Our first official month of our “Year of Family” has come to an end and what a month it was! We welcomed our newest addition about half-way through (our little girl, IP) and we are managing to function pretty well as a family of four. We also cut down our spending quite a lot from June, although we still went bit over our “Year of Family” budget for this month because of a “rainy-day” expense.
Every month I will provide a breakdown of our spending in detail, as well as some analysis of where we kept spending down and where we needed to improve. Our goal each month, is to keep our monthly spending to $3500 or less, which includes $2550 of fixed costs and $200 of savings.
The Money Breakdown for July, 2012
In total we spent $3474.43 (which includes $2550 in fixed expenses, $100 from our rainy-day fund used for an ER visit, and $100 put away for savings). This means that we spent $824.43 on non-fixed expenses.
Of that $824.43:
- $435.52 was spent on groceries
- $117.01 was spent on household needs (garden supplies, our own version of the toddler “wake-up” light, and a few other things)
- $100.00 was spent on a hospital visit (we were admitted through the ER, which involved the $100 copay)
- $72.00 was spent on eating out, most of which was take-out and a few small treats like ice cream or a thai iced tea for Mom
- $45.84 was spent on transportation and parking
- $36.06 was spent on personal needs (asprin, eyedrops, etc.)
- $18.00 was spent on an aquarium visit (we take costs of such “enrichment” activities out of LP’s “enrichment” account, a pool of money generously given to LP by relatives for his education and enrichment)
If we subtract LP enrichment and our ER copay (which are paid for through LP’s enrichment and our rainy-day savings respectively) we spent $706.43 of non-fixed income, which puts us below our goal of spending $750.00 (or less) of our non-fixed expenses every month.
Where we saved:
It is quite exciting to see that we spent less than $3500 this month (even it it’s only by a little over five dollars). We did a pretty good job keeping our grocery bill down by minimizing our grocery store trips to once or twice a week. I also stopped going to coffee shops except to meet up with friends once in a while. We did splurge on eating out a couple times, but both times we still figured out a way to splurge on the cheap. One night we just went out for dessert instead of going out for a while dinner. Another day we got a special lunch treat (which is, again, much cheaper than a dinner out). We were also much more frugal with our household needs. Every time we thought of something we needed for the house, we asked ourselves “Do we really need this right now?” In some cases (like a smoke detector) the answer was “yes!” In some cases (like some extra shelving) the answer was “let’s wait and see if we have the money for it at the end of the month.” And, in the case of the toddler “wake-up” light, we found a creative alternative. Instead of paying around $40.00 for a goodnite light, we bough an outlet timer (which we will be able to use well into the future) and a nightlight for about $20.00. It works great – LP comes bouncing into our room at 7am (instead of 6am) announcing “light on!” very proudly! Overall, we thought a bit more before we spent, and it seems to have paid off!
Where we spent:
There were two somewhat “hidden” sets of expenses this month that we need to keep in mind as we congratulate ourselves. The first was an ER visit, when our baby girl needed jaundice treatment. We had to pay a $100.00 for a copay, which is not something we would normally budget for. Here is where our savings came to the rescue! We budgeted to save $200 every month that will either be used for “rainy day” needs, or for the G-man’s retirement account. This month we will only put $100 into savings, since we used the other $100 for our ER needs (which we are calling a “rainy day” situation).
Additionally, we had a lot of help from family and friends this month since we just had a baby! My parents were kind enough to not only go grocery shopping for us, but also pay for take-out and lots and lots of food when they were here. We have had friends bring us all kinds of goodies too. So, there were some groceries and dining expenses that we didn’t have to pay, but that we still got to enjoy!
So, as we embark on month two (for our budget, and our baby) we will need to keep up with our thoughtful spending, and also plan our splurges carefully. So far, it is a pretty good start to our Year of Family!