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Our money went where? The March 2015 edition

Whoa! So when I was typing out the title of this post – I accidentally wrote “the 2105 edition” That just made me think – huh – what would my grocery bill be in 2105? Assuming a 2% inflation – my $500 grocery bill would be just shy of $3000! Holy inflation, Batman! Whoa! Anyways… let me get back on topic!

OK – so here’s the March 2015 round-up – starting with our monthly goal of keeping our credit card spending below $1645. And while we failed miserably at this exact goal in February, we did pretty ok this month, clocking in at 1846.26, so over by 12%. So for our April goal we will go for $1645 again. It’s like I tell the kids “If at first you don’t succeed…try, try again!”.

Our quarterly goal was to only buy consumables. And we did okay this month. We did have to buy some new windshield wipers for both cars, I think this is acceptable, especially since it was becoming a safety issue on my car! Not too much else that jeopardized our goal. Some fertilizer and weed killer for the yard. We did get a free 2-month membership from Sam’s Club, so we did a bit of stocking up on food, which helped over-run our grocery budget. We also bought some new shoes for the kids. This is going to be a budget issue that I will have to pay attention to. Kids grow quickly. Very quickly.   Most of our son’s clothes are hand-me-downs, and our daughters I try to buy on clearance as much as possible. They both only have about 2 pairs of shoes, so nothing crazy. But they grow so FAST! I am thinking that I may really need to budget more for kids clothes in the future.

Anyways, we’ve decided for our 2nd quarter goal is to continue to focus on consumables. We’ve started to ask “Will I still need this in 5 years?” If not, we don’t buy it. We have always had a tendency to buy things for convenience, but now we are slowly learning to deal with work-arounds. Just because we have money – doesn’t mean we have to spend it!!! Sometime in the second quarter, I want to do a purge – donate/trash/recycle, let us say 300 items!

Our yearly savings goal is right on track at 34% of the goal achieved! Of course, this is bonus season for our industry, so my bonus came through this month – and immediately got invested. Next month my miniscule raise will come into effect, which will help save maybe $150 more a month. But, I’m not complaining because Mr SSC’s employer just announces a freeze on raises! Honestly, we are both feeling happy to have jobs at this point. Mr SSC’s company did some layoffs last week, and my company has been doing so for months now. Sigh… OK, back to positive thoughts!

Here is the monthly break down:


Overall, not horrible. But, groceries… whoa! I think that is the most we have spent in a month in years. I blame Sam’s Club. We always go to Sam’s Club thinking we are saving money, but all we do is buy crap we wouldn’t normally buy. Also – we were trying to eat more low carb, and so we likely spent more on meat than usual. We also visited my parents and bought them quite a bit of groceries that weekend.

Since this was a 5 Monday month, we had to pay an extra week of daycare (pay on Mondays).

Summary of spending

Summary of spending

Looking at how we are averaging for the year – to help focus down on what type of budget we are looking at in FIRE/FFLC, based on the first three months of this year – we would need about $38,850 plus health/dental care. So, that is $26,850 if you exclude our opulent ‘allowances’.

Mr. SSC and I spend some time on the Healthcare exchange this month trying to estimate what we would be looking at to self-insure. And let me tell you, it is not simple. There are so many plans! One thing we did realize, is that with our ‘income’ when we are no longer working, the kids will qualify for the state healthcare plan, so no monthly costs and preventative care is free. I think Mr. SSC and I would go for a high deductible plan – so that we can put money into an HSA, something we have not qualified for yet. That means we would likely want to budget about $8500 for healthcare ($6000 of which will go into the HSA), and then maybe $1000 for dental?

So- how did y’all’s March stack up? Doing good? Doing bad? And, I’m curious, do any of you have experience with Obamacare? We’ve never self-insured, so it’s a big scary monster, and probably my biggest unknown in budgeting – any hints/tips/stories would be awesome!

Have a wonderful April!

13 thoughts on “Our money went where? The March 2015 edition

  1. Mrs. Maroon

    The five Monday months are brutal!! And kids growing is tough. We bought new shoes for Mini #1 last weekend. The thing is the last ones wore out before he outgrew them. He’s really hard on shoes. And I have a tough time finding ones I actually like, so I’m thinking about going back to pick these up in the next three sizes…

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      I have found shoes on sale and bought 3-4 sizes. But, I was storing them in the attic, and I guess one pair was cheaply made, and the glue that held the shoes together disintegrated in the heat before our son was big enough to wear them. oops!

  2. Steve Adcock

    Daycare costs more than the mortgage? Phew! :)

    My wife and I did pretty good this money. We went slightly over our $300 grocery budget by about $40. We also refinanced the house so that increased our expenses a little bit, but we’ll be making that part up in short order as we’re paying less now for the home that we live in. Less than a year and we’ll be saving cash there.

    I don’t have experience with the so-called “Affordable Care Act”, or Obamacare. Just remember that system was designed for the masses and people who have absolutely zero experience doing this stuff online, so I’m positive that you’ll do okay finding a plan that fits your needs. :)

    I’m sipping coffee this morning, slowly, in your honor.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Daycare is brutal. We even switched to a slightly cheaper daycare about 18 months ago! A $300 grocery budget is impressive! that is a great point about ACA – I’m pretty educated, I should be able to figure it out :)

  3. Hannah

    My sister in law just finished this year’s song and dance with the Healthcare Exchange/State insurance for her and her son (her husband is insured through work, and his kids through their mom’s work).

    The tough thing is that if they pay for insurance for her son through the healthcare exchange, but it turns out he qualifies for state insurance, then their subsidies are voided and they will get hit with some big penalties come tax time. Since their family income is on the bubble between state insurance and healthcare subsidies, they have (both) enrolled in the state insurance and have “Spend down” requirements which means that they might be required to pay for healthcare depending on their income in a given year.

    Super confusing, and honestly its holding their family back a lot. She could restart her massage business, but earning anything less than 10K per year would be a net negative for her family, and it would require at least 25K in earnings for them to actually achieve the benefit of a minimum wage job.

    If you are on the bubble, I would look at trying to figure out how much would be required to make sure that your kids qualify for subsidies with you, or try to limit your income even more so that there’s no spend down requirement.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Thanks for the story about your sister – I think that is the exact problem we will run into – where we walk a fine line between paying for the kids healthcare or not depending on our income (aka dividends). This was something Mr. SSC and I were talking about – where we may have to decide try and live on a little less money, just so we don’t hit a threshold that will ultimate cost us much more in insurance.

  4. Tawcan

    Day care cost really add up eh? Hopefully that’s something we don’t have to worry about with Baby T for a few more years. I guess that’s what grandparents are for. :)

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      You are so lucky you live near grandparents! But, I should admit I could probably find a cheaper daycare, but we are really happy with our daycare. Honestly, we call it ‘school’, the kids learn so much, and I think calling it a school makes us feel better about the cost!

  5. Gen Y Finance Guy

    Wow! Daycare is so expensive.Your daycare expense cost more than the monthly mortgage on my house. Since I don’t have any kids yet, I had no idea what daycare costs were like.

    Note to self – Make sure you have something worked out before having kids. Ideally my wife and I will both be working out of the home as full time entrepreneurs. And grandma has already offered to help out a little bit once we get there.

    I would have a really hard time parting with that much money for daycare. But I guess you have to do it.

    March was decent. The most exciting news was that our net worth crossed over the $200K mark for the first time ever.

    Still have to get through April before the free-cash flow really starts kicking into high gear. But we did increase our net worth almost $20K in the first quarter or about 11% vs. 2014. So I can’t complain, just always want it to be better and faster.

    Anyways, hope you guys can get rid of that day care expense soon.


    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      It is an awesome feeling when your net worth crosses a big number – Congrats!

      Yeah – daycare is painful, and as much as our mortgage. But, we try to remember that it is much less than one of our salaries, so it is better to pay it, then for one of us to stay home. And, at least daycare is an expense we won’t need to pay in a few more years!

  6. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    I’d say windshield wipers would count as consumables, so you’re doing great!

    We get a lot of clothes for our Little Miss as gifts or hand me downs, but usually we pickup her shoes. Her feet grow so fast!

    Our March was fine. But now that spring has sprung, we seem to be spending more. We had our first fast food dinner of the year this week! Thankfully it wasn’t amazing, so we won’t be tempted to do it again for a while.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      It is amazing how bad fast food tastes after you don’t have it for a while. We occasionally get it on road trips, but now I would rather pack and apple and a granola bar.

  7. Kalie

    Do you have access to a children’s second-hand store or thrift store? I’ve been buying their shoes there when we don’t get hand-me-downs. I will say, little boys are hard on shoes so sometimes the selection isn’t the greatest but his last pair was only $5. If they make it through the summer it’s worth it. The girls’ selection is usually better.

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