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It’s time for another budget report, Picky people! See how our expenses looked during January and where we plan to go in February. I, uh, forgot to do a budget blog for December. Oops! You can read November’s budget report here, though.
I have to admit, y’all, this month’s budget report has me feeling blue. It sucks to think you’re oh-so-frugal and doing ~so great~, except when the numbers tell you otherwise. I’m not looking forward to sharing this Budget report because I don’t think it reflects our journey.
We fell off the wagon big time this month. I ask that you go easy on us, because we’re only human. We’re doing the best we can to save money and live better, and that also means making mistakes.
Here’s how January went down!
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Yup, we’re slow ‘n’ steady paying down our mortgage. We’ll target the mortgage for repayment after we eliminate our student loans.
Standard charges for our high-speed internet. Google Fiber is finally in our city, but it looks like it’ll be slow to spread. Can’t wait to drop Spectrum and go to Google!
Hm, were about $25 over on phone bills this month. This varies month to month based on our data usage. I had a work trip in early January that required using data. Mr. Picky Pincher’s work also has spotty wifi access, which means more data usage. Still, this is easily half the price we used to spend on our AT&T and Verizon contracts.
I wrote this review after using Fi for one year if you’re curious about the experience.
If you’d like to join Google Fi, you can do so through my affiliate link right here. After 30 days, Google Fi will credit your account with $20, which is like getting one month free.
Car payment: $345.36
Yup, we still have a car payment! Learn more about our car saga here.
This includes homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, and car insurance.
Utilities (trash, water, energy): $116.50
This is just the bills for our water and energy. Our city switched to a different trash provider and we should get a bill from them starting in February. I was hoping we’d get a monthly fee for trash, but no such luck. The new provider does quarterly billing, too, which really fudges our numbers. Urgh!
Well. We’re over by $325.80 here, y’all.
It seems we’ve reverted back to the days where we spent $1,000+ a month on food for ourselves.
This isn’t something I wanted to report on, but the truth’s the truth. It looks like our weekly grocery average is about $140, instead of the $80 that we like to shoot for.
This comes down to making poor purchasing decisions in the moment, as opposed to tactfully planning ahead of time. I haven’t been following the very system I put in place to avoid this problem, and I’m very unhappy about it. We’re going to have to make big changes to get on track in February.
P.S. Check out The Picky Pincher Cookbook for tasty recipe ideas!
Take out: $229.25
We were over on takeout by $30 or so. I’m not as mad about this, but I know we could do better. There’s no reason to spend so much on groceries and then still choose to eat out!
I paid $75 for thyroid-related fun, but the big culprit here was our sweet Zap. He got an ear infection that required treatment and a followup appointment. He’s lucky he’s so damn cute!
I’m surprised gas is so low, but we really didn’t go anywhere this month. I had one work trip in early January, which I’ll earn some nice mileage for.
I love the fact that I don’t have a daily commute! We do save a good amount of money with just hubster commuting daily.
By popular request, we started separating out household items in our budget. This includes boring things like soap, trash bags, brushes, toilet paper, cat food, etc.
Next month we’ll start classifying what items specifically we’re buying. This’ll come in handy because it helps me see where we can easily substitute items to save money. For example, we use cloth napkins at mealtime in lieu of paper towels to save money.
Student Loans: $2,687.40
Student loans aren’t really an “expense,” but I include them here to show how much we put towards our debt each month.
Ugh. This budget category always stings. It’s the worst for us, along with food. We’ve already put measures in place that should rein in the lifestyle encroachment that we tend to be guilty of.
Here are some notable January expenses:
- Hot water heater: We’ve known our water heater was a total POS when we bought the house. We figured, “Eh, we’ll either replace it when it breaks or when our student loans are paid off.” It broke first. It was $750 total, but since Mr. Picky Pincher and his dad installed it themselves, we did save a good chunk of money. I shudder to think what a plumber would have charged for the whole affair.
- Flowers /gifts: We bought birthday and anniversary gifts this month for family. I also sent flowers to a family member who had surgery (she’s doing well!).
- Construction materials / overalls: Mr. Picky Pincher bought supplies to do work outside on the sink. He also snagged a pair of work overalls to protect his nice pants (which he wears to work) from oil and grease.
- Bras: Most people don’t wanna read about my undies, but I’m gonna write about them anyway. It’s been hard for me to find decent bras. I used a guide from Good Housekeeping to buy three pairs that finally fit me well.
- Amazon Prime membership: We opted for the $99/year membership option here since it’s cheaper than monthly payments. Amazon just increased their monthly fee, so you’re much better off with an annual membership anyway!
- New shoes: I am so done with buying clothes from Ross, y’all. Mr. Picky Pincher snagged Birkenstocks there and, not even a year later, they have holes! He opted for office shoes from Olukai instead.
- Tub / sink guards: It’s gross, but our sinks were clogged with hair (ew ew ew). To avoid this, we bought Sink Shrooms (Amazon link here) and bath tub hair catchers. They’re gross, but less gross than unclogging pipes. *shudder*
- Mead / beer supplies: Mr. Picky Pincher’s been experimenting more with his home brewing. He bought supplies for this, and also started experimenting with mead (honey wine).
Total expenses: $5,514.55
Total expenses with student loans: $8,201.95
Keep in mind that the student loans are going towards debt and aren’t technically “spending.” I just think it’s helpful to include them in a separate figure.
Savings rate: 34%
Cost per meal: $5.49 (ugh)
I have to admit that this month cut me deep. We didn’t monitor our budget religiously, like we should have been. I admit we fell into a “treat yo’self” mentality after the holidays. We bought stuff we wanted without thinking about how it affects the budget. There’s nothing wrong with a few treats here and there, but we really need to rein it in.
As far as February goes, we’re shaking things up.
First of all, we’re doing monthlong meal planning, instead of weekly meal planning. As I write this, I know everything we’re going to eat in February. Cool, huh? I’m hoping this will minimize any confusion and streamline the meal process.
We’re also cooking more freezer meals so we won’t be tempted by the siren call of cheap Taco bell drive-thru, aka my Kryptonite.
We’ve also implemented a $100 “fun money” limit for both of us. We’ll hold each other accountable to make sure we’re staying within our limits and not letting the “fun” take over.
I feel better going into February with a game plan, but January still hurts. But hey, it’s all about holding ourselves accountable each month and making sure we’re moving forward.
To a frugal February.
We want to know: How was your January? Were you a Frugal Francine / Fergus or a Spendy Susie / Stan?
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This post first appeared on Picky Pinchers | A FRUGALITY AND LIFESTYLE, please read the originial post: here