Thursday, June 26, 2008

The end of the month

This is the time of month when all spending basically stops - 2 days before payday, at the end of the month. Even since the tax refund came through, we have been bouncing at $1000 rather than at 0, but the principle is the same - no extra money!

Summers are tough because income is lower - we don't teach Hebrew School over the summer, so no extra income there, and DW is the low man on the totem pole at her tutoring job, which means if things are slow there over the summer she doesn't get called in to work. And expenses that we don't usually see come in over the summer as well, camps and lessons for the kids particularly. And the electricity bill is high because of AC. So we were out-of-balance for June.

As far as the food budget goes - I've managed to get the main shopping down to about $150/week, give or take (I have seen some increase in some of the things I buy), but if I go to farmer's market and buy meat or dairy from the farm that can put it over. But I'm pretty clear that I'm trying to balance food activism with frugality, so I'm pretty comfortable with where we are with that right now. I had to skip both of them this week because I was determined to spend no more money until payday, and that's okay too. If I could get the supermarket back down in the $100-110 range it would be better, so that's my goal right now. I sort of have to do that so that we can make it to the end of the summer when the extra income things kick in again. And when J.D. at Get Rich Slowly said that he had gone out to eat 40 times already this year I felt much better, because my number is, oh, 3 maybe.

The major thing that makes our financial situation challenging is debt service. I spend $600/month on credit card payments, $450/month on student loan payments, and $340/month on the car payment. That's more than one-quarter of our monthly net income! If I didn't have all that, opening Quicken would be a lot less nerve-wracking! It seems to me that my life has always been like this. But at least now, I'm not adding more to the credit cards debt, and though it might make today more comfortable to pay less on the cards, I'm determined to keep it where it is so that we can get closer to a tomorrow that's free from all this debt. (This is leaving aside the 400-pound gorilla which is the house in IL - I also have utilities on it that I'm basically ignoring right now but which will have to be paid eventually. )

I had sort-of-ambitious vacation plans that I think I'm going to have to let go, so that it doesn't cost us our entire buffer. So I think we're going to stay close to home this summer - a couple of nights in KC, a couple of nights in Lawrence, maybe we'll go see the farm.
So I didn't go to the farmer's market this week. I made mushroom lasagna last night and it was good! We're not overdrawn this month. I'm broke today but for once in my life I have money put away if something goes wrong. I guess I'm on the good side of the knife's edge right now. And I get paid Monday.


Mary T said...

You know, things are going up so much. Gas, food, etc. We had to dip into our house savings the past two months to get all the bills paid. It is not so good, but--on the other hand--our reason is helping our kids mainly. Unexpected things, like our daughter-in-love has such severe morning sickness she hasn't been able to work--and they do not make enough $ to take a big cut in pay that easily, son is just recovering from having been laid off w/o unemployment a good portion of last year. Things just happen. On the plus side--this week I only needed some dairy and household stuff for groceries. The freezer has more meat than we need and we are getting more than enough veggies in the garden. More than I want to can for that matter. ;)

Mary T said...

oh--and I forgot car repairs! oy!
First it was the transmission on the jeep--which thankfully turned out to be only a seal--not the actual tranny.Then the clutch on the chevy, then--after the jeep got fixed -- the giant inexplicable antique nail hubby just pulled out of his flat tire.
Add the car repairs to the cost of gas--I no longer earn all our grocery money on my job-- cuz I work 6 or 7 hours a week for gas now. :( as opposed to my former 4 hours.