Tag Archives: monthly expenses

Week 82: November Recap

Last month was a typical month as far as expenses go in all areas that we normally expect.  What was especially nice was we were able to put $2000 into savings, and the month before we able to put in $2700.  That is helpful as this month, December, property taxes are due, and that we can pay for out of our paychecks.  There is money for back up in the savings account!  More than last year, and certainly more than the year before – our hard work is paying off in small ways, but when we need the cash, it’s far easier to come by.  I have made a small policy shift to increase our emergency funds to $10,000.

Food in both November and December can become a bit more simply because of the holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas usually mean an uptick in the cooking.  Final figures showed we spent $163.12 for our holiday meals, one hosted, and one as a guest for Thanksgiving.  December may be less expensive, but we haven’t gotten to the planning stages of that yet.  We won’t be hosting anything big, but maybe a small gathering of family.

We sold some books and made $450 from them – we have a lot of books!  The result is we cleaned up a lot of area in the house and in the garage.  Simplifying?  I don’t know about that because now we have room to rearrange things . . . like a lot of boxes in the garage.  Yesterday, we began moving things around in the garage, from the “small” garage to the “big” garage (our garage is partitioned into two areas).  Empty bookshelves in the garage have household supplies once piled on the floor.

Ahead, in December, there may be some interesting expense differences in food, or none at all.  Because of some dietary issues, our food bill may go up.  That is going to be interesting to watch.  It’s nothing radical, but will require a focus on different foods and different ways to cook things.  From my vantage point today, it doesn’t seem likely to be a big change at all.  Dog food costs will be increasing as we had to change brands after seeing that one puppy was not doing as well as hoped (allergies!).

Expenses for November:

  • Electricity:  $200.00
  • Household gas:  $21.77
  • Gardener:  $100.00
  • Trash:  $60.02
  • Fuel:  $37.40
  • Groceries:  $479.41
  • Holiday Groceries:  $163.12
  • Alcohol:  $27.33
  • Chromebook:  $119.00
  • Books:  $10.70
  • Mr. 182 Hobby:  $86.66
  • Software:  $79.00
  • Household Expenses & Personal Supplies:  $154.30
  • Dog Food:  $30.02

Of course, all the usual expenses of mortgage and insurance and credit card payments continue on their steady course, and are moving in a downward direction.  Savings continues to increase.  December will be a break-even month because of property taxes.  Life continues, and we are enjoying it a lot!



Week 118: March Recap, Taxes, and the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Monday, 3 April 2017

I hate March.  It’s one of the most expensive months on our yearly calendar, and downright depressing.  Taxes are the reason.  You pay all year, and then pay again.  However, we are better prepared than just a year ago, when we started 182 Mondays, and I need to really focus on that as I write because this monthly recap is not pretty, and I’m feeling really depressed . . . but I’ll get over it!

As always, a different month, different expenses.  In March, we paid state taxes, received a federal refund, and paid property taxes.  It was also time to restock our coffee supplies and meat supplies.  These all added to the costs for March.

  • Taxes paid:  $4295.00
  • Credit cards paid:  $1602.00
  • Student loans:  $786.00
  • Electricity:  $167.00
  • Mobile phone:  $198.00
  • Land line:  $80.00
  • Household gas:  $65.00
  • Gardener:  $100.00
  • Insurance (house, car, life):  $612.00
  • Trash:  $60.00
  • Dog food:  $38.00
  • Gasoline:  $97.00
  • Groceries:  $612.00
  • Coffee:  $64.00
  • Household supplies:  $505.00
  • Dining out:  $61.00
  • Hobbies (major parts purchases):  $745.00
  • Vehicle registration:  $238.00
  • Savings:  $1000.00

Total costs, without including savings, is $10,326.00, and with bimonthly savings of $500 each, it is $11,326.00.  We have been saving for taxes, so that pulled money out of the savings account; this brings total monthly costs to $7031.00, not including mortgage.

Observations:  This month was expensive beyond the normal allocations.  Taxes in all directions, but as they were anticipated and saved for, there was not any more stress than is normal when you have to write those checks!  Next month, our mobile phone will drop, I think to $160.00.  Groceries should remain under $400.00, trying for $350.00.  Coffee supplies should be good for the rest of the month – we buy about 6 lbs. of coffee at a time, to blend and to grind at home.  Vehicle registration was another annual fee.  Household gas was up because we had several weeks of wind, cold, and rain.  Hobby supplies were high as Mr. 182 is working on making a fancy brew rig and I bought some art supplies and a book.

Remembering to put money into savings every month is a top priority around here!

Looking ahead to April:  This next month I want to stay on budget as much as possible.  Overall monthly expenses, including mortgage, are about $8100. 00.  Add in savings, and we have $9100.00.  Again, credit cards are the biggest problem, but we are paying out minimally $1500.00 / month.  Yes, we could change our mobile phone charges, but the in-laws pay us a monthly co-pay; Mr. 182 is reimbursed for the land line, which he needs as he works from home.  This reduces our monthly bills by about $180.00 / month.  Hobbies were planned and budgeted for last month, but no high costs are expected in the foreseeable future.

And down the road, we expect to begin saving $2000.00 / month for vacation, while still allocating $1500.00 for the credit cards.

The fact is, we are really tired of paying on the credit cards!  These should be paid off – they better be! – by the end of May 2019, in time for the end of 182 Mondays to Retirement!  To make this bitter pill more tolerable, I calculated our net worth, and that was fairly good news . . . the question is, do you include life insurance value or not when you calculate it???

There is light at the end of the tunnel.


Monday 122: Expenses & Observations

Monday, 6 March 2017

Once in awhile we gain instant insights into ourselves.  Things right in front of us suddenly become crystal clear.

I made this observation last week:  We fall apart at the end of the month by spending a bit less carefully because we know there is more money up ahead in the form of a paycheck.  We don’t spend unnecessarily, we just aren’t as careful.

That’s rather self-defeating!

On the other hand, reconciling money brings its own insights that are numerical in value.  I’ve learned that limiting our food budget to $350 / month – no matter how long – is not really a good thing.  Instead, averaging about $90 / week is very do-able.  We live within it, do a couple of trips a week to keep produce fresh, and are quite happy with it as a habit.

February 2017 Expenses


Looking at this, it may seem excessive in areas.  It is!

  • Our credit card payments take a lot of cash – this is one reason why we are considering paying off a part of it with money from an IRA.
  • Water is expensive in our part of the world.
  • We just cut our mobile service by about $80 / month, and in April I think it will be even smaller (we bought our phones and paid for them through the mobile service company).  Because we have 2 or more lines, we now received a 5th line, with unlimited data, for free.  This will be great for the laptop when we are on the road, and in the middle of nowhere!
  • We keep a landline for emergencies (what if the cellular service went out?).
  • Mr. 182 got a bonus, and we stuck most of it in savings.
  • We upped our credit card payments by paying for things as they went on them.
  • We had a vacation-planning event with the in-laws, and I decided to make coq au vin and bought a bit more wine than needed (and it was delicious!).  Recipe to follow.

Continuing on, nothing is changing except us – which is the reason we got into the mess we are now changing!

Monday 147: August Recap


Monday, 12 September 2016

Time to take a peek at the August expenditures. It was an expensive month, but the expenses, for the most part, had been planned for.

The big payoff was the credit cards. We worked very hard at this and paid one off (see last week!).  We made three payments, the biggest to pay off one card.  Cost toward all three cards: $3330.00

Next kicker was our vacation up to Mammoth Lakes. Total cost for the week, including gas, food, fees, and whatever, was about $1750.00.

The regular monthly bills were met, but the areas which increased were in the areas of groceries ($553.00) and personal supplies and unplanned little things: $264.00.  August was another party month (we’re such wild ones!).

Utilities vary every month because one month we get a water bill, and the alternating month is the trash bill. This month was water: $208.00. Rates are high in California, and we have cut back a good amount. Electricity: $167.00. Gas: $16.00.

Hobbies are always an expected expense. This is for brewing: $19.00. This was probably yeast.

August was expensive, but there was no accrued debt. And that is all because we planned!