The good news is we were on budget in most of our spending categories in September. The bad news is we were $42 over in our miscellaneous “shopping” category. Part of the problem was five shirts I bought on clearance for $21 a couple weeks ago. I also forgot to budget for the $25 I spent on Tony’s birthday present. Oops.
We also went $30 over our food budget. As I look through our spending, I’m seeing red flags like Starbucks and ice cream shops. Looks like we stopped for a coffee, ice cream, or other snacks while running weekend errands several times throughout the month. Those little purchases added up to a $30 overage in our food budget. Good thing I’m getting my diet back on track now. It’ll be good for my waistline and my wallet!
Setbacks: Overspending in food and shopping. These are our two biggest discretionary spending categories, and also the ones we need to watch closest to avoid overspending. It also looks like this months’ budget included five trips to the grocery store instead of four. (The last shopping trip of the month in August and the last shopping trip in September were both included in September.) I’m not sure how to account for this in future budgets. What do you do when that happens?
Successes: We’ve been putting money aside for our dog’s yearly vet bills and flea and tick prevention medicines. Last week, Howie was due for his yearly physical, vaccinations, and city license. The $100 bill didn’t throw off our budget at all, because we had $75 saved and $50 budgeted toward pet expenses for the month. So we ended up being $14 under in pet spending instead of $60 over. Yay for planning ahead for necessary expenses!
This is also the second month that we immediately moved a little over 10% of our income into savings. I used to try to move what was left at the end of the month into savings. Bad idea. As you can imagine, there was usually not much left. I love getting it out of the way in the beginning of the month. It removes the temptation to spend what we should be saving.
Snowflakes: $50 refund from Costco membership (my employer pays provides membership as a perk, so I was able to cancel our current membership and get a refund). $60 printer cartridge refund from 123InkJets.
October Goals: Remember to account for everything in the budget, especially purchases outside our regular monthly expenses, like Tony’s birthday gift. Avoid letting little purchases add up to a big overage in the budget. Check up on spending in food and “shopping” every week to make sure we’re on track.
Bottom line: +$14 (from pet spending category) – $72 (overage in shopping and food) = -$58 for the month of September. Not counting snowflakes and the money we put into savings, we spent $58 more than our income this month. Not good. I’m reminding myself that this is new, and it’s going to take us some time to get used to sticking to the budget. Next month is an opportunity to do better and learn from this month’s mistakes.
Hope you were more successful that we were in your budgeting for September!