July 2017 Expense Report [Month 7]

July 2017 Stupid Debt Expense Report
June 29 – July 26

I have come to the conclusion that my life during debt repayment is Boring! I know we still partake in activities. But they are far and few in between now and methodically thought out (like our annual summer festival and a concert in Fall). Other than that,  most of the fun consists of cleaning house, maintaining my house plants, cooking up new meals, taking walks around the neighborhood, reading books, wasting time on the Internet and playing video games. Being a homebody. Not much to write about there.

However, I am trying to hike more again. So it’s likely you will see tidbits of that. Like the one below. Got a couple girlfriends together and tried out this new-to-us 7-mile trail in the mountains.

I stayed fueled with nuts & dried cranberries, a PB&J, and lots of water. Next time I will start freezing coconut water (electrolyte) and add that to my H2O bladder when my fave margarita chews are not available.

Hiking

It has been a while since I’ve hiked. So it took some effort. But was great we pushed through and made it to the end and back! Of course it helped knowing that beer & pizza were going to consumed when we finished. I seriously need to put more time into hiking again.

Analysis: Expenses

Item Amount Notes
Mortgage/Rent $1,722 rent + utility share
Auto Payment $334
C. Loan $556
Food & Dining (All) $407.36 when the norm of food + household = $600. did okay this month keeping it down. (pat on back)
Auto Gas $176.25
Auto Service & Parts $27.24 windshield wipers in the summer. of course the rain stopped after I put on the new wiper blades. but I was due for new ones anyway.
Auto Parking $15.00  Beach
Mobile $84.72  for 2
Internet $69.99
Utilities $73.60
Household Supplies $88.62
Shopping $4.15
Electronic & Software $4.22 once a very expensive video game.
Misc. Shopping $1.62
Cash & ATM $103.00 planned. annual entertainment event spending.
Entertainment $18.00 Infrequent trip to the movies. Baby Driver. Meh.
Hulu/Netflix $23.98
Gifts $20.00
Health Co-Pay $20.00
Pets $15.00
Business Services $4.82

Not shown: sinking fund expenses like DMV, education payments and excursion payments. I put away a set amount per month in a separate account to cover annual expenses like auto insurance, education, etc…. Then those funds get transferred into my regular checking acct when payment is due. That is why you see travel in the graph but not in the table.

Movies: we heard how this was such a good movie. Then I saw a clip where Jamie Foxx was talking how the shots fired went with the music. So it put a different spin on the movie. And I love Kevin Spacey. But overall, I could have really waited for this movie to hit the Net.

Internet: still too high per month in exchange for what I get, but I don’t have other choices in my area.

Utilities: I am afraid for the next bill. I have tried to keep the AC use down, but I don’t think it is going to well.

Household Supplies: this is always my problem area. One of these days maybe I will get it under control. But we use everything up that we buy there. So that is a good thing.

Cost saving initiatives:

  • Made limeade: 1 : 1/2 parts lime to sugar. I like less sugar than that, but that is the norm ratio. Anyway, microwave juice + sugar so all the sugar is dissolved in (my Southern friend taught me to cook in the sugar. The result is delicious doing it this way). Then add to pitcher. Fill rest of the way with water.
  • I took those rinds and chopped them up tiny, stuck them in the freezer and use them a freshener for the garbage disposal. I know they say not to use rinds in the garbage disposal, but I’ve done it for year. So do it at your own risk.
  • I have been bringing meals to work more often again, keeping the work meal costs under control.

Income

Achievement is my get fit side hustle. You earn $10 for every 10,000 points earned in walking, tracking meals (link MFP), etc… It will take a while to earn $10, but it is working with keeping me accountable in tracking my meals and increasing my steps. I really would like to keep up the walking exercise (especially after my depressing cholesterol results).

PS – if you sign up, I earn points, you earn points for joining, we all (you and me) earn points!

Auto Loan

stupid debt auto loan EOM july

Starting Auto Loan Debt: $5,673.56

Ending Auto Loan Debt: $4,572.61

Snowball: $775

Regular payment $334.

Total towards car this month: $ 1,109

I love being able to snowball as much. When I started becoming interested in PF a few years ago, I was strapped to my paycheck. So to be able to snowball as much due to increase in salary and reducing my expenses is proof things can get better.

And I am soooo close to paying it off!

 

Combined Debts

EOM july stupid combined debts

Starting Total Debt: $68,559.00

Ending Total Debt: $67,110.57

Every so slowly it trends down…

August Outlook

Murphy hit. Dental work. the next couple efforts in snowballing will be to pay down the bill and zero it out. I would have used my EF, but of course, I used it last month with the auto tire emergency.

Summers are sticky magnets for increased expenses. Unfortunately, that makes for unexciting monthly updates when I cannot snowball. In reality I should save up another $1K after I pay off the bill.  But my annual expense account is kind of my buffer if I really need it.

I am just happy that I am not accruing anymore debt beyond my means (i.e., making the graph go up). I attribute you this to finally making the choice to do things right, great effort, and a bit of luck.

In August, I also want to get back on the bandwagon with meal prep. It tastes a whole lot better, it great for saving money and I don’t end up with the stress of what to eat. I am thinking dal & brown rice and beans and veggies. Side of fruit – whatever the store has in season.

Not sure if I am going to keep doing the grocery budget posts. While I love the food voyeurism both ways, it’s a lot of effort to produce when all I want to do is put the groceries away and be done. Or all I want to do is snack, put away and be done… ;)

We didn’t grocery shop for week 4. It was a bit of eat at home, grab cheap fast food, and be fed by others (like all you can eat Japanese buffet paid for not-by-me). Our pickings at home are scarce (according to the child). I need to go food shopping!

But am thinking about starting an at home side hustle. Might as well see if my homebody keep-costs-low efforts can make me some money. Time to whip out my sewing machine. So that may take part in my posts.

And I will post the food prep if it happens. What do you food prep?

 

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The $120 Week Grocery Haul + Dinner Menu Plan for 2: M7W2-3

Groceries for 2 on $120 per week or less – an attempt to eat healthy and stay in budget.

Sometimes I will stretch what we have in available in the kitchen because I really don’t like to go grocery shopping every week. That usually means Brinner (breakfast for dinner). Which is fine for me as its my favorite meal.

I am also fighting acute bronchitis passed down from my child or  someone in the office. I thought I made it scot-free, but apparently it was incubating and now I am hacking a lung (sorry, I know, TMI). But this sore throat concoction is helping awesomely.

Stater Bros: $113.62

I know it doesn’t look like much, but I still have a lot of veggies and/or ingredients on hand. Or it looks like a lot of snack food. Child + summer. Plus I had to stock up on a few staples (dishwasher detergent, baking soda and I had to feed the cat or she would make sure my sleep was greatly disrupted ).

Stater Bros: $5.48

An Ingredient I forgot for the Macedonia Fruit Salad . Great potluck dish. Was perfect for the 4th of July BBQ.

Stater Bros: $11.84

[Chicken Dinner not shown]

And the dinner ends up providing 2-3 additional meals for us. 8 pieces of chicken goes a long way for us.

Weekly total spent: $130.94

In the change jar: $9.06

Monthly Grocery Budget Remaining: $208.03

Dinner Menu Plan

  • Salmon, brown rice and artichoke
  • Beef & Broccoli stir fry (child is cooking)
  • Tacos, Mexican rice, refried beans and mango slices
  • Fish tacos with cabbage, lime & crema; homemade salsa, Ranchero beans
  • Pizza and Spinach salad
  • Budget Bytes Chicken Yakisoba
  • Dal & brown rice; mango slices

^ The upside-down peach cake from last week was delicious! I highly recommend giving it a try. Serve it up with vanilla bean ice cream. Yum.

How was your week with grocery shopping?

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The $120 Week Grocery Haul + Dinner Menu Plan for 2: M7W1

Groceries for 2 on $120 per week or less – an attempt to eat healthy and stay in budget.

I totally and completely got this post idea from Frugal Stepping Stones. Check out her blog as she feeds a family of 5 on $150 per week!

And I am going to say it front – I FAILED to stay in budget this week. One should not start a budgeted grocery haul on a HOLIDAY weekend. Nor when trying out a New Store.

Trader Joes – $39.80

How did the ice cream end up in there? Trader Joe’s roasted corn is my fave thing. Adds an abundance of flavor when I make buddha bowls. And I use hummus or avocado in place of mayonnaise on my sandwiches.


They have the best mac ‘n cheese, too! DD and I will split one and serve it up with a big side salad or fruit.

WinCo – $101.20

I took the advice of many wealthy people I know and tried out WinCo for my grocery needs. I am in love with their bulk and produce section. Premium honey, pastas, spices, candy… all in bulk. I was majorly impressed.

But I am going to make some produce bags out of old linens I have, because I feel so guilty using all that plastic!


All the berries and beer is for the 4th of July food festivities (approx. $25). So if I took that out, I would have been right in budget. The honey and butter are stock up items. Next week’s budget is likely to be lower.

Let’s see if we can keep the budget in check at month’s end.

Weekly total spent: $141.00

In the change jar: ($21.00)

Monthly Grocery Budget Remaining: $339.00

Dinner Menu Plan

  • Sofritas, black beans, cilantro-lime rice
  • Salmon w/lemon-dill aioli , sesame spinach, brown rice
  • Steak & Veggies Foil Packets (red and yukon potatoes, roasted corn, mushrooms, red bell pepper, carrots), brown rice; Dessert: peach cake
  • Veggie Burgers w/rosemary-sea salt french fries or sweet potato fries
  • Brinner (breakfast for dinner)
  • Spaghetti w/Italian sausage, great big salad.
  • Chicken dinner of some sort.

Ideas for a delicious but simple chicken dinner? Please share.

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June 2017 Expense Report [Month 6]

June 2017 Expense Report

June 1 – June 28

June was a bloom when it came to expenses as you will read below. Summers are always more expensive for this household. I think my life just thaws out to the sun and movement thus ensues.

Analysis: Expenses

Item Amount Notes
Mortgage/Rent $1,645
Furnishings $491.81  Bought a couch
Household Supplies $108.91  Need to get this down!
Clothing $105.84 No more shopping this year! K?!
Food & Dining $876.38 $226.38 out of budget :-(
Auto Payment $334.00
Auto Service $629.96 New tires. There was a huge gash in my tire! Eek!
Auto Gas $175.99 Under budget
Excursion $500
Mobile Phones $90.02
Utilities $78.53
Internet $48.15
Vet $206
Cash & ATM $149
Personal Care $81.51
Music $41  Half to be reimbursed
Movies/Netflix/Hulu $25.94
Dental $14.60
C. Loan $556.00

Furnishings: Needed a place to sit. IKEA discontinued the Karlstad couch last year. I was able to buy it was on clearance.

Household Supplies: Part of this is pricey OTC medicine. Children are spreading a nasty cough & cold like wildfire. It caught up with my child. Sleep? What is it? Her nighttime cough is driving me crazy. I know it’s driving her batty.

Clothing: A triggered splurged happen due to a family member coming to town. I fortunately was able to return most of it. I also needed an outfit for work. I now own a nice pair of slacks.

Food & Dining: Over-budget due to the fumes of moving and our daycation to the beach. We had a nice meal and wonderful bonding day there. The full return of my deposit allowed us to splurge.

Auto Services: I put $1,000 in my emergency fund. Took a roadtrip with DD to the beach. Came back to find out that weekend my back tire was ready to blow! Apparently I put 65K miles on my 45K mileage tires.

beach day

I get my car checked up and serviced like clockwork. I am upset because the mechanic should have caught that my tread was low during my last oil change. Someone clearly was watching over us on our long car ride. So thankful we are safe. I now have pretty shiny tires on my car to last me 65,000 miles more (my car is currently at 98,000 miles. *smile*). EF depleted to $360.

Vet: Tell my cat to stop cleaning off all her fur! The prednisone shot has already worn off and she is back to cleaning off more fur. Boo! My cat has such a pretty coat of under belly fur when its there. I am hoping her allergies will.just.go.away. I can hope!

Cost saving initiatives:

I’m at a loss for any cost saving initiatives. The raucous of moving, family coming to town, DD on summer break, the cat off to the vet… throws my whole schedule off. And that equals spending (but still within my net pay amount). My intentions for July are to cinch the saddle tight. Oh! I just remembered and signed up for Frugalwoods Uber Frugal July. Wanna frugal along?

Income

  • Salary: $4,822.35
  • Deposit Return: $2,271.66
  • Amazon Affiliate Income $13.25

Auto Loan

EOM June Auto Loan

Woohoo! Look at that downward slope!

Starting Auto Loan Debt: $5,999.05

Ending Auto Loan Debt: $5,673.56

Snowball: No snowballs this month because I decided to fill the Emergency Fund. We see how that went! Right back into the car. Glad the money was available to cover that expense!

Regular payment $334.

Total towards car this month: $334

Combined Debts

EOM June Combined debts

Starting Total Debt: $69,214.00

Ending Total Debt: $68,559.00

Nothing exciting in terms of debt repayment this month.

July Outlook

For July, I am moving the budget around again. Some of the excursion is being paid by a 3rd party now. This will allow me to pay off the Student Loan interest before it capitalizes in October and still pay my car off by November.

But here is the catch: I need to stay on serious budget for the next 4-5 months with some trimmings! I recently watched the video, “If I Woke Up In Debt” by Mike & Lauren. A thought experiment about how they would reduce the time it took to pay off debt if they had any. I much enjoyed it. So of course, I had to play with my Vertex42 Debt Reduction Calculator (scroll to the bottom of that page for link) to see how I could throw the Thor Axe towards my debt.

Here is what I came up with that denotes uncomfortableness to abide but believe it can be done (hopefully, I will be the one to do it):

I shall: reduce coffee/fast food/food misc.: to $15 every other week or $7.50 week (savings: $90/m)
I shall: spend no more than $120/w on groceries
I shall: reduce my spending on household supplies to $25 every other week or $12.50/wk (savings: $50/m)
I shall: have no more Personal Allowance (savings: $40/m)
I shall: Pack ALL meals for work and outings
I shall: Buy NO more clothes! (savings: $50/m)
I shall: Not buy miscellaneous (savings: $150/m)

I know there is bound to be some expenses that go out of intent. So the miscellaneous will probably be made “I shall: spend no more than $50/m on miscellaneous”.

You will all hold me accountable to this, right? :)

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