Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Wrap Up & October Goals

September went pretty well over all. Bare with me as this first wrap up is pretty long. I plan to compare the most recent month to the previous month. August we were trying to follow a budget but not as strictly as September. I will continue to compare months but will not make major changes in budget until the New Year as I will have a chance to look back and see where significant changes can or should be made.

To clarify something, I get paid twice per month and hubby get’s paid every two weeks. This means twice a year hubby get’s paid three times in a month. Assets do not include our condo but our short term CD (which makes up our long term emergency fund right now), 401(k)’s and eTrade account.

August Employer Income (EI) – $4,970.86 (high due to hubby extra check)

September Employer Income (EI) - $4,017.31 (as normal)

August Other Income (OI) - $0

September Other Income (OI) - $50 (surveys, put in short term savings)

August Assets - $13,791.83

September Assets - $13,583.31 (decrease of 1%)

October Goals - maintain EI and increase OI by 4% to $125 and Assets by 3% to $13990.80

I will keep our food budget in place for now but will take more advantage of sales and coupons to extend our buying power. I also plan on making larger crock pot meals on Sundays to eat and freeze. If I can get good deals on organic items I will buy them but it’s about overall cost for me right now. Transitioning to all organic will take time and only be achievable when our debt is paid off. I need to incorporate more fruits/veggies, increase water intake and exercise.

August Groceries – $572.91 - 143% of budget

September Groceries - $496.00 - 124% of budget

October Goal - $400

Fun money is broken out in to several categories. Hubby and I definitely have weaknesses but are proud of how well we did. The bullet points below do not sum up the entire fun money spending for the month but the categories we are vigilantly tracking.

August Fun Money - $895.01 – 18% of employer income (no goal and we were on vacation)

Eating Out $335.11 (37% of fun money)

Coffee $168.63 (18% of fun money)

Entertainment $156.97 (18% of fun money)

Crafts $90.92 (10% of fun money)

September Fun Money – $332.33 - 8% of employer income (goal 7%)

Eating Out $51.86 (16% of fun money)

Coffee $104.25 (32% of fun money)

Entertainment $26.49 (8% of fun money)

Crafts $45.27 (14% of fun money)

October Goal – 7%

We only had planned one meal out this month and had budgeted $30. In actuality we spent just under $23. Hubby and I have found that if we order one drink per person (or just drink water) and share a large appetizer or entree that is enough for us to enjoy going out. We did use a coupon to order pizza once as well. This also served as a couple meals but this did put us over budget. I think eating out once a month is acceptable compared to what we used to do.

We only bought two DVD’s and they were $5 each. I am utilizing the library which is no cost and we are really using our Netflix account much more.

We plan on limiting our Starbucks coffee spending to Sunday morning only. This was the highest tracked expense in the fun money budget this month.

We are trying our best to make holiday decorations as opposed to buying them and budget for bigger items we can’t easily reproduce. We bought a few things craft wise to create some Halloween decorations and a dog bed for BJ. We utilized our credit card minimally here.

As far as debt repayment goes. I did make a change there. I reduced paying out to debt (minimum payments plus extra) from $1200 to $1000 until the end of the year so we can have Christmas money. I do round up my payments to the nearest dollar most of the time.

August Loans – $730 - 100% of budget

September Loans - $723 – 100% of budget

August Credit Cards – $142.94 - 100% of budget

September Credit Cards - $228.49 – 100% of budget

August Extra Debt – 0% (vacation did not allow much extra)

September Extra Debt – 0$ (revamped budget to pay extra at the beginning of the month)

August Total Debt Balance - $37,861.68 – ($9,191.70 cc’s & $28,669.98 loan’s)

September Total Debt Balance - $37,350.62 – ($9,157.52 cc’s & $28,193.10 loan’s)

October Goals – Loans $723, Credit Cards $201 & Extra Debt $150 Total $1074

October Total Debt Balance Goal $37,350.62 (not including interest)

I also revamped our savings and broke out our emergency savings in to short term (car repair or unexpected expense) and long term (six months living expenses).

August Short Term Emergency Fund (STEF) – 0% (goal $3,000)

September Short Term Emergency Fund (STEF) – 3% (goal $3,000)

August Long Term Emergency Fund (LTEF) – 0% (goal $10,000)

September Long Term Emergency Fund (LTEF) – 10% (goal $10,000)

August Vacation Fund (VF) – 0% (goal $5,000)

September Vacation Fund (VF) – 0% (goal $5,000)

October goals: STEF $125 ($75 towards HOA assessment for parking lot), LTEF - $0 and VF - $0

All in all I learned a lot about our spending habits and how we surprised ourselves living without things we would usually not think twice about buying. I am trying not to obsess about the budget and our debt and live while we are paying things down. I do know I need to focus more on alternative streams of income.


change is a good thing said...

Hey there! Great blog! I found you through Escape Brooklyn and I see you live in Edmonds, me too! I look forward to following your blog and will add you to my blogroll.

paisley penguin said...

Change is a good thing - thanks for swingin by and adding me to your blogroll! It's nice to know a neighbor even if I have not met them IRL.

Will check out your blog later tonight. :)