One more month of operation wipe out credit card/car debt completed. And as long and tedious as it has been, we are in the final stretch now. Only $3341 left. In fact, we have an estimated payoff date of June 7th! Just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other for a little longer...
Actually, I have a confession. Two days ago, we bought a fridge. With a store credit card. So, to be completely honest about it, out debt total is actually at $5279.08 now. I know, I know, we maybe shouldn't have. We're so close. But- we were absolutely going to do this as soon as possible after we finished in June, and -the store had a sale on them this month that saved us $200, and- there's no interest for 6 months and we should have it paid off 3-4 months from now. And also- we were sick to death of that stupid drawer always falling down and pulverizing our fruit! And just to throw in one more good excuse, it was so ancient that I'm certain our energy bill will go down by a noticeable amount once the new eco-friendly one arrives. And it's bigger. It might actually fit all our stuff!
This doesn't actually change our payment plan at all really because given there's no interest, we're still going to put all our focus into the last credit card first and then start paying for the new lap top and fridge we need. We'll finish paying it off in the same time we would have saved for it, but this way I get the new fridge while we're doing it. At this point, I trust myself to deal with this new debt ASAP, so I am not too worried about it. I don't plan on paying interest to credit card companies EVER again.
So, one more month down. And I keep wondering, what will it feel like when the last debt is paid? If we were planning on adding all the extra money we'll have to our regular spending, I'd probably assume it'd feel pretty awesome. Instead we're mostly going to be doing much more practical things with it, like starting a 401k, increasing contributions to our HSA and saving for a new family car. So in terms of spending, it won't feel that much different. But I would assume there will be a mental shift of some sort? A different feeling when you know you are finally creating a hill rather than digging out of a hole? I don't know for sure. I guess we'll see when we get there. I sure hope it feels different! Would love to hear how it was for others when they reached this turning point.
Viewing the 'Food / Groceries' Category
One more month of operation wipe out credit card/car debt completed. And as long and tedious as it has been, we are in the final stretch now. Only $3341 left. In fact, we have an estimated payoff date of June 7th! Just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other for a little longer...
Hubby's Job (after tax): $5271
Hubby's Hobby Income: $550*
My PT-WFH Job: $670*
Hubby's Bonus (after tax): $5104
(*subject to change, though usually for the better!)
Total Monthly Income: $11598 (umm...holy crap!)
Gifts: $10 (Valentine's Day Treat!)
Student Loan: $619
Utilities (water/sewer, gas, electric, etc): $349
Services (phone, computer backup, garbage, cable*, etc.): $285
(*reimbursed through hubby's company)
Leftover Leaf Cleanup Bill: $150*
(*he still has not billed us and I'm not calling again. This is his last chance.)
Auto Insurance: $73
Credit Cards (minimum payments): $299
Auto Loan: $198
Early Childhood Program (spring session fee): $120
Total Expenses: $5525
Difference (to be applied towards credit cards): $6073 (woo hoo!)
Still need to do an accounting for how we did in Jan but I think I'm out of time this morning so it looks like it will have to wait again.
So here's where we're at with our Jan budget so far:
Hubby's Job (after tax): $5271 / $5271
Hubby's Hobby Income: $492 / $592 (revised up from $520)
My PT-WFH Job: $265 / $617 (revised up from $385)
Last Month's Extra (held for EF): $593 / $593
Total Monthly Income: $7073 (revised up from $6769)
Groceries: $609 / $861
Gasoline: $249 / $230 (over budget)
Misc: $261 / $700
Entertainment: $163 / $250
Gifts: $52 / $50 (close enough!)
Emergency Fund: $990 / $990
Also, our water bill was higher than expected:
City Utilities (water/sewer,etc): $97.90 / $81.90
Most of the other utility/service bills will come in the second half of the month. At this point I am projecting a difference in income vs expenses of at least:
Difference (to be applied towards credit cards): $225
So far within budget on the new grocery budget! Though just barely. I have two trips left this month and to not go over, they both need to be $125 or under. Luckily that is about how much I'm expecting them to be so hopefully that will work.
I think I need to start making a list of recipes that are healthy and cheap. Food is kind of a splurge for us, not because we buy lots of snacks, but because we buy lots of fresh produce and fish and extra lean meats and whole grain items that just seem to cost a little more. Plus, I do a lot of cooking. Eating a highly nutritious, diverse and balanced diet is very important to me and my long term health goals. Which is one of the reasons this budget area has been so hard for me. You can't just not get more food when you see your funds are running low like you can for other budget categories.
But I think a list of low cost recipes would be an easy way to reduce costs when I see that I'm starting to get too close for comfort to my budget limit. In the long run, maybe I'll even get enough of these low cost recipes that I love that I can move my budget down to the low cost level! (
The miscellaneous category is still doing great as well. I think what I have it at is probably too high right now but I'm still figuring it out. Some of that category used to be lumped in with food, and Xmas made a mess of things too. We just haven't been doing this long enough yet to know what's reasonable there. Also, my feet are starting to hurt when I run which I think is due to the fact that my running shoes are well past the point of needing replacement. That's probably going to cost at least $80 for a decent pair and I need to do it before I end up injuring myself. And then there's the meat thermometer I caught on fire in the broiler this week. Don't ask. But it needs replacing as well.
Gas was higher because I did end up having to take my daughter back to college at the end of her break, and because we let her use our vehicle for driving to work while she was here. I think I have a pretty good idea of what that budget should be now, so next month I will adjust for that.
And finally the utility bill...apparently we have a toilet that is running water constantly. (At least I've been tracking closely enough to realize something was wrong!) After almost getting completely ripped off by one plumber earlier this week, (he was going to charge me quite a bit more than an entire new toilet would cost!), I have another much more reasonable person coming today to fix it. Hopefully that won't cut in to our bottom line too much because other than our emergency fund, we don't have a budget for home repairs yet.
We are less than a month away now from finding out what hubby's raise/bonus will be, as well as finalizing our taxes for our big expected return. I am on pins and needles, with spreadsheets just waiting for that data to come in! Sad, huh? Also, as you can see, my home business has finally picked up again! I think my slump is finally over and hopefully we can count on more steady cash flow for the next few months.
This will be the first month I post actual numbers admitting how much we stayed (or not) within budget categories. Primarily because, to be completely honest, this is the first month I've even really looked at it that way. I have tracked my spending for a long time, but it was always more of an after the fact thing that just gave me a fuzzy idea of about how much we were spending in a given area. (Or how we had screwed ourselves once we were already screwed). We sometimes said things like "money is tight right now, so we should try not to buy anything we don't really need for a few weeks". But we did not say things like "We've already reached our entertainment budget allotment for the month so I guess we can't go see that movie we had wanted until next month."
Our new budget is still a work in progress. This is only the third month of our Total Money Makeover (TMM) and we're still kind of getting the hang of this. I haven't gotten a good feel yet for what the normal fluctuations are in certain categories, and although I very much want to set some goals, I'm unclear in some cases of just how to go about making it somehow be less than it used to be. And the month of Dec., with all it excesses and celebrations, is not a great month for learning about things like that. But I think Jan. will be. And I think we've make some headway none the less.
In a previous post I reported the entire budget, including fixed expenses. Here though I'm only going to report the things that were more discretionary (i.e. the ones we are more directly answerable for). So here goes:
Groceries $1,117 (spent) of $1,250 (budgeted)
Gasoline $208 of $270
Misc $686 of $500
Gifts $638 of $700
Auto Repairs $993 of $0
Leaf Service $0 of $150
Entertainment $235 of $250
Overall: $235 under-budget (not counting the car repair which came from the emergency fund)
And now, my assessment, though feel free to chip in with your own...
We came under-budget in our totally ridiculous grocery budget! Woo hoo!! Okay, so *maybe* that's not really all the impressive. Especially when you consider that that budget amount was set when I was still including some misc household purchases with our groceries, and I have since changed that. And on a related note, you may also notice that, lo and behold, our misc budget goal was not met. But, you will also recall that this past week was the first time we dispensed with our more expensive grocery delivery service to shop at our local super store instead. Additionally, both holiday baking and my daughter being home from college for the month have added to the bill. Plus there were 5 grocery days this month instead of 4.
Whatever, I could go on and on. But the main point here is just that next month should be better now that we are shopping in person rather than though a delivery service. I will be lowering this budget category next month but also raising the misc one a little now that we have shifted our expense accounting. May need another month or so to see how it all washes out.
Gas: Lower than expected again. I ended up not having to pick my daughter up from college at the end of the semester. Also, we don't travel nearly as much as we used to given we are spending less on entertainment, and a car repair we had done in late Sept. seems to have done wonders for our gas mileage as well. Additionally, the price of gas is pretty low right now. We are trying to help my daughter out with expenses over her break by allowing her to drive our vehicles to work without paying for gas herself since she is saving for college, so that will raise it some. Though at the same time, hubby has had time off for the holidays so that lowered it. But we had no problem meeting this goal this month and I think I will lower it a little more next month again.
Entertainment: We were a little under budget here again this month and if it had not been for the holidays, I think we would have spent quite a bit less. I have gotten a lot of negative comments about this budget of our in the past being very high. Perhaps this is one of the areas we are spoiled from our past life. Compared to our spending in this category before our TMM though, we are now spending less than half of what we used to and are getting more comfortable with further reductions. As mentioned before as well, quite bluntly, my husband is the main problem here. He has *mainly* been on board with this debt reduction plan, but he has limits to what he is willing to put up with and still be that way. Long story short, I may be able to reduce this a little more next month, but its near the bottom of where its going to get to I think.
Gifts: Ahh, Christmas. Thank goodness it only happens once a year! We did stay in budget, though party only because we had a $100 gift card we used as well. We didn't break out credit cards or anything though. Even despite not finding out until a month before hand that I would have a major loss in expected income this month, and also despite the huge unexpected car repair you see as well. In thinking over how we used to do things, I feel this Christmas is a win. In the past, we certainly would have gone further into debt this month, rather than continuing to make slow headway. I'm glad we're starting to get our priorities strait.
Auto Repair: Clearly we broke the bank on this one given we hadn't budgeted anything for it. Though even if we had, it wouldn't have been as much as we needed cause I think that is the biggest car repair bill I've ever paid! As discussed, it cleaned out our emergency fund, which we are now working on rebuilding. Someone make the comment on one of my blog posts that I didn't have to follow Dave Ramsey's $1000 emergency fund rule if I didn't feel comfortable keeping that little on hand, because personal finance is, well, personal. I liked that. And when we do come into some money this winter with our tax return and hubby's bonus, we will need to think long and hard about what we feel is best to do because I'm really not liking this current situation at all. Especially given that we are imminently in need of a dryer repair now as well. But that's a story for another day.
And finally, Leaf Service: We totally rocked on this category given that we didn't pay a thing! Mainly because, as suspected, he forgot to invoice us again. Too bad, so sad. Now that we've survived Xmas though, I am going to call and let him know that. He's a good guy and I wouldn't want to short change him. (Though seriously, he really needs to work on that.) Before people get all hot and bothered about this category again, please remember that this was a service we signed up for before we started our TMM. We are not currently getting it, but the prior work does need to be paid for. We have not yet decided what we will do this coming summer. There are a number of things it will depend on. And I will be willing to take more comments on it then.
In the next couple of days I will post our new budget for Jan. taking this assessment into account. This was predicted to be the hardest month of our TMM debt reduction plan though, and it's now over. We made it. And in another couple months the real progress will begin.
Well, we managed to get through Dec., the month I projected to be the tightest in our near future, with less financial distress than anticipated. The new side work hobby and I both had come in helped a lot. Jan. will still be a little tight, but without Xmas (and hopefully not another $1000 car repair), certainly much easier. And then come Feb we should finally be able to start making some real headway of this credit card/car loan debt. Can't wait to knock the first of those cards to the ground! Assuming we don't jump off a national fiscal cliff for more than a week or so. I predict a deal within 2 weeks from today. Who's with me?
I got a lot of great tips for cutting Christmas expenses in my blog comments. Unfortunately, the posts they referred to were old (from my old blog) and by the time I received them, we had already purchased everything but for the stockings. We did manage to keep within the budget we allotted ourselves though. And we also managed to temper costs a little by purposely asking family members who wanted gift suggestions for items that would have normally come out of the miscellaneous budget. So hubby got a not very exciting, but quite practical and needed belt, while I got sports bra and dust proof pillow cases (among other more fun things as well), and we were both pretty happy with it.
So strange to remember that as recently as 4 years ago, we were still willing to break out the credit cards for Christmas purchases this time of year, citing plans to pay it off "some time later". The idea of going further into to debt for something so non-essential is incredibly disturbing to me now. I am not entirely sure when this point of view changed for me but I am glad to realize it has. Now I just need to work more on better prioritizing the spending of money I do have as well.
As for our tapped out emergency fund...I don't want to get too ahead of myself given that the end of the month is still a few days away. I feel like this just invites disaster to come. But I *think*, that maybe, just possibly, if luck continues to shine upon us, we will be able to put about $650 back into it next week. And I feel fairly confident (but in a not at all cocky way fairies of fate!) that we will be able to put the remaining $350 back in by the end of Jan. as well. And once that's out of the way we are back to baby step 2 again! (Please forgive my paranoid ravings. There's just been too many bad turns of late.)
I'm interested to see what our grocery bill will be this week as well given it will be our first shopping trip at our superstore instead of the grocery delivery service. And given that I have put on at least 3 lbs in Xmas cookies alone over the past two weeks, perhaps we should go light on supplies this coming week anyways. Though not until after the annual family fondue dinner next week! Gosh I love the food this time of year.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!
This past week, I spent most of my free time either physically shopping for groceries (or xmas), comparison shopping for groceries, or entering data about my comparison shopping into a spread sheet. I swear, besides taking care of two sick kids and eating way too many Christmas cookies, that's ALL I did. I may have piles of boxes downstairs left to wrap for the kids, but I have grocery price data compiled for you dear readers!
I won't bore you all to tears though by listing things like the price of bananas and greek yogurt at 3 different stores. Instead, I'll just tell you the bottom line. We could reduce our weekly grocery bill by about 30% if we stop getting our groceries delivered. Thirty. Percent. That is a weekly savings of almost $50 or around $200/month. Or in other words, this single act alone would move us from the USDA's
I must admit, I knew we were paying a premium for our grocery delivery service. I figured the convenience cost was probably around 10-15%, and my husband and I both felt that with twins boys under the age of 3, that extra cost was worth it. But looking at the numbers, it is clear now that it is costing us at least double, possibly triple what we had assumed. And I hate to even think about how much more than that it was costing us before we started using our discount warehouse store for frozen and non-perishable items. Holy. Crap.
The idea of adding another hour to hour and a half of shopping into my week makes me want to gag though. I loath shopping, especially for something boring like groceries. But 30% is just too much. In fact, the amount that we could save by me spending that extra time each week is roughly equivalent to the amount I would make if I put that much extra time into my home business. So if it pays as well as what I do for a living pays anyway, how could it not be worth it?
I still, however, can not wrap my head around the idea of bringing twin toddler boys with me during these weekly expeditions. I know some people do manage this somehow. If it were the difference between me eating or not I suppose I would too...maybe. If they were aged 3 and 1, where one could be in the child seat while the other held on to the cart, I think it could work. Or if they were even just a little older, 3 instead of 2, so that I could trust them to stay next to me instead of both running in opposite directions at the same time (or just plain sitting down and refusing to move anywhere), then it might work. But right now, they no longer both fit in the seat and they do NOT stay by the cart. It takes forever to dig one of those double seater carts they never have enough of out of the cart return bins (all the while blocking traffic) and its almost impossible to push them through the snow anyways. Our discount warehouse store has huge, two child cart seats that I love, and that I do manage with the boys occasionally. But these new weekly trips at the local super store -not possible yet.
Hubby, however, after looking over the numbers, has agreed to watch them for me on the weekends while I go. Normally this is the absolute last way I would like to be spending our precious family and personal down time on the weekends. But we have almost no money allotted for family outings during this year of debt reduction anyways, and the boys right now are at the age where during the winter they are almost as often sick as not, so many weeks (like this one) we can't do anything anyways. And by this time next year when we're out of this mess, I might finally be able to trust them to stay by the cart and hold mommy's hand.
So thank you everyone for this kick in the pants I needed to come to this difficult decision. It will probably save us over $2500 this coming year, and that gets us to our debt goal all the sooner.
This is my first real time post since moving my blog to this site! It's a little scarier to write now that I know other people may be reading and weighing in on what I say. I think that's way better for my accountability than me silently justifying things to myself. But also harder, because obviously, not everyone is going to agree with my assessments. Most everyone has been very friendly and helpful though and are giving me a lot of new things to think about, so thank you!
One of the things I have gotten the most comments on is our grocery budget. Not too shocking considering it's ridiculous right now. I've decided the first step is to separate out the things that are not really groceries from it (things like toothpaste and wet wipes, etc), so I have a better idea of what the real numbers I'm working with are. Then we can address why our misc budget is suddenly so high later!
I also found a few interesting studies about this topic on line. This one by Planet Money
So first off, my numbers for Dec will not be completely accurate due to some resistance my husband has been having about using the appropriate account for making purchases. He does not like the inconvenience to have to divide one shopping trip up into two payments so as to make it easier to separate our discretionary spending from our non-discretionary spending. He's also not great about giving me receipts though. After going back and forth about this a few times, I think I have finally convinced him that he is only making his life easier at the expense of making my life harder, since I am the one trying to keep track of all these things for us. Anyways, I think it will be better going forward. And for the big grocery trips I do have all the data from this month. But the accounting for the little side trips made during the week make not be accurate for this first half of the month.
So, as best I can tell, we have spent about $715 on groceries so far this month. We use our grocery delivery service once per week (though this month there are 5 Friday's instead of 4) and we use our discount warehouse store every other week, and this month there are two trips. I estimate then that we are about 57% done grocery shopping this month and therefore if spending stays the same, we will pay about $1025 on groceries this month. So, it looks like about 80% of our groceries+ budget really was for groceries, and the other 20% should probably be lumped in with misc expenses.
Now, how does that compare to the studies I mentioned? First off, percent of income. I am pretty sure this is based on gross rather than net pay. I don't really track our gross pay as carefully as our net pay, but I would sat it is roughly $8450/month. So, that means we are spending about 12% of our monthly gross income on food. It looks like the average american family is spending closer to 8.5% these days though, so this is high, unless I want to go back to 1982 when Americans were apparently spending more (which I do not). I'm actually a little surprised its not higher than that for us, considering how it feels each month. I guess that's probably because based on our net pay, its more like 16.5%.
Gallup says that, to no one's surprise, people making over $75K+ tend to spend more on groceries than people making less than that, and considerably more than people making below $30K. This suggests that it is normal we would be on the higher side of average, especially given what we may have been used to before we started all the debt reduction stuff. However, they also say that groceries cost a little less here in the midwest than other places, so maybe that's all cancelled out. Additionally my age group (30 somethings) tends to have higher grocery bills as well. These polls do not directly consider family size, however, which nationally is 3.14 (pi!) right now and we have more like 4.33 with my daughter at college). That would definitely make it higher as well. Regardless of what people tend to do in my situations though, that doesn't mean we might not need to do something different if we want to get out of debt faster.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the USDA says that a family of our size and age typically needs between $548 and $1067 to adequately provide for the nutritional needs of their family per month. Ahem. Apparently we're on the liberal plan, though at least we're not exceeding even that!
Well, it is clear after looking at all this data that there are changes that could be made. I don't ever see myself going on the thrifty plan. Food is just too important to me and I'm sure I will blog about that more later. And being only 2 1/2 months into this debt reduction thing, the low cost plan seems pretty far out to me as well. But I would like to make it a goal to start aiming to be within the moderate cost plan. That seems reasonable and frankly, necessary, if we want to make headway here.
I think I may visit a couple grocery stores soon with my weekly grocery delivery list and compare what I would have spent going there instead. I need to find out whether it is this service itself which is most increasing our costs or rather the types of items we are buying. And then we'll have to figure out what to do about that.
I haven't posted an actual numbers budget here yet, but I figure given how careful we will need to be these next few months, December is a good time to start. Explanations to follow. Here goes:
Hubby's Job (after tax): $5313
Hubby's Hobby Income: $220
My "Job": $120
Child Support Back-pay: $104
Total Income: $5757
Auto Insurance: $73
Credit Card 1: $60
Student Loan: $619
Credit Card 2: $42
Gym Membership: $102
Credit Card 3: $119
Auto Loan: $198
Credit Card 4: $78
City Utilities: $82
Cell Phone Service: $151
Natural Gas: $90
Leaf Removal Service: $150
Total Expenses: $6532
Okay, so before my non-existent audience jumps down my neck about a few items on there, allow me to explain myself. First of all, our gym membership. A bit costly, I agree, and that is certainly one of those things they always recommend canceling at the beginning of any big get out of debt plan. But the assumption is usually that you're not using it enough for it to be worth it. And nothing could be farther from the truth in our case. You see, our gym provides 2 free hours of child care per day for stay at home mommies like me to take advantage of and not go crazy. Either my husband or I, and not uncommonly both, take a trip to the gym pretty much Every Single Day. No, I am not exaggerating, and we have both been doing this for over a year now so I'm pretty sure its not a phase. Additionally, since we started going to the gym, we have lost a combined total of over 100 pounds. This has brought both our BMIs into the healthy range and allows us to get a $1200/yr reduction in our health insurance premium costs. And guess what? That pays for the gym. So I think that's a valid expense.
The leaf removal service. Well, all I can say in defense is that my husband spent just about every moment of his weekend free time for a month last year trying to take care of this on his own, and we still did a completely half ass job. With two small boys who cannot be kept contained for any length of time without a fence, (nor kept in the cold that long), we just don't have the time for this right now. An extravagance, yes, but so, so worth it.
To be honest though, this is really an extension of the lawn mowing service we had this past summer. Also something we felt we did not have time for, though not as time consuming as the leaves I'll admit. And we had not yet started our Total Money Makeover then. Not sure what we're going to do about that next lawn season yet. If the boys are at the point where they can be outside with me while I do it, it might be possible again. I am hoping my business will pick up again by then though so that we won't need to feel bad about making that splurge again. Because we loved it and our yard looks so much better now.
One final note, while he does a great job, our lawn guy is horrible with his billing. We haven't yet actually received this leaf removal bill, and I have a feeling I am going to have to remind him he added us to his leaf list. He is a decent guy and I would not want to take advantage of him - but - if he did forget again, I may wait to remind him until late February or so.
Entertainment - that's the allowance hubby and I give ourselves so that we have at least a little fun money. I've actually cut this budget category down quite a bit from what it used to be because we've both been pretty good at cutting it back and we have agreed to let go of date nights out for a year. But if I give hubby any less than what it currently is, he will not be willing to do this anymore. He's struggling as it is. So that's that.
Yes, we have expensive iPhone data plans. All I can say is that we live on them. There was a time not long ago that I felt they were completely unnecessary (hubby likes to remind me of that from time to time). But now, everything from our recipes, to workout routines, to social networking, to downtime gaming is on them and I'm not even sure what I would do without mine anymore. For better or worse, my phone is like an extension of myself at this point. So extravagant or not, we're not getting rid of that. We did cancel our home phone a while back though.
Garbage - just a note that that is for two months worth of service.
Gasoline - This one might be considerably lower. Will depend on whether I need to get my daughter from college at the end of the semester or not. Its amazing how much less we spend on gas than we used to though now that we don't go anywhere! Still figuring out what a good number for it is now.
Groceries+ - as I've mentioned, we're working on it. Also, please note that the plus indicates this category contains other items too. Things like paper towels and tooth paste and really anything we usually buy at the grocery store. (Working on starting to separate out this category). We've started shopping at a discount ware house store every couple weeks for many things, but we're still using our more expensive grocery delivery service for most perishable things, though we have almost halved our bill most weeks with the cost reducing measures we're taking. I think there's more we can do here, but Xmas and having 5 grocery days in Dec. instead of 4 is going to make this month hard. Someday the boys will be big enough to make store shopping feel more doable again too I'm sure, but by then hopefully we'll be out of this mess.
We do have some leftover buffer from this month that will help us out a little with that $773 difference, as well as some other possibilities I've discussed, but its going to be a tough month. Without Xmas in there, Jan should be a little better.
(Another old one from Nov)
We're half way though November and so I figured it'd be a good time to check in and see how on track we are. We're doing okay. The highlights:
Groceries+ (includes misc things too): $626/$1200
While not included in the total above, we just finished grocery shopping for the week of Thanksgiving and still managed to keep the weekly total within $200 (no big box warehouse visit this week) so that's a good sign! I eventually want to lower the grocery budget a bit, but next month just happens to be another month with 5 grocery days instead of 4, plus Xmas, so I don't think it will be happening that month. Jan. for sure though!
Our shopping budget looks a little sad but it should be clarified that about $120 of that is for the Apple tv and antennae that have allowed us to cancel our cable service as of last Thurs. (Woo hoo!) Still a splurge, but one that will pay for itself within two month. Also, another $214 of it was from hubby's new iPhone 5 splurge, which he got $98 back for by selling his old phone. Though only as an amazon credit so we'll be using that for Xmas rather than credit cards.
The only number of here that really irks me is the entertainment budget. Despite that being the only flexible category we're not over in. What irks me is that hubby and I are each supposed to get $100/month individually do do with as well will ($20/wk), plus another $100 for joint splurges. Its half way though the month so that should be about $50 each individually at this point. Looking over the transactions though, I would say about $8 of that is mine, maybe $30 is joint and the rest is his. And that's just the things that weren't paid with by cash. And I wouldn't say this is atypical. I minded less when we weren't being so serious about this. But despite how pissy he gets sometimes about lack of funds, clearly I am sacrificing more here than he is.
Regardless, these next two months are going to be a lot of sacrifice for both of us. I have only 1 1/2 child support back pay checks left! That is about $500 less a month we are going to have to adjust to during a period when my home business is making about $500 less per month than usual as well. I have one big job that often comes in just before Xmas which I am anxiously waiting to hear on next week. If that doesn't come through though, Xmas is going to be rough this year and we may not be getting new tires for the SUV after all. I may even get a second part-time job soon. Just not sure how to meet the Dec/Jan gap otherwise. Gonna be a rough couple months until the tax return comes in, but we are not giving up!