One month checkup – July’s Expenses

by Debt Destroyer on August 4, 2008

As you will recall I laid out my family’s monthly budget in my Nitty Gritty post and promised to track my expenses for the month so we could actually see how our money is spent.

Without further ado…here are the results for July 2008:

  • Daycare – $1018
  • Mortgage – $830
  • Groceries $496.95
  • Van Loan – $330
  • Gas – $225.88
  • Water, Sewer, Garbage – $151.57 (paid quarterly)
  • Phone & Internet – $115.75
  • Student Loan – $115
  • Dinning out – $108.34
  • Electricity – $100.07
  • Misc Household items – $88.20
  • Tennis – $82.00
  • Retirement Savings – $60
  • Kid stuff – $57.80
  • Vet Bills – $45.60
  • Movies & Videos – $27.68
  • Donations – $23.00

For a grand total of $3875.84!


Well, we definitely have areas where we can improve upon.

  1. The daycare total shouldn’t be that large again (this was June’s bill…paid in July, but July’s won’t be much smaller).
  2. Gas was higher than I expected but we traveled every weekend in July, which is odd for us.
  3. Dinning out – Most of this category was from all the traveling we did. $50 of that total was one meal where we went out with some out-of-town friends (while visiting them). This is the one bill I felt bad about. I instantly knew we were wasting money.
  4. Tennis – I was in two tournaments and got new strings. Now the season is winding down, so should the expenses.
  5. Retirement Savings. As one of the comments suggested, I’ll be stopping this payment until I get back on my feet.

The category that stands out to me the most is groceries.

I remember spending about $55 for our 4th of July get-together on stuff that I normally wouldn’t have bought. But we still would’ve eaten that weekend, so there would still be some level of expense.

As I mentioned in one of my comments from the Nitty Gritty Post, that my 3 1/2 year old daughter has food allergies (wheat, dairy, peanuts, egg, & soy…but we’ve just been allowed to re-introduce soy) , which require us to purchase more expensive foods. So I understand we will be slightly higher than the average family in this category, but I have to admit to not knowing what the average is.

What does the typical family of four spend a month on groceries?

And while I’m requesting feedback, where do you think I could shave a little off my monthly budget? Any areas that really stick out as being out of proportion? What categories are/have been your biggest budget busters?

Say that three times fast:

Biggest Budget Busters, Biggest Budget Busters, Biggest Budget Busters!

Until next time,


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Susy August 5, 2008 at 8:02 am

Our biggest grocery budget busters used to be snack items & cereals. We started this year by vowing to not eat any commercially processed food (including cereal, bread, etc). We have saved so much money this year on groceries and have been eating so much healthier. We spend more on some things, like our milk we get raw from a local farm and it’s $6 a gallon (the greatest part, no more lactose intolerance!). But we save so many other places. Homemade muffins are much cheaper than cereal, and you can make a huge batch on Sunday & freeze them for the week.

We also cancelled our cable last year, haven’t missed it yet. We have a small antennae in the attic and we get better HD channels that our friends that have cable. That saved us $60 a month. You could also get Vonage to save on phone if you have high speed internet (we have the cheapest plan and we have 2 businesses running out of our home).

You could probably cut electric as well (another plus of not having TV). We spend about $80 in the summer with the A/C on and we run 2 businesses, have 5 computers, cameras to charge, etc. etc. We’ve been working on this number for the last year and it’s gone down from about $110 to $80 a month.

Keep up the good work, it gets easier & easier the longer to do it!


Jacquelin August 5, 2008 at 11:00 am

I take it that you live in the city, that’s why the cost for trash pick-up. but do you have any friends or family that live in the country that you can take your non-recycable trash and burn it? it would eliminate the garbage pick-up. Our local library has video’s to check out. It’s free. Dining out-can you and your wife share a meal? or go to a restaurant where kids eat free. Drink water. I take it also that your house is all electric. We bought an retractable clothes line from our local home improvements store (Menards), and hung it in our family room. That is where I hang the clothes to dry in the winter time or when it’s raining. I can’t remember the last time I used the dryer. We save about $5-8 dollars a month with that.
Now food-if youlike red meat-have you tried going to the local meat locker? They generally have meat to buy in bulk at a good price and it is locally grown-you can ask exactly where it came from. Our local one has a package for a whole cut up hog for $79-99 dollars. (that’s for about 100 lbs of meat-79cents-99cents a pound)


Sue August 5, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Tennis really seems to stick out but thanks for explaining it. Entertainment seems to be a big issue for us. Don’t move to fast on taking out the retirement savings. We stopped doing that in 2005 and have not gone back to it yet. Some things that are supposed to be temporary become permanent.
The trick each paycheck is to spend less than you make. Not sure if you are there yet or not.
Good luck.


Sue August 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm

I posted my normal expenses on my blog.

Sorry, I have not figured out how to do trackbacks on blogspot.


celticbuffy August 6, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Daycare, dining out, and gas seem to be the areas that pop out at me that you might possibly be able to shave a little. I know that gas and dining out are the areas that I have the tendency to go overboard on. Although, don’t cut down on the gas too much because I want to see you guys sometime soon! :)

I know it’s less convenient but maybe you could try Netflicks or Blockbuster online for movies? The monthly subscription fee would be a little less than what you spent in July for movies/videos. The libraries also carry a fairly good selection of kids movies.

Hang in there! :)


Gloria August 7, 2008 at 7:33 am

I also spend to much for dining out. But it is pleasure for me


Discount Knives August 7, 2008 at 1:14 pm

For my family most of the groceries that we waste money on seems to be junk food. Chips, Soda, Cookies, Candy, and even stuff like bulk bags of chicken nuggets or pizza rolls that can cost as much as $10 dollars per bag. For our family once we cut out soda and started drinking water and made our own dinners rather than popping stuff like chicken nuggets in the oven we save about $85 per month now. Something to think about if you haven’t already.


John (Debt Defier) August 7, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Thanks for all the comments…keep them coming!

@Susy – Good for you for giving up processed foods! But even more impressive is your low electric bill while running multiple businesses and the AC. I just got my next E bill and it’s $40 higher.

@Jacquelin – Thanks for all the money savings tips. Your comment was full of them. I’ve been meaning to set up a closeline for a few years now. And that is one heck of a deal on the meat. I’ll check into that. Perhaps someone will split it with me, cause I’m not sure if we need that much at once.

@Sue – Thanks for posting your list of expenses too. It was fun to see someone else’s list for a change.

@CelticBuffy – We already subscribe to netflix’s lowest plan, which I’ll be dropping due to lack of use. Most of this months tally was due to a showing of “The Dark Knight”.

@Gloria – I hear ya on the pleasure part. This one will be tough.

@Discount Knives – Hey now, we just started buying bulk bags of chicken nuggets. :) They are a big hit at our house and can last for a couple of meals.


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