Psst, I make money on some of the links in this post at no cost to you. It keeps the lights on around here.

It’s time for another budget report, Picky people! See how our expenses looked during March and where we plan to go in April. You can read February’sΒ budget report here.

Howdy ho, Picky peeps. March was a longer month, but dang, it flew by. See where our money went.

MORTGAGE: $1,086

We plan to eliminate our mortgage once we pay off our pesky student loans.

INTERNET: $106.64

(growls)
Our internet with Speculum–oh, I mean Spectrum–is our main form of entertainment, so I guess we’re tolerating this bill for now. Sigh.




PHONES: $47.29

Yippee! Mr. Picky Pincher got wifi access at work again, which has cut our phone bill nearly in half. Google Fi bills us based on the data we use. If you can stay on wifi, it’s no problem. But if you use your actual data, the bill naturally gets higher.

If you want to check out Google Fi for yourself, you can sign up through my affiliate link here. They’ll give you a nice $20 credit to your account.




CAR PAYMENT: $345.36

Yup, we still have a car payment! Read all about our car misadventures here.

INSURANCE: $145.23

This includes homeowner’s insurance and our auto insurance.

I did call our insurer to ask about more discounts. If Mr. Picky Pincher and I both take a drug and alcohol awareness course, we can save $5 a month. While there are some savings in the long term, it’s not worth the time and cost of the course to do it.

UTILITIES (TRASH, WATER, ENERGY): $92.02

Our trash is billed quarterly, so we didn’t see a trash charge this month. Our city is reconsidering its contract with our private waste company, so it’ll be interesting if we can get someone better in 2018. Our current garbage people seem to have a vendetta against us. They sometimes refuse to pick up our trash or just leave our trash bin IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.

Jerks.

Anyway, we only paid $40.59 for energy, which ain’t too shabby. The weather is temperate right now in Texas, but it won’t last for long. I expect to see our energy bill triple in the coming months. Sigh.

Aaaand of course the rest of this number is for our high water bill.

GROCERIES: $481.53

Eeep. We’re over budget on groceries this month. There are a few factors to this.

  1. We had a lot of March birthdays, which meant more celebrations.
  2. I’ve been stress-baking a little too much, which means more food expenses on things like eggs, milk, butter, extracts, etc.
  3. We haven’t been cooking from our pantry as much.

I’ve alluded to this in other posts, but work was really tough for me this past month. I’ve been really stressed, which means I haven’t been putting as much thought into our menu planning. That mostly means we haven’t been using as many coupons or eating meals planned around on-hand staples.

This has been neat, though, because I can see what a drastic difference grocery planning can make on our budget. I’m slowly getting back into the groove of things. Hopefully April will be a little better.




TAKE OUT: $253.10

Take out was over by $53.10. Take out meals go hand in hand with being stressed out, so this number makes sense. We also had a few extra celebrations and met up with the fam, so that’s where the slightly higher total comes from too.

I’m hoping that refocusing my efforts on interesting meals (especially during the weekend) will get us back under budget in this category.

MEDICAL: $94.52

I had a few doctor’s appointments and prescriptions this month. As of April, I expect to see this budget category increase substantially, so we may need to shift costs elsewhere.

GAS: $70.03

We’re under-budget on gas by nearly $30. πŸ™‚

STUDENT LOANS: $4,474.66

We were able to slam some extra money on our student loans this month! March is a three-paycheck month for me, so that’s where the extra funds came from. We were hoping to put more towards the loans, but we had to rob our savings of $900 to pay Uncle Sam after filing our taxes. Womp womp.

I’m not sure if we’ll overpay on these loans in April. My job situation is a little tenuous, so we plan to put more money into savings just in case things go south. But if everything looks all right, we’ll just apply the surplus in our savings to our student loans in a few months. πŸ™‚




OTHER: $1,043.69

Well hey there, budget-decimating Other expenses!
Yeah, we’re still over-budget here by, like, $500. Ugh. I was hoping we’d be able to rein it in, but nope.

Here are a few notable March expenses:

  • Beer and wine: We spent $150 on beer and wine this month, which is a little higher than usual. We had some birthday celebrations and trips, so that’s where this came from.
  • Fancy knife: Mr. Picky Pincher has been pining for this fancy knife for a while. There was a sale going on the knife and he jumped at the opportunity. He gets a lot of utility out of his knives and it’s well-made, so hopefully he’ll get many years’ use from it.
  • Picky Pincher hosting renewal: March marks the Picky Pincher anniversary! While that’s a fun occasion, it also comes with charges to renew my domain and hosting. Here’s how you can start your own blog in 20 minutes.
  • Birthday presents: We had four birthday ladies in March, so we budgeted for birthday gifts.
  • Garden expenses: It’s gardening season right now, so we purchased lots of things for the garden, like tomato cages and mud boots. I just harvested two strawberries from the garden, so it’s good to see it’s starting to pull its weight around here. πŸ˜‰
  • Paper shredder: I was tired of ripping up credit card offers and spam mail by hand, so we got a paper shredder. It’s badass. πŸ™‚
  • Tire patch: We spent $30 on a surprise tire patch last week. We went to Dairy Queen for dinner and noticed our tire was flat thanks to a nail. Mr. Picky Pincher put on the spare and we rolled the injured tire to a repair shop that was conveniently next door. Those guys sucked, but we walked away with a repaired tire, so I guess I can’t complain.
  • Headphones: Mr. Picky Pincher and I had Skull Candy headphones from Walmart. Those suckers BOTH stopped working at the same time. Ugh. We ordered better headphones.
  • Truck registration: It was time to renew our truck’s registration with the state, which runs us about $80.

Total expenses: $3,765.68

Total expenses with student loans: $8,240.34

Keep in mind that the student loans are going towards debt and aren’t technically “spending.” I just think it’s helpful to include them in a separate figure.

Savings rate: 60%

Cost per meal: $3.92

 

April GOALS

March was a bit more spendy than I anticipated, particularly in the food category. We did so well in February! But hey, that just goes to show that you have to put in hard work 100% of the time–there are no lazy days.

My main challenge for April will be to bring us back under budget for food.

I’m going to make the same goal I’ve made for the last three months and say we’ll try to keep Other expenses at $500 (yeah, yeah).

We want to know: How was your March? Were you a Frugal Fergus or a Spendy Susie?


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