Thursday, February 07, 2008

Budget recap

Tomorrow is payday, and so we have officially reached the end of another budget month. I worked really hard to track everything this month, so I have a good feel for where we are. We did really well in some areas, and not well at all in others! All in all, we ended up about $60 over budget, which still left us $220 to send as an extra truck payment, so that makes me happy.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - for two people, we spend an obscene amount of money on food. I think a lot of this has to do with my love of cooking and my desire to constantly try out new things, and to use high quality ingredients whenever I can. I'm also a stock up shopper, so if I see a good sale I'll tend to buy it, even if it's not in my plan. This is something I need to work on! I budget $300 a month for groceries (which usually includes over the counter medicine, cleaning products, paper products, and stuff like that, but not pet food or supplies). We were about $86 over this month.

I also budget $200 for eating out. Usually we blow this figure out of the water, by $100 or more. We made a concerted effort not to eat out as much, and we actually came in under budget by about $5! Yay!

We also went way over budget in gas. I knew we would, with the new gas-hog truck, but I didn't know where to put the benchmark so I left it alone for this month. I budgeted $250, we were over by $57. I'll bump it to $300 for next month, though I think we would have come in close to budget if not for a few extra trips across the river because of my grandfather's death, including one in the truck because of ice. These things happen, though, so it's important to plan for them when budgeting!

Our other over-budget areas were donations (I made an extra donation this month), electric (our electric bill shot up $15 and I still haven't figured out why!), and water (just a couple of bucks). We came in right at budget or with a couple of bucks to spare on most of the rest of the categories.

Our saving grace overall was our car insurance - because we traded in two cars when we bought the truck, we got a credit and our bill was $100 lower than we expected this month. This won't last but it sure helped fill in some of the gap this month!

So, it's time to rework things to start over fresh with a new month. I may try to go cash-only on groceries this time to see if it helps, we'll see. We're coming to the bottom of the freezer (finally!), so I'll probably need to buy some meat this month, but if I make a concerted effort to use more pantry stuff, we may come out ok.

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