MONEY TALK: JANUARY DEBT DIARY

MONEY TALK: JANUARY DEBT DIARY - This Wild Home

January has been a crazy month. We moved, somewhat unexpectedly, which added a lot of expenses we wouldn’t normally have. But even in the craziness, I was able to get a good idea of where the bulk of our money is going on an average week which was my big financial goal for this month.

We wound up spending close to $1000 on extra expenses from the move. I wish I could say every single purchase was 100% necessary. I can at least say that every purchase was at least 60% necessary. In the name of comfort and ease, there were a few changes we knew we would need to make in our new place and we figured tacking all of our home purchases on at the beginning made the most sense.

Our main home purchases included:

  1. WASHER + DRYER | This was one of those things you don’t really expect to have to buy when you’re renting, especially for an apartment so I’m sad to say we had to charge this one to the credit card. We got the cheapest we could but we also looked at it as an investment since we can now take these bad boys anywhere. We looked into apartments that had washers and dryers that came with the unit, but that doesn’t seem to be the trend here in Amarillo. Of course, there’s always a laundromat or finding a place with a laundry facility. But I’ll be honest, with two little kids, I know I’ll never do laundry unless I can walk to it within my own home. Plus, when you think about the long term cost, it’s definitely better just having our own.

  2. DESK | We didn’t go all out and get something extravagant, but we definitely learned we needed a designated work space for Ian. Our last apartment was our first experience having all of us home all of the time. Ian got a position that is a work from home position. We thought we could get away with having him work at the dining table but very quickly learned we would need a desk because the dining table is used too often through the day and it’s not quite big enough for all of us to fit while Ian is working. So there you have it, a desk was purchased.

  3. RUG | For under the dining table. We moved from a full on laminate apartment to a full on carpet apartment. Given that we have a toddler and a baby on the way who will both eat very messily for the unforeseeable future, we decided it would be best to get a small rug for under the table because, in the long run, having a rug to cover the carpet in the dining space would save us from having to pay to replace the whole carpet if any stains or spills occur in our time here.

  4. VACUUM | We wound up getting a robot vacuum. It wasn’t a super fancy one. I found one that was about the same price as a regular vacuum and thought, “Hey, I need a vacuum anyway. Why not get one that does the work for me?” We only had a broom before which was fine to sweep a rug and laminate floors with, but for a whole apartment of carpet I knew I needed a little help.

  5. HUMIDIFIERS | The climate we moved to is much more dry than anywhere we’ve ever lived. That, along with the colder weather and a need for a heater 24/7 left us all with dry skin and bloody noses. So we got some little humidifiers to run at night in each of our rooms.

  6. EXTRAS | You know, move in fees, storage solutions, command strips and hooks, a plant or two because we had the room and I found a fiddle leaf fig tree for $16. There weren’t too many extra things we needed but I’m sure they added up more than I really know. There were definitely many trips to Target.

All in all, I don’t think we went crazy on home purchases. I tried to be as resourceful as possible and turn to what we already had before buying something new, but with a new home comes new necessities.

Other one-time expenses:

The second thing that added to our one time purchases was my birthday. I kept the budget low. My actual birthday was 4 days after our move so I just wanted to sit at home and hang out with my boys. My husband had a small budget for some decorations (because decorating the dining room for each other is a tradition) and I got Chinese food and watched movie. I was gifted some birthday money and I used that for a sweater and shirt from Target along with my official tea set up to get started on one of my new year intentions. I’m happy to say my tea pot and the tea I bought is getting used daily!

Otherwise, a lot of money was spent on fast-food, gas to get here, and restocking our fridge.

JANUARY FINANCIAL OVERVIEW

CHECKING

Made - 4612.21

Spent - 4346.1

  • one-time expenses (not including washer + dryer) - 968.5

  • rent - 999

  • groceries - 710.83

  • restaurants/coffee/fast food - 247.23

  • debt - 906.44

  • bills - 361.34

  • hobbies - 35.4

So this month my only real focus was simply getting a good look at what’s coming in and what’s going out. I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of wiggle room for adding more to debt this month, but a big part of being able to pay off debt is knowing how much you really have and where you can make cuts.

Obviously, there’s a big chunk from this past month that was just extra expenses that we won’t normally have now that we’re settled in which is a good feeling.

WHERE WE’RE OVER SPENDING:

Our food expenses. They may look a little worse simply because of all the eating out we did while transitioning from one home to another, but about half way through this month our spending regulated and I got a good look at what it looks like on an average week.

Just to give a little insight on an average two weeks:

  • groceries - 402.11

  • fast food/restaurants/coffee - 97.5

  • bills - 227.32 (power/internet/spotify)

  • loans/debt - 394.43

  • hobbies - 35.4

  • kids - 

  • home goods - 156.23

You guys. That’s an average of $500 every two weeks on food alone which is way too much for 2 adults and 1 baby.

So I did some digging. The nice thing about some of these order online places is that you get an electronic receipt, and since I never take paper receipts, this made it so I could go back and get a good look at what I was actually buying.

I think the kicker was our meal plan subscription. We signed up a few months ago to help with meal planning and found a fairly inexpensive service that we really love using, but at $40 a week for only 3 of our meals, we found that it’s just not practical right now. Besides that, there are definitely places in our groceries that we can cut back on. Namely fancy beer and those snacks that you buy on a whim because you really need to eat a whole birthday cake right now.

DEBT

While we did pay our minimums on everything, we weren’t able to make too many strides this month. After purchasing a few baby things in February I’m hoping to start putting more into the credit card!

GOING INTO FEBRUARY

Our plan for this month is pretty simple. The main focus is to cut our spending a little bit. We do need to buy a few little things to get ready for our son who will be born early March and we have some things to prepare for guests coming in town.

Otherwise, I’m going to keep doing my weekly reports for our bills. But I’m also going to start doing weekly reports on food and groceries specifically to really get a good idea of what we’re buying and what we may be able to cut back on.