July marks the second month of tracking my spending for this site. I’ll be honest, it’s a less than perfect system: I don’t actually track my spending, or even break my budget down into detailed categories. My paycheck gets divided into 3 categories: Expenses, Savings/Debt Repayment, and Spending. But, since I use online banking and my debit card for just about everything, it isn’t too hard to pull the information together each month to create a breakdown:
As I noted in early July, I’m covering 100% of our rent for the time being, so that amount has doubled. Our Grocery/Household spending is also a little higher this month. Although, I am making a small weekly trip for my Grandma to pick up anything she wants/needs that isn’t provided in her new assisted living facility, which I pay for with my debit card, and I haven’t been very good at keep track of what I get reimbursed for. Again, my system of tracking this isn’t exactly perfect!
Restaurant spending more than doubled in July. When bad things happen in life, I turn to restaurants as a way to comfort everyone. A cancer (mis)diagnosis equaled BWW, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster. And an extra 3 pounds on my already chubby body. I obviously need to rethink this…
Yes, I did spend $40 having my dog groomed. And yes, I do think it was worth every penny. Hannah is a rescue from a puppy mill. Her full history isn’t known, but her injuries and personality show she suffered a lot of trauma during the first half of her life. For years I tried grooming her myself. She doesn’t get aggressive, she just completely wigs out. Like, drooly, trembly, liquid poo everywhere kind of freak out. I’m not very skilled with clippers or scissors, and Pekingese have a TON of hair. It took hours, sometimes there was blood, and in the end we were both traumatized. And she would look ridiculous for weeks until it finally started growing out. I tried taking her to a variety of places, but a lot of groomers have refused to groom her because of how stressed out she gets. They’re worried she’ll stroke out, or they’ll hurt her, or one of her buggy little eyeballs will pop out (which does happen when buggy eyed dogs get overly stressed). Bryan found an older couple that run a little grooming salon by us. They are a Godsend! They take their time with her, and do a pretty good job. She still stresses out, but not as bad. And more importantly, they have the experience not to stress out about it. She isn’t thrilled about the experience (or the bows they insist on putting in her hair each time), but she trots around the house for weeks after a haircut showing off her new ‘do. Her whole personality changes after a haircut, and it’s great to see her acting so confident and energetic. We don’t do it as often as we should, but I’m willing to shell out $40 four to six times a year to make it a better experience for everyone.
Tracking my spending has helped me realize how much money I’ve spent in the last two months on co-pays and medical expenses. It isn’t out of bounds, and I fully believe in spending money on your health. But, I have a FSA account at work, and I haven’t turned in any expenses yet this year for reimbursement. I hadn’t really thought about it, because I haven’t had any “big” expenses yet this year. Just $20 here, $38 there. But when I saw I’d spent $119 in July without even knowing it, I looked back to see exactly how much I’ve spent the rest of this year. Turns out, it’s close to $300. Which means I need to get some receipts together and turn in a form to get reimbursed! That’s my money, which could be in my pocket (or on my car loan), not hanging out in my employer’s bank account!
Ah, the car loan. Notice I only have listed an “extra” payment this month? That’s because I messed up last month. I thought I’d be fine making extra payments out of my online banking, the same as I make normal payments. However, the company that holds the loan considered the extra payment in June to be a really early regular payment for July. Which means part of the extra payment went towards interest, and moved my next payment to August. Instead of making another regular payment in July, I went on the lending company’s website, and made a “principal only” payment in July. In August, I’ll go back to having my regularly scheduled payments, along with a principal only extra payment. Lesson learned.
Overall, July wasn’t a bad month financially. I spent less than I earned ($2,179/$3,212). There is definitely room to make some cuts, but I don’t feel like anything was ridiculously out of bounds. More importantly, my spending stayed within my budget. Even if the rest of my life got a little crazy!
– Cindy W.