March Budget

I thought that I did pretty well with my budget in March, but when I put in the actual numbers into Excel I realized that I was a lot over budget than I originally thought. Here are the exact numbers:

As you can see, I was over in just about every category. The one that I wasn’t expecting was the Auto, I thought that $80 would cover me for a month of driving and that simply isn’t so. This is helping me with my choice on servicing my bike (~$40) and riding it on the days that I don’t take Jack to daycare and just driving. I’m not thoroughly convinced that it will make a large difference, but it is worth a shot and my body and the environment will thank me.

The other one that completely blew me away was my Utilities – I’m including in this water, energy, cell phone, cable, and auto insurance. For some reason when I made the budget I completely forgot to add in my cell phone and auto insurance, I have no idea why I did this.

I’m over in both food and pet expenses, which isn’t entirely surprising. I’m already taking steps to try to remedy this. I’m paying for Jack’s daycare upfront, trying to reduce the number of days that he goes with-in reason, and going to buy both the dog and cat food with coupons and in bulk sizes. Like I talked about at the end of last month, this should help me save about $35/month. Which is nothing to sneeze at.

For food, two larger priced meals than expected ate away at $70 for the month. Since that is the difference between going over and under I’m going to need to re-evaluate this. I’m taking my lunch to work 3-4 times per week, which is great. Only paying for breakfast 1-2 times per week. I eat dinner at home Mon-Thurs and Cpt. Baseball and I try to cook dinner at least one of the nights that we’re together. So finding where to save the extra bit of money is hard without feeling like I can >never< go out. That said, I'll need to tighten the noose a little bit more on the food expenditure since I'll need to trim the budget to find room for the utilities that I somehow forgot about.

Here is a pie chart of how my spending went this month, because I like these better than just raw numbers. This doesn’t include my savings; I like to think that it doesn’t exist except as a magical money sink. But if you feel like it should be there just imagine another sliver that says “Emergency Fund – 4%”. It would be nice to get it up to 5 or 10%, but until the debt comes down a bit more, 4% will have to do.

As for next month, here is the budget I’ll be working with:

I paid off two of my smaller credit cards in March (YAY!!!), so I don’t have to pay nearly $150 that I was previously paying. Since I’m trying to save for this vacation, I’m taking $200 away that I would be otherwise putting into debt reduction and putting into vacation savings. I’m not happy about this really, but it is the only way I can foresee that I can afford this vacation without having to use credit to pay for it. Come August, the full $500 will be put back on the credit card where it belongs. =D

I’ve bumped up the spending for auto, since I need to get my oil change and hopefully I can be a little bit more frugal with gas. I also bumped up my utilities to the level they need to be. Thankfully they are all just about fixed expenses plus/minus ~$20, so there shouldn’t be too much of a sticker shock there.

Goals for April:

1) Stay within budget
2) Pay dentist bill
3) Call Performance Bikes and cancel membership
4) Tutor 40 hours this month

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