The budget shows that we were $411 short this month, but we actually broke even. One of our paychecks was short $450 due to a clerical error and that money will be coming in February. Still, it was a bit of a bummer that we spent so much, but since we discussed doing most of our annual home repairs in the next couple of months it shouldn’t be that surprising. We also made a Costco run at the very beginning of the month and those are always pretty costly. Also, we had a meeting to adjust the monthly budget amounts for each category based on the three prior year’s expenses. As I go through each category in detail I will let you know any adjustments we made.
Campground Fees – We chose to stay in a campground with our friends for a couple of days between gates. We could have stayed for free in the yard, but it was worth it to see everyone. For this year we cut this budget item in half since we spent so little on campgrounds last year. It’s still more than we usually spend, but I wanted to leave some extra in in case we get the opportunity to work less.
Groceries – We went over in groceries by $100, mostly due to a $250 Costco run at the very beginning of the month. We left the budget amount the same, despite the fact that we miss this mark more often than we make it. I recombined the food and cleaning supplies etc back into one category since we did a pretty bad job of breaking that out month by month, and overall it just didn’t seem like there was enough in the second category to make it worth the trouble.
Dining Out – We were $63 to the good, because all of our dining out food was fast food during travel or long work days. I changed the label to convenience to make that category a little more clear and also upped the budget to $100 a month from $50. After three years it’s clear that this category was just too low, and since we had savings in many other places I thought it was worth making this one more realistic.
Entertainment – We bought a few books and a couple Itunes purchases. We were $71 to the good in this category.
Cell/Internet – The bill was low this month because we finally got our credit for being charged for the cell phone I already paid for back in August. I have adjusted the budget to reflect what the new bill should be going forward, and we are thrilled by the monthly savings of $128!!! Thank you AT&T for your new unlimited plan. (For those keeping score, we used to pay $ 363 for two phones, a WiFi hotspot and an iPad with 80 GB of data, and we routinely went over that limit and paid $15 per extra GB. (!!!) Now we pay $ 128 for the same devices and unlimited data. For those who are curious, we have not seen any speed throttling or network management yet, and we are now consistently using over 600 GB a month, which might give you an idea of how happy we are with the new arrangement. – Lee)
Truck Fuel – We broke even in this category which was quite a bit, mainly because we traveled from southeast of San Antonio to far west Texas and back again, and have driven back and forth to San Antonio from our current location a couple of times. I upped the budget on this category to $425 which has been our average for the last couple of years, minus the trip to Alaska.
Truck Maintenance – This category is a bit in flux. We think we have enough maintenance visits remaining on our prepaid Ford plan to last the rest of the year, but that depends on how many miles we end up driving this year. For the time being I will be putting in $50 a month.
Health Insurance – This is another exciting category as our monthly amount (with subsidy) is only $110. This is a monthly savings of $230 which is obviously significant.
Cigarettes – We buy tobacco and tubes to cover a few months at a time, so the annual amount is really what matters. We reduced the annual amount by $192 to reflect what we spent last year.
Personal Care (Haircuts etc) – This month we went over by $19 because I splurged on a pedicure. (You should see her toes! – Lee) I reduced this category by $25 a month to more accurately reflect what we have been spending. Thank heavens for SuperCuts and Great Clips!
Shipping/Postage – We went over by $37 in this category because we had numerous deliveries, and the ones that came to the Kenedy each cost $5. We are shipping things to the UPS store here and there is a $5 per item fee. I also adjusted this category down $15 a month to more accurately reflect what we are spending.
Gifts – I had this cool idea to start making gifts for people because I thought that might be cheaper. Turns out the raw materials aren’t cheap, even though I found most of what I needed at Super Walmart. Still I am having a lot of fun with it, so I’ll mentally use the underage in entertainment to balance this expense out a little. Plus now that I know what I am doing I can keep an eye out for cheaper raw materials as we travel.
Home Repair – Obviously we had a significant overage for the month in this category, spending $690 over budget. $260 of that was the new toilet, and the rest was the raw materials for several repairs Lee has made. As I have talked about in earlier blog posts, Lee is doing a year’s worth of maintenance while he has the opportunity, so we are still significantly under the $2400 annual budget amount. And we did talk about these experiences as they occurred, so we knew this category would be steep this month.
Overall, I would have liked to have spent less money, of course, but I understand where it all went. Hopefully February will allow us to put some money away for April, since we aren’t planning on working that month at all. We also had an extra $1000 in “unexpected” revenue for some pay Lee was owed from a contract job he did last year, and selling one of our domain names that we weren’t using, which was a very nice surprise. (Out of the blue someone called and asked me if they could buy my RV repair domain, and since I’m not really using it I decided to let it go. I thought it might bring $100, but he offered $500, which even I knew was much better, and I’m not so good with the mathing. I thought about trying to get more, but he was a young guy, all excited about starting a new venture, and then I remembered that I despise greed, so I just let him have it for what he offered. I suppose I could have been a really great guy and countered with a lower number so he could have it for even less, but while I’m not greedy, I’m also not a moron. – Lee)
So from a cash flow perspective we are starting the year off just fine.
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