of our toiletry needs and a variety of other expenses. Most months this is around $100, I’ll explain why it’s more in another post.
Universal – I am taking the kids to Universal over Thanksgiving. I have been saving this amount every month towards our November trip (just to cover the cost of the park tickets.)
Gymnastics – This is the monthly charge for Gymnast training, 4 days per week.
Clothing Allowance – This is a twice yearly budget item where I provide the kids with a specific amount of money for them to purchase clothes for the coming season. The monies are not necessarily split equally, I divide it based on needs and wants. The kids have spent the month of September creating lists of needs and wants for the coming cooler season. This is our version of the “wait 30 days” before spending.

I think doing this every Friday will help keep me more accountable, and give you all a better way of guiding me in my day to day spending habits.

What do you think so far?

Ashley’s April 2015 Budget Update


Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend, wherever you are! We spent our Saturday morning at the splash pad and Sunday morning at church. A fun and relaxing little weekend (wishing it weren’t already nearly 100* in Tucson)!

Now that we’re officially in May, here’s an update on how we did with our budget in April.

Place Amount Spent
Rent 1055
Electricity 101
Water 53
Natural gas 22
Sprint (2 lines) 115
Cable/Internet 99
Car Insurance 58
Health Insurance 394
Trash 35
Preschool 1035
Gift-Giving 37
Restaurants 125
Entertainment 16
Groceries 416
Gasoline 75
Household Goods 93
Clothing 20
Parking 8
Toddler purchases 40
Rainy Day Savings 100
Savings Goals 500
Debt Payments 1796
Total  $6193


Some notes:

  • Gift-Giving included a going away gift basket (post coming soon), the purchase of some mother’s day cards, and another baby present (I’ll be sending a baby present this month too…I think this makes 3 months in a row. I’m definitely at “that” stage in life, lol).
  • Restaurants was a little over my typical $100 budget due to all the get-togethers this month (one for a dissertation defense and two for going-away celebrations).
  • Entertainment included a couple songs on itunes and some supplies we bought for when we went camping (I consider camping to be entertainment, and therefore, it was included in this category).
  • Household goods was a little high this month. I finally got some gardening supplies (soil, a new pot, some herbs), and I got Costco-sized packages of toilet paper and laundry soap.
  • Clothing included purchase of two $10 pair of water shoes for the girls. Their preschool class goes to the splash park twice a week and water shoes are required. I got the shoes (which were some of the cheapest I found, but still of good quality) online from Target. I use a Target card because I get 5% off and free shipping to my house! (I pay the card in full whenever used)
  • Toddler Purchase is a C0stco sized box of diapers.
  • Rainy Day Savings represents $50 each, toward my health fund (including dental/vision/health) and my annual fees fund. I use Capital One 360 to easily separate my money for these different savings goals (<<refer a friend link).
  • Savings Goals represents $400 toward Cruise 2016 and $100 toward a Roth IRA.
  • Debts. This figure is broken down here (and in my most recent debt update post):
    • $100 PenFed car payment
    • $453 student loan payments (that’s ACS and Navient payments)
    • $1119 for our very last license fee(!!!)
    • $124 toward medical debt

So there you have it. I’ve got to run. Hope your week is off to a great start!

March Budget Update


We had a lot less income to work with in the month of March than in our typical months. Because of this, I had to get a bit creative. Some things (like some savings) were eliminated; other things (like debt payments) were reduced.

There’s always room for improvement and this month is no exception. But at the end of the month we had a balanced budget (meaning, we didn’t spend more than we made – using YNAB has really helped me in that regard), so I’ve got to be happy with the end result. April will have a bit more wiggle room, so I’m excited about the new month.

Here’s how March shaped up:

Place Amount Spent
Rent 1055
Electricity 116
Water 69
Natural gas 26
Sprint (2 lines) 114
Cable/Internet 99
Car Insurance 58
Health Insurance 394
Trash 35
Preschool 1030
Gift-Giving 40
Personal Maintenance 62
Restaurants 108
Entertainment 10
Groceries 388
Gasoline 38
Household Goods 7
Toddler purchases 53
Postage 10
Work Stuff 62
Rainy Day Savings 0
Savings Goals 300
Debt Payments 603
Total $4677

 Most of these items are in-line with expectations. But I do have a couple comments…

  • Preschool ($1030 spent): This month was a normal charge, but I referred a friend to our preschool facility, so I’m excited that next month I should have a referral credit. I’m not sure how much of a discount I get, but any amount saved will be great!
  • Gift Giving ($40 spent): This was a $20 gift for two separate people (both baby presents).
  • Personal Maintenance ($62 spent): This was $35 for a hair cut and eyebrow wax, $12 for attending a yoga class, and $15 for new eye cream and face lotion (I got cheap grocery store stuff…not sure if more expensive stuff works better? I’d love to hear others’ opinions on quality versus budget eye cream and face lotion – that stuff is $$$!)
  • Gasoline ($38 spent): Gas was so cheap this month because my husband ended up filling up the car for me while I was on my not-an-interview trip. I generally only have to fill up twice per month, but this month I only filled up once!
  • Work Stuff ($62 spent): I made a new category called “work stuff” for expenses that are related to work and can be 100% tax deductible. This month these expenses stem from my not-an-interview trip, including food the night I got into town, gasoline in the rental car, and parking costs. I’ve saved all the receipts for everything, but having work expenses as their own category in my budget will make things easier for tracking and tax purposes, too.
  • Rainy Day Savings ($0 spent): With the tighter month, I didn’t put any money aside for any of our rainy day funds (which include: 3-6 month expenses, car repairs, toddler birthday, travel/Christmas, dental/vision, annual expenses, and vet expenses). This is not ideal since many of these categories are non-negotiable anticipated expenses (like my annual expenses for car registration), but skipping one month won’t kill us either.
  • Savings Goals ($300 spent): I put $100 toward my Roth IRA fund (and then I promptly withdrew all the money I’d saved to actually open a Roth), and $200 toward my Cruise 2016 fund.
  • Debt Payments ($603 spent): Discussed more in my latest debt post. This figure represents $50 toward my car payment, $453 toward student loans, $75 toward license fees, and $25 toward medical debt. One side-note about medical debt (and the reason for the discrepancy between this figure and the one I reported in my debt update)…I was supposed to also have a $50 medical bill to pay, but I never received the bill this month. When I called the office to inquire about it, it turns out they’d processed my last payment late, so it looked like I’d skipped a February payment and already paid the March payment. It was a clerical error on their end so nothing negative was reported to my credit and no late fines or fees were assessed, but it means that my next bill is not due until April (also…my April bill will be my LAST bill for the $50/month payment! Eeeeek!!!!)

Overall thoughts on March budget

Honestly, March was tough on me psychologically. I feel like I’ve just been making tiny little baby steps lately, where I’m used to the “rush’ that I felt when I first started the debt repayment process and was making huge strides monthly. I still stand by my previous statements that I think having a lean month from time-to-time can be good for us, force us to examine how every single penny is being spent and use the opportunity to try to reflect on true necessities versus extras.

That being said….I’m ready to have some more income to toss at debt. I’m not going to lie. It hurt to only put $603 toward debt when I’m used to paying between $1500-$2500/month!! Six hundred dollars doesn’t even move the needle of what I owe – its like just treading water because it only covers interest without any extra! It made the month feel long as it draaaaagged on with its relentless 31 days (and coming on the heels of a 28-day month!)

And I wish I could say that April was going to be an awesome month, but it won’t be (we live on last month’s income, so the money we have to spend in April is from income earned in March). It will be better than last month, as we have almost an extra $1500 in the budget, but it’s not as high as I’d like (for comparison’s sake, our income this March is down nearly $2,500 compared to March of last year). Oh the joys of small business ownership. The good news is that the business has, overall, been flourishing and even when there are leaner months, we can be sure that fatter months are ahead. (Fingers crossed!)

How did you do with your budget last month? Do you have any areas you’re working on improving?

September Budget Update


This month we had $6317 to work with for income. Little heads up….we went over our budget. The excess was taken from our extra savings. Here’s how we stacked up in each category:

Place Planned Budget Actual Spent
Rent 1055 1055
Electricity 260 245
Water 65 61
Natural gas 20 14
Sprint (2 lines) 115 114
Cable/Internet 100 100
Car Insurance 104 103
Health Insurance 350 350
Trash 35 35
Debt 2009 1779
Miscellaneous 300 366
Groceries 400 483
Baby Purchases 1200 1077
Gasoline 100 111
Saving for Irregular Expenses 445 445
Total Budgeted 6558 6338


So our actual spent ($6338) minus our income for the month ($6317) means we spent over budget by $21. Not too terrible, but there were some categories of spending I’d like to zero in on and give some additional details….

First, you’ll notice that less was spent in debt payments than was initially planned. I hate to put less toward debt, but here’s what happened….

Do you remember when I moved my student loans to be Income Based Repayment (IBR)? Welllllll, there was some confusion with this. I realize how irresponsible and airheaded it sounds for me to admit that I didn’t realize what was happening with these payments, but….yeah. That’s kind of what happened. Apparently, there was a “hiccup” with my ACS student loan IBR payment. And by “hiccup”, I mean I was actually paying the full payment rather than the lower income-based payment. I don’t know how this happened. And, actually, it would have just continued like that forever if I hadn’t made a call to the company about something totally unrelated and discovered completely coincidentally that my payment was not, in fact, in IBR status. So that changed in a hurry. This lowered my monthly ACS payment from $247/month down to $77/month. Remember – while in IBR status, any unpaid interest is forgiven for subsidized loans, so I consider this a good deal since this extra money could (theoretically) go toward other debts.

Of course, this month we did not have any extra money to go toward additional debt. Womp, womp!!!! I also paid less toward our car loan than I had originally hoped (I made a $1,000 payment this month – still more than the minimum, but not as much as I’d hoped).

I was over on our grocery budget, but I’m hoping the new modified money envelope system I’ll be using this month will help with that.

I was also over in miscellaneous. Miscellaneous is broken down into four sub-categories:

  • Entertainment: budgeted = $20, actual spent = $8
  • Eating out: budgeted = $100, actual spent = $136
  • Personal maintenance: budgeted = $30, actual spent = $15
  • Other: budgeted = $150, actual spent = $207

Total budgeted = $300, actual spent = $366

Again, the modified food envelope should help curb my eating out spending. The “other” category spending was, in my opinion, pretty unavoidable. $94 was spent on my annual life insurance premium (side note: I mentioned in this post that I increased my semi-annual savings to account for this expense for future years’ annual payments). If it weren’t for this expense we would have been well under-budget in this category so I’m not concerned with the other much smaller purchases made from this category.

So there you have it. We did still go over our income, but it wasn’t too bad considering the original planned budget placed us at $200 over our income, so ending at $21 over income isn’t terrible.

This month also turned out to be pretty lackluster in terms of our income (though not as terrible as it could have been). My family was in town all weekend so I didn’t get a chance to write a planned budget post, but I’ll try to get one up either later today or on Tuesday depending on how work stuff goes.

July & August Budgets


Considering the large expenses we had in the month of July, we still managed to do pretty well in most areas of our budget (the primary overage was in “miscellaneous” for the expenses associated with a root canal and car maintenance).

Here is July’s Budget and Actual Spending:

Place Funds Budgeted  July Actual Spending
Rent 1055  1055
Electricity 150  261
Water 75  63
Natural gas 25  15
Sprint (2 lines) 115  115
Cable/Internet 85  92
Car Insurance 90  90
Health Insurance 350  350
Trash 35  35
Gym 70  70
Debt 1697  1939
Miscellaneous 250  2076
Groceries 400  370
Baby Purchases 1000  937
Gasoline 100  90
Saving for Irregular Expenses 390  440
Total  5887 7998 

There are three areas where we went excessively over budget:

  1. Electricity. It’s incredibly hot, so there’s not a lot I can say here. Our bill this month was actually a little lower because we’ve been having monsoons so the temperature has dropped a little (think…high 90s and low 100s instead of 110s+). We’re trying to be mindful of electricity but there’s not a lot we can do to cut much more in this area. I may need to simply increase our summer budget a bit.
  2. Debt Payments. This is actually a good area to spend more in because it means we’re paying more toward our debt! You can see more about our debt in my August debt update post here.
  3. Miscellaneous. Only $250/month is budgeted for “miscellaneous” and it is actually divided into four categories. $20 toward entertainment (we only spent $2), $75 toward eating out (we spent $144, but the overage was actually mostly due to our trip to Utah at the beginning of the month; offset a little because we came in under-budget with groceries since we weren’t here for a week and, therefore, saved on grocery shopping). $30 toward personal maintenance (I spent $0), and $125 toward “other” (we spent $1930). We would have been way under-budget in this category if it weren’t for the root canal and car maintenance. As pricey as these were, they could have been worse. $1600 was from the root canal (which I originally thought would be closer to $2000), and the car maintenance was $500, but I used $250 from my “car maintenance” savings (in my Capital One 360 account), so only $250 came from July’s income. If you’re keeping up with the math, that means only $80 was otherwise spent in this category so had these expenses not occurred, we would have done pretty well this month.

One other area I want to draw attention to is the Savings for Irregular Expenses category. Our monthly savings include:

Savings Place  Amount
Semi-Annual Expenses  45
Car maintenance, repairs, and savings for new vehicle 100
Dental & Vision  125
Travel to visit family  25
3-6 Month Emergency Savings  25
Dog/Vet Care  10
Girls’ Birthday  10
2014 Roth IRA  100
Total: 440

I added to the car maintenance/repair/savings category (increased it from $50 to $100). That’s why the total is now at $440, rather than $390. I’ve had a few comments suggesting we could just save a single flat amount that could be used for any emergency expenses that come up. Rather than “grouping” I tend to prefer the “splitting” method. Of course, if there were an emergency car situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to dip into the girls’ birthday funds (as an example), rather than taking out any new loans. But I like having the money saved separately. Just a personal preference.

Now onto income….

In the month of July we earned $10,420 (after taxes).

Income – Expenses = $10,420-$7998 = $2422 surplus funds.

I took this money, plus the money I had set aside from the month of June ($3200), which gave me a total of $5622. To this, I added $2700 from my checking account buffer (I reduced the buffer since living on last month’s income is, in itself, a buffer).

This provided us with a total of $8322 for the month of August. We are now officially living on last month’s income! Wahoo!!!

So I have budgeted our full month of August. There are still some unknowns (utility bills that haven’t come in yet, precise childcare costs for the month, etc.), but I tried to err on the side of caution. If we have extra money at the end of the month we will put it toward more debt payments.

Here’s August’s Budget:

Place General Budget  August Budget
Rent 1055  1055
Electricity 150  251
Water 75  65
Natural gas 25  17
Sprint (2 lines) 115 115
Cable/Internet 95  100
Car Insurance 104 104
Health Insurance 350 350 
Trash 35  35
Gym 70  0
Debt 1697 2609
Miscellaneous 250  300
Groceries 400  400
Baby Purchases 1100  2000
Gasoline 100  100
Saving for Irregular Expenses 440  440
Total Budgeted 5991  8136

Any of the bolded numbers are numbers that are exact (for bills already received). I tried to over-estimate on everything else. I’m hoping that childcare will actually be considerably lower than $2,000, but we still owe for two weeks of care from the old place (= $500) and we’re starting at the new place, plus having to pay initiation fees, etc. So although it will still be quite pricey, I’m hoping it will be closer to $1500ish but (again) I wanted to be cautious.

Random aside, our car insurance is going up (boo!!). We haven’t had any tickets or anything so I called to find out why its risen so much (from $90 up to $104!!) and the rep said that all Arizona rates had gone up. What the crap? Seems like everyone is raising their rates these days! (grumble, grumble)

The debt payments are for all minimums with the exception of the car payment (which is over $1500, when the minimum payment is only $411). Exciting stuff! Also note that I’ve removed budgeted funds from the gym line item. When I joined I had paid for first and last month up front so I’m anticipating that this month will be covered from my initial payment when I joined. I’ll still have access for one more month, just no payment associated with it.

So this has taken awhile and I’ve got to get some work done so I need to run!

Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! Thanks for all the helpful comments over the past week!




I have updated my debt balances and now I provide a rundown of my basic monthly expenses.  I’m sure there will be places I can still cut but I have to say that looking at where I came from just 9 months ago, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve cut out on the homefront. 

 Today’s post will tell you what I pay to keep my household running and meet consistent monthly obligations.  This does not include groceries or the incidental spending money I carry (which I have reduced as well). 

I currently bring home $3282 per paycheck, every other Friday.  Please bear in mind this will reduce after January 1 because of new withholdings for insurance and taxes and such.

Rent:  $1795

Utilities: $150 (budgeted amount but it is running around $80-$100 right now, peaks near $300 in the summer.  I have been rolling over the extra.)

Water:  $50

Cell:  $70

Internet:  $32

Life Insurance:  $32 ($500,000 policy)

Insurance (Renters and Auto):  $75

After School Care:  $195

Piano Lessons:  $90

Gym: $25

TOTAL:  $2,514.00

I will explain my automobile situation when my divorce is final. 

My minimum credit card payments on the three outstanding debts totals $1070.  I paid an additional $1,100 this month.  I had way too much debit card bleed in the month of November (like $500 worth of bleed  🙁 )  It all comes from not planning, not being prepared and then just plain ol’ frivilous spending.  I hope to do better in December. That’s going to be a challenge and not b/c I go crazy buying gifts but b/c things get SO busy with the kids, family AND at work (everyone wants settlement $ for the holidays) that I do not have time to plan well.  That is the KEY and in these final days of November, as I’ve dissected my spending, I have to focus on planning for December!

So, taking the $2,514 and adding the $1,070 in minimum payments we have a total of $3,584.  I have about $2,000 in my checking account right now and tomorrow is payday.  I am currently hesitant to sink that into debt b/c of the divorce situation.  That checking account money is separate from my emergency fund.  I just moved it to an account that I do not have a debit card for b/c I am NOT doing well on the debit card front!!!

Now, talk amongst yourselves.  😉

May’s Spending Report


Without further ado, here’s how things panned out for May (please see this post for a FAQ).

Income for May was awesome. Our economic stimulus payment is in there and it gave us a welcome boost in income. Unfortunately, we didn’t use it like the government wanted us to use it. It went towards our debt 🙂

For clothing in May, I went on a little shopping spree. I hit Walmart (by myself) and bought some new T-shirts for summer. I don’t have many T-shirts and the ones I did have were pretty old. It was time to retire them. I scoured the clearance racks and found five shirts at $3/each. I also picked up a new pair of shoes for our son for less than $10 on clearance.

Entertainment was high in May. We splurged again and purchased another video game. We are done with purchasing new video games for quite a while.

Food is way too high! Gosh it all adds up. We did have to replenish some things once our fridge was back up and running. But the spending is still too high here. Now that we have to purchase healthier foods, it will be interesting to see how our spending is affected. The more I think about it, buying healthier foods may not be as expensive as I once thought. It all depends on how you do it. More on that later, as I figure it out 😉

Household spending for May was quite a bit less than April’s spending. Here’s how it breaks down:

We spent some money to get our garden ready for the summer. It’s time to start planting and I’m debating on whether we should get some plants that are already started or plant directly from seed. It’s tough where we live because we do have a short growing season. My dream is to have an indoor greenhouse in our future house.

Recreation included our spending for fishing this year. I don’t anticipate any more spending for fishing this season unless we keep losing bobbers at record speed. During our last fishing trip, we lost three of them. Thank goodness bobbers are fairly inexpensive (around $2 for a package of them).

May’s gas bill almost made me faint. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit. But it did surprise me. I knew we had a cold spring, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Thank goodness the weather has warmed up for June.

Overall, May wasn’t too bad. Like April, there is room for improvement. We have been somewhat consistent, though. If you look at April, our total expenses were $1,900. For May, they were $2,301. The big difference was our health insurance paid in May ($400).

We’ll see how June pans out. So far, our spending has been fairly low (not including the health spending due to problems with our health insurance). Income has been lower too. I feel like we should be contributing to our savings account but we haven’t been able to yet. Hopefully we can soon. After this past weekend, I could use a little “boost.”