January 2014 Month in Review: Money

Big spending month for us!  We had several large expenses come out of our targeted savings accounts and almost no money go in.


Kyle finally convinced me to upgrade to the Moto X on my Republic Wireless service.  We upgraded my plan to the unlimited talk/text/date with 3G for $25/month so the ongoing monthly costs will be a couple dollars higher than they have been before.  We’re going to experiment with the different plans pretty soon and we’ll keep you in the loop.


We bought a flight to CA, but we offset most of the purchase with one of the sign-up bonuses we got on our Barclaycards.


We paid estimated tax this month.  Our withholdings shifted up a little, too, so we might have to figure out a different tax strategy since we do occasionally have side income.


We renewed our CSA this month, so we prepaid for the spring season.



The Everyday Budget


Top-line items


INCOME: Our normal stipend paychecks, plus:


RETIREMENT SAVINGS: Our usual amount, 17%-ish.


Non-discretionary spending


Rent: $870.


Internet: $34.99.


Cell phones: Kyle’s usual $69.77.  This is the first month in quite a while that I actually paid my Republic Wireless bill of $26.30 (plus a $0.78 adjustment from last month)! When I bought my Moto X I wiped out my remaining account credits from people using my referral link to sign up for the service.  We upgraded our service so the base cost is now $25/month, minus our 10% discount for signing up during the beta and plus taxes.


Discretionary spending


jan2014 spending


Groceries: Ugh, we were way way over on our grocery budget this month.  Who even knows why.  Fish oil?  Chicken?  We should probably increase this category since we can’t seem to stay within it.  Maybe in February since it’s a short month.


Gas: Only two fillups this month so we were safely under in this category.


Restaurants: We broke our main rule about eating out this month multiple times!  We try to only eat out with friends, but this month we got take-out twice and Kyle bought a convenience snack once.  But we didn’t have any invitations to eat out, so it worked out.


Electricity and Gas: Just before the end of January I saw our gas bill due next month, and it completely negated my good feelings about our payment this month being under budget.  Polar vortex, yikes.


Water: No problems here!


Miscellaneous Spending


  • I used the $25 gift card my labmate gave me as a thank you for helping with editing.
  • Kyle spent $14.78 on pens.
  • We paid $10.17 to renew a personal domain.
  • We redeemed $20.42 in credit card rewards.



Spending Out of Targeted Savings


We spent $1420.69 out of these accounts and transferred $45.45 in above our normal savings rates.


Travel and Personal Gifts


We reimbursed ourselves $93.29 for the remainder of our gas spending over winter break, to get to and from VA and PA, and for one lunch we had out while we were traveling.


We spent a net of $321 on two flights to CA for a friend’s wedding in February after redeeming our $425 sign-up bonus from my Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard.


We spent $82.71 on a wedding gift.


Nest Egg


no spending this month




no spending this month




no spending this month




no spending this month




Because of the use of my referral credits, we only spent $215.81 out of this account on the phone and a cover.




no spending this month


Charitable Giving


We spent $52.88 on groceries to prepare a meal for some homeless people who were sheltering in a friend’s church overnight during the snowy cold phase at the end of January.  This is why we love having this account!  We were able to immediately respond to our friend’s request, only having to consider the time it took to prepare the meal and knowing that we had the money it would take in this account.




We bought a season of an individual share of the CSA we’ve been with for the past several years for $255.




We paid $400 in estimated tax this month, even though we didn’t have to.




We put the discretionary part of Kyle’s paycheck, $45.45, into this account.



Budget Adjustments


No budget changes for this month.


Bottom Line


We had $58.40 in budget leftovers this month, which we transferred to our nest egg to repay ourselves for our move last fall.



How are your power bills going this winter?  When was the last time you had several large irregular expenses hit at once?


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6 Responses to "January 2014 Month in Review: Money"

  1. Mrs PoP says:

    November is usually our month of large annual expenses hitting all at once, but we know about it in advance so it’s never much of a surprise =)

    Our winter power bills have been fine – we only used the heat a few days, though when the “polar vortex” came south and hit Northern Florida I felt a little bit like Julia Tuttle responding to friends and relatives worried about our preparation for the cold. “We’re great down here! It’s 75 today! Do you want me to send you some oranges as proof?!?”
    Mrs PoP recently posted..PoP Balance Sheet – January 2014

    1. Emily says:

      The flight came up at the last minute for us (we bought it about 1 week after we found out the date of the wedding) and the Moto X we only knew about for a couple months. But our 6 month car insurance payment is a big one that we always know when it will be. 🙂

      I can’t wait to get back to CA where it’s 80F and sunny all the time! (Well, not all, but a few times this winter that some braggarts on FB let me know about!)

  2. Sara says:

    I’m so glad this is the year we decided to move into a building where heat is included in the rent! I know that some of L’s family had to take out short-term loans to cover the costs of heating their homes this winter because temperatures are so far off from their normal.

    Also, I’m curious why you didn’t include your shelter meal spending within your tithing umbrella. Is it because it was a friend’s church? I grew up in a tithing family and know that it was always adjusted for money spent working in the community through the church.

    1. Emily says:

      Luckily we can absorb the increase but it was a bit of a shock to get the bill. No fun for the landlords then, either!

      Our giving system is one of both tithes and offerings. Our tithe – 10% of our gross income – goes to our church and it’s always the same amount. All automatic. It’s used for salaries, infrastructure, missions, community work, and giving to other organizations. Aside from approving the budget each year, we don’t have influence over where the money goes.

      We used to give more, percentage-wise, to our church, but we decided to not automatically give our offerings to our church but use it as discretionary giving. So it’s money above the tithe that we send to the missionary we support and that we save up for these opportunities like the homeless dinner as they come up. It wouldn’t really matter to us if the offerings end up going through our church or another church or a non-Christian organization.

      I hope that answers your question!

  3. Ashley says:

    We are so lucky at this apartment- our heating bills are included! I can’t even imagine how bad it would be if we had to pay… yikes! I think the next time I’ll have multiple irregular bills hit is going to be when I find a new dentist up here. I already know that once I go, I’m going to need a few cavities filled sooo I’m bracing for that expense, ughhhh.
    Ashley recently posted..The Cheapest Decorating Trick

    1. Emily says:

      Are utilities included common in your area? None of the places we’ve looked at here have them included. I’m fine with it, I suppose – I mean, I like having the control over our own unit and not worrying about the neighbor’s utility usage affecting the overall rent.

      Yeah, dental expenses are a big out-of-pocket one for us as well, once we found a local dentist (took a couple years to get around to it). I actually haven’t been to an optometrist in going on five years, I realized, so that’s going to be a big one when I decide to go, but thankfully we’ve been saving for several years for that expense!

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