Budgeting Lessons from November 2012

What did our November financial life teach me?

Thank God for our emergency fund. We went $295 over budget in Car repairs, $196 over in cell phone, $96 over in Blow money, $158 over in Groceries.

So what have I learned? Do not make excuses to spend over budget. The car repairs I need to simply continually budget the appropriate amounts and continue to monitor what the correct monthly budget for that should be. As for the blow money FPU leadership kit I feel that a $150 discount is pretty substantial on something that I was going to buy anyway. I think that this is simply a matter of roll with the punches. As for the cell phone, it probably would have been wise for budgeting purposes to wait until December to move forward with Ting to spread out the cost of the new phone and the new ting phones. In groceries I should have made simple pancakes instead of lemon poppy seed. I could have made the meals cheaper if I would have analyzed them a bit. I was over this month so just reduce our December budgetable amount by the amount I was over in November. I am so thankful for the YNAB rule about this. My previous method of budgeting was here is this month’s income how are we going to spend it THIS month. It didn’t consider that I probably already spent some of it the prior month.

FYI:The above paragraph was a summary paragraph I wrote after writing the below. It might contain all the useful things I learned.

If you would like to see our budget check it out here.

Car repairs seem to be an eternal black hole for us. We had to change both the front and rear brakes on my Ford Taurus in less than 30 days. A few months back I went in to my prior spending and noticed that the average spending on car repairs was $300 a month over the last 12 months If we would have been budgeting the $300 a month for car repairs that we would have been closer to covering this but now quite enough. We have been using YNAB since July and we had an average of $413 per month in car repairs since then. Guess we need to up car repair monthly budget going forward!

I ordered the Financial Peace University Kit that was on sale for $99 instead of the normal $249. I fully realize how ironic this is. I impulse purchased FPU leadership. Even though we were already over spent for the month by $650. Yep thats right.

Cell phone bill was $196 over budget because of two components. 1) My phone screen smashed when I dropped it on the pavement. I went out and purchased a new phone that day at US Cellular with the $100 eventual rebate. I can’t not have a phone when I am delivering mail. My car is not reliable enough to be able to not have a phone on my mail route. 2) I am also in the process of transfering phone companies to Ting. Ting is the most beautiful cell phone company in the world. No contracts ever and you pay only for what you actually use. $133 for two new Ting phones and $32 for the monthly fee. Ever heard of a $32 a month cell phone bill? The switch to ting will be a significant money saver going forward. Ting won’t have the silly buy a phone and get a rebate in the mail either like US Cellular.

Groceries were over budget by $158. I started doing once a month cooking in November. The idea is that we would in 24 hours cook enough food to have prepared meals for the entire next month. Our freezer is full of meals! I know that this has already reduced our restaurant spending quite a bit. I have learned though that the pre-made once a month meal menu that I chose is not exactly cooking on a budget. We made lemon poppy seed pancakes. I don’t think pancackes can get any more expensive than that! Also we usually get free beef from my parents. In September my dad called the butcher and they said that it would be December before they could get us in. So we ran out of beef and needed to start purchasing our protien in October and November. We are now going to be getting our own quarter of beef in January as our christmas present. That is a first. Usually just get the left over meat from the prior beef when my parents get their fresh stuff.

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