I just got back from an amazing trip to Yellowstone for my family reunion where I was able to visit with my parents and families of my 3 siblings. We saw some wild bald eagles, saw Old Faithful, had late night treats, shot beebee guns, played ping pong, sat in the hot tub, ate amazing food, and made a few of our nephews cry (they were asking for it)–everything I could have hoped for.
Summer has come and gone again! We feel like we did a better job this year taking advantage of the beautiful southwest Michigan beaches and really letting our kids create some good memories. Now we will just brace ourselves for the impending winter, but not before taking a 9-year anniversary trip to Nicaragua (that only cost me $217 dollars I might add. More on that later).
August was a pretty quiet month as far as income & expenses go, except for some surprise trips to the pharmacy.
Not much action in the way of income this month except for the ever reliable monthly paycheck from my day job. I did, however, just send out invoices to all of Amanda’s violin students, so that’s an extra $3,400 that should be rolling in over the next month or two.
401k: Nothing unusual here. Just cruising along contributing 15%. That’s not quite enough to max out my 401k, I’m not rich enough to do that yet.
529s: We finally have the kids’ 529 contributions on direct deposit from my paycheck. Now that it’s set up, we can sit back and forget about it. And by forget about it I mean watch in horror as I see the principal balance drop every time I check my activity on mint.com. Figures. I just have to remember I’m in it for the long term!
Mortgage $950 (spot on): If I paid property taxes and home insurance along with our mortgage payment, the total payment would be closer to $1,250 per month.
Giving $833 (spot on): We give 10 percent of our income. I am usually able to budget the exact amount because it is usually based on the prior month. It seems like a lot, but we have many reasons why we give.
Groceries $784 ($84 worse): Despite having increased our grocery budget from $650 to $700, it’s still a struggle to stay within those bounds.
I was surprised to find out from my sister last week that they feed their family of 7.5 (expecting baby #6 soon!) on $500 a month! They have a huge garden, grind their own wheat, buy in bulk, rotate through their food storage, etc. I think she would be a great interview from which we could divulge some good money saving tips. Big Sis interview coming soon!
Doctor $300 ($10 better): This is my annual life insurance. I have a $500K policy through American General for $245 a year. I have another $500K policy through work. So $1M total, which is about the 10 times my salary that is recommended.
Pharmacy $244 ($194 worse): We are now on child number 3 who has walking pneumonia (I just learned what that was). Our 7-year-old had a nasty cough that would not go away. We finally took him in to treat it. Our 5-year-old started to get it just in time for the Yellowstone reunion, so she pretty much slept and coughed the whole time. Now that we’re back, our little 3-year-old is taking a turn. But hey, I’ll take coughing over stomach flu any day.
Kid Activities $190 (spot on): This is how much we paid for piano lessons and music class for our two oldest. It’s a lot, but it is a gift that we are giving to our children, just like our parents gave to us. Music is something that you can take with you all your life to bless the lives of others.
Electricity $187 ($57 worse): I budgeted electricity based on last year’s bill, so I would have expected it to have been closer. I think we may have been out of town last year which would explain why it was lower.
Education $156 ($6 worse): Home schooling expenses for books and curriculum. Gearing up for Amanda’s 3rd year as a home school mom!
Phone $12 (spot on): My wife finally got smart, and she did so with Republic Wireless. With plans like this, it blows my mind why anyone would pay more. I think I’m about ready to join the 21st century and get a smart phone. I will probably get the MotoX phone with the $10/month plan.
My Featured Bare Budget Series
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How was the last month of your summer?