You can find the first part of this story here…
So how did we do?
I wish I could say we had a great success story like Kate and Mike did for the month. However, this was our first committed month and we had a few bumps in the plan. Here’s a summary of how it went. (First number=budgeted amount, Second number= spent amount, Third number=balance)
Category: Giving (200, 200, 0)
Tithe (150, 150, 0): This is what we designate to give to our church.
Charity (25, 30, -5): We allot this for more specific charities outside our home church. This month, I wore a dress every day for the Daughter Project (sound familiar?). I donated one dollar for each day.
Personal (25, 20, 5): This is to help our friends in ministry.
Category: Investments (25, 25, 0)
Roth IRA (25, 25, 0): Monthly contribution to our Roth IRA.
Category: Savings (660, 460, 0)
Savings (200, 0, 200): General savings- we ran out of money before we could put anything in here for the month. It doesn’t really make sense to have a balance left on this, but that’s the way the numbers work. Hopefully, we can make up for it in future months.
Debt (460, 460, 0): Unfortunately, this is our minimum payment. Hmmm…
Category: Home (750, 790.51, -40.51)
Rent (490, 490, 0): Fixed amount
Electric (60, 49.73, 10.27)
Gas (60, 54.77, 5.23)
Internet (35, 0, 35): We just set this up last month, and apparently we paid an advance for the first month so no balance was due this month.
Cell Phone (90, 151.01, -61.01): This month, we finally go around to switching from our parents’ plans to our own. Apparently there are a bunch of activation fees for the first month.
Repair/Improvements (15, 45, -30): We invested in a couple kitchen things that put us over budget.
Category: Transport (190, 222.79, 47.79)
Gas (100, 178, -78): $4.15 a gallon? Really? Good thing the weather is getting nicer so we can switch to more bikes and roller blades!
Insurance (car and property) (60, 59.79, .21)
Maintenance (30, 0, 30): Thankfully, we did not need any of this. However, we have been driving a borrowed car for the past year with over 125,000 miles on it. So, we might need this fund eventually.
Category: Food (250, 403, -153) Yikes!
Grocery (200, 336, -136): Wow, this was quite a shocker. I had no idea we spent this much on groceries each month. This does include items other than food (such as cleaners, toilet paper, light bulbs, etc). We are definitely going to attack this next month.
Dining out (50, 67, -17): Jeff was using this fund to buy his lunches once a week at the restaurant where he worked. The rest was a night out to dinner to celebrate that he got a new job! Praise the Lord.
Category: Clothing (30, 15, 15)
Category: Medical (365, 416.66, -51.66)
Bills (200, 283.01, -83.01): Actually, this is pretty good. I’ve had a few medical issues this past year. In fact, my out-of pocket medical bills for the past year exceeded my totally income for the year. Good thing we had a savings account to help soften the punch. We are just getting to the point of having them all paid off and settled. I can’t wait until we are all caught up in this area.
Prescriptions (5, 0, 5)
Insurance (135, 133.65, 1.35): This is Jeff’s monthly insurance. I get mine through the university and pay for the entire year up front.
Other (25, 0, 25)
Category: Fitness (85, 65, 20)
Membership (50, 50, 0)
Other (35, 15, 20)
Category: Personal (110, 118, -8): This has categories of grooming, work, school, spending, gifts, entertainment, etc.
Well, for this month, we about broke even. Here’s what we learned:
- We spend way too much on food. Next month is going to be coupon and discount central.
- We need to cut down on our driving.
- We need to get creative about how to cut things out.
- Budgeting is hard.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
- Don’t despair the days of small beginnings.
- We are very thankful that Jeff was able to get a job that will double both his hours and income. Of course, we are planning on sticking with the current budget, even with the pay increase.
What have you learned from your budgeting adventures? Are there any other “ingredients” you would add to the list?