So April ended up being a relatively expensive month. I suppose this was to be expected- we just moved and were also in the process of settling up our bills from our previous rental. Fortunately, for our loan payments, we also had some unexpected income this month (our rental deposit and some checks back for services that we pre-paid but didn’t use, like renter’s insurance).
One of our biggest expenditures this month was car repair. Both cars needed some regular maintenance that we’d been deferring due to the frigid cold (brakes, oil changes, etc.). Our 12 year old Jetta needed a new vacuum pump.
We had already purchased it, but B. had been waiting for nicer weather to install it. The same car also required a specialty tool for the brakes. We checked with AutoZone and luckily, it’s one of the tools they rent, for free. This was at least a $150 savings. Then, just as we got the Jetta back in proper working order, our even older 16 year old van sprung a coolant leak. As in, dumping all the coolant into a big puddle on the ground. YAY. Though B. tried valiantly to fix this, we ended up having to take it to a mechanic. Fortunately, the fix was easy and set us back a mere $85.
Months like April are honestly why we try to plan to spend only about 50% of our take-home pay in a month- that way, when things pop up, we can absorb the financial hit without going into (more) debt.
How We Buy and Budget
Though we’ve been disciples of the Dave Ramsey plan for a long time, we’ve been experimenting with moving away from some of his tenants. Most of his principles seemed to apply more when we weren’t able to (relatively) stick to a budget. More to come on this.
We buy almost everything with credit cards these days. We have one credit card that we pay off in full every month. If you can’t pay it off every month, do not get a credit card. B. and I have been down that road and we were really wary of trying credit cards again. But it has worked out fine! Our spending hasn’t changed at all and we’ve had no problems paying it off each month in full. Because our credit is high (thank you student loans?), we were able to qualify for a pretty good cashback card- we earn 1% back on all purchases and 1% back on everything we pay off. It’s not a lot extra, but every little bit helps.
We track and budget all our expenses using EveryDollar (by Dave Ramsey). We’ve tried some of the free options out there (Personal Capital, Mint) but I am personally less impressed by them for budgeting. I think they work great for tracking expenses, but we still don’t feel that we’re at the point where we can’t budget. Maybe someday. Anyway. On to the meat and potatoes!
Yucky Yucky Debt
- Total budgeted: $2564
- Total paid: $3978
- Total owed: $109,886
It’s going down- we’ll be under $100,000 soon. We started with somewhere between $200,000 and $250,000 so I think I’ll just celebrate this as a continued win.
|Mortgage||$1,336||$1,336||Coming in at only $36 higher than what we used to spend on rent. I’m counting this as a win, given the incredibly tight housing market where we live|
|Final utility bills||$340||$328||Closing out utilities at our rental|
|Electricity||$100||$100||Budget billing! We’ll see how this shakes out over the year.|
|Internet||$100||$81||I think we’re on an intro offer for 3 months?|
|Garbage||$45||$13||No need to dump the dumpster this month.|
|Gas||$300||$441||So gas prices went up. A lot.|
|Groceries||$600||$658||Ever a problem. I think this is high because we ate up everything we had to avoid moving food.|
|Pet care||$100||$213||Rover’s new vet wouldn’t refill his medication without an exam.|
|Clothing||$50||$43||New pants! Men apparently use their clothes until they’re shredded? We’ve never been able to find B. clothes at any thrift store.|
|Sports/Entertainment||$40||$0||I’m proud of this one. Now that it’s nice, we’ve been spending most of our free time outside.|
|Miscellaneous||$200||$198||Looks like this is some random stuff off Amazon (I think some allergy meds, a new watch band, etc.), updated drivers licenses and a couple trips to the dump (yay moving)!|
|B. Fun Money||$50||$14||Go B.!|
|L. Fun Money||$50||$51||Darn you $1 vending machine purchase.|
|Doctor||$50||$23||I think some random labs?|
|Food-Drill||$50||$0||B. had a four-day drill this month. I’m not sure what he did for food, but I didn’t have any expenditures come through.|
|House supplies||$600||$602||Turns out moving is expensive. Especially when you haven’t owned a house in a few years.|
|Car parts||$500||$641||We knew the cars needed some brakes, oil changes, etc. Then some other stuff decided to break. B. fixed most of it himself, but parts still cost money!|
|CSA||$350||$350||More on this in a future post. Suffice it to say, our garden is just getting off the ground this year.|
|Gym||$100||$108||Still working out cost with B.’s crossfit gym…|
|World of Warcraft subscription||$0||$78||Forgot this was coming due (and yes, we totally just outed ourselves as geeky computer game nerds…)|
- Planned: $5903
- Actual: $6172
- Percentage of income: 56%
Not the best. Not the worst. Hopefully May will be better!