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I have a couple of confessions to make. First, I am apparently really bad at keeping a blog series updated the way it should be. 😀 It isn’t that I didn’t want to keep you updated on our personal budget for February. It is that I 100% forgot to do so. With softball season just getting started for one kid, track and honor band for the other, wedding planning and everything else our family has happening, I spent the majority of February feeling pretty overwhelmed and staying busy.
My second confession is this and one that may surprise you to see a frugal blogger make; I drastically over spent in February. I will explain in a few but the simple fact is that I ran off budget so badly it was not even remotely funny. Yes, I am embarrassed by my over spending. No, I’m not going to hide it simply because I run a blog dedicated to saving money. I began posting these budget check-ins as a way to show you that you are not alone if you’re currently trying to find ways to stop living paycheck to paycheck. We all go through financial issues at times even though it may seem as if we don’t. Sometimes, no matter how much knowledge you have, you simply can’t avoid a financial crisis.
Our Personal Budget – A Real Family Budget for March 2019 Budget
If you’re new to these posts, I decided at the beginning of the year that it would be fun to share my family’s budget with you each month. Ideally, I share it with you at the beginning of the month, mid-month and at the end of the month. As you have already read, that doesn’t always happen.
If you would like to go back and read the other posts in the series, you can do so HERE.
Our February 2019 Budget Expenses
In addition to the things I overspent on, we did have some legitimate expenses pop in our personal budget that absolutely could not wait. In a perfect world, these would have been covered by an emergency fund, but as I explained HERE, 2018 pretty much destroyed our emergency fund. Both girls needed eye exams and new glasses. Normally, I would take the time to save for gift cards and get our family eye glasses free, however, it had become crystal clear that my Emma could not wait.
All in all, their eye exams and glasses ran over $500 that I wasn’t expecting. What we discovered is that Emma is – to put it mildly – “blind as a bat.” I have sat in on a lot of eye exams in my lifetime. I have never once seen someone have to take the letter chart to a single, huge letter, and still get it incorrect until Emma. I have been told there is nothing to worry about since the nerves and other parts of her eye appear normal, however, given that she is only 14, we will be visiting a a more specialized optometrist later on for a second opinion. It is quite concerning to me that she is that blind without glasses. In fact, I have bad eyesight myself. Hers is worse than mine at a much younger age.
The expense of their glasses was supposed to happen in January, but because of the way timing for appointments fell, it happened in February and was over twice the amount I had originally budgeted for it.
Why I overspent in February
As I said, I overspent by a total amount of $2,000 in February. Yikes, right? I am taking comfort in the fact that the at least some of it was on things that were actually needed versus things that were wanted. Both my girls and I needed clothes. I was desperate for clothes that actually fit as I’ve lost a 6 sizes over the past year. There were other things that were needed – such as new glasses and dental appointments.
Now here is where I got into trouble. Not all of that spending was done on needs. In fact, less than half of it was. February 15 marked the one-year anniversary of my Mother’s death. In my grief, I allowed myself to spend emotionally when I should not have. I spent money on our upcoming wedding and on things that both the girls and I wanted.
In any other situation, this would have been totally fine. In our situation though; it wasn’t. As I’ve mentioned before, Steve is an OTR truck driver who spends the majority of his time running the mid-west/East coast. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how the weather was in February for those parts of the country. What this meant for us and our budget was that there were weeks where he spent more time shut down than he did running. If you’re not familiar with truck driving, it is simply put like this – “If the wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning.”
I’m not complaining. I would rather have him safe than a larger paycheck, but it did do some damage to our projected budget amounts for February. All in all, his company had him shut down enough that we lost around $1100 in income from him last month.
Combine that with my overspending and it could have been a very bad situation. Should I have allowed myself to get so carried away by my grief that I overspent so badly? No, but what is done is done. There is zero I can do about it now other than to learn from my mistake, move on and get things back on track.
Our March 2019 Budget
As I have said in my other budget posts, my income is $3,000 a month average. It doesn’t matter what my business earns; my personal income is kept at $3000 a month. On a normal month, Steve averages out to about the same. Because of situations beyond our control though, I tend to budget his income less than what he may actually bring in. Some months he brings in more than I budget and other months – such as last month – he brings in less.
We also renewed our lease here at the house for another 2-years. If you’ve read my post on our 2019 financial goals, you’ll know that is a break from what we had originally planned to do this year. The more I thought about what we were trying to do, the more I began to see we had piled far too much on our plate. My personal opinion is that trying to add a cross-country move to everything else we’re looking to do would be a recipe for financial disaster. We can avoid that potential disaster by staying here and taking the time to really prepare for that move and for buying a home when we do actually move. Renewing for 24 months allows us to keep our rent payment the same even if our landlord should want to raise it on other properties he owns.
Expenses on our March 2019 Budget
As you’ll see below, our expenses are primarily covered by my income each month. This is one reason I don’t worry too much about having an exact amount for Steve’s income. First, because of the nature of trucking, it is impossible to have an exact amount. Secondly, even when he has a short month, it is typically okay since I have most things covered. The only time this really becomes an issue is if what happened in February happens.
- Housing – $1450.00
- Power Bill – $195
- Water Bill – $37.46
- Phones – $205.00
- Thrive by Le-Vel – $205.00
- School Lunches – $100 for both girls
- Groceries (including truck food for Steve) – $500
- Gasoline for the car – $75.00
- Misc. expenses that are too petty to list individually – $500.00
Total Expenses for January: $3267.46
Our monthly expenses tend to stay pretty much the same from month to month. Occasionally we have a variance such as with our grocery budget. These happen on months when the truck needs restocked or if I am restocking the house. If you look at our grocery budget from January, you’ll see March is $100 more. In addition, I need to do some shopping at Grove to restock the items I use to make things homemade so I don’t have to buy them. I shop at Grove for these things because their prices are generally better than anywhere else. If you’ve never shopped at Grove before, you can get a FREE 5-piece Mrs. Meyes Cleaning set when you use THIS link and spend at least $20 on your first order.
I have also started back on Thrive by Le-Vel again. If you’re a long time reader, you’ll know that I’ve had some issues over the years that I have fought to find ways to handle. The Thrive 3-step program is the only thing I have tried that has made me feel human again and I’m thrilled to have it back in my life again.
Our phone cost may seem high, but the $205 we pay is for four lines through Verizon Prepaid. Three – Steve’s and both girls – have unlimited data. Mine has 15GB of data. The reason for the difference and the reason my girls have unlimited is because both are very active outside of the house. Emma plays softball and has a few other activities. Laura is in our school districts honor band and travels with them. I use the Life 360 app to keep track of my kids when they’re not with me and to do that, they need data.
Could we find a cheaper carrier? I’m sure we could, however, with Steve being all over God’s creation in the truck, he needs a steady signal. Verizon is the only one we have found so far that will work in the middle of nowhere Missouri.
Finally, the misc. expenses category is a mix of different things. It includes our Amazon Music, our Prime Pantry subscription, Harry’s razor subscription, my fun money, date money for when Steve has home time and money that is earmarked for Steve should he need it. It really is just a mix of charges that are too small to really mess with listing individually. Most months we do not even come close to spending the entire $500 out of this category. The budgeted amount, however, stays the same.
Prime Pantry is used to help save money on food. In just two months, it saved me over $500. Quite literally. If you’re not a Prime Pantry member, you can score 30-days of free shipping from Prime Pantry (normally $5.99 per box) on orders over $10.00 right HERE. After your 30-day free trial, you will be charged $4.99 if you choose to keep it. You can, however, cancel anytime very easily if you’re not seeing a savings.
Harry’s is what we all use for razors. Simply put, they are the best razors Steve and I have ever tried. Yes, both of us. With four of us that shave various body parts regularly, it is also cheaper for us since each blade lasts weeks before needing replaced. If you’ve never tried Harry’s before, you can get a free trial right HERE. Do it. You won’t be sorry!
All in all, this month is looking as if it will be a much better month. Steve and I get married the 15th and are taking a couple days away. Be on the look out for a few posts describing how I saved on each aspect of our wedding (even if I did spend more than I originally planned). We are back on track financially after my screw up in February. Spring should be right around the corner so hopefully there won’t be anymore delays in truck stops.
How is your budget shaping up for March and how did you do in February?