Mar 26

But I Was Budgeting So Well…

budgetDo you ever look through your bank or credit card statements and think, “Hmm how did that happen? I was budgeting so well!” Since I became debt-free I’ve been pretty relaxed with my budgeting (OK, truth be told I haven’t really made a budget at all this year). Basically, since I got that $30,000 student loan “money” off my back, I haven’t been as worried about my spending.

This year, I even “allowed” myself to plan a vacation for the first time since I became debt-free. It was a once in a lifetime trip with my grandparents that I’ll never forget. I did manage to stay within my planned budget, but it still was a chunk of change.

This month I was looking through my bank statements when I realized it’s almost the end of the month and I’m completely broke! Alright, that’s a bit of an big exaggeration. I do have enough money leftover to pay my bills, but I don’t have any money left to save.

On average I try to throw $500-$1000 into my savings account each month (that’s just my savings as Eric and I aren’t married and don’t share finances yet). This month I won’t even have $500 to save, which is pretty unusual for me. So where did all of my money go?

Holy cow, March was an expensive month!:

  • $294.00 went to the State of New York for my clinical licensure fee
  • $260.00 was spent to take my clinical license exam (I don’t actually take it until next month)
  • $334.00 was spent to travel home to Maine this weekend for my Uncle’s celebration of life ceremony
  • $360.00 went to radiology for a CT scan I had in January (don’t get me started on health insurance in this country)
  • $400.00 (or so) was spent on groceries, toiletries, pet food etc.

What’s different about my spending this month, is the unusually large amount of “extra” expenses. Some I anticipated (like my licensing fees), while others (traveling home) were completely unexpected. The good news is that everything will be paid for out of my salary and I won’t have to touch my savings like I did in January (remember when my furnace burned up? That was a BAD month!). The bad news is I won’t be saving anything this month.

I’m sure some people (probably people who aren’t reading this blog) don’t think that’s a big deal. But for me (a self-proclaimed perfectionist who happens to be a little neurotic) it’s pretty frustrating. That being said, I know that “shit happens” and you can’t always plan for life (although I’d like to). So I’m letting this month slide and trying not to beat myself up.

We all have budgeting ups and downs and some months are more spendy then others. So, with the new month only a few days away, I’m ready for a fresh start. Bring on the April showers and May flowers.

How was your spending this month? How do you deal with budgeting disappointments?

Image: Simon Cunningham


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  1. March felt like a really long month and it’s not even over yet. I have a feeling I spent a bit more than I wanted to, but luckily I got my tax refund so that didn’t affect the amount I put toward my student loans. I totally get wanting to plan for as much as possible, but you’re right in that life gets in the way.

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm
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      March felt really long to me too! I’m not really sure why? I actually forgot about tax refunds. Hopefully once that money comes in I’ll be able to save a little bit this month (not much, but anything is better than nothing).

  2. gosh medical stuff can really add up can’t it? Everyone keeps asking me if I got my leg checked out to which I reply that I never have and probably won’t. I think “think” it’s a shin splint and the only thing that will take care of it is time and patience. Now if it got significantly worse…

    I think we all get off track from time to time. Just regroup!

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 7:45 pm
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      It sure can. Pretty frustrating, especially since this is my first year on a high deductible plan. I had shin splints in high school when I was running track and they were really painful. They did heal once I stopped running, so hopefully they will heal on their own for you.

  3. I’ve been there girl! It’s frustrating for sure when you have all these expenses popping up all over the place and before you know it that big, exciting amount you had planned to save is just gone. We had to spend about $250 in March on a bridesmaid dress for me and a tux rental for my husband – and while I love my friends dearly and am excited and honored to be in their wedding, it still hurt to see that money leave my account because it was a surplus left over from February that I had planned on saving. Oh well! We’ll enjoy the wedding and look to saving some extra next month 🙂

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm
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      Weddings are so wonderful (and so expensive!). It sounds horrible, but I’m actually glad most of my close friends are now married so I don’t have to spend any more money on bridesmaid dresses, travel, gifts etc. All that stuff adds up so fast.

  4. My spending has been ok this month but I think next month is going to be bad for bills with a few extra things to pay for.

    Hope everything went ok with your CT scan? That’s a lot of money to have to shell out for, we’re really lucky in the UK to have the National Health Service which is funded by taxpayers.

    Hope next month is better for you budget wise!

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 7:49 pm
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      Thanks Hayley. Thankfully everything was fine with the CT scan (which makes it all the more frustrating that I paid $400 for a test that showed nothing lol). The symptoms went away on their own in time and I’m thankful for that.

  5. March has been the hardest month so far this year. I saved my lowest amount of the year. April is coming soon and I can hope it will be better, but I’m not sure it will be. I really am looking forward to May, things should be way better. April is looking a little tight as of now!

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 7:50 pm
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      This whole year so far has been pretty spendy for me thanks to some weird and unexpected expenses. I’m hoping next month brings better financials for both of us!

  6. To answer your first questios, yes. This is why we review our budget once a week. It doesn’t take us long because we have everything in a master spreadsheet. We like to stay on top of it and this works for us. May not work for some.

  7. KK, do NOT beat yourself up over these expenses! $550 for career development (which will pay you back when you get your raise) and $360 for health, those are huge costs, its great that you won’t have to touch your savings for these expenses, I would have to. You’re doing great and a blip or 2 in the road is to be expected, just keep moving forward. Hope everything is going ok, health wise.

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 7:52 pm
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      Thanks Morgaine, I know you’re right which is why I’m trying not to be frustrated. I’ll make back that money and much more once I take my test and get my raise. I’m very thankful I didn’t have to dip into my savings. As for the CT scan it showed nothing (thankfully). A few weeks later I was feeling better and they didn’t see anything unusual or concerning, thank god.

  8. Eek, I haven’t even looked at my bank account in over a week. It’s just been crazy busy. T has been wanting to get more involved in the finances and insisting he wants to take care of all our money stuff while he’s still unemployed, but really he’s not that great at it and I’m a control freak!

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm
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      Control freaks unite! It’s so bad, I save money for Eric in my account instead of writing him a check for my portion of the mortgage. I like to think of it as forced savings. Thankfully he knows I’m pretty good at budgeting (well except for this month) and he doesn’t mind that I’d rather save for him this way.

    • Liz on March 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm
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    I had some major dental work done but I haven’t received the bill yet so that will probably hit in April but other than that march was average. Although, it isn’t over yet!

      • KK on March 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm
      • Reply

      I hate waiting for the bill and not knowing how much it will be or when it will show up. Hoping it’s a small one for you! March was a rough month.

  9. Spending from personal accounts was pretty light this month since we were away for the bulk of it and used gift funds – if only every month could be like that! I’m looking forward to having things come back to “normal” though – hope your April and May (and beyond!) become more ‘normal’ for you, as well! 🙂

  10. I was thinking we were doing pretty good this month as we have had a number of no spend days, but I just went to look at my actuals to budget and it’s not as good as I expected. 🙁 In addition, my husband’s income is variable and has fallen short to forecast by $2200 over the last three months, so any savings we have are overshadowed by a big income deficit. Oh well, spring is coming so I will remain optimistic on that account! 😀

  11. When I discuss budgeting with clients, I always have a line item for the “unknowns,” because no matter how much we plan, $1,000 “surprises” can happen at any time in any way. I have seen them arise in all different forms from health care issues, to car issues, to home issues, to family issues. And it sucks when they happen and knock us off track, but the great thing is, you can always get right back on. 🙂

  12. That is exactly why my nightly prayers include wishes and hopes that no one in the family gets sick. Medical expenses can really be a blow to your budget but there are just months that don’t seem to work the way you want it to. Still, you are one to envy for being debt-free.

  13. We’ve had an irregular number of unexpected expenses the past couple years. I’ve had two surgeries and my wife has one scheduled. Health expenses are totally removed from our budget because we use our HSA, and we contribute the maximum allowed each year. The job-related expenses you listed are tough because let’s be honest, it kind of sucks to pay fees like that just to be able to work! I’ve started to build an emergency fund and my goal is to just keep growing it and growing it. I’m not sure how many months of expenses I’ll need before I’m satisfied with it, though.

  14. I have had the MOST EXPENSIVE last few months, between wedding costs, booking honeymoon in advance, running out of things, having to renew my car insurance, my dog needing to go to the vet.. it’s been non stop, so I know what you mean.

    I think August will be a cheap month for us since it’s the month after our wedding, and the month before our honeymoon. The next cheap month we’ll likely have is November!

  15. I can sympathize KK because March was a very spendy month for me too. I’m scared to write my March Debt Repayment update lol. The good news is that March is almost over and every month is a fresh start! 🙂

  16. I hear ya. Sometimes things just pop up, and when they do it is always the same month it seems. I can’t fathom paying for health-related care (hard to wrap my head around it), but the other stuff I totally get.

    I think next month is likely going to end up like this for me. I foresee a bunch of issues coming up.

  17. Yeah for some reason it has been an expensive month for me as well. But it must be nice to finally have that student loan debt monkey off your back. I dream of that day when I will magically have my $1,500/month (minimum payments + extra payment) back.

  18. March is the most toughest month for me this year I think. I spend so much with my sister’s final exam tuition, my daughter’s recognition day celebration and bonding with family. Yet, I am still happy because I was able to helped my sister and made my daughter and family happy.

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