Well, what's seemingly becoming a monthly trend, I fell really short in some areas of my budget this month. There were some areas which were a bit more successful too so I'm clinging to those like a tiny little life raft in the middle of the wide open sea. Since I'm trying to bring a more positive spin to things, we'll start with the successes first:
Food--somehow I managed to stay within my food budget for once. Maybe it's because the semester started again and I have no time to the grocery store? Maybe it's because my garage somewhat looks like a grocery store due to my stockpile? Either way, I managed to only spend $177.26 out of the monthly $200.00 budget. Pretty good score!
Lunches for Me -- I would really like to get to the point where I eliminate this category all together since I should be bringing my lunch from home every.single.day. to save money but I do feel like I need some backup plan for those days when I either forget my lunch or I simply don't have anything in the house to bring (if that day ever comes, we have a problem!). Due to 2 days in a row of forgetting my lunch and having to buy from the cafe onsite at work, I did spend $11.84 of a $20.00 monthly budget. However, I scored some really cheap noodle type meals on sale a couple of weeks ago and have stuck those in my desk drawer at work so that even if I find myself without lunch one day, I can still eat something without having to spend anything in the cafe.
Lunches for Tyler -- Tyler buys lunch at school almost every day. At only $1.80 for lunch, his dad and I figured it was cheaper to let him buy than to pack a lunch every day. Plus, it's a whole lot easier on me to not have to remember to pack a lunch for him when he's at my house, fight to get his lunch box back from his dad when it inevitably gets left over there, or to stress about whether or not his dad will remember to pack him a lunch when he's over there (his dad is SO forgetful about stuff like lunches and checking the backpack each day). So, we typically switch off on funding Tyler's lunch money account. However, for the month of January, I did try to pack a lunch for Ty on those days that he didn't like what the cafeteria was having or on any day that he would allow me to pack him a lunch simply to try to cut down on the frequency of having to fund his lunch money account. It worked! I didn't have to fund his account even once the entire month of January! So, I currently have $45/month budgeted for Tyler's lunches and didn't spend a dime of it!
Pet Expenses --With a big dog who eats A LOT and a cat who needs wet food (expensive) and cat litter which won't leave my house smelling like a vet's office, I have a monthly budgeted amount of $60.00 to spend on pet expenses. However, I had a bit of a stockpile built up of cat litter so my expenses for January were a little lower than usual. Thanks to finding an outlet to buy dog food for really cheap (a post coming on that soon!), I only spent $22.55 out of the budgeted $60.00 in January!
And now for the areas where I didn't do so well:
Eating Out -- I posted about this in the middle of the month but my eating out budget of only $50.00 was totally stomped on this month. I ended up spending a whopping $146.55 on eating out this month. This amount undoubtedly MUST be lowered in February. It's got to. It's crazy!
Fuel -- Again, a trip down to the beach house really put me in the grave on this one. I blew by the $250.00 budget for gas this month and ended up spending $350.54. Yikes! Part of it is due to the increase in gas prices that happened right after Christmas (gas went up to $3.49/gallon at one point where I'm at--YOWZERS!) but part of it was just because I wasn't budgeting my driving very well. I'm attempting to reign that in and try to be smarter about where I drive to and consolidating my errands.
I'm really hoping that the Blogger Challenge that we've got going on for February will help me to realize some more positive savings in my budget for next month. Cross your fingers for me!
Let's move on to a more delightful topic, shall we? My top three referrers for the month of January were. . . .drum roll, please!
In this order:
SingleMama from singlemamalife
Sarah from Downtown Southern
Jess from Little House. Big Heart.
Thank You wonderful ladies and your awesome readers for all of your love and support of my little ole' blog!