August 2016 Budget Review

It has been a long time since I have not looked forward to the monthly appointment I make with myself to review our budget. When I first started taking control of my finances, it was so scary to look at the amount of money I owed for student loans and credit cards versus what I was actually making each month. I didn’t enjoy knowing I was at the misery of creditors, so those monthly budget reviews survived as a great reminder of why I was being so stringent with my daily expenses. But recently when I sit down to do these reviews and I continually see the amount of coming in being smaller than the amount of money going out, I make excuses. “We were really busy so we had to get a lot of take out” or “We had to do these repairs to keep our investment in working order” or the most recent which seems to be on repeat “We had a lot of unexpected medical bills”. Eventually it gets to the point when you realize that you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over each month and expecting different results. We just bought a home and we have two toddlers – unexpected bills are going to be a regular occurrence. So we have to adjust our budget to fit these expenses. I think it might be time to go back to living like we’re in debt. Because having a mortgage, technically, means we are.

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Essential (63% of income)
The first time I shared our monthly expenses online, essentials were at 46% of our income. Since then, we’ve seen some pretty big jumps in grocery and rent (now mortgage) costs. Groceries were over $1100 this past month; we started off on track to finish at $900, but then went over budget with over a week left in the month. I also may have taken advantage of some deep discounts and bought 16 months of toilet paper at once. A little unnecessary, but it’s one less thing I’ll have to run out for that would turn into a $70 grocery receipt of mostly chips and ice cream. I’m still trying to figure out a good system for meal planning and grocery shopping.

Lifestyle (18% of income)
Our non-essential expenses were a little lower than last month, but I’m still pushing to get back down to 10% of our total income. We had the usual, reoccurring luxury expenses – Netflix, HBO, and my Pure Barre membership. The non-reoccurring expenses were a video game for Ryan, a gift for a family member, a documentary, some Beautycounter skin care items, a new pair of running shoes for me, and a bunch of books and tools for Ryan. I’m also thinking about re-instituting a lifestyle purchase limit for myself. I’m hoping to do a big shopping fall/winter clothing haul in October, and I would feel a lot less guilty about it knowing that I kept things pretty minimal in September.

Goal (19% of income)
Our long-term savings goals were met, but we also took a lot from short-term savings. We had a little under $2000 in home improvement costs from cleaning the chimney, replacing the chimney damper, and replacing the garage door system. I also invested a little over $1000 in my Beautycounter business which including a big order of products for samples, try kits, and tabling, as well as some marketing materials.

Next Month Projections
Keeping our fingers crossed for no new unexpected expenses! I have already placed an order for two new front facing car seats for the kids this month. With both of them now over 22 lbs in weight, over 33 inches in height, and 2 years of age, it’s time to say goodbye to the rear-facing infant seats. But at $372 total for both, we’re going to be seeing beans and rice on the menu board more than a few times this month. And that’s without mentioning the incoming medical bills from Ryan’s appendectomy. No bills have arrived yet, but we’ve had seven claims come through BCBS of AL totaling $1993 in owed charges. So at least we’ll know what to expect when the bills finally arrive in the mail. And we’ve hit our deductible for the year, so at least there’s that! Another small victory – we’ll be saving $160/month once we get the kids potty trained and out of diapers. And we’re putting the truck up for sale on Craigslist so if that sells, it will do wonders for our financial situation in September. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo Lauren


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