Well crap – after talking last month about how well things were going, it looks like I jinxed things and we definitely missed the boat as our expenses went way up and our income went way down – a BAD combination! Of course, last month was something of a “perfect storm” in terms of awesome income and crazy-low expenses. Regardless of that, we definitely need to look into what happened this month to see if it’s a trend that’s going to continue or just an anomaly. I’m hoping for an anomaly, but I’m optimistic! Let’s take a look and see what’s behind these numbers.
Job 1 – +$0 – This is the new normal of my reduced paycheck after the payroll tax cut expiration and the increased withholding. Yes, it definitely doesn’t look as nice as my late 2012 paychecks, but that’s life! Hopefully with this new withholding we won’t be faced with a massive 2013 tax bill, so that will make up for the reduction in income!
Job 2 – +$1,395 – Yay for biweekly pay and the three pay period months! This is Mrs AB’s regular pay, just three of them in March instead of the usual two. It will be August before this happens again, but unfortunately I don’t think Mrs AB will be sticking around her job long enough to enjoy it! Oh well.
Interest – +$10 – As March was a 31 day month, combined with increase balances during the month, the amount of interest collected increased dramatically. Although it’s only $10, it sure feels like a lot!
Extra Income - -$9,850 – NOOOOO!!!!! This is the saddest part of the report for me. While we knew it was going to look this way, it still sucks. The big chunk last month was the $10k check Mrs AB’s grandparents gave her, which was obviously a onetime only event. This month included another $600 from Mrs AB’s teaching gig as well as $390 from a state income tax refund for a state I worked in part of the year.
Rent – (Just the rent) +$0 – We are now going month-to-month with our rental property, but luckily the rent hasn’t increased because of that. The offer on the house that I talked about last month was accepted, so we’re currently working through the whole home buying process! I will be putting out a detailed post shortly on what that process entails and what this will mean for our expenses going forward (at least on a high level), but for the next couple of months, nothing will change here.
Home- (Electric, Gas, Water, Internet, Home Furnishings, & Insurance) +$86 – We got hit with a double gas bill this month, but other than that things were pretty normal here. With the new house this category could change pretty dramatically, as the house is much larger, although newer and only one story – but only time will tell!
Car – (Insurance & Maintenance) -$17 – Pretty boring month here and as this category only includes a couple of items, all that was included for March was an oil change for Mrs. AB’s car.
Gas - (Gas & Tolls) -$275 – This number shows you the lag I was talking about last month. While we spent significantly in this category, we had $440.50 in reimbursement from our employers for driving-related expenses. These were expenses incurred in the Jan/Feb/Mar timeframe, so while it makes March look really good, it really should be part of all three months. Over the course of the year it will all even out though.
Groceries - (Anything we spend at Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club/Kroger/etc) +$318 – Ahhh, you would have thought we bought everything we saw this month! The truth is that we had a massive Sam’s Club trip at the beginning of the month. That, combined with a bill for TurboTax (I know this isn’t a grocery expense – but in my budget sheet this is called “household” so I consider it a household expense) of $81.19 pushed us way over last month – which was admittedly a pretty low spending month.
Eating Out - (Pretty self explanatory) +$77 – We definitely ate out a lot more during March. We had a couple of meals out with friends along with a date night (those are important, right Jon?) so we definitely spent more than last month – but we’re ok with the increase. We don’t typically eat out this much, so we should be able to reign in this spending pretty easily.
Personal – (Dry Cleaning, Haircuts, Clothing, Medical, Vet, & Other Pet Expenses) -$82 – It’s amazing what happens to your expenses when you don’t spend over $75 on dog poop bags! Nothing else exciting here, just a low expense month here.
Vacation – (Any Vacation spending) +$381 – We spent $355 on two tickets to Florida in May to visit my parents and other relatives that will be in town. My grandfather is in his 90s and lives out of the country, but he’ll be making the trip to Florida, so Mrs AB and I decided it would be a reasonable expense to go and visit while he’s there. During March we used a free night that I had at a hotel. The only cost we had was for valet parking (AHHHHHH) and eating out that night. We had a great time walking around the downtown area, eating at a restaurant we both enjoy, and not dealing with the dogs for a night! Definitely worth the expense!
Misc – (Allowance, Gifts, Entertainment, & Other) +$519 – This is where I’m “hiding” the expenses related to our house search. In here is the $432 we spent on an inspection for the first house (the one that fell through) and $35 for an A/C check on the same house. We have another $200 in expenses (our “option fee”) that will hit during April, but even almost $700 was a good deal to be able to walk away from a house that would have cost us tens of thousands of dollars and in the end – not been the home we both wanted.
March definitely wasn’t the awesome month that February was, but with a net income of just over $6k things are still pretty awesome! With a looming house purchase things will definitely be in flux and I see some dramatically increased expenses in our future, but I feel comfortable that we can handle it. I’m not sure if we’ll stick with our current budget in the new house or modify it – we’ll probably try it out for a few months and see how it works first before making any changes.
Did your March spending work out as you expected? Are you on track for your 2013 income and expense goals? Let me know in the comments!