I know it is nearly the end of October, but it is never too late to look back and review your spending from last month. Below is a review of our spending from September.
Related Articles: Managing Our Finances with Mint
September 2017 Overview: Total Spending – $3,913
We did a good job recovering from our profligate ways in August and cut our spending this month by over 40%. August had some large planned expenses but September was a pretty quiet month for us. Most of our time has been spent with our new baby, which limited our spending on our usual splurges like restaurants. Most of our family members have also been helping us by providing meals that can be frozen (our freezer has never been so full). Not only has this made our lives much easier because we don’t have to spend time cooking, but it also helped us severely cut down our grocery bills. Its nice when gifts can kill two birds with one stone! Below is a detailed breakdown of our spending this month.
Home: Spending – $2,300; Budget – $2,400
We didn’t spend anything in Home other than our rent. Not much else to say about this one here.
Kids: Spending – $224; Budget – $500
After the big birthing expenses of August, we saw our spending on NFF Jr. go down dramatically. The bulk of this budget was spent on buying birth certificates. They are surprisingly expensive, $150 for 5 of them! Not to mention the UPS envelope was nearly destroyed by the time it got to our apartment. Oh well. The rest of the money was spent on diapers and cream for a rash he was getting. Not having to buy formula or solid food yet has really kept this budget down so far.
Food and Dining: Spending – $234; Budget – $450
Our family has been very generous over the last few months, particularly in the food category. I always say that my mother expresses her love through food, and we benefited from a full refrigerator and freezer packed with delicious, easy to reheat meals. Thanks to that, and some of the freezer meals we made in August, we kept our food budget pretty low this month.
Auto and Transport: Spending – $115; Budget – $400
Nearly all of our car expenses this month were on parking. A lot of doctors appointments for both my wife and the baby meant a lot of parking fees, plus the large parking expense we incurred at the hospital. Downtown DC parking isn’t very cheap, particularly when you need it for 4 days while you’re in the hospital.
Personal Account: Spending – $291; Budget – $550
In Managing Our Finances as a Couple, I talk about how my wife and I each carry a separate credit and spending account for items just for ourselves. With all of our time spent together and with our new baby, that understandably left little time to spend out of this account. We were both under our respective budgets for the month.
Entertainment: Spending – $218; Budget – $300
Despite being tired 24/7, we did find some time to meet friends for coffee and lunch over the weekends. As new parents, its amazing how refreshing it can be to see other people and talk about something that isn’t the baby. Our biggest expense in this category was treating my MIL for dinner as a thank you for providing so much help in the first couple of weeks. It was a reasonably inexpensive dinner at one of our favorite low-key restaurants (Pop’s Sea Bar).
Travel: Spending – $262; Budget – $417
It was important to my wife that we get to spend some time in Maine, where she grew up and where her parents live, during the fall. With her being home with the baby, it meant we could buy the cheapest, middle-of-the-day tickets. I had enough miles to travel for free, helping keep our budget pretty well intact this month, despite the last-minute flight bookings.
Bills and Utilities: Spending – $205; Budget – $200
It’s amazing how much laundry you end up doing with a newborn. I think at one point we were doing 1-2 loads of laundry every day. Unfortunately, living in an apartment building means we don’t have an in-unit washer/dryer. For us, each load costs us $3.75 ($2 for the wash, $1.75 for the dryer). Our typical monthly utilities would have been well under our budget this month, but the ~$100 in laundry costs hurt.
Other: Spending – $62; Budget $100+
The bulk of our Other spending is related to freezing our credit, which I talk about in We Froze Our Credit, Here’s How. If you haven’t done it yet, I highly recommend you do. It only takes a couple of hours and will save you a lifetime of problems if the worst should happen.
Unlike the craziness of August, and despite the laundry list of birthdays and anniversaries, September was all about us getting used to having a third member of our family. It meant a lot of time just being together, and appreciating how much our lives have changed. It is months like these that remind me how little buying things actually changes my life and happiness level. The amount of time with our wonderful friends and family who came to visit and help, as well as the time we spent just the three of us enjoying the arrival of fall, has meant more to me than the gifts I received for my birthday or the fancy restaurants we missed out on. Taking time to look back on what makes you happy and adjusting to do more of that will not only make you happier, but could also help your budgeting as well.