How did our budget go Kaboom again you ask? A brand new air conditioner to the tune of $7010.35. Need I say more? And that was just ONE of our air-conditioners. The other AC in our house is also 10 years old, but the repairman said it looks pretty good, so it may last a few more years. Same with the furnaces, but then they don’t get used nearly as heavily. Still, that is another $7000+ that could need to be spent in the next few years. Maybe more if we want to install a more efficient model since it is the main AC in the house. I realized, having a 10 year old house, that we are getting near the end-of-life for several big house systems… We need to start keeping an eye on the hot water heaters also – and of course we also have two of them! That makes me realize how important it is to downsize once we ‘retire’ and move for our fully-funded lifestyle change – a smaller house will result in much lower home maintenance costs.
Beyond the home repairs, this is one of those months I wish we didn’t share our budget online. Why is that? Well, after just doing a detailed grocery review a month ago because our spending in groceries was a bit high, we ended up doubling our grocery bill this month. Yep, doubled… Groceries – $1234.77. Ouch. Just ouch. Looking back on it we have it pinned down to a few atypical behaviors this month. First, we realized we went to different grocery stores, and actually bought more because different stores have different varieties of everything. Second, we nickel and dimed ourselves with multiple “little” trips to the grocery. It adds up quickly especially when you discount the quick trip as a “little spend”. Third, we stocked up our liquor cabinet. So just under $300 of this is on an alcohol re-stocking spree for the holidays, “justified” by the fact we’ll be hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, and having a New Years Day party.
However, that still leaves over $900 on food – and unless Mr. SSC bought me a diamond bracelet at our grocery. Mr. SSC sidenote: I didn’t buy a diamond bracelet at the grocery… Seriously, I don’t even know WTF it all was. I mean sure Thanksgiving, but that wasn’t very much or it didn’t seem like it at the time. Our pantries do seem to be overflowing so hopefully we can keep the spending down until right before Christmas when we have to prep for the next go round of guests. However, we’ll meal plan better this time. Maybe it was those brussel sprouts that were $4.97/stalk which Mr. SSC thought were only $0.82/lb. Yeah – $10 on brussel sprouts that we forgot to even cook on Thanksgiving. Mr. SSC prepped them, but forgot to put “Start brussel sprouts” on his timeline checklist. Oops… Mr. SSC sidenote: I had everything on the list so this wouldn’t happen and reviewed it 3x with the family, and no one else caught it either. It’s tough keeping track when you cook almost everything.
So here are the detailed categories – compared to last month and our yearly average:
|phone, tv, internet||-212.8||-212.79||-214.755|
|car note & ins||-1061.42||-323.45||-524.715|
|house, misc shopping||-362.14||-7540.63||-2224.91|
|car repair, gas, toll||-1003.55||-186.75||-480.337|
It was a 5 Monday month – which means an extra week of daycare costs this month. Bummer. Everything else was generally just fine – $286.75 on gifts – but I am pretty much done with holiday gift buying, a few items were on back order, so I will have another $130 hit the gift budget in December. (Yeah, I caved in and bought the $35 Amazon Fire
tablet, but it’s on back-order until just a few days before Christma)
Gasoline and toll costs were down because we both took a week off work, and the electric bill was less since fall has finally come to Houston – but those pluses don’t make enough of a dent in the grocery budget. Sigh. Man, I am really, really ashamed of that grocery bill. Maybe I need to do a fraud check… Mr. SSC sidenote: I have already looked and didn’t get any alerts or see anything suspicious. Just ridiculous justification of overspending.
There was $40 spent on a babysitter so we could attend a concert that Mr. SSC bought tickets for many, many months ago. It was fun – but man, babysitters are pricey. But totally worth it!!!
We adopted a greyhound in April, and now that the weather has finally turned cold – we had to buy her a jacket since the breed has essentially no body fat. I succumbed to Etsy and bought a cute one for $50.
Needless to say, with the $7000 AC bill, I did not invest any money this month. I am hoping to make a bigger than normal investment in December once all the finances even out, but I think we will be a few grand short of our $150,000 savings goal for the year (also includes 401k, 529 college).
I like to try and use our current spending as a baseline for what our FIRE expenses may be and this $7000 AC bill drastically changes it. I am unsure of how to handle it. I mean, we won’t expect a major house system to break every year, so it seems silly to just add $7000 to our yearly needed income. I’ve heard that house upkeep costs about 2% of the house value per year when averaged, so that may be a starting point. I did find a great blog post by Money Smart Blog regarding different ways to estimate and budget for those pesky house repairs. I like how he went through and estimated the approximate remaining life of his systems – definitely something to look at when we price out and pick a new, smaller house in a few years. Although he estimated his AC to only be $3500 to replace – lucky guy!!!
In summary – I’m not sure yet if this whole AC debacle is going to raise our FFLC goal of $55k to closer to $60k/year… Mr. SSC sidenote: No.. no it will not, but we will work something out to account for it better. It definitely opens my eyes to realizing that it is way easier to spend more money than to spend less than planned!!!! It also probably isn’t good that this is the second time this year that our budget went KA-BOOM!!! Could that be a sign that we aren’t doing something right? I don’t know, but it does show how easy it is to justify some overspending. Even with the tracking and being financially aware, it’s really easy to slip into some bad financial traps.
I hope y’all had a much, much better November than we did! Oh – and check it out – the November summary came out on December 1st – I am mighty proud of myself! 😉