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April 5, 2018

Spending Update - March 2018

I'm sad to say I failed to blog last week, but I have a good excuse, which I will get into below. This week I'm back on track with our latest monthly spending update.

What We Spent in March
We went a little over budget this month due to a few larger than usual expenses, but we did pretty well overall. Here' the numbers:

2018 Budget
March Budget
March Spending
Jan-Mar Spending
Jan-Mar Budget
 $    5,500
 $     458
 $      405
 $     1,661
 $    1,374
Property Tax
 $    5,400
 $         -  
 $          -  
 $     2,896
 $    2,700
 $    4,000
 $     169
 $      387
 $     2,272
 $    1,107
 $    3,500
 $     292
 $      278
 $        278
 $        872
 $    3,500
 $     292
 $      497
 $     1,378
 $        872
 $    3,000
 $     250
 $      392
 $        619
 $        750
Dining Out
 $    2,200
 $     183
 $      199
 $        728
 $        550
Home Improvement
 $    1,500
 $     125
 $      135
 $        403
 $        375
 $    1,500
 $     125
 $         76
 $        212
 $        375
 $    1,300
 $        90
 $         80
 $        400
 $        270
 $    1,100
 $        92
 $         92
 $        165
 $        275
Cash Withdrawals
 $    1,000
 $        83
 $      300
 $        300
 $        250
Home Insurance
 $        700
 $         -  
 $          -  
 $        725
 $        700
Personal Care
 $        450
 $        38
 $         50
 $        170
 $        113
 $        400
 $        33
 $         85
 $     1,125
 $        100
 $        200
 $        17
 $          -  
 $            -  
 $          50
 $        150
 $        13
 $          -  
 $        147
 $          38
 $  35,400
 $  2,259
 $     2,974
 $  13,478
 $  10,770

What We Bought in March
I usually don't go into the details of our grocery purchases because they aren't that interesting, but this month I did buy one noteworthy item--half a gallon of Cholula Chipotle hot sauce. It may seem a little ridiculous, but buying hot sauce in bulk can provide some decent cost savings over time.

We bought more fuel than usual this month, including one $100+ fill-up for the truck. I don't feel too bad about that because the last time the truck got fuel was early December. It seems like we are succeeding at not driving it too much. That might change a little now that the Miata is gone.

We also bought one part for the truck when we discovered the cause of it's biggest problem--an occasional reluctance to start. It was a very disconcerting problem, especially for a vehicle we plan to drive into the wilderness. Luckily, I finally determined it was caused by the glow plugs not activating. The problem was the glow plug relay had burned out, so I ordered a much more robust version. I felt very clever because this is a pretty common problem, and many people put in beefy relays, but I found a seemingly identical one for significantly cheaper than what most people use.

This is what occupied much of my time, and a decent amount of money in the last week. Prior to a trip we took this weekend, there were a number of things I wanted to do to the camper. That included installing a new battery, some levels, lenses on a couple lights, and a number of other odds and ends. The most involved project was creating a platform that fits in our truck and guides the camper into place, which makes loading much easier. Along with that platform, I had to reinforce the bottom of the camper with some sturdy steel, which allowed me to practice my welding skills.

This category was larger than usual because we switched to a new ISP and had to pay $99 for installation. It was very satisfying to ditch Spectrum and give my business to a local outfit, but the peak speed of our new service is much slower, so we'll see how it works.

This category includes our big splurge for the month--a new (refurbished) cell phone for Chrissy. Her OnePlus One still worked, but I got tired of blurry photos of Frugal Babe, so I jumped on a great deal for a refurbished Google Pixel XL. So far, we are extremely happy with the purchase because the photos it takes are pretty spectacular. Along with the phone, we had to get a case, some screen protectors, and new USB-C cables.

There are two downsides to the new phone. The first is that it uses a different connector than my phone, which is kind of a pain. The second is that it's so nice it's making me want to buy one too.

One random household item we bought was some UV protectant spray for our hot tub cover. It has great reviews and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

We also bought a replacement hose for our Shark vacuum. Despite this expense, the Shark still seems like a better deal than the Dyson we were considering for 2-3x more.

Home Improvement
We are currently in the process of installing sliding "barn doors" between our master bedroom and bathroom, and we bought the last of the hardware for that this month. That included guides and handles for the doors. We previously bought the track on Amazon and were amazed how much cheaper it was there than at the home improvement stores.

We also bought a relatively large sack of wildflower seeds, which we scattered in our yard just before a record-setting rainfall. We're excited to see what will sprout.

We came in exactly on budget for clothing this month (very satisfying). That included a new swimsuit and some workout pants for Chrissy.

Did you buy anything fun in March? Let us know in the comments.

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