Oh January, how I don’t miss you! I am looking forward to warmer weather way too much. January was a bit of a weird month, mostly because as I opened up our accounts to review our spending, I realized there weren’t as many transactions as there usually are.
This may have been due to the fact that we used gift cards twice to dine out, and also because we used cash for another restaurant venture. Normally R doesn’t have cash on him, so when he discovered that he did, we split the check instead.
February is a short month, so I am hoping we can keep a lot of expenses down. I am utilizing a new budget template courtesy of Cait at Blonde On A Budget. I’ve always liked how clean and simple it is, and I just felt like changing it up!
I decided I need to start putting more toward my student loans, whether I like parting with the money or not. I really do admire those of you out there who throw every extra penny at their debt. I just can’t bring myself to do it! However, this really needs to change if I want to pay them off any time soon. I like saving my money a bit too much, but it’s not going to do me any good just sitting there waiting for an emergency. To clarify – I have a lot saved in my EF, more than I need while renting, but it gives me peace of mind.
I included my automated savings on here for the first time. On my other spreadsheet, savings goals weren’t on there simply because I wasn’t too concerned with it. I managed to save up the bulk of my EF while living with my parents, and I don’t really need to contribute any more funds to it. I still automatically transfer $20 a week to my savings account though.
I had mentioned during one of my first budget reviews that I pay $500 toward rent every other month. This is because I laid out most of the money for our deposit on the apartment back in June. It’s R’s way of paying me back, and I typically use the opportunity to put extra toward my student loans.
My cell phone bill is super high this month for an annoying reason. I had told you all in December that my one-time expense category was really high for a good reason. Well, I went ahead and canceled my Verizon service to switch to Republic Wireless. Unfortunately, Verizon still billed me for the entire amount I usually pay, even though I had switched and called them prior to the end of the cycle. I’m supposed to get a credit (I’m guessing this month), but it still irks me as I lost access to my online account when I ported my number, and they just went through with the auto payment. I’ll definitely be calling them on this.
Otherwise, everything is pretty normal. I’m still getting away with only filling up on gas once a month. My grocery spending might be low – just wait until you see R’s.
So as you can see, R had the bulk of our grocery shopping expense this month. He makes more than I do, and we kind of switch on and off with buying. I think we also used a gift card that my mom gave us for Christmas last month, but I could be wrong. In any case, I wasn’t really happy with this number, but it’s not extremely bad.
Why? Well first of all, a lot of places were having decent sales on meat, so we kind of stocked up. One purchase was mostly just that – they had a special going on that if you purchased 5 labeled things, it was $20, which wasn’t bad in my opinion. I don’t think we’ll be doing it again, simply because it was difficult to find things we actually wanted, but that may have been due to the fact that it was really busy in the store, and we went later in the day.
Secondly, one of my “goals” this year is to eat healthier, so we have been experimenting with different recipes and produce. For example, I’ve found that spaghetti squash is awesome, and for $0.89/lb, I’ll take it! I don’t know why, but I’m completely fascinated by the fact that it’s so stringy on the inside. I actually enjoy making it. We really have to watch food waste now that we’re buying more perishables though. What are some of your favorite veggies to cook with?
Otherwise, R also had a pretty normal month. For once, I didn’t see any fast food transactions from him! He also lucks out once in a while as his manager will buy lunch when they work on Saturday. I really want to work on making things ahead so we don’t have any excuses. So far it’s just been a learning curve as I need to adapt to making new things that I’ve never cooked before.
Hopefully all our grocery shopping in January will pay off this month, and it will be much lower, even with the 28 days taken into consideration. We should have meals for another week and a half. Normally I don’t do the whole “buy in bulk when on sale,” mostly because we don’t have the freezer room for it, but with less packaged food in there, we were able to fit things in. I like not having to worry about making another grocery trip soon.
How was your January budget? Do you like to buy in bulk when there’s a good sale? What items do you purchase in bulk?