February 2014 Month in Review: Money

This was one of those rare months where we were way over budget and were in the red at the end of the month.  We had a crazy high power bill because of the unusually cold weather and we made a really stupid mistake that took a pretty penny to clean up.  We came in under budget with our groceries, which almost never happens, but that doesn’t help us because we save the differential.



The Everyday Budget


Top-line items


INCOME: Our normal stipend paychecks, plus:


RETIREMENT SAVINGS: Slightly higher than our usual rate because we’re maxing out our Roth IRAs for 2013.


Non-discretionary spending


Rent: $870.


Internet: $34.99.


Cell phones: Kyle’s usual $70.18.  This month I paid $7.30 for my phone because of account credits from people using my referral link to sign up for Republic Wireless.


Variable spending


feb2014 spending  

Groceries: Well, we finally came in under budget in this category!  Thank you, short February.  We actually came in just under our old budget limit of $400 even though we increased the limit this month to $420.  The excess $32.48 has been transferred to our CSA account for some quality meat once we start going to the farmer’s market again.


Gas: We only filled up once this month!  But that sets us up for three times in March, probably.


Restaurants: Our eating out was unusually frequent this month.  At the start of the month we over-ordered pizza for a watch party with our basketball group, so we spent $25.10 for lots of leftovers.  Beyond that, Kyle ate dinner out without me five times – once with friends and four convenience meals.  We normally don’t go out to eat just for convenience, but as he is working super hard on his dissertation (staying at work until 11 PM at least nearly every night in the past two weeks and then working more from home) I’m turning a blind eye.  J  But we came in under budget, anyway (because our meals out while we were in CA are reimbursed from our Travel savings account).


Electricity and Gas: The polar vortex strikes!  We had the highest electricity bill we’ve ever seen – over 60% over budget.


Water: Normal amount, just under budget.


Miscellaneous Spending


Every month, we have some transactions that don’t fall into our normal budget categories:



Spending Out of Targeted Savings


Extremely low-spending month for us, probably because last month was so high.  That’s the point – these savings accounts act as a buffer for our budget!  We spent $131.93 out of these accounts and transferred $170.02 in above our normal savings rates.


Travel and Personal Gifts


We reimbursed ourselves $108.04 for the discretionary spending on our trip to CA this month.


Nest Egg


Since we are maxing out our Roth IRAs in 2013, we took $23.88 out of savings to top up our contributions this month.




no spending this month




no spending this month




no spending this month




no spending this month




no spending this month


Charitable Giving


no spending this month




We transferred in $32.48 from our grocery leftover this month (see above).




From Kyle’s side hustle paycheck this month, we put $46.96 into this account for income taxes.




The discretionary portion of Kyle’s side hustle paycheck went into this account, for $90.58.



Budget Adjustments


We made a few budget changes mid-month, so we had to retroactively apply them to February.  We increased our grocery budget, Roth IRA contributions, and Charitable Giving savings rate.



Bottom Line


We had a deficit of $32.55 this month, so we pulled that difference over from our Nest Egg.  Without either the high power bill or our dumb mistake, we would have been safely within budget.  That’s how it goes!



Did your power bill throw off your budget this month?  If you had two large-ish un-budgeted-for expenses, would you still be in the black for the month?

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16 Responses to "February 2014 Month in Review: Money"

  1. moneystepper says:

    Nice to see that even though you were over budget, it was because a large part of it was going towards maxing out your IRA. Also, pretty cool to see all those “no spending this month” categories…
    moneystepper recently posted..Maximise your annual ISA contribution – how to use your full ISA

    1. Emily says:

      Actually, we pulled the top-up amount for the Roths from savings so that didn’t affect our bottom line this month. But I’m so glad we’re doing it! Yes, a very low spending month from targeted savings, strangely. Probably getting ready to binge soon!

  2. Weather on the East Coast has been crazy this year, hasn’t it? I’ve been spending the past week in California and it has hardened my resolve to get back there. The worst of it were a day and a half of pretty heavy rain in LA… rest of time, low 60s.
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted..The Perfect Summer Job

    1. Emily says:

      Kyle said his Facebook feed was blowing up with people talking about the rain! I guess rain:California::snow:the South. I’m so jealous you got to spend a week!

  3. The polar vortex is killing my electric bill. We have been paying close to 80% more than we normally do. Nothing fun about it.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Home Staging Tips – The Key To A Great First Impression

    1. Emily says:

      This was the first month our bill was a lot higher than usual, and thankfully next month’s bill is only about 20% over. Sorry it’s dragging on for you!

  4. Only going $32 over budget is still pretty awesome. We went a couple hundred over budget, if that makes you feel better.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Rent to Own

    1. Emily says:

      If we were over by that much I’d probably find some excuse to cover one or more expenses out of targeted savings so the bottom line didn’t look so bad! What did you in?

  5. Alicia says:

    A teensy tiny bit over budget doesn’t even really count! 🙂 You’re under enough months that pulling that $32 out of the nest egg is just borrowing from last month 🙂
    Alicia recently posted..A Solitary Woman In A Sea Of Men.

    1. Emily says:

      Except our excess is supposed to be paying our nest egg back for our move last fall… I make things very complicated!

  6. Mrs PoP says:

    We’re running over on a couple of our yearly budget categories so far, but we’ll make it up later interest year I’m sure. I think the same goes with your overage this month. You’ll make it up next month, I’m sure. =)
    Mrs PoP recently posted..PoP Balance Sheet – February 2014

    1. Emily says:

      We’ll try! We are pretty far under our expected spending for targeted savings. Do you kind of zero out every year and start over with your yearly budget categories?

  7. […] @ Evolving Personal Finance writes February 2014 Month in Review: Money – With the polar vortex and a terrible mistake, we went way over budget this […]

  8. Leigh says:

    That sucks that the Republic Wireless referral program has ended! Ting still has theirs going strong. If it ended and I ran out of credits, I might actually switch carriers, to T-Mobile prepaid. They have a 100 minutes, unlimited data/text plan for $30/month and I do have an unlocked phone. I’ve been using more data since getting the new phone and more minutes since starting my new job, though I can expense part of my cell phone bill.

    My January electricity bill was $240! I’m going to upgrade my thermostats (from the 80s versions they are now) and see if that helps. It has warmed up now though so the March bill shouldn’t be as bad, nor going forward. It’s just my January bill that is usually terrible.

    I’m really far over budget with my charitable giving because I made about 7-8 months’ worth of donations in January (that was silly of me), but it’ll even out soon.

    I don’t really say I’m over/under budget for a particular month as I figure it all evens out and I mostly budget to forecast my spending. I figure so long as anything unbudgeted is less than my extra cash flow, it all works out!
    Leigh recently posted..February 2014 net worth update (+3.2%)

    1. Emily says:

      RW has said that they will start another referral program, but I’m not aware of a date on that. I have credits enough for a few months, but I’ll stick with it even if I’m paying full price. 🙂 That sounds like a good deal from T-Mobile, though. I want to look into all the available programs comprehensively at some point.

      Wow, I can’t believe your bill was so high for a condo! How would changing thermostats help?

      1. Leigh says:

        Well it seems like the heater is running when the temperature in the room is actually higher than the setting and so I was wondering if maybe some new thermostats, the programming would run better. Like the living room can be naturally 80 from the sun and the thermostats are still going when I have it set at 65 or 70. The electricity bill is only that high because of heating (September was $31) and mine are actually for two months, so that means December and January each cost $120 and August and September each cost $15. That’s a huge difference! I’m probably also going to get an electrician/HVAC person come out and look at the heating this summer to see if we can make it better because it is terribly inefficient and doesn’t keep the room warm very well and other times it makes it too warm.

        The T-Mobile deal is pretty good and my bill with the nicer phone (aka worthwhile using data) is going over $30, so that’s why I would probably switch if I ran out of referral credits.

        P.S. I’m glad that Kyle has gotten to a good point with his dissertation and can spend time with you again! I’m totally a quality time person too and it drives me crazy when my boyfriend works all the time 🙂
        Leigh recently posted..February 2014 net worth update (+3.2%)

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