Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Water Heater Blues

So, last night (my second official night in the house) the water heater went out. Sigh..... To make things even better my ex had the gas (with the warranty) through the 30th. I have it starting the 1st, but my "new" warranty doesn't start until the 15th. Nice, eh? Thank you DTE! Personally I would probably try and live with it for 13 days - nothing like a brisk Navy shower to wake you up in the morning! I have a tenant, however, and with that comes responsibilities. So, I called a plumber and I am meeting him at the house this afternoon. I do have some emergency savings for just such a situation so we'll see how it goes. Ironically, I have a number of friends who know a lot about hot water heaters, but they are all out of town this weekend working. If it had happened Monday, I could have had them help me out. It is like a comedy of errors conspiring against my frugal plans!

The other exciting bit of news I got this morning is that my gas bills are going to be about $50 more a month than I anticipated. Yay. I was using my ex's figures, but of course they reset it based on the 12 month history and as we all know, gas prices just keep on going up. Of course, they are basing it off his usage which may be different than mine, but still... Ouch.

So, while we are talking about things that hurt, let's talk about my budget for June:

As it turns out, most of my expenses are fixed. However, June was a bit of a wonky month because I was moving from my tiny apartment to the house. That means that these numbers are not as clear as I would like them, but I figured better murky numbers than no numbers at all - besides, I had to start somewhere.

As I have mentioned, I blew my gas budget:
Budgeted: $75.00
Actual: $144.59

To be fair, I had no idea what to set my budget at, the number I picked was as carefully chosen as if I had pulled it out of a hat. Now that I know what I spent in June, I have a number I can work with. In July my budget is $150.00.

Budgeted: $125.00
Actual: $165.31

I was over by $40.31, which is almost exactly the amount I spent on "moving food" this weekend. I ended up going to the store and picking up some things I could easily (and healthfully) prepare even though my kitchen was in boxes. Had I not been moving, I could have very easily made my budget, so I am keeping $125 for next month.

Budgeted: $50.00
Actual: $128.80

Again, this comes back to moving. My "misc." column is where I put weird expenditures I don't know how else to categorize - like stamps and parking meters. I was over by $78.80, which is pretty much how much I spent buying a tank of gas for a friend who helped me move. Since I don't expect to be moving again for awhile, the budgeted amount will stay at $50.00 for the month. I put the tank of gas here, rather than in the gas column, because there I want to track how much gas I spend in my car only.

Budgeted: $100.00
Actual: $100.00

This was another of those "shot in the dark" numbers. Since I am pretty active in the arts community here, I put in $100 to cover plays, movies, galleries, etc. What I found was that most of what I did like that was free. In actuality I spent $15 on those types of things. (And $10 of that was buying a ticket for someone else who forgot his wallet.) The reason I hit $100 was because I took the other $85 with me to Cedar Point to pay for food and so forth on that trip. The Cedar Point trip is a one time thing, so it won't effect other months. Because of that, I changed my budget for July. For this month I put the entertainment budget at $50.00 and added in my Netflix subscription at $5.29 (formerly it was its own line item) which will leave me at $44.71. I am very comfortable with that number.

And finally, some good news:

Dining Out:
Budgeted: $200.00
Actual: $112.54

This even included mandatory medicinal ice cream runs during the move. Again, I am a pretty social person and I honestly thought that $200 was going to be a stretch for me, but I found it was no problem. I still went out, I just was careful of what I ordered. For July I have dropped that budget to $150.00.

I am trying to be calm about it all - and I was up until 11:30 last night when I was sobbing into my pillow over a stupid hot water heater. Still, I suppose set backs are natural. It just means that I cannot slack at all - and in fact, may have to work even harder to keep afloat.

Photo by iboy_daniel.

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