March 2016 Budget Review

Spring has officially sprung and with it comes rain, pollen, allergies, and home shopping! After YEARS of wanting to purchase our own slice of heaven and over a year “casually” browsing the MLS in our new town, Ryan and I decided to get serious about home buying. We became pre-approved for a mortgage, found a realtor, and started touring some potential homes. Making the decision to leap towards buying a home now wasn’t easy. If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you know my husband I were both pretty adamant about waiting until we had 20% down plus closing costs before starting the home search. But despite having set this goal, we’ve found ourselves having the same conversation over and over.

Would it be that horrible for us to buy a home without 20% down and pay PMI?
Is the luxury tax that is PMI worth a little bit of happiness?
Should we even deem a home purchase a luxury when it is affecting our happiness?
Shouldn’t improving our mental health be essential and not a luxury?
Is our apartment really that bad?
Should we consider renting a house and paying double what we pay in rent now?

Having this same conversation nightly can be a bit draining. So we decided it was time to move forward and start seriously searching. And once we moved past the decision about whether or not to pay PMI, we have not looked back. With homes twice the size of our current square footage going for lower monthly mortgage payments than what we pay in rent now, PMI feels like nothing.

There have already been a few ups and downs during the home search. We haven’t put in an offer on anything, but we have narrowed it down between 2 homes. This morning I have a meeting to help me learn a bit more about one of the homes. I can honestly say it has the potential to be our forever home. And if we keep having great budget months like we did this month, we will have plenty of money to go towards a mortgage.

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March 2016 Budget Review

Essentials (34% of budgeted 45%)

I made the decision at the beginning of the month to not stress on our grocery expenses. We ended up spending about $850 on grocery purchases which is totally fine in my book. All of our other costs were pretty average. Kylie and Maddie’s twice yearly vet appointment  yielded a small bill to cover some grooming and medicine for Kylie. Emma also needed some antibiotics for a cut on her thumb, and I’ve been loading myself full of various medicines and supplements to cure my cold/allergies. But that all totaled under $50 so it was very manageable.

Lifestyle (8% of budgeted 10%)

With the lifestyle allowance Ryan and I are now allotting ourselves at the beginning of the month, it has definitely become much easier to keep this expense category low. We spent a little more on fast food than I would prefer, but part of that came from me not wanting to cook while I was sick. The majority of our lifestyle expenses this month were for James and Emma’s S/S capsule wardrobes….that’s right, capsule wardrobes for babies! I purchased 1 sweatshirt, 7 outfits, 4 pajamas, and 2 shoes for each baby which amounted to a little under $300 total. Everything matches and is a little baggy so besides major spills and blowouts, it should all make it through the end of summer.

Goals (58% of budgeted 45%)

While I’m excited to see that we made our budget for all of this month’s categories, I have to consider that our income is pretty skewed. Not only did we receive an extra paycheck this month, but we also received our tax refund. About 20% of our extra income went towards bringing our three credit card balances to zero. We ALWAYS pay the statement balance, but we usually care a little bit of a balance at all times. Seeing zeros on all on the credit card balances has been pretty pleasing, so I’ve decided to move forward with paying off the entire account balance moving forward about 2-3x/month. Beyond the small amount that went towards the credit card balances, the rest went straight to savings. Our home down payment fund is almost back where it was before we decided to pay off the Jeep. And we’re now 45% of the way towards our savings goal!

Shopping Ban Updates

I’m now two-thirds of the way through my 90 Day Shopping Ban, and it is consistently becoming less and less challenging. I’ve entertained the idea of continuing it past the 90 days, but, at this point, I think I have set out what I meant to accomplish in starting the ban. My want to purchase things has not disappeared; it never will. But my control over my purchasing has increased as well as the time I spent thinking about things that I want to buy. I also started keeping a 30 Day Shopping List. When I think of something I want to buy, I write it on the list along with the date. Once 30 days have passed from the date I originally wanted the item, I can consider actually purchasing it. I currently have 8 items on my list, but 2 of them I’ve already decided I probably won’t purchase.

This month’s shopping ban purchases were extremely limited:

  • 1 month of unlimited barre classes plus 1 missed class fee (oops!)
  • 1 car wash
  • 1 bottle of zinc tablets, 1 bottle of sambucus elderberry syrup, and 14 Zyrtec tablets
  • 3 tortoise shell hair barrettes

While I didn’t actually need 3 hair barrettes, I couldn’t find any sold individually. You’ll also notice the 3 pharmacy purchases – I’ve been sick for over a week, but I’m starting to think it’s allergies. Hopefully the Zyrtec makes a difference! The car wash also felt like a little bit of a luxury, but apartment living makes it impossible to wash your own vehicle. I’m looking forward to having my own driveway and water spicket especially since the Jeep was completely covered in pollen less than 24 hours after the car wash.

April 2016 Budget Projections

I am really pleased with how well we managed expenses in March so I’m looking forward to seeing that continue into April. I need to go in for an oil change and tire rotation, but besides those expenses, everything else should be pretty similar. I’m hoping to make it through the rest of the shopping ban without having to purchase any personal care products. There is the potential for my cleanser and face oil to run out before the end of April, but I should be able to make it.

I hope you all had a successful March with only good things coming your way this April. Thanks for reading!

xoxo Lauren


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