DD’s Monthly Expenses – January 2009

by Debt Destroyer on February 3, 2009

Here is the latest installment of my family’s monthly expenses. Without further ado here’s the breakdown:

  • $830.00 – Mortgage
  • $759.00 – Daycare
  • $664.10 – Health Insurance
  • peral-jam-frame-memories$484.69 – Electricity
  • $452.50 – Groceries
  • $180.00 – Pearl Jam
  • $175.00 – Student Loan
  • $158.23 – Misc Household
  • $146.84 – Clothes
  • $117.01 – Gasoline
  • $84.19 – Water, Sewer, & Garbage (quarterly)
  • $60.00 – Medical Co-Pays
  • $51.93 – Dog Food
  • $25.92 – Eating Out
  • $11.67 – Vehicle Expenses
  • $4.60 – Movies

For a grand total of $4205.68…Yowsers!

Even though I used to freak out when we were this high, I have a feeling that the $4000 range is where we’ll be at for the foreseeable future.

Biggest Budget Busters:

  1. $664.10 – Health Insurance – I’ve already talked about this expense in another post so I won’t dwell too much on it here. And I probably won’t put it here again since it’s now a steady part of the budget, but I wanted to include it this time so help account for the big jump.
  2. $484.69 – Electricity – Welcome to winter.  This was by far the highest this bill has ever been for us (for example last month it was only $207.88).  But December was unusually nasty this year, so I’m hoping for a lower bill next month.  I also made some adjustments which I’ll talk about in a future post.
  3. $180.00 – Pearl Jam – $40 of this is the price of 2 memberships of their fan club, and $140 is for the Super Deluxe Edition of the re-release of Ten. I know this was not a good financial decision, but no die hard Pearl Jam fan could possibly pass this up.  (Can’t wait for the 20th anniversary tour!).

Biggest Budget Breakthroughs:

  1. $84.19 – Water, Sewer, & Garbage  – This is about half of what it was just last quarter($159).  It makes no sense why it is so much less.  I should probably call the city to investigate, but I didn’t want to look a gift-horse in the mouth.
  2. $25.92 – Eating Out – This is the one area that the envelope system has really helped us out on.  We’re having trouble reigning in the Misc household expenses, but we’re doing a great job of limiting eating out.
  3. $4.60 – Movies – Actually this should probably be listed under eating out because this total reflects the price of a medium drink.  My wife’s parents treated us to a movie & popcorn, we only had to pay for our drink.  We went to see Gran Torino.  I don’t know about you, but I really like Clint Eastwood’s later work.

Well there we have it. I’m already a little worried about next month’s total because since I switched phone & internet service, the billing cycle is a little screwed up (notice it’s not on my list this month) and the first one is a doozy.   But it’ll all be taken care of by next month.

Until next time,


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

The Happy Rock February 3, 2009 at 9:09 am

$180 for Pearl Jam? That looks pretty out of place amidst a debt reduction plan. That is more than your monthly misc. spending and more than all your budget breakthroughs.

For some perspective and framing it is going to take you MONTHS of sustained not eating out and scrimping to make all the money up. When you frame it like that it helps you to see if it was really worth it.

Also, I wouldn’t remove the insurance from your report. It will help keep the expense fresh in your mind and should help you be creative in dealing with it. The moment you ‘hide’ something is the moment you become complacent about it.


Double Eagle February 3, 2009 at 11:52 am

Debt Destroyer, this is meant in the most constructive manner, but you have to get hardcore, my friend. It seems like every month you have something that you acknowledge is not a good decision. When you are about to hand over money for something, pause for a second and if you’re going to be typing “I know this was not a good financial decision” later in the month, then STOP.

I know you’re not following the Dave Ramsey system, but he has a saying that perfectly captures the situation: “we live like no one else so we can live like no one else.”

That means that until we reach financial security we must put off buying things that are frivolous, and make no mistake, no matter how big a fan you are, $180 on anything Pearl Jam related is as frivolous as it gets when you’re conquering debt.

Speaking of which, I haven’t noticed any debt-related items in your monthly budgets other than the student loans. Is there other debt? How much are you expending on it? How big is it? Are you making progress or is the hole deepening?

I wish you the best, but like me, you’re not going to change anything until you change your basic attitude. I think I’ve finally done that and certainly I’m not a shining example of perfection. But I can tell you from experience that nothing will change until the transformation happens.


derl February 3, 2009 at 6:07 pm

i have really cut back on my expenses trying to get all my debt paid off, the biggest change i’ve seen so far has been cutting back on eating out. but yea your pearl jam purchase wasn’t exactly a wise decision when you can get so much of that type of stuff used on ebay.


brainy February 3, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Well, I’m going to have to agree with Double Eagle — you have to start getting serious.

On the other hand, major kudos for coming out and letting everyone know that you spent $180 on, well, a Pearl Jam album that I’m sure you already own. (I clicked on the link, and it does look pretty sweet with all of those extras, but still, I’m content with the version I bought back in 1991… and I’m sure you could be too.)

I had some trouble at the start of my debt destruction, making HUGE purchases on game-used hockey jerseys (my vice) along the way, but once I started shaming myself online each time, I stopped. And then it didn’t take long for my habits to change and for my debts to disappear.


Debt Destroyer February 4, 2009 at 12:05 am

Thanks for the comments. It’s nice to see that people actually read this stuff.

I appreciate the public flogging my Pearl Jam spending is getting, but you all realize that it is the SUPER DELUXE EDITION right?!?!


I guess I should’ve let it be known that The Mrs & I got $100 each for Christmas. I decided to blow my wad on the Pearl Jam set, and the Mrs bought clothes (note that the entire listed clothes total is not only for her). So in my mind I only wasted $40 on it (The memberships are essential spending).

But that being said if we were “gazelles”, we would’ve pocketed the $200 and not bought anything. But clearly our monthly expense reports have shown that we are not “gazelles”.

I agree that we need to buckle down and get serious about our debt reduction, but all work and no play makes DD a dull boy.

To me the biggest waste on the list is the $4.60 we spent at the movies. We could’ve easily snuck in a water (One of the few advantages of living in a cold climate is that the big coasts make sneaking food/drinks into movie theaters very easy).

@ The Happy Rock – I didn’t mean that I’d take health insurance out of the monthly expense list, just not list it in the Biggest Budget Buster list again.

@ Double Eagle – The reason you don’t see too many debt related items on the list is because the student loan & mortgage is our only remaining debt. Here’s a recent post that talks about this:

@derl – Actually the Super Deluxe Edition of Ten hasn’t been released yet. And even when it is, I think it will be a while before it’ll be listed on ebay for a discount (only crazy people like me will buy it).

But your point in general is noted.

@ Brainy – Actually I can’t wait for it to come. When I listen to ten now, I think it is WAY overproduced. So it’ll be nice to hear the remastered original and the Brendan O’Brien version (plus all the other stuff too).

If I came off as a total Pearl Jam dork above, that is because I am. Who else would buy the SUPER DELUXE EDITION of anything except total dorks?

Where are all the Trekkies at, they’ll get what I’m talking about :)


Spartan Saving February 4, 2009 at 1:17 am

The big one on this end other then Pearl Jam, is the 145$ on clothes. Is that a usual amount per month? Also on the electricty bill, do you use CFL’s? Is a printer running all the time, computer or TV? Those things really bring up the costs.


Benjamin D. February 7, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Pearl Jam is my favorite band as well!!


Live Cheap Earn Big February 10, 2009 at 4:33 am

I’m 19 and I live alone and my rent is more than your mortgage and my health insurance is only 100 shy of your family’s plan. :( The northeast sucks.


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