Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Month of Spending

This is a post I've been putting off for exactly 10 days now.

I decided in March that I wanted to prove that I was behaving in the spending department, just like I told Justin I had been Just like I told myself I had been. So I decided I would write down every single thing I spent money on in March. If the money went out because I had pushed the "purchase" button or written a check or stole cash from myself, I wanted to know about it and what I had used it for.

I'll start by saying there is no more cash stash. It's time to start building up my little "luxury" account again. Because I used it all up in March. But that's okay, because that's what it's there for.

Okay, for those of you who have been requesting that I do a spending update, here's the nitty gritty of my March purchases.

March 1:    $50.00 (Embroidery Guild Dues for the next year - check)
March 2:    $20.40 (123 Stitch - hobby - credit card)
                  $20.00 (counselor - check - budgeted expense)
March 3:    $19.98 (gym bag for Jamie - credit card)
March 4:    $105.98 (contacts for Jamie - credit card)
March 5:    $0!!!
March 6:    $0!!!
March 7:    $39.46 (prescriptions - budgeted expense - credit card)
March 8:    $20.00 (counselor - check - budgeted expense)
                  $ 2.49 (pattern for love quilt square - hobby - credit card)
March 9:    $20.00 (embroidery club dues for the next year - hobby - cash)
                  $40.99 (local sewing store - hobby - cash)
                  $12.36 (Hobby Lobby - hobby - cash)
                  $75.72 (Michaels - ott light and other supplies - hobby - cash)
                  $45.94 (123 Stitch - hobby - credit card)
March 10:  $40.00 (Postage to send raffle items for Save Malea - credit card)
March 11:  $156.48 (Old Navy - clothes for Jamie - credit card)
March 12:  $0!!!!
March 13:  $50.00 (Manicure/Pedicure for Malea's birthday - cash)
                  $30.00 (Lunch for Malea's birthday - cash)
                  $12.42 (AC Moore - hobby - cash)
                  $65.00 (Gas - credit card - budgeted expense)
March 14:  $0!!!!
March 15:  $85.00 (Massage Therapy - check - budgeted expense)
March 16:  $20.00 (Counselor - check - budgeted expense)
                   $39.00 (Prescriptions and groceries - credit card - budgeted expense)
March 17:  $6.00 (Field Trip Fee for Joey - check - not budgeted because we didn't know about it)
March 18:  $0!!!!
March 19:  $70.00 (Sears Repair to tell us it would cost $423 for a new icemaker - check - seriously?)
March 20:  $10.89 (Car Magnet - credit card - "I want it")
March 21:  $22.00 (Lunch with friend - cash)
                  $121.00 (Clothes for me - cash)
March 22:  $16.60 (Preorder Jen Lancaster's new book - credit card)
March 23:  $210.00 (iPhone - credit card - planned expense)
                  $40.00 (iPhone case - credit card)
March 24:  $90.00 (Prescription - credit card - budgeted expense)
March 25  $20.50 (Wendy's because Justin was out of town and cooking scares me sometimes - cash)
March 26:  $0!!!!
March 27:  $38.00 (Autism t-shirts from Joey's school because his design is on it - check)
March 28:  $0!!!!!
March 29:  $95.00 (Massage Therapy - check - budgeted expense)
March 30:  $20.00 (Counselor - check - budgeted expense)
                  $40.00 (Walky Talkies for Joey - credit card - not budgeted but needed to stop doorbell)
March 31:  $110.00 (Malea's fundraiser - cash)

The breakdown:

Let's look at my little hobby obsession. I spent $280.32 on my sewing supplies in March. Lest you think I am overspending in this area, $70 were for a year's worth of dues and I got the Ott light for 60% off with a coupon for $60. So, if you take out those "one time" expenses, I spent $150.32 on sewing supplies. Still too high, but most of it was paid for out of my spending cash that I had been setting aside.

I had 7 days last month where I spent no money on anything.

The budgeted expenses that went onto the credit card are paid off at the end of the month. We use the credit card instead of the debit card because the bank wanted to start charging us a fee when we used it. We said no way and use a credit card instead. As long as we pay these expenses off at the end of the month, we're okay.

The $70 to the Sears guy was an unwise payment. We knew the ice maker was broken. We knew it was going to be expensive to replace it. I am now the official "icemaker," although Justin is doing his part. We have four trays and every time they freeze, we empty them into containers in the freezer. Much cheaper than $423 for a new icemaker.

Kids are expensive. No, it doesn't get better when they grow out of diapers and baby food. It gets worse. Jamie needed clothes, contacts, and a gym bag for school. The walky talkies for Joey are a sanity purchase. I will be putting one on the front step in a weather proof container and one in his room. That way, when the kids from across the street come over and want to know if Joey can come out for the 900th time, they can just pick up a walky talky and ask him themselves. And hopefully the dog will stop going nuts. We just came off spring break and trust me, we are going to need these for the summer. It will save both Justin and me in the sanity department.

The massage therapy is a new expense and I am hoping some of it will be covered by insurance. Most of the time, they don't cover massage, but I found someone who is certified in spinal manipulation and that is part of what is being done. It's all fibromyalgia related, so they really should cover all of it, but insurance would much rather I take a bunch of pills and lay in bed all day. I prefer to find alternative treatments and at least make it to the recliner downstairs.

These are only the amounts that I paid out last month and did not include our monthly bills, which are paid online through the automatic bill pay. They also did not include the regular grocery shopping that is done every Sunday by Justin.

We saved a bunch of money by my staying home when Justin went to New York to get his head shaved for St. Baldrick's. No hotel, because he stayed with friends. He took his car, which I could never ride in for six hours, and it gets the best gas mileage of the three we have. Double, in fact. And no cost to board the dog for two days. I missed going on the trip, but he was there and back so fast, I almost didn't know he was gone!

I'd like to say that April will be less expensive, but I doubt it. We put money towards the beach house that we are renting in June with my parents already. Ben is having crowns done and I am going to have to fight with the dental insurance again because they only covered one of the three we're doing this year and they covered two last year. Because he has an enamel defect, this is not a luxury or cosmetic. He has teeth with no enamel and the ones that do have enamel are losing it rapidly. He needs a crown on every single tooth. To the tune of $1142 per crown this year (yes, it goes up each year, just like everything except salaries). The dentist fights for us with the insurance company and I am hoping the resubmission she sent them last week with pictures of his holy (holey?) teeth will be frightening enough to make them cough up 80% of the second crown. If possible, I would like for him to get four done this year because he's 20. The more we can get done for him, the less he will have to pay for himself when he graduates. (I found myself counting my teeth the other day to see exactly how many crowns he will need. In case you were wondering, it's 28. Thank God he had his wisdom teeth removed!)

I was wondering how many other people keep track of what they are spending. I stopped after March (mostly because it was depressing to see how I seemed to have something to write down every single day and because I pretty much got the result I was expecting). I know I spend a lot in the hobby department, so I don't know if I need to try to reign it in or not. I feel like I have enough things to work on to last me for at least this year and possibly into next year (and possibly longer than that!), so maybe I can back that down and work on what I have. I'm trying to stay off of the 123 Stitch website, because it's just too tempting.

How did I do? (Because honestly, I'm not sure.)


  1. The beautiful thing about having stitching as a hobby is that once you get started, it's a fairly cheap hobby to maintain. When you first start, there's a lot of things you need: hoops, scroll frames, threads, bobbins (if you use them), good scissors, lights, etc. etc. But once you have all that, you're working on a project for a while and don't have to spend anything except maybe to buy the occasional thread. It's more expensive when you work with silks but most silks come in 12-ply so that also helps them last. I think you're going to do fine :)

  2. I keep a spreadsheet and every night I go in to our web banking to check things out and move money as needed. Then I take those items over to the spreadsheet. On the side of the sheet, I have extra columns so that all the food goes in to one, car expenses in one, etc. Easier to add up at the end of the month. I like seeing exactly where our money went.

    We use our credit card for a lot of our expenses too. Our bank account has no fees but we like the cc as we get airmiles. We also have No Spend Days and found that really helped us to curb our "extra" spending.

    You seem to be doing fine. You have plans for spending (the beach house) but have things that come up as well. Pretty standard, I think.

    Enjoy your new hobby items!!

  3. I have paid a fortune in registered massage therapy and every penny was well worth the mobility and energy I got from it. For me it isnt a luxury either. I just wish I could afford it more often. I also don't think your hobby is expensive considering that is also entertainment cost.

  4. I think you're doing really well. I understand the hobby spending is very tempting, but you're putting money aside for it most of the time. I need regular chiropractic and accupuncture treatment, so I understand your massage costs. Kids can e really expensive, can't they?! Luckily my son saved a fair bit of money while working full-time and he is a good budgeter, so he basically costs us food/electricity etc. expenses only. He pays board towards that. He owns his own car and pays for all the running costs. He still works part-time while studying. Luckily he gets his money habits from his father! :)
    Our daughter is working casual hours and is now looking for a permanent full-time child-care job.She doesn't have a car yet, but is saving for one. She covers expenses relating to going out, presents, clothes, make-up etc. but we are still paying her medical bills. She pays some board towards household expenses.
    I'm lucky that we're through the major children's expenses. (Miss Sammyleia better not decide to get married soon though! :) Her best friend is pregnant!)I think you're doing really well! :)

  5. You're so organized! I use my debit card for everything, so it all shows up in my checking account. I rarely have any cash in my purse.


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