Wednesday, June 3, 2009

May's Budget in Review

I've been working on my budget for next year and I finally think it is complete! As you may remember, I started my Fighting Foreclosure-Getting Nine Hundred blog at the end of May of last year - which was also the time I sat down with a spreadsheet and created my budget. So, my "fiscal year" currently runs June to June. Before I get into that, I wanted to give a summary of May:

I did quite well on utilities last month. My electric, water and cell phone bills all came in well under budget. The big winner was my auto fuel budget! This is a tricky category for me. Last summer when I started my budget, gas was up to $4.00+ per gallon. I was routinely spending $130.00 or more a month. I was forced to budget $150.00 just to make sure I could get through the month! When gas prices dropped, I was able to drop that category to $100. Since the big drop in prices, I've never come near that $100, but I was hesitant to drop it again because in the back of my mind I was sure fuel prices were going to go up again - it turns out I was right. It isn't up to $4.00 yet, but it has been climbing steadily. During the first part of May I was still able to take advantage of low prices, so I only spent $42.56 for the month. That is a little over April, where I only spent $37.14, but still well under where I needed to be.

Unfortunately my eBay and shipping budgets were not used hardly at all. I say unfortunately because those get used when sales are really moving. Fewer sales means less income. I still managed to sell a few books last month, but from what I hear, book sales are down all over. I guess it is one of those luxury items people are cutting out. There was other bad news as well...

I've mentioned this before - my budgets for home improvement, groceries and that dreaded "Misc" category were all blown! In addition to stocking up on some staples this month, I think my grocery bill was up because I did some entertaining at home. A friend of mine and I spent some time together cooking and I admit, I wasn't very frugal with some of my shopping purchases. That is partially made up by the fact that I came in under my dining out budget, but not completely.

Going over on the home improvement budget was not a surprise to me at all. I've been buying flowers and doing yard work that has required money. My only purchase that I could have planned better was buying an extension cord for up at the cabin. I brought a weed whacker up there to try to get the yard into shape and the extension cord I had wasn't nearly long enough. Because I wasn't about to drive an hour back home just to get another one, I went to a local Farm Supply store and bought one there. It turned out to be fine because there were other items at the store I needed (and didn't already have sitting at home,) and the cord I bought will be perfect for up there, but it is certainly something I cold have planned better.

Income was a bit low. I did get a check as a reimbursement for changing my home insurance, and I made a little money through bank interest, book sales, surveys, and mystery shopping, but it wasn't much. The majority of the income came from other things I had done earlier in the year - like changing my payroll deductions. Since I won't be including those in the future as "earned income" that means my goals are going to be a bit harder to get. More on that tomorrow!

Photo by: romanlily


April said...

I just discovered your blog (from some other blog)--I'm glad I did. I like your writing and I know what you're going through.

Miss M said...

I seriously tweek my budget every month, it's an addiction. May was expensive for us too, I need to step away from the stores. We can't escape for less than $100 at many places, it adds up quickly. I hope your side income situation improves, it seems there are signs of life in the economy.

Dawn said...

April - Welcome! I always love having new readers. Thank you so much for the compliments and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

Miss M - I know a few of us who are "budget tweakers!" I don't change mine monthly, but I do look at it constantly and try to look for trends. If I see something changing, I tweak accordingly. Hopefully June will be easier on everyone's budgets!

getting stuff done said...

have changed my grocery shopping style. and am going to have a good ole tweak at the budget accordingly!

Dawn said...

Getting Stuff Done - I know you have and I am really interested to see how that goes for you! I wish we had home milk delivery here.