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February 5, 2018

Spending Update - January 2018

Just over a year ago, I claimed I would start doing monthly spending reports. That didn't happen, and I'm going to blame it on 2017 being a very busy year. However, this year is shaping up to be a lot more relaxed, so I'm going to try to get monthly reports up. I'm off to a good start with the January report, although our spending is off to a bad start. Read on to see the numbers.

What We Spent in January
We were definitely way over budget this month, but we knew most of the expenses were coming, as mentioned in the year-end spending report. Enough text, here are the numbers:

2018 Budget
Monthly Budget
January Spending
 $    5,500
 $       458
 $        659
Property Tax
 $    5,400
 $       450
 $            -  
 $    4,000
 $       333
 $     1,409
 $    3,500
 $       292
 $            -  
 $    3,500
 $       292
 $        607
 $    3,000
 $       250
 $          45
Dining Out
 $    2,200
 $       183
 $        301
Home Improvement
 $    1,500
 $       125
 $           55
 $    1,500
 $       125
 $           99
 $    1,300
 $       108
 $           30
 $    1,100
 $          92
 $           48
Cash Withdrawals
 $    1,000
 $          83
 $            -  
Home Insurance
 $        700
 $          58
 $        725
Personal Care
 $        450
 $          38
 $           49
 $        400
 $          33
 $     1,040
 $        200
 $          17
 $            -  
 $        150
 $          13
 $        127
 $    2,950
 $    5,194

I told you the numbers didn't look great, but as usual, I've got some good excuses:

Groceries - $201 Over Budget
This overage is almost completely explained by hosting and feeding ~30 people for a birthday party. That probably won't happen again this year, although we definitely need to keep on top of our grocery spending.

Cars - $1,076 Over Budget
This overage was expected. It paid for the last of the catch-up maintenance on our truck, as well as six months of insurance for the Miata.

Bills - $315 Over Budget
Our utilities are an area of concern, but this overage isn't as bad as it seems. January included two months of payments for a couple of our utilities.

Dining Out - $118 Over Budget
This is a one-time overage. We ate out more than usual and paid for my parents a couple times in January. However, it was while I was doing some work for a friend, so this is more than offset by the income I earned on the job.

Home Insurance - $667 Over Budget
This isn't an issue at all; our annual insurance payment is due in January.

Healthcare - $1,007 Over Budget
This was another expected overage. We paid off the remaining balance for our braces. After this, we should be back on track in the healthcare department.

Fees - $115 Over Budget
This is another non-issue. We paid our annual AAA membership, which is the only "fee" we really plan on paying. Now that I think about it, I will probably include it in the car budget next year.

What We Bought In January
Despite the big budget overage, we actually did really well in discretionary spending in January. Here's a look at what we bought.

I bought and replaced a whole bunch of parts on our truck, including the water pump, both radiator hoses, thermostat, thermostat housing, power steering pump and pressure line, steering gear, pitman arm, both batteries, serpentine belt, and all the associated fluids. It was a pretty major undertaking, but it will hopefully give us another 200,000 miles of reliable transportation.

We bought a couple accessories for our car seat, which we should have got a long time ago. They are a couple seat protectors and a much easier to use belt to hold the seat in place.

Home Improvement
I bought some plumbing parts to upgrade all the toilets in our house. Very exciting, I know.

I bought some wool socks. They're different (and cheaper) from the ones I've previously recommended. I'm still evaluating them. I'll let you know what I think at some point.
I also bought a pair of night driving glasses. They seem to help reduce the glare of headlights a little, but I was hoping for a bit more impact. However, they are quite nice when it's foggy or overcast.

Personal Care
Chrissy bought some ingredients to make her own body wash. Those ingredients were castile soap and vegetable glycerin. They were combined with some things we already had very successfully.

Credit Card Rewards in January
We are off to a great start on our credit card rewards. Don't expect this pace to continue.

Cash Value
Chase Points
 $        1,359
Cash Back
 $           230
 $      1,589

Did you stay on budget in January? Have any questions for us? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. I was over budget $43 for January. Not bad! That included a couple purchases that I hadn't considered like Cirque tickets and a new security camera for the house. I'm still tinkering with my individual category budgets though. I need to revisit for a more accurate budget, include more for incidentals and figure out how to more thoughtfully amortize larger, one-time annual expenditures, like insurance.

    1. You did a lot better than us; keep it up!
      Budgeting the big annual expenses is hard when you look at monthly figures. I just pay them and ignore it when they mess up the monthly budget. Some things you can pay over time, but there's often a fee associated with that, which I'm not willing to pay.