July 27 – August 23
August got crazy, y’all. Just a bunch of things happened all at once. And when that happens I tend to exceed the budget limits. Yup, that is what happened here. But there was one gem of activity that happened in this month. An awesome road trip to the Grand Canyon!
It was so much fun and completely & totally frugal. Win-win! The Grand Canyon is a mind trip to see in person. The landscape is so magnificently grand that it looks like a painting up close. Sedona was the same way. Jaw dropping. And Montezuma’s Castle… how did they build such structures within the side of the wall?!
I saw lots of Elk and heard one, too. It freaked me out and sounds nothing like you would think it does. I would call it a techno-honking of the forest. I hiked. I also saw jack rabbits hop powerfully across the landscape and ground hogs peeking out from their holes in the ground. I watched the birds playing in bat boxes. Watched lightening bolt across the sky. Made friends with a cat. Saw lily pads in the forest and intact fossils that were a gazillion years old. Ate wonderfully delicious food with a garden variety. Had a wonderful time conversing with friends. Saw American Indian pictographs, learned in-depth information about the Grand Canyon and heard awesome stories about cave explorations. I took a 100-million pictures. For five days I had so much fun with my friends. And all of it was done spending a bit over $200. :)
|Household Supplies||$116.37||I think part of this belongs in Travel preparation…|
|Food, Misc. & Coffee||$365.45||OMG! Food expenses got out of hand this month.|
|Travel AZ 2017||$209.82||Amazing 5 day trip! Includes food, gas and souvenirs.|
|Electronic & Software||$154.10||Replaced Hard drive|
|Personal Care||$79.02||Not budgeted|
|Fees & Charges||$15||Skipped a C. Loan payment and threw it into savings & snowball|
|Misc. Expenses||$298.60||Both of my really good friends have birthdays in the same month. $150 over-budget.|
|Gifts||$106.19||One with a landmark year. $60 over budget.|
Not shown: annual 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.
Food, Misc. & Coffee: There was just a lot going on. And when it bustles and matters are going all different direction, I tend to throw up my hands up and let the finances go with regards to my food expenses. Convenience at a major price.
Electronics & Software: In being a sole provider with limited funds has made me quite the renaissance woman. I’ve learned to replace broken cellphone parts and replace computer parts when they crash. It can save a lot of money, but time & patience are major skills to have when fixing technology.
Personal Care: Not budgeted. The rare occurrence of getting a good haircut. It sets a good foundation for future at-home trims. It was very much worth it (but I should have saved up for it).
Misc. Expenses and Gift: My friends… the amount of money I knew was going to be spent was weighing on me. They both have expensive taste. The gifts were not the problems, it was the restaurants of choice (food + cocktail). At one place, I covered dinner for 3 (me, my adorable responsibility plus friend). We did split one of the plates. And in most cases, it also includes the unwritten protocol of chipping in to cover a birthday friend’s bill. This was true for 1.
I don’t completely mind that this was an expensive month for their birthdays. It won’t be like this every year. But I just wish it didn’t take place in the same month that everything else went on (new dental bill, crashing hard drive, travel…). I really couldn’t afford the celebrations in such fashion. But I could not and for the most part did not want to say “no”. Perhaps better planning on my part. Do you every struggle with situations like this?
Thank you to a reader’s advice on how to avoid this expense in the future. Next time, if the expensive restaurant dinner party celebration is not in the budget, I am saying “no” to the invite but will ask the birthday girl & a couple friends over for a future (frugal) dinner date at my house for a delicious home cooked meal and cocktails.
Fees & Charges: I skipped a payment with my C. Loan to put the money into my EF. Not having enough funds in there makes me nervous. The fact that I skipped a payment (in good faith) is a red flag to me. So I redid the budget to increase annual funds and give myself room on lean categories to help offset the ‘throw my hands’ up moments. But it does decrease my snowball amount (will discuss at bottom of post).
Cost saving initiatives:
- I will earmark my roadtrip travel to AZ as a cost saving initiative as I had a place to stay, many of the delicious meals cooked at home by another and my friends had passes to the parks. I have never seen the Grand Canyon or Sedona in person. This trip was quite a treat. Amazing to see both locations in-person. Even better when your friends are extremely knowledgeable about the area, the landscape, and the climates. It was an awesome trip!
- Packed dunch (lunch+dinner) and took friends to the beach. Relaxing and re-centering.
Side Hustle 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.
PS – if you sign up, I earn points, you earn points for joining, we all (you and me) earn points!
There is a side hustle in the works. I won’t post it just yet as it is still being negotiated.
Starting Auto Loan Debt: $4,572.61
Ending Auto Loan Debt: $3,999.84
Regular payment $334
Total towards car this month: $570
I was not planning to snowball any amount this month because of high expenses. But I had to tip the number below the $4K mark as it was just screaming to be done.
PS – me not snowballing is another red flag that expenses are getting a big out of hand. But I have my plan to get back on track. All will work out!
Starting Total Debt: $67,110.57
Ending Total Debt: $68,177.20
So sad… there is a new color on the chart and it make the graph trend the wrong way. It was an unplanned dental expenses. I had already used up my FSA earlier this year. Least it is on a 0% interest for 6 months.
So I increased my annual expenses in my budget. If I don’t use that particular annual expense next year, then it will go in the EF bucket.
Staying in budget is a skill I am always trying to perfect. And even more trying to stay positive when things get busy. I recently noticed that my ‘tude was off kilter because I was feeling “restricted”. I put that in quotes because really am not “restricted” in a way to biatch about. I make a solid wage and have so many things to be grateful for. My career and where I chose to live provides the first two layers of Maslow’s triangle for my family in a manner that I wanted. And that means a lot to me, it’s important. So needing to live leaner in other areas is my choice. Acceptance, ‘tude replaced with gratitude. :)
Upcoming Big expenses: There is one potential with landmark status. A mini road trip. I want to make it frugal. It can be done as I have done before. Although I don’t have friends to bunk with in this other place. But I do have a tent and car.
Financial Decisions: My goal is to pay off auto loan by Nov. as SL payments begin.
But now that I revised the budget, where the snowball went from $775 to $310, annual expenses went from $200/m to $400/m and lean categories were increased a little… I am not sure if I am going to squash the auto loan by November or go by the new plan.
With the new plan, my debt reduction calculator shows the car paid off in August 2018 (bleck)… (thinking out loud right now), but I will have a tax return and potential side income. So in reality, the payoff would occur in February.
There is also a couple of things I need to cover in the next few months. This minor setback could work out for the best. But I do very much dislike saying that my car loan may not be paid of by November.
And just because I allotted more in the lean categories doesn’t mean I need to spend it. If I don’t spend it, then it will be routed to the auto loan.