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Cannot believe the money we've spent this month!

July 24th, 2010 at 06:55 am

I was doing our typical end of the month calculation to pay off our credit card and transfer any extra money from our checking account to our savings account. Well it was low, really low. Usually I can add in our end of the month payment, take away our CC bill and rent and be close to maintaining a $2500 buffer. (I know, 2K is probably ridiculously high for you, but it works for us.) However, this month it would only leave $800. So where did that nearly $1700 discrepancy go?

Mortgage increase due to taxes: $200
DH car repairs: $400
Lawn mower:$200
New door handles: $200
Conference for work: $100
Lunch at work: $100
Repair for bed: $100
Walmart (can't remember what we bought): $100
Whole Foods (week's worth of meat and cider): $100
And the rest was just spent at various times.

We've got money set aside for the car repairs, actually I have a "car fund" for repairs, maintenance, and saving for a new car. I don't like borrowing from it though, usually if something comes up I just don't add more money to it.

I really need to be better about taking my lunch to work. It something I haven't done and that extra $100 a month could probably be put to better use.

The new door handles was probably the biggest non-essential purchase. I wanted to replace them, but didn't need to do it right then. Usually little things like that don't hurt anything, but when combined with a bunch of others, it means I have to transfer money from savings.

2007 roundup/2008 preview

December 29th, 2007 at 03:36 pm

To join the bandwagon I’m going to look back over the past year to see where DH and I have come and try and look forward to where we want to go.

This year DH and I both opened Roth IRA accounts and were able to put the max out the 2007 contributions. We also currently have over $2400 saved for the 2008 contributions.

In January we had nearly $20,700 in car loan debt. Today we completely paid off my car and only have 6100 left on DH’s car. We could have paid off more, but we decided that it is not financially beneficial to pay off his car early as the interest rate is only 3.59%.

Our savings account has nearly $20K more in it than it did last January. At first I thought this was awesome, but then I realized that it’s been artificially inflated. At the beginning of the year we had several savings accounts. In May, we decided to combine them all into the account earning the most interest. So that was nearly 8K of it, and we received 10K of life insurance, and are holding nearly 7K from student loans. So adding all of those together, we’ve actually lost money in savings! Smile Most of the money came from our down payment fund, which won’t be needed for several years. Regardless, the money was put to good use: retirement, paying off debt, and keeping us fed and sheltered.

We only started tracking purchases in August of 2006, so I can’t easily compare 2006’s spending to 2007, but I’m looking forward to seeing how our spending will change from ’07 to ’08.

Looking ahead to 2008 I don’t know what to expect! We are starting out the year with 2 households and if things continue at their present rate we will only be making about $50 more than our expenses. So that will drastically change the progress we are able to make. We also will have to deal with deployment…well, not technically deployment as it will only be for 3 months. In theory DH will be making more money during this time, and as he won’t be at home, his expenses will go down. So that might be a time for us to play catch-up. In December though, he will be deploying for real, and that will have major tax and income implications. Which I’m sure I’ll be learning more about as we get closer to that date.

Our priorities for 2008 are as follows:
1. Max out our 2008 Roth contributions, it goes up to 10,000 for both of us, so we have our work cut out for us.
2. Save for a down payment. We’ll only start putting away for this after we’ve got our Roth maxed as we are still several years away from actually buying a house.
3. Minimize the amount of school loans I have to take out and/or pay off the loans I’ve already taken out.
4. Pay off DH’s car. As I mentioned before this is not really a priority as the rate is so low.

Well there you have it! I’m really impressed with what we have done so far, a little worried about the near future, but really excited to see where we’ll go from here!!

September update

October 6th, 2007 at 01:07 pm

September wasn't that great of a month in terms of our budget..we had some areas that we overspent a lot, but we did pay off my car, so that made me happy.

The first area we overspent was in travel. DH had to buy plane tickets to move up to Maine after Thanksgiving. Normally we wouldn't have to pay for this, but the Navy kind of gave us a raw deal on how they wrote the orders. They were trying to save money, but it cost us money!

Next was clothing. DH and I rarely buy clothing, but in September we both had things we needed to buy so we spent $130 vs our budgeted $50. For the month of October, I've already spent our clothing budget and I have a feeling that we me needing to continuing to need "professional" attire and DH needing clothing to handle the winter in Maine, this will be an area we will continue to spend in.

We spent a lot more in eating out than normal, this month, but we didn't go over budget. I like to plan most of my budget with cushion, particularly eating out and groceries. So spending up to the budgeted amount is uncommon, but hey--that's why we've allotted money to that area!

July update

July 31st, 2007 at 03:18 pm

This turned out to be a big spending month. We bought a new dining room set, a laptop, and spent about 100-150 more than budgeted for entertainment (Harry Potter book and movie, rollerblades, etc).

It's time for my monthly checking account drain. This month it isn't very impressive, only about $150. This is due to the fact that we had been saving money in the savings account and now instead of swapping the money I'm just moving the excess to checking. So we still have about 1K to add to our savings accounts.

I'll be updating the sidebar soon, but our downpayment fund increased from 24% of our goal to 25% and with some shifting of funds we now have almost 1300 for our 2008 roths. We also paid $100 over the minimum on my car which will have it paid off a month earlier and save almost 80 in interest.

Not too shabby. Next month our goal is to not be crazy with our spending again and try to put as much as possible toward our cars!

June update

July 4th, 2007 at 07:31 am

DH and I were out of town for pretty much the last week and a half of June so we didn’t do to well keeping track of our spending. While we went home (Oregon) for a weekend we didn’t really spend any money—-one of the perks of being with the parents. Last weekend we went off for our 1 year anniversary and we spent quite a bit of money, but almost all of it was covered by a gift from our best man. This month we also moved quite a bit of money around that also messed with our budget numbers. We opened Roth IRA accounts with Vanguard and maxed them out. So no hard numbers to post, but we did good this month.

Yesterday I did our normal monthly checking account drain. Since I did in the beginning of July, and July is an odd month, all of that money went to pay off our cars—$1,500! This paid off a huge chunk out of my car loan, about 18%. We also put $125 to our dining room account and $125 toward our 2008 Roths. Frankly I was happy that we were putting that much toward the car, but at the same time I was a little nervous about not specifically putting any money away toward savings. But come August, we’ll be saving all of it. So it will all work out in the end. Besides, if something catastrophic happens, we still have our EF and down payment savings accounts we can raid.

So I am really excited to see the balance of the cars continue to fall. Even if we only pay the minimum balance from here on out, we have already saved a year-and-a-half of payments!

May update

May 31st, 2007 at 06:56 am

I am really excited. A couple of weeks ago DH and I sat down and came up with a plan to get our finances in better shape. The number one goal was to be better about our budget. This month we did great.

These are the areas we were monitoring along with our ending totals:
Entertainment: 0
Dining out: +6
Study expenses: +5
Personal care: 0
Hobbies/Leisure: 0
Household/home improvement: +8
Groceries: -16
Gas/auto: -29

We only had two categories over for a total of -$27 dollars. Although yesterday while we were running errands DH and I spent in the gas and grocery categories knowing that we would be over. Figured it was better to spend while we were already out than make a separate trip in a couple of days, just so it would be in the correct month. But I am going to subtract these from the amount available for next month.

Now being in budget is something great and exciting, but I am most happy about all the money we are transferring to our savings account. I am going to wait until June (after the next car payment is taken out), and then I'm going to drain our checking account. Since June is an even month the money will be going to our savings account which is a catch-all for our EF (fully funded), down payment fund and dining room table fund. Guess how much I'll be adding!! $818.46! And this is in addition to the $344 I added in May before we decided to do the even/odd savings. So this month we've added over $1150 to our savings account!

What a wonderful feeling. I hope next month we can do the same or even better. It would be great to throw that amount toward the cars!