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February 21, Monthly Summary

February 22nd, 2016 at 06:12 am

February 21:
$89 Groceries/Household
$14 Fuel for gas sipper ($1.84/gallon)
$17 Movies for 2 (LM's request)
$15 Girl Scout cookies ("gift" for niece)
$15 Birthday Gift for LM's bestie
Dinner: Salmon & Rice Pilaf

Salmon was on sale again this week so I made salmon last night for dinner. I looked up a new rice recipe. The kids could use the calories and they love fried rice or garlic butter rice (just rice with lots of butter and garlic!) But I know they ate junk all week (donuts, ice cream, eating out, etc.) and so made it more low key yesterday. I chose a rice pilaf recipe since I had all the ingredients on hand.

I did also make more pumpkin bread with leftover pumpkin. The pumpkin was a little iffy, so hopefully it turns out okay. (I Was going to make it last weekend but never got around to it).

I just consulted on birthday gifts with LM and he wanted to be a little silly. So we basically spent $15 on more of a gag gift. Will probably also pick up a $10 Target gift card to round out the gift. It is his best friend. (We just bought gift online, Amazon. Took about 5 minutes out of our day).

Edited to add: Gift already arrived, 9am this morning!

I did also just order a Target gift card online. We have free shipping with our Red Card. Will see if we get before next weekend. Would love to save a trip to Target this week. I was just thinking how nice it was to buy gifts online and how I could probably just get a gift card online too.

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It's appropriate to do a monthly summary at this point. We've never made big adjustments to our budget (try not to spend more money over time) and so kind of just subconsciously know our limits. I don't know that it's anything we overly think about. As things come up we know if we have the money for it.

But... Around the last week of the month I do sit down to pay bills and review. The reason is I have some bills due around the first of the month. & though the first is pay day for me, I don't have direct deposit. So I tend to just pay those bills with float and then pay the larger things when I actually get my check deposited. & with my bank's online bill pay I have to set these to pay a few days before they are due.

So, yesterday I set up to pay those bills. What I do is go through and enter all anticipated income and expenses in Quicken for the following month. & then I set up all the bills to be paid (which is just about $200 due on the first of the month). I won't pay off the credit cards until the month is over and I know the balance of this month's spending.

How I came out in Quicken was having -0- left for the rest of the month. (March 31 Quicken balance is -$0- once all February credit card charges are paid off). But that's not entirely accurate since our credit cards generally close on the 28th. Is more of a 28th-28th cycle and I just go with that. The calendar month tracking in my blog is not lining up with that completely. Pretty much my dining out card closes tomorrow and the gas/groceries and everything else card will close on Friday. So I pretty much have $0 until Friday. (They are closing earlier with the short month). But I also have enough float that I won't sweat it if anything comes up. Which is how we run it so tight and I say we never would have money left over at the end of the month. I have float to cover whatever random thing might come up before our credit card closes. I may have missed something, but for the moment it is literally breakeven/$0. It's just random that is where we are at.

& also, if we did have money left over at this point I'd probably make sure to take care of anything we had been putting off. If we had a little extra money left at the end of the month. Which is all the more reason we never have a surplus. There is always something.

Anyway, it's a pretty simple method to put everything into Quicken and see how much cash you have left once you pay off current credit card balances and all of next month's bills. I also put our monthly savings transfers into Quicken (pay ourselves first).

Since our credit card cycle will close in a few days, it looks like I will probably just be able to cover medical co-pay and birthday lunch with our monthly variable budget. I believe this is only the case because we had a REALLY easy month, and I am glad we got some spending out of the way in such an easy month (like haircuts and some extra trips to the movies, plus birthday lunch for Grandma). We did not have to feed our kids all week ($$$$ saved) and I don't remember the last time we spent so little on gas. ??? Never, since moving to our current city? Our gas spending included two out of town trips?!

Our monthly variable spending is $900 and our calendar month spending is $885 so far. On a calendar month basis we seem a little behind since we do have one more grocery run planned. But again, we have some float to cover that, so even if our credit cards were on a calendar month cycle I would just get groceries next weekend and not worry about it. I'd probably in that case pull $130 from short-term savings for medical co-pay and birthday lunch. We put aside extra money every month for bigger random expenses.

$900 monthly budget is generally $650 for groceries and $250 for everything else.

$885 spending 2/1 - 2/21:

$486 groceries
$ 76 fuel
$101 Eating out (includes birthday lunch)
$ 69 dh purchases
$ 12 moi purchases
$141 Other**

**Other is movies, haircuts, ebook, birthday gift, medical co-pay.

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