The painful wrap up of May. A lot of big rather unexpected expenses popped up, mostly in the form of auto related expenses. Although as a surprise, we did not dip into savings for these expenses and we still had $953.75 left over, Lol. I’ll highlight the big hitters, gloss over the little hitters and even more importantly, tell the story behind the really big expenses. Let’s start with the little stuff.
Daycare – We did get a week free for vacation, but it was a 5 Monday month, which wiped that out, plus $100 for next years’ registration for our youngest, and $30 registration for our oldest over the summer.
Our water bill was $20 higher than usual, running the sprinkler again occasionally, or at least until the deluges began…
Maids dropped by 50% as we now only have a monthly deep-cleaning visit. Because, yes we are spoiled.
Pets were ~$200 more because of the yearly visit and vaccinations for one dog.
House – $167.55 is about on par with yearly average – nothing special here.
Family fun – $15 to celebrate #2 being daytime potty trained – yeah almost done with diapers!!
Travel – We spent about $600 wich was spread across the dog sitter, several restaurants, museum admission, extra gas, and the like.
Shopping – $288, whereas usually we are below $200. Bought Dutch Oven ($65) to make bread, new books for our oldest, and other minutia that adds up…
Shockingly, groceries were only $610 even with pricey beach groceries and buying special and additional food for our youngest. She’s been dealing with hives recently, and we’re stumped as to what is causing them. We’ve removed dairy, eggs, red food dye, and some other things from her diet, but that caused us to replace a lot of food we previously had bought. The dye is because she had a bad outbreak after eating a pink cupcake and we thought, ah-ha! since that dye seems to be pervasive in a LOT of foods. We haven’t hit a point yet to start reintroducing foods, and still can’t see a pattern on when hives occur and foods eaten. Poor kid…
Now to the big hitter items, the ones that rocked the budget, Yeah!!
Cars – Remember 6 months or more ago when Mrs. SSC did the analysis on downgrading her car and it didn’t pay out to do it? Well, Mr. SSC had just gotten his car repaired to fix an alignment issue, when the dealer was pointing out all these expensive little things to recommend getting fixed. I went to the dealer due to the warranty aspect, but of course nothing was a “warranty” item. However, he did remind me that our car, a Hyundai Genesis did cost more to own than other cars, ~$0.95/mile according to Edmunds. This was our last big purchase that had the mindset – “whatever, we can afford it”, but now, I don’t want to afford it, plus, after getting rear ended twice, once with major repairs, my car can’t hold an alignment for more than a few weeks and it is trying to eat my “new” $600 tires, gah!!! Before we spend a lot of coin getting that bug worked out, I thought about looking to see if I could downgrade to a used, low mile, good mpg, reliable, commuter car. With my analysis, and projected 5 year repair costs along with better mpg ratings, I had a slim margin to still make it worth trading. Effectively, I could be saving about $750/year in gas, and about $150 in insurance, and the rest is just projected maintenance costs.
Most used cars in that range were still outside what we could spend and still come out ahead, until I noticed the $4900 in incentives that VW was offering for their new Jettas. I’ve always liked them, so I ran the numbers and sure enough, that fit our plan and was only $2000 higher than their used Jettas. Over Memorial Day, they added another $1k in incentives and when I looked into it I could be out the door, TTL included with only $2200 out of pocket. Since the 2015 and 2014 low mileage used cars were within $1k of that $5900 lower incentivized price, I went with the new 2016 Jetta TSi. It has none of the bells and whistles of my old car, except for a backup camera, but I have been loving it. It’s a straight up commuter car that fits the kids, is fun to drive and our budget will get a little breather since the mpg should be around 30-32 mpg daily, maybe higher, versus the 19-20 mpg I was getting in my Hyundai. Also, the insurance went down $140 per year, so that fit my projection.
When I got home from picking it up Mrs. SSC said, “By the way, I went ahead and paid off the note on my car. Since I won’t be getting checks deposited to that credit union, I didn’t want to deal with changing that all online, so I just paid it off.” So, no more $309 payment or whatever it was per month, but that was the other “unexpected” ~$3500 car cost. Mrs. SSC also got her car registered and inspected ~$150, and my $250 in repairs didn’t help this category this month. But, we now again, own both of our vehicles and are down to just having home debt, so yeah for little wins?
Gifts – The last big expense of the month. ~$1400 for swing set/playhouse for the little ones birthday/Christmas and next birthday, lol, and this includes a setup fee. Yes, ONL, I was thinking about your post of being frugal vs. hiring someone when we chose the setup by someone else. We read the online reviews that said it took a solid 10-12 hrs or 2-3 8 hr days with 1-2 people to get it completely set up. We decided that we would pay someone to do that, because, I won’t be spending a weekend getting frustrated putting together a nice playhouse/swingset and it will actually get done before the weekend is over, Yeah! There were also Mothers’ Day, Grandpas birthday, and end of the year gifts for teachers that added to our larger expenditures in that category.
As for our savings – well, it was just 401k this month since the extra money went to cars and swing set. Only $953 left over in the black, but that’s still better than in the red haha! We should get a nice boost next month since Mrs. SSC will have ~3 weeks’ vacation time paid out, but then we start no paychecks for her until October 1st. Yipe! We are hoping once life stabilizes this fall and I start getting paid again, that we should still be able to save an extra $3000/ month.
Looking at our savings we are 84% of the way to our goal! If the market can maintain a 3%/year return we should be able to hit our goal mid-2018, hooray! Of course, if Mrs. SSC likes her new job, she may try to spend an extra year in Houston, even if Mr. SSC quits the summer of 2018. This is mostly because everyone says the 3rd year of teaching courses is always the easiest – because you have the material and you have mostly perfected it the last couple years. It’s hard to tell what we will be doing the Fall of 2018, but in any case, I am sure it will feel good to know we are FI, even if we are not FIRE. Mr. SSC side note, I really want to be doing more fishing and not working…
How was your month? Any big loans paid down, big purchases made, or anything pop up you weren’t necessarily expecting? Let us know!