How I’m Doing? September End-Of-Month Recap.

Most of my monthly expenses are the same every single month. Such as electricity, car and health insurance premiums, internet, Netflix etc. They are constant so there is no need for me to monitor them. My variables, however, such as groceries, home repairs, medical co-pays, restaurant meals out and entertainment costs are not constant and I need to monitor them almost daily. Every six months I review what I have spent in these variable categories, average them out and adjust my monthly budget accordingly.

So, here’s a recap of what I spent on my variables for the month of September:

september 2019 expense spreadsheet.png
I put a red box around something I overspent in. This month it’s medical bills and doggie treats!

I’ve managed to keep my groceries at the $500 monthly budget level. I only do one major shopping spree per month (over $100) and that’s usually when I buy my meats and poultry. The rest of the month are smallish shopping trips whereby I just fill in milk, bread and other perishables (veggies, fruits) and/or if there is a good sale on meats, seafood and poultry.

This month we spent too much money on our dog (we changed her food, she needed heartworm meds @$84 and hubby bought her way too many treats!). We made one error on our restaurant meals out ($40). We went out to eat with a couple and forgot to ask for a separate check. We split the bill in half and that was a big mistake, since we both only ordered $10 items. Our medical co-pays are high because I got hit with my $185 annual deductible when I was rushed to the hospital with my bleeding nose, plus hubby needed replacement lenses @$60. Our clothing category is high because I was able to snag some end-of-season deals on summer clothes and shoes for hubby. We had entertainment costs this month (but not over budget) because I bought two tickets to see ‘Waitress‘ in Florida and 2 tickets (me and granddaughter) to see ‘Frozen‘ in NYC. We had some minor car work done, as well as some minor home repair.

I had three splurges in September: a hair cut ($21.55) a pedicure ($18) and a bouquet of sunflowers ($8)

I budget $1,105 per month in these variable categories. I spent $1,646 instead. I’m over by $541. Some of these overages I can control, such as the restaurant meals, clothes and entertainment. The medical costs I can’t control. Granted yes, I only get my preventative services done which have no deductibles or co-pays. I very rarely go to a doctor unless I’m very, very ill. DH has been having trouble with his eyesight. Looks like he has a cataract and can’t put it off till he’s on Medicare. He’s going to need surgery in the very near future.

Most of my overages are covered by my investments/interest earnings per month. That’s been reduced however due to falling interest rates. I very rarely did into savings to cover any of these variables. So, I either cut back, make changes, make adjustments (like no more theater tickets for a while, we’ve already cut back on groceries, restaurant meals are almost completely eliminated (we eat so much better at home anyway!) and somehow I get it all to work out.

I’m happy with my results because I feel as if I am in control (finally) of my own life. I can get to do and go as I please and splurge on myself every once in a while without feeling any guilty pangs.

Successful Money Management. That’s what it’s all about!


  1. I’d say you did great. Your budget is small, and going over a bit every now and again for things that bring you joy is necessary (in my opinion). You cut back in other areas to make it doable.

    I’m learning a lot about what it’s like in retirement from you, and trying to prepare as best I can (i.e. staying healthy, and saving like crazy).

    Hopefully we’ll be ready. 🙂


    • Sharon, I think you and your hubby will do great! And yes, that’s what I do to keep things balanced: as one category rises, I lower another category someplace else. The bottom line, however, always remains the same.
      Thanks, as always, for your comments.


  2. Cindi, thank you for doing this post and sharing a real life example of how a typical retiree lives. It is helpful to me. We are about 5 years out and your experience gives me things to think about for our future. Medical is a real big unknown for all of us, and I appreciate your real world experience when you write about it. We are in a position to fund a HSA to the max and pay our medical bills now OOP, so we can save the HSA $$ for when we retire. We will need it more then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Chris. I agree with you regarding the HSA. Fund it as best you can! You’re fortunate to have that available to you!
      Lots can happen in 5 years. Let’s pray it’ll all be good!
      Thanks for your kind wishes and comment.


  3. Well done! How do you manage to keep your utilities the same from month to month? We have averaging for our electricity but that is the only one. The rest fluctuate.


    • HI Leslie. Everything is on a budget plan. They estimate how much I will use going the year forward based on the previous year. Right now my electricity is $96 a month BUT we are using less and less than they estimated. So, the last two months of the year I will get a credit and probably owe them nothing. If there is still a balance they will credit going forward or just reduce the budget the next year. Our propane and electricity is budgeted. Netflix is always the same, as are our medical insurance, car insurance, how insurance etc. etc.
      I hope that helped.


      • Hi Cindi, I learned recently talking to Eversource customer service that you can adjust the budget payment to a lesser amount without waiting through the customer service rep and not wait to the end of the contract that way your excess is applied sooner. Also no fees are charge to put the bill on your credit card through the rep. So using my rewards credit card for natural gas and electricity gets $75 in rewards.


      • HI Lara. I inquired about what you stated but its not available to me at this time. It used to be I could get my monthlies lowered but they stopped that service. I guess they git burned bad. So, I wait it out.
        I’m doing the same thing more and more. Then I just pay one bill at the end of the month. Easy! Just got my $25 cash back award (free tank of gas!) Some companies give you a credit if you pay that way. For example, our cable co gives us $5 off each month when we do auto pay. Hey! Every little bit helps!
        Like minds think alike!
        Thanks for your comment.


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