Sorry this took me so long to get out, but we always adjust the budget at the beginning of a new year, and this year in particular I wanted to take some time and really look at the targets. I have five years worth of data to reference and in my mind it was time to stop pretending I didn’t know what I know. For example, on average we have spent $685 a month in groceries and my target for the last four years was $600. Obviously that isn’t going to happen so I should just own what it is. Lee also wanted the spreadsheet to line up more with the categories he has in our Quicken account and he put them in alphabetical order because the other sort order has been driving him crazy. So here’s the month.
We spent well over our budgeted amount, but we know where that came from. In short, when we get some money I like to eat out, and Lee likes to buy stuff for the RV. That pattern is definitely reflected in these numbers. See below for more details.
Bank Fee – Lee added this category which I previously had left out because he wanted to track it. This is for credit card fees or a bank account fee if we don’t meet the deposit or activity requirements for an account. We are still digging ourselves out from the medical expenses and had a few new bills; we paid for the MRI of Lee’s shoulder and other related expenses.
Campground Fees – This was predominately the first ten days in January where we stayed in Charleston but were not paying a lower monthly rate, and the campgrounds we stayed in making our way to San Antonio.
Clothing – Lee and I both had to purchase some work clothes.
Dining Out – This category was absolutely insane and I actually had to go back and double check the entries. Part of it was eating as we traveled and the other part was dining out once we got here. $800 in eating out is insanely high and hit not just our wallet but also our waistlines. Normally I have a pretty good idea of where we are in this category but this totally got away from me.
Entertainment – This was high as well, but we did an Escape Room (more to come in the next post on that) and a few other fun things in Charleston before we left.
Groceries – Despite all the dining out we still spent a ton of money on food. I always think if one category goes up the other category should go down but that’s not always the case. I’ll be interested to see what happens in February.
Healthcare Out of Pocket Expenses – This is for co-pays and deductible payments. In the past these expenses were not reported because they came out of an HSA account which is completely gone now. I have been trying to start another one with my new company but I ran into a major issue with our address. Fidelity will not accept our mailing address to set up an HSA so I had to provide a physical address. This has caused delays of several months and I still am waiting for the account to be set up properly. This is becoming more prevalent, by the way. Our bank recently requested a physical address and the voting board did as well. Keep that in mind if you are choosing a mail service, because it is a major pain in the butt when these issues occur.
Home Equipment – We practically broke even in this category as compared to the new budget which was good. We are looking at replacing some carpet in February so we will see what happens to this category then 🙂
Pets – I added a category for Jack with a rough estimate of $50 a month. We don’t have much data on our spend here so will see how this year goes.
Truck Fuel – This was high because we traveled from Charleston, SC to San Antonio, TX. As usual this balances out well by the end of the year. Now that I am working again I have thought about getting a second vehicle, but at this point I just don’t want the extra expense and headache. As Oliver gets older and we want to take him places this may be an issue because our truck only has two seats. At this point I am leaning towards renting a second car for short periods rather than buying a second vehicle. Still mulling it over though.
As you can see from the budget we did not adjust it to accommodate additional spending because we can. I did make adjustments in some cases because of past data, but nothing in advance. This year should be very interesting from a spend perspective and we will see how it all works out.
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