October 2013 Month in Review: Money

Our finances are almost settled after our move – we’re just waiting on a refund from TWC (isn’t it always TWC that screws you up?).  We spent a loooooot of money though – I’ll post about it once everything gets shaken out – so we’re going to devote our budget leftovers toward repaying ourselves until that’s done.


This has been a pretty quiet month for us in the regular budget but a big one in targeted savings.  We’ve been so hard at work that we haven’t had much chance to spend discretionary money!  Well, except for some online shopping for Kyle, as you’ll see below.


I’m also super excited that within only one month we reached the minimum spend on my Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases (that’s an affiliate link and here’s my review). We made a donation that we hadn’t anticipated, I went on a weekend retreat at the last minute, and we paid for a dental checkup (all paid out of targeted savings).  The points showed up in our account already.  🙂  So we signed Kyle up for his own card to get another signup bonus!  We projected our spending and when we put our 6-month car insurance bill on the card we should be able to meet the $1,000 minimum spend, and if we’re falling a little short we can always put Christmas presents on it.  We still don’t know exactly what we’ll put the miles toward, but between the trip I want to take after Kyle defends, Kyle’s future postdoc interviews, and the fact that we’re overdue for a trip to CA, I think we’ll have a several opportunities.


barclay points



The Everyday Budget


Top-line items


INCOME: I love our new, higher paychecks!  I realized that my net pay now is almost exactly what my gross pay was six years ago.  But my work still hasn’t set up my direct deposit yet.


SAVINGS: Our usual amount, 17%-ish.


Non-discretionary spending


Rent: Our new rent is $870!  I love that we reduced it again.


Internet: We didn’t pay for internet this month, apparently.  I guess our billing cycle is falling differently than we thought it would.


Cell phones: Kyle’s usual $69.65; due to credits to my Republic Wireless account, we didn’t pay anything for my cell this month!


Discretionary spending


oct2013 spending


Groceries: Over budget this month, but not by much.  We had already spent it all by October 21 so we haven’t been to the grocery store since and are basically running on fumes now!


Gas:  Two fillups this month so we are under budget.


Restaurants: We bought fast food for Kyle several times this month (convenience/reward for working hard on his dissertation) and went out to dinner together once when we finally took a day off.


Electricity and Gas: We paid one partial gas bill and two partial electric bills this month but we still came in under budget!


Water: Our water bill was ginormous this month because it included our $50 address-change fee, but the actual water part of it was only $33.83 so we came in under budget.


Every month we have a few transactions that do not fall under either our budget or our targeted savings.

  • I bought a present for Kyle for $21.48.  I NEVER do this (my love language is 0% gifts).  Also he apparently doesn’t look at our Mint account closely enough to question a $20 purchase, so it was a surprise.  🙂  With joint finances and everything!
  • We redeemed some credit card rewards for $25.32.


Spending Out of Targeted Savings


This month we spent $1,423.82 out of these accounts!  This was definitely a month where this system comes in handy.  We also put $1,370.30 into these accounts, the vast majority of which was our refunded security deposit.


Travel and Personal Gifts


I decided at the last second to go on a weekend church retreat in Wilmington, NC with the “young professionals” group for $125.




No spending this month.  Eventually we will get around to spending that meat money from a couple months ago – whenever I find myself not working on a Saturday!




We paid for our parking permit for the year for $323.




We bought tickets to my 10-year high school reunion.  They were kind of expensive at $180 for just a few hours – I don’t even think we’re getting a meal.  🙁  Our college reunion was a whole weekend with a few meals and it was only $128.


We also finally paid our Bursar bills, which had $30 in registration fees for Campout from September on them.




No spending this month.




We spent $252 on dental cleanings and checkups for both of us.




We bought an external hard drive for $69.99.  Kyle researched and tracked this purchase for quite a while before pulling the trigger.  It’s for our photos, which we prize very highly; we haven’t yet come up with a great solution for storage.


Kyle also bought a new pair of headphones that he’s been tracking when they went on a deep sale.  We used $99.81 from this account toward that purchase.


Charitable Giving


We donated $200 to an acquaintance who is going into full-time ministry.


Nest Egg


We had a few lingering moving expenses that we paid out of this account:

  • $19.99 for our internet installation
  • $1.84 to insure my car long enough to move it
  • $50 for our water “installation”
  • $10 to the DMV to change Kyle’s license


We also finally received our prorated rent refund and our security deposit back from our last townhouse – $1133.97 to this account!


We paid $32.02 for our domain and we received a $110 payment from Adsense (our first!).  We still haven’t set up a separate checking/savings account for EPF expenses so we pay expenses out of this account.  We need to remedy this!


We didn’t have quite enough in our Electronics account to cover Kyle’s headphones purchase, so we covered the rest with $30.17 from this account.  We will reimburse this from our Electronics account next month.




Kyle’s side hustle paycheck necessitated a savings of $44.47 to this account.




We transferred $81.86 from Kyle’s side hustle paycheck to this account.


Budget Adjustments


Nothing yet as we just did a major update last month!  I love our new budget because it’s putting even more toward fun savings accounts.


Bottom line


$117.87 left over this month!  I moved it to our Nest Egg to start repaying ourselves for our move.


What’s new in your finances this month?  When were you last hit with a bunch of big expenses in the same month and what were they?  When you work super hard do you spend more or less?


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20 Responses to "October 2013 Month in Review: Money"

  1. Leigh says:

    In October, I paid for property taxes and quite a few medical bills related to my injury (over $400). I also ended up commuting via driving and taxis for most of the month to help with the injury, which ended up being quite expensive (just over $100 out of pocket). And since I’m not playing sports, I spent way more money eating out. I may have ended up with some budget leftovers this month, but I won’t know until I run the final numbers. I do know that I spent a bit over $4,000 this month! I won’t pay property taxes in November, so it should be much better in terms of spending.

    In September, I was hit with a ton of small, unexpected expenses that added up to almost $900 together! That was a bit insane.
    Leigh recently posted..New savings goal: take a year off and get my MS full-time

    1. Emily says:

      That really sucks that your injury compounded into all those extra money sucks. Are you healed/is your spending normalized?

      Small expenses adding up to $900? That is crazy high!

      1. Leigh says:

        Yep, September was crazy for small, unexpected, unbudgeted expenses! I’m just glad that I can absorb these things fairly well at least 🙂

        I’m not healed and my spending is not normalized yet. I’m expecting to spend about $200 next month to get to work. I think I’m going back to the doctor again soon and we’ll see what comes of that. Hopefully not increasing medical bills, but that would be worth it to fix this. Also, playing sports is a far, far cheaper way of socializing.
        Leigh recently posted..New savings goal: take a year off and get my MS full-time

  2. moneystepper says:

    Pretty impressive month. Looks like you’ve had quite a few one off expenses, but still come out well. Reducing the rent payment again is also a good step.

    I’ve just posted my goals on moneystepper for the frist time, covering from November 2013 until December 2014. Would love to hear what you think.
    moneystepper recently posted..2014 goals – New Year’s resolutions come early

    1. Emily says:

      Yeah, gotta love those targeted savings accounts for paying all the high bills so our budget doesn’t have to!

      I love (other people’s) goals – I’ll check them out!

  3. I love seeing how much you give. We’re trying to follow your lead by for the first time putting in a giving line item on the budget, and incrementally increasing it.

    I still don’t have a great system for how to handle targeted savings accounts. I count it as spending when we put the money into the account on our budget (since I know I’m going to spend it). But then I somehow count it again as spending when, you know, we actually spend it. I am a bad accountant. Thank goodness I am not responsible for someone else’s money. 😉
    Done by Forty recently posted..Net Worth, No Auto October, and No Ad November

    1. Emily says:

      Congrats on putting giving in your budget! I think starting small and increasing over time is an approach that will work.

      I’m not a very good accountant, either. We don’t count it as spending when we put money in targeted savings, only when we spend it out of checking. In and out of TS is just “transfers,” I suppose.

  4. Cash Rebel says:

    Nice job pretty much coming in under budget and getting a lower rent. I think an external hard drive is a great way to store pictures. I’ve tried it before each time technology has moved too fast so to keep buying new ones. Now I just have them on my computer, but I’m sure there’s a better way.
    Cash Rebel recently posted..Setting new fitness and blogging goals

    1. Emily says:

      We have copies on both of our computers and my small external HD but I wanted a copy we could keep off-site in case our house burns down with all our computers in it. But we were running out of space. We’re also backing up on Flickr. Kyle has actually spent a lot of time researching options and this was a good holdover until we want to spend recurring money on backup services.

  5. I love targeted savings. It allows me to set mini goals and not feel guilty when I pull money out of savings. It also gives me a much clearer picture of how much I have saved that isn’t earmarked for anything. It helps prevent that sinking feeling I would get after paying for certain expected but infrequent expenses and seeing just how little was left in savings.
    Betsy @ ConsumerFu recently posted..Cost-efficient Investing: Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds

    1. Emily says:

      That’s a very good way of putting it! I feel just the same.

  6. Congrats on coming up under budget! A great example, too, of good spending practices. 🙂 I need to work out some budgeting myself for the upcoming months.
    Elissa @ 20s Finances recently posted..Optimizing Credit Cards

    1. Emily says:

      Budgets are awesome! For us they are actually freeing for spending without worry!

  7. I’ll echo Done-by-40 comment here, Its certainly a great lesson and example to see what you give month-on-month. This is something I sure need to incorporate into my budget and with any luck can start it sooner.
    Simon @ Modest Money recently posted..Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Review

    1. Emily says:

      Just jump in! I went from giving essentially 0% to 10% overnight and somehow it all worked out. 😉

  8. […] presents The Importance of Saving Early posted at Sustainable Personal Finance. Emily presents October 2013 Month in Review: Money posted at Evolving Personal Finance. Bob presents Great Tips for Cutting Expenses in […]

  9. […] Emily presents October 2013 Month in Review: Money posted at Evolving Personal Finance, saying, “How did we do with our first month post-move? We didn’t spend much from our normal budget this month but we spent an unusually high amount out of targeted savings.” […]

  10. […] I already told you about why the Barclaycard World Arrival MasterCard was so attractive for us – its low minimum spend was actually achievable!  So many cards with great sign-up bonuses have $3,000 or $5,000 minimum spending requirements in such a short amount of time that they are out of reach for us.  But the Barclaycard World Arrival MasterCard had a minimum spend that was actually doable.  We spent the required $1,000 in about one month, much less than the 90-day period allotted to reach it.  Sure enough, the 40,000 mile sign-up bonus and the 2-miles-for-$1-spent long-term rewards showed up in my account within a couple days of reaching the minimum. […]

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