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Feeling the Pinch...

February 1st, 2012 at 08:03 am

I did fiscal chores last night - updating the spreadsheets.


Did good on the grocery budget. Squeaked by with about $500 for January. Apparently is still very doable for us. I've narrowed down overage to wine/beer and growing kids. But dh is being more mindful in cutting other costs. That said, we had shrimp for dinner. I think we can still clearly cut a lot of fat, if need be. I just need to report to dh on a monthly basis. He does the shopping and takes budget overages to heart.

Our spending actually looked pretty low and on track for January, but I came up with a negative $300 for the month. Last couple of months was kind of the same but *I forgot parents owed us $200* - stuff like that. So I initially thought I Was just missing some income.

So, pretty much, I couldn't find the $300, and it was giving me a headache. About to give up and look later, when I found it. Almost $200 on dining out. UGH! Plus it was dh's birthday and his dad's birthdays - gifts were purchased that were really beyond our super tight discretionary budget.

February is a short month and so plan of action is just to make up what I can next month. I am also getting state refund ($50-ish) so may just use that.

Our credit card cycle runs through Friday but pantry is filled and cars are gassed. NO-spend 3 days = easy peasy. I don't want one more cent on the credit card this month.

I told dh and the kids we would spend no money in February. We generally keep it pretty non-spend during tax season, so not a huge biggie. I just think we got used to a lot of freebies last year (credit card rewards) and were rolling in cash in December (birthdays and Christmas, etc.). The end result is that *normal* feels like a severe tightening of the reins. Hence the *ouch.* We just need a few months to re-adjust. There is an element of "some of my overtime can go to increased convenience costs during times of high stress." I just wasn't quite thinking $300/month for that. Maybe $100/month?

January is extra *ouch* because I only received one paycheck. $0 to savings. (1/1 paycheck was received 12/30 and put to 2011 financial goals - will get an extra check end of 2012 to make up for it).

But today is payday so I added 2/1 savings to the sidebar. $415 to savings, $10 interest to savings ($425 was exactly enough to cover heater repair from savings account, so not exactly forward progress, no to mention refi costs ready to go out of my hands - easy come, easy go), and $50 credit card reward to ROTH plus $750 ROTH contribution.

For bigger frame of reference, budget is tight, but we are on track to put away $30,000 this year. I need to remind myself, too. Easy to get caught up in feeling *broke* because can not afford a meal out. The big picture helps me relax. Secondarily, cash savings is for more immediate future. (I am tired of getting a lecture on inflation every time I mention I sent $5 to my savings account. Rolleyes Yes, that is why I don't put my long-term savings in cash! Wink )

I added some fiscal chores to my side bar:

1 - Some how I got an extra savings account at my CU with $1. I need to close that.

2 - I've got a ROTH with about $1000 in it that I really need to consolidate - I've got 3 other ROTHs with more substantial balances.

3 - I need to double check that my name is on kids' investment accounts. I know we got my name added to their CU savings account at some point (dh had opened them), but can't remember if I ever added my name to their Vanguard Funds. (They were opened in conjuction with dh's Vanguard ROTH, which was only in his name - no obvious way to add my name). Kind of hard to believe we didn't get that taken care of with his brain surgery and all, but were probably a little distracted (I think I remember feeling happy all our ducks were already in a row so I didn't have to worry about any of this - this duck being small and forgotten).

The kinds of things I had to write down lest I keep putting off.

2 Responses to “Feeling the Pinch...”

  1. frugaltexan75 Says:

    It is amazing how fast and easy it is to get used to having "more" than normal. It's a good thing for people who keep their eyes on their budget - can catch things much quicker. (Although that didn't stop me from multiple extra grocery stops the last couple weeks - mostly unnecessary.)

  2. Looking Forward Says:

    Eating out is a budget killer for sure. We try to keep it to once, maybe twice in a month. It can really add up!

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