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DD’s Monthly Expense Checkup – October 2008

by Debt Destroyer on November 7, 2008

Here is the latest installment of my family’s monthly expenses. Below are the results from October:

  • $830.00 – Mortgage
  • $771.00 – Daycare
  • $675.00 – Life Insurance
  • $499.75 – Groceries
  • $170.00 – PPST Test (for school)
  • $159.68 – Utilities (water, sewer, & garbage billed quarterly)
  • $156.80 – Gas
  • $152.77 – Household Misc
  • $149.94 – Contacts
  • $125.00 – Student Loan
  • $115.75 – Phone & Internet
  • $111.71 – Electricity
  • $85.47 – Dining Out
  • $51.93 – Dog Food
  • $49.12 – Kid stuff
  • $41.00 – Clothes
  • $40.00 – Medical bills
  • $15.00 – Donations
  • $12.00 – Haircut
For a grand total this month of $4211.94!
Nuts, we’re back over $4,000.   What happened?
Biggest Budget Busters:
  1. $675.00 – Life Insurance –  This is a once a year expense for both the Mrs & I.  It’s not really fair to pin all of the expense to October, but whoever said “life was fair”.
  2. $499.75 – Groceries – We’re getting too close to the $500 level for my comfort.  But I have good news. My daughter’s food allergies have weakened enough so we no longer have to avoid wheat & dairy.  This should help lower the cost of groceries going forward.
  3. $170.00 – PPST Test – This is a college related expense.  I have to pass this test in order to be enrolled in the school of education…I sure hope it’s easy, I don’t want to take it again.
Biggest Budget Breakthroughs:
  1. $149.94 – Contacts – Even though this seems like a lot, I really ended up saving a nice chunk of change.  in fact, I think I’ll write more about this in a future post.
  2. $111.71 – Electricity – I marked this under a breakthrough because this bill covers the month of September (paid in Oct) in which we didn’t run either the AC or Heat.   In a couple of months this will be much higher (as I write this we are getting out first blizzard of the season…maybe tomorrow will be a snow day?)
  3. $41.00 – Clothes – I included this for a couple of reasons: 1)  This has been the first time we’ve spent anything on clothes since I’ve been tracking our expenses. 2) We got quite a haul for what we spent: Two polo shirts and a pair of pants for me and a pair of boots for my wife.  But the biggest thing was I got a new wallet.    I’ve needed a new one for years, but I just couldn’t part with my old one.  Like George from Seinfeld, I had everything in there.  It was hard to pare down, but I have to say I love my new wallet.
In other news…I have to say I don’t think paying cash has been saving me much money yet.  At least not in October.  I’ll probably dissect the figures and report back to you in a future post.  I’m sure you’ll all be waiting with bated breath…
Until next time,
-DD

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

The Happy Rock November 7, 2008 at 10:56 am

DD,

It looks like you guys need to start splitting up those irregular expenses, so that they don’t blow the monthly budget. For example, the Life Insurance should now become a $57 a month payment that is due each month, so that when a year rolls around you have the $675 when it is due. This goes for other none monthly expenses like car insurance, contacts, auto repair, etc. It will really help smooth out your spending.

As far as spending cash, I think something like the envelope system is were you will begin to see real savings, because it keeps you from ‘accidentally’ overspending.

One last question, how come daycare is still so high?

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Tom November 7, 2008 at 5:46 pm

When I’m tracking expenses, I leave out what I call fixed costs, in your case Mortage, Daycare, Life Insurance, etc. so your total would be about $1,950/month, even less if you leave out student loan. If you want to cut costs it would be a %percentage of 1,950. I’m not sure how it works in the US but your phone bill seems high. Skype or public phones may help reduce costs.

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celticbuffy November 9, 2008 at 5:33 pm

We have our internet/phone as a package deal but the phone is local only. We have signed up with Skype and use that for our long distance phone calls. We had to purchase a head set but that was a minor expense for the overall savings. You can choose from pay as you go or $2.95/month for unlimited US/Canada calling. Since the majority of the family that we talk to is long distance (and I cut the cell phone) this is much cheaper in the long run than using the land line.

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The Happy Rock November 9, 2008 at 7:40 pm

On the cable and internet front, I pay $83 a month for VOIP phone, unlimited everywhere, cable internet, and standard cable.

Here is the post describing my how I save a bunch of money : Call Comcast and Save

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The Debt Defier November 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm

@ The Happy Rock – Budgets have never really worked for us, but luckily we stay afloat because we’re magicians. We don’t have $57 a month to set aside, but yet somehow for the past 4 years I’ve been able to pony up $675 for Life Insurance. Just like in April, I’ll have to cough up over $400 for auto insurance.

Magician is probably the wrong word, since we have no magic. I guess I’m more of a financial “juggler”. I might explain this further another day, but for now I’ll leave it that in the pay-check to pay check world that we live in, we’ve managed to not drop any of the important bowling pins that we’re constantly juggling.

Actually I just reviewed my daycare statement. I put up the wrong total, it should have been $771, not $701. (I just made an edit with the correct figures) Daycare costs $78 per week, per kid. Sept had 5 Monday, so that means five weeks. Add in monthly supply fees and subtract a vacation day and we get a total of $771. Oct’s bill will be lower due to there only being 4 Mondays.

@Tom – Interesting idea of leaving out the fixed costs while tracking our expenses. I like it, but at the same time I like seeing the total picture.

@celticbuffy, Tom, & Happy Rock – I agree that we’re probably paying too much for our phone service. After my wife’s final wedding of the season (early Jan) we’ll look into switching things up. Right now I’m with Qwest, our other option is the cable company (Midco). I have no desire for cable TV, but we’ll see if they can help us out with a better phone & internet package.

We tried Skype a couple of years ago, and didn’t care for it. But maybe it’s been improved.

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