Monday, November 22, 2010

Whoa. (budget-related)

Now that I have a full year of expenses and income, I'm a bit shell-shocked. I think a money tree might make a great Christmas present for us, too!

Here's a brief overview, along with some commentary on where we messed up, where we can improve, things that will help, etc. I also keep track of income, how much goes into savings, how much we transfer from savings, cash withdrawals, but I didn't put those in, only because I'm still kind of private, and part of me didn't want to look like a fool in front of all you bloggers out there!

Oil: 1,994.50
With the purchase of insulated curtains, adding a real door to our basement (we just had a hatch thing, this will seal off the hatch) and the wood stove, we're anticipating this cost to go WAY down for 2010-2011.

Electric: 1,442.66
We live in one of the cheapest areas in our state for electricity, too. We're better about turning off lights and all of that stuff.

Phone, internet, and my cell: 1,756.52
My cell has a plan which is so old, AT&T no longer offers it. This expense has been static for years. I might try and see if we could get a better landline deal in the coming year.

Cable: 809.86
I've switched us to a cheaper plan since we don't watch much TV anyway.

Gas: 3,363.54
Granted, this is for two people, each driving almost 30 miles each way to work. I am going to be looking for a job that is closer to home AND more family-friendly in the new year.

Groceries: 6,831.04
This is kind of gross for two people, but then again, I don't know how much families spend. It's not like we're eating organic, gourmet stuff, either. Healthy food but not top of the line (and yes, junk too. We're not perfect). Also, this is JUST food, not paper products, cleaning stuff, etc.

Eating out: 2,247.53
Yeah. This is one area we need to work on. Part of it has been because of Turtle's schedule and dinner not being ready (or ruined) when he finally got home, part of it has been "Screw it, the meat can marinade another night, I'm hungry and tired, let's go down to [local watering hole] for burgers." Also, it has been due to me not planning properly. We've gotten much better with making a meal plan for the week, and using as much stuff as we have on hand before running to the grocery store.

I'm not the only one who meal plans. Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter does too. (This post is probably the best place to start, but if you look at her sidebar [on the right!], you will see a section called "Happy at Home: Food Organization" which contains many more posts about this topic.) I wish I could thank her for this brilliant idea, but I have to give the credit to my darling husband. Yes, he introduced me to this idea! :)

This category also includes Dunkin Donuts runs. I wish they weren't every where. And that's all I'll say about that.

Doctors: 7,798.80
I hope not to have to be hospitalized in the next year, and that will save us $1,500 right there. (Our share of a hospital stay.) Also, Turtle no longer sees a doctor that doesn't take insurance, so there is some more money saved. Not that it really matters much since our contribution to our health insurance increased, but hey, it's something.

RXs: 341.58
This will probably stay the same.

CVS: 642.65
Yes, CVS has its own category. I'm in there ALL. OF. THE. TIME. I really should get a second job there. It's right around the corner from my office, so I go there a lot to kill time, which I KNOW leads to unnecessary purchases--gum, candy, soda, magazines... I do buy important things there, including my RXs (and I'm sure some of those purchases are included here if I forgot to separate them into the other category). It's a very tempting place...

Misc. debit purchases: 1,987.01
This category is for those things that don't have its own category here. The random item needing dry cleaning, printer paper, that sort of thing. I don't know WHAT could have cost this much, though...

Clothing/shoes: 811.89
OK confession time: my mother has been known to "treat" me to new clothes. But only once or twice a year, at $200 or so a pop. I am not really a shopper, regardless.

Hair cuts/waxing: 584.09
I'm pretty low-key when it comes to this stuff. Turtle's cuts & tip are $20 total. Mine are about $53 total. If I get my brows waxed, that's another $10. Oooh, we're so fancy here.

Gifts: 758.26
This was the year of no weddings and only one baby. My maid of honor is getting married in April 2011, so I expect this to be much higher!

Memberships/licenses: 528.29
Both of our licenses expired this year, at $66 a pop. NetFlix is also in this spot, but that's only $5 something a month. Turtle's shooting club dues were due this year, and that also went into this category.

Auto maintenance/repairs: 2,419.33
I had a little run-in with the side of our garage and the passenger's door mirror lost. That was a LOT of money. Also, Turtle's car had some weird sensor thing go out, which was also a lot of money.

Auto insurance, taxes, registration: 2,900.12
Luckily, when we do our taxes, we can claim our state car tax on our federal returns...or something like that. We always get our car tax money back.

House purchases: 12,322.30
YIKES!!!!! Yes, the wood stove was included here, and that was about $4,100, so there's 1/3 right there. And our lawn tractor was around $1,800. That's half of the money. We didn't buy all brand new furniture--the only thing we bought brand new for this house was our TV stand, and that was just under $700. (It's solid wood.) Oh and ONE Billy bookcase but that was under $70, and NOT solid wood, haha. The rest? Paint, painting supplies, garbage cans, grass seed, fertilizer, garden supplies, shelving, curtains, stamps, cleaning supplies, paper goods, etc. And don't forget the new basement door!

Pets: 899.16
One cat got sick and had to sleep over at the vet's office. Everyone had their vaccines updated this year, but thankfully they are good for three years. The biggest expense was sick kitty needing to go on special food, which is just shy of $50 for a 20 pound bag. But it's cheaper than recurring bladder issues, which would result in more vet appointments and carpet cleaning!!

Donations: 750.00
Mostly to our church.

Bank Fees: 34.75
Mostly because of Turtle. I told him that if he didn't cut this out, he'd need to get a second job just for the fees. ;-)

Vacation Fund: 80.00
We just started this in September when Turtle got a raise. The "extra" money in his check goes here.

If you got through all of that, congratulations! I hope that next year, around this time, I can look back and see that I did a much better job. Especially since we won't need to do many of the house things we did this year. Here's hoping!


  1. we sort of have a budget but we were just talking tonight about how we really need to crack down. there's a house we REALLY want to buy but i don't think we can b/c of the 5% we'd have to put down + realtor fees + closing costs. i wish we would have cracked down a year ago so we'd be good to go.

  2. I hear you. I wish I'd kept better track of this stuff BEFORE we bought the house, so I'd have more of an idea how much things cost. Everything kept changing while we lived in the rented condo--first we were on 2 incomes, then T got laid off and he got unemployment, then he got hired, and soon after that, we were house hunting. We never really got into a real groove with money.

  3. I think the food costs could go way down with us- oh, I want to be like Leila!

  4. PW, I'm really hoping that next year the food category will be slightly less. Given that our freezer is almost FULL--my parents bought half a cow from a friend, and are giving us whatever we want from that (as part of our Christmas present), and T's deer, plus other stocking up sales over the fall, we should be OK. I don't see having to buy meat/poultry/fish for awhile. But T likes when there are sales, and feels we must buy even if we've got plenty already. It's a struggle ;-) lol.


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