Household budget: First ‘budgeted’ month just ended

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I’ve started to really practice what I preach (tracking my expenses) since Jan. this year. Even if it’s not too easy for some ‘airhead’ like me to really be consistent with something, I can gladly report that the expenses have been tracked each and every month, so I now have a very good view on where my money is going and what needs to be better optimized.

Truth be told neither me or husband are clubbing or buying expensive clothing, so most of the money goes to what needs paying anyway: utilities, taxes, car expenses, health expenses, all the stuff we need for the baby, groceries.

Anyway, while this exercise has bee a real eye-opener, I never bothered thinking about a budget and seeing how we’re doing each month. On October 1sth though, I created a small budget based on the money we spend usually (I have separate ‘accounts’ on my software for the savings, so this is just to track what we pay every month. What I don’t exchange into our currency, remains in my paypal account or goes to our savings).

household budget

This explains why you won’t hear me talk about ‘savings’ when it comes to the budget, the money we’re left every month goes to the next one’s budget, the savings are done each month, but in another currency (oh, well, the pleasures of living in a non-US or non-Euro country).

For this month I had scheduled around $1.2K to cover our expenses and we didn’t need more than that. This is the good part. The not so good is that we had so many things to ‘cover’, that my remaining money for this month is around $65.

Almost $200 were the taxes and our accountant’s fees. We also had to send my husbands gas analyzer to be checked ($200) and the car expenses amounted to around $150 (gas and the yearly insurance – this is pretty cheap, compared to what US drivers pay, but still steep enough for our wages). Health costs were $150, I also bought maternity clothing ($25 on a pair of jeans). I do try to keep myself from filling the closet with ‘fat clothing’, since I can still wear some of my old ‘attire’, not to mention I can borrow a t-shirt or blouse from my husband (I work at home, so I don’t need to be ‘en vogue’).

My ‘entertainment‘ expenses were $10 (met with friends 2 times and had a latte – decaf, of course), we also spent $30 on a day trip to a nearby Serbian city (we bought some cream for our upcoming baby – the expenses for her amount to $150).

Most expenses were on groceries and things for Nadia (this is how we’ve named her). I’m not too pleased with how much we have spent, but we’ve bought most of the ‘big’ stuff we needed for her, so the next months will surely be WAY easier for us money-wise. I don’t think we’ll spend more than 40-50 bucks/month until she’s born. Husband’s income is not in the ‘chart’, he’s not thrilled about the idea of tracking his expenses, but on the other hand he’s not spending money on anything but what we need for the household. Each cent he’s made this month was put to pay for the utilities (as you can notice, this category is not in my list), a part of the taxes for our firm and a lot of the groceries – baby expenses.

The conclusion is that I really don’t want to have too many months like this one (having to pay for the car, analyzer and most of the baby stuff which was crazy expensive), but we still made it on our ‘cash’ money and didn’t have to go into savings or postpone any bill. We saved money (even if I really didn’t expect to be able to do this, after knowing what a disaster this month’s budget would be) and have no more stress when it comes to the baby. All we need to buy in the next months are few clothing items and some stuff for me after I give birth.

For November I have budgeted around $800 (will need to pay some taxes to change my name on my firm – got married weeks ago, so there’s a lot of paperwork to be done), let’s hope nothing unplanned appears out of the blue again.

How was your budget this past month? Were you able to ‘fit’ all the expenses? Do you have money left? Did you have a good month?

20 COMMENTS

  1. I always seem to have an unplanned expense so I never stay on budget. I can’t think of a month when there wasn’t a flat tire or emergency trip to the vet.

    Last month my debt went up instead of down but that is just how it goes. As soon as I get out of debt I want to build an emergency fund so I don’t have to go back in to debt when an emergency happens.

    I am Canadian so our health care is free. Is that an expense you have to budget for?

    • Tell me about unexpected expenses, just as you said, they ALWAYS creep on in. Uff..

      Our healthcare system is free, theoretically. We’re paying for it each month (the money is taken from our salaries/company revenue), but the services are horrible.

      I am pregnant now, so there’s a lot of stuff to be done. If I were to go into the hospital (which I have all the right to do), I would face some pretty bad service and a bad environment (the hospitals are not modernized properly, not even properly cleaned most of the time).

      So, instead of wasting time there and catching god knows what, I’d rather go to the private system, which costs and the State insurance does NOT cover these expenses (the moment they do, they can close down their state hospitals since no one will use them anymore ;)).

      So we’re actually paying 2 times: first we’re being taken the money for the official state system and secondly we pay (and quite a lot) to be treated like humans not cattle in decent clinics. 🙂

  2. That is the trouble sometimes or should I say a lot of times – the unexpected expenses. Why do these things have a knack for finding their way to you just when you are doing so well with your finances? I’ll be… 🙂

    • Well, from personal (and sad) experience, they ALWAYS happen. We had emergencies before, which led us to borrow money from friends just to make it that month. At least now, with a good cash-flow and a bit of an emergency fund, when it happens, you can cope easier. It’s super-annoying, but at least it doesn’t lead to a financial disaster for the family.

    • Well, I think most of us find it difficult to stay within it, since many unexpected expenses can appear. As long as you do have a general guideline thought, it’s easier to try and follow it than just spending money.

  3. Not a good month for me. I had some unexpected expenses involving the car and a trip to the doctor. I am so glad I started building up my emergency fund because it helped last month for sure keeping me away from bank fees and other charges I really couldn’t afford last month.

    But November is going to be much better! I have a good feeling!

    • Ouch, so we kinda were in the same boat, since car expenses and medical expenses were an issue for me too. Of course the analyzer plus extra company fees ‘chimed’ in. Having an emergency fund clearly helps in this case. It’s annoying to have to take money from there, but it’s way better than to have to charge a credit card and then pay their insane interest

  4. I track my expenses and use a pretty lose budget. I’m putting like 75% of my income towards debt, so as long as the bills are paid and I have some fun money, I am ok. I also try to side-hustle a lot. I would say my worst area is going out to eat. I love it so much, but that’s really my only major expenditure. I don’t have a car, a pet, a kid and for a while didn’t even have insurance! Sounds like you are on the right track with your budget and tracking.

    • Wow, 75% of your income is really big, I’m sure your debt payment is moving pretty fast in this case, compared to when you could pay a smaller percentage. Not having a car surely helps, there’s a truckload of expenses with it. And, as long as you still find ways to enjoy life and not get off your ‘wagon’ you’re clearly in a great place.

  5. I’ve been trying for years, unsuccessfully to develop a budget and stick to it. Recently, I’ve gone to building a blog just about budgeting in the hope of being able to devote enough time, energy and motivation to ‘figure it out.’

    Here’s wishing you good luck on your own journey. I’ve got a toddler, and children sink budgets faster than you can imagine in ways you can’t imagine.

    • It’s all about building a habit. I’m horrible when it comes to being consistent and for years have ignored the idea of a budget or tracking my expenses. I started writing down what I spend on Jan. 1st and am going strong. Last month I decided it’s time to add another good habit and I think I’ll stick to it, too. Not that difficult, once you have all set in place and know what to do.

      Keep up the good work, it will come more naturally in time and it won’t feel like a chore anymore. And the benefits are clearly immense.

  6. October was a good month for us…it’s November that I’m worried about. It’s time to visit the eye doctor, and while we have insurance my wife and son always seem to pick frames that cost more than our allotted amount covered by insurance!

    • Keeping fingers crossed. Eyeglasses are pretty expensive here too. Whenever I need to change them or see the doctor, I already know the budget will suffer that month 😀

  7. There really is nothing quite like tracking your spending and seeing where it’s all going, is there? It’s an oddly eye opening thing. I always assumed I knew where my money was going until I started tracking expenses.

    • Well, since we make tens of transactions each month, it’s clearly impossible to remember them well. This is why keeping the ‘tag’ does help a lot. Not to mention it also adds up the numbers, so we don’t have to 😀

  8. I don’t think that we had many months since we started budgeting without unexpected expenses, and they always suck. I was just thinking that when I was younger things used to break a lot less often :))

    It’s great to hear that you’re mostly done with buying the stuff required for Nadia (that’s a really nice name!), and hopefully you’ll be able to stick to your budget from now on.

    • We need to stick to it, since we still have to save a lot of money for the birth and the next months. We’re also planning on taking her on a trip next autumn, not to mention that our current expenses will clearly increase a lot with the baby and it’s good to be prepared 😉

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