Okay, well everything has been tallied and the results — for better or worse — are in. So let’s look at what things I spent money on this past month. (The asterisks will be explained in each section.)
Definitely went over my normal amount, but it’s mainly in a good way. I still have a credit with the electric company right now (thanks to averaged-out billing during the year). So as long as I’m not being charged the usual $132.52, I’m putting that amount into the Saved Savings account. This is the account I put money into each time I save with coupons, sales, store rewards, etc.
Speaking of saved savings, the asterisk here indicates that — of the $300.07 “spent” — $192.12 went into the Saved Savings account rather than some company’s coffers. That was the aforementioned $132.52 for the electric bill, some gas savings with Fry’s fuel points, $25 because my therapy sessions have no copay as long as they’re remote, some savings via my CarePass reward and coupons at CVS, and several savings at grocery stores.
The actual spending for the category this month was:
- $23.88 for new workout shoes from Big 5 (the old ones were giving me knee pain)
- A $15.05 flat rate box to mail my cousin’s daughter a bunch of makeup I was no longer using
- $1.09 at the Dollar Tree (either bleach or a backscratcher if memory serves)
- $13.02 for toilet cleaner (try not to be jealous of my glamorous life)
- $14.92 for a few pairs of undies from Victoria’s Secret
- $40 cash for various things (like tips for the masseuse) I can’t pay for with the card
I’ve been coming in under budget on this one for a while. I think I raised it when Mom was here and forgot to lower it again.
So next month I’m budgeting for four regular loads per month plus one washer cycle. (I don’t put my bras in the dryer, but I am lazy and use the washer’s handwash function.)
Nothing broke this month — which means I’m due any time now, I think — but I did have my monthly HVAC service plan fees ($30) plus Orkin pest control came out. The latter is $84.36 every other month, but it’s completely worth it because I can’t stand cockroaches. Also, I have a recurring issue with moles in the yard, and those can apparently mess with house foundations.
In an unprecedented (in this pandemic) turn of events, I actually had to fill up twice this month. From March through September, I’ve been filling up every other month, so I’m not quite sure what happened here. But as long as it doesn’t become a habit, I think it’s fine.
Unsurprisingly, I came in exactly on-budget here. Yes, my premium is annoyingly high — presumably because I’m Bipolar II and also I think I had high blood pressure (or was it high cholesterol?) at the time of the tests.
I’m keeping this at least until the house is paid off so that my heir (my mom or cousin) doesn’t have to worry about making mortgage payments if I die. Some readers have pointed out that my savings should take care of it. But you never know what kind of medical bills I could rack up in the event of my death.
Also, if I predecease my mom, I’d like her to have a financial cushion so she wouldn’t have to work while she grieves — without having to worry about getting the house either sold or rented ASAP.
Another oops month for this category. Last month, it was because I took the plunge and got a haircut plus some lovely hair products. This month, it was the splurge on makeup plus my usual $40 beauty service.
This month I hit a sale on my at-home hair color and got some body lotion. Try to contain your excitement.
No surprises here since I won’t be seeing a movie or other entertainment any time soon. Just Netflix and Hulu. But given how much I watch those, at least I’m getting a ton of bang for those bucks.
I normally budget $250 a month, but I deducted the $132.52 credit. Even so, I came in pretty under budget. So maybe I should lower this amount to $220 most months?
I have no idea how this came in so far under budget. Usually I’m only a few bucks under or over. I initially thought I’d forgotten to note a grocery trip, but nope. So I can only conclude it’s this low because I had so much takeout.
Just the Banfield plan charge this month, so I unsurprisingly came on budget. This coming month I had to re-up my pet food, so I’ll be budgeting more. But since a big bag lasts at least five months, most of the year the spending in this category is pretty low.
My Medicare premiums plus add-on dental coverage is $420.60, so the spending isn’t as high as it might initially seem.
I had $82.17 in medication, which actually should have been more. My usual three-month supply of bupropion is $111 ($37/month) but was inexplicably $33.68 this time — not that I’m complaining. In addition to medication, I paid $10 for some labwork.
I also have the $50 auto-charge from the massage place. This allows me to get one massage a month for $50 and any more in a given month for only $40. The asterisk also have to do with the massages: I spent $30 in tips for the two massages I got this month. These are from my walking around money, which is already accounted for in the Miscellaneous section, so I can’t put it in the official total. But I figure it’s worth noting.
And that brings us to my deep shame for the month…
I have no excuse here. I had takeout eight times in just over four weeks, for a total of just over 10 meals. In the past I’ve mostly kept it to one meal a week. But the last few months, I’ve padded that to account for some stress eating/random food cravings. Yet I still came in significantly over-budget.
My new approach for this category to better keep me in check is to not just list the amounts spent but keep a running total of what’s left in the budget for the month. Hopefully, this will help with impulse control.
That said, just looking at the list of takeout I got made me want to go to Cracker Barrel and get a French toast breakfast so… We’ll see how the new approach works.
All in all
Despite the overages in some categories, I did still manage to come in (just barely) under budget, which is nice. But of course, that isn’t the sum total of my spending this month.
I also donated to charity/political campaigns. I’m not quite comfortable disclosing how much I give for that. So I’ll just say that those contributions plus my business Internet connection (which ain’t cheap) plus the full amount I paid on my mortgage (the base payment is normally $599.57, but I add significant additional principal) was $3,385.09.
I’m shooting to spend under $40,000 a year (not including retirement contributions), and if I maintained the above amount all year, I’d be about $600 over budget.
But of course, I won’t be making this large of mortgage payments forever. Only about four more years, actually. So I’ll be just fine staying well under $40,000 a year in the future.
How did everyone else’s spending go this month?