Friday, February 7, 2014

Probably boring, but there's sort of a recipe hidden in it

We did our monthly budget review last night.  Although we were in the black, it was a whopping $6.60 saved.  There was a furnace repairman visit during the first polar vortex and a visit to the mechanic for the old car, but that didn't fully make up the difference from previous months by a long shot.  Everything is just getting more expensive.

The good news is that $6.60 isn't a complete picture, lest any family members reading this start to worry.  This is the budget for variable expenses, which is separate from planned savings, which come right out the paycheck and we essentially never see.  This is the "bonus" savings if you will, the cash we can access readily.  We are still paying down debt faster than the minimum, because that's all built into the budget as well.  Every penny is accounted for and every Goodwill purchase broken down into clothing, household, or my fabric addiction in Microsoft Excel.  We know exactly how we're spending it all.  What can I say, I married a data man.

So truly, we are doing okay.  However.  That variable expense sheet shows $59.83 on clothing, mostly for growing children at Goodwill, $8.53 on entertainment, $0.00 on hobbies.  Too much on eating out, for full disclosure, although we recently cut that budget amount and we blew the new budget but not the old one.  Growing up eating out multiple times per week, that's been a hard habit to completely break.  Blew the grocery budget, too.  I haven't changed my shopping habits, but again, rising costs.

The biggest money sucker is living in the city.  As much as I like living in our house, it's crazy expensive.  Taxes are more than 25% of our monthly mortgage payment.   That's money we'll never get back, even if most is going to principal/equity.  (Tangential lunatic fringe political rant: It gets higher every election, no matter how outrageous the levy, because most voters are not property owners!  Score one for the founders for restricting suffrage to debt-free property owners.  It just makes sense that those only those who have proven to be worthy stewards of their own money should be trusted with that of the commonwealth.  And yes, that would leave us out of the vote!)  It's one more excellent reason to get out to the country.  Le sigh.

I don't say all this to complain, truly.  This is just what it takes to be a one-income family in a two-income world.  This month we're just going to try again, pray the furnace is good through the winter, and double down on my kitchen efforts.  Probably a better use of my energy than longingly browsing! 

Last night we had a pretty delicious soup that I'm calling Golden Vichyssoise.  Doesn't that sound fancy?  It's a large leek, lots of Yukon Gold potatoes, and half of a languishing butternut squash simmered in chicken stock and pureed, seasoned with mustard, and with a little cream mixed in.  Garnish with bits of bacon if it's not Friday!  With crusty bread and salad it was a pretty filling meal.  Tonight is pizza night.

I should also mention that I'm taking care of a newborn baby three days a week starting in mid-March.  Right around the time the first car payment is due! That was a perfectly timed gift from God, because we really needed a better vehicle, but kept putting it off and putting it off because we wanted to keep paying down those debts as fast as possible.  Data Man said it made sense to continue paying down the student debt rather than save cash for a car, because the interest on those would be bigger than that on a car payment.  I been praying for God to make it happen, and then this job landed in my lap! It will fully cover the car payment and then a little extra for throwing at those student loans!  It's something I can do without sacrificing being truly at home for my family.  It probably won't be a long-term thing, but long enough that we can knock out another loan or two.


  1. Wow... this is intimidating. lol. I have budget-making looming in my future, as we'll have to get better about that once we're a one income family. I'm sure I won't be as good with it as you guys are, though!

  2. Even though I feel like my budget is already very complex, I don't even have things broken down as much as you do. A Goodwill purchase, for example, would all get lumped together into one spot, instead of split up into component parts. I don't know if I have the time to do that each week! Tom is a whiz at Excel, though, and I bet he could come up with a much more sensible system for tracking things than the one I created.