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:
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.