I’m back from our vacation! It was a really great time spent with family. There was a lot of driving (around 1,500 miles) and a lot of fun.
I’m trying something new this month. B and I have never been good with budgeting. I have tried setting up a budget but something always happens and I give up. I have tried the cash system. Just when things are going good I get an unexpected bill or something else adds more money.
I always find its hard to plan the next month when you don’t know whats going to happen. Some months we are very busy and spend a lot of money. Other months we don’t spend much at all. I find its hard to put a limit on things like gas and entertainment. We may not go out to the bar at all one month. Then the next we might go out once a week.
B and I have never actually added up our monthly spending. I have printed it out and highlighted things and noticed how much we spend on certain items. But I have never sat down to put where every single penny goes each month. Thats where the Monthly Review comes in. I am always very aware of where our money goes…at least I thought. I knew July would be a hard month but some of the numbers completely shocked me.
*See that?…Number 5?…$625 on gas!! Holy cow! We traveled around 2,000 miles just on vacations. I knew we spent a lot on gas but to see that number is outrageous. We used B’s truck when we go anywhere farther than 100 miles. My car wont handle the drive but B’s is a gas hog.
*As you also noticed we spent over $2,000 on B’s School. He goes to Community College so its something we don’t want to take out more student loans for. $2,000 is something we can handle to spend. If it was more than that we might have to take out a loan but we really don’t want to add anymore to our student loan. It doesn’t make sense to add all that interest when we can pay for it now. It really wiped all of our savings but we wanted to get it out of the way.
*Food was also really high. We bought a lot of food for the beach and some fast food for all the travels. We don’t eat fast food at all so it was a change. I packed a lot of snacks and food for the road but we still managed to spend more than we normally do.
*We spent a week at the beach and spent under $350! Now that doesn’t include gas but we did get to stay for free. $350 for a week at the beach is great on my book.
If you exclude the gas, school, food and beach we didn’t do all that bad. The Target trip was right before the beach and so was the clothes. We also spent money for fishing license for B. Those are all purchases we wouldn’t normally spend in a month.
I am really glad that I decided to chart out our monthly spending. I think it will really help us to really think about things before we spend and help us to save.
B and I have decided to try a no spending week. We spent 85 dollars on groceries when we came back from the beach (we had no food in the house). We will also be going to a wedding this saturday so we will need to by a gift. I’m thinking around 30$ range. It may sound cheap but I love finding ways to be creative with gifts to make it look like we spent more.
August shouldnt be a bad month for us. Its B’s birthday!..along with my nephew, my brother-in-law and about 8 other relatives. We will be doing birthdays on a budget. I will either be giving gift cards to dinner along with free babysitting from me or I will be baking things. Other than gifts we have nothing special planned that will have us cost more money!
My main August goal is to spend less than we make. We exceeded our monthly income by almost $2,000 in July and we can’t have another month like that.
How do you chart your monthly spending?