Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My first month with budgeting...And the budget goes out of the window :(

I can't believe that half of 2008 is already gone. So June bids adieu and with it my first attempt at budgeting flops badly.
As I had mentioned earlier we had two sets of budgets: realistic and targeted, during the first half everything went fine, it seemed that we'll just remain pretty close to targeted budget if not meet it. And then came those big ticket purchases, the food processor, navigator the bed and a couple of other items ( not to mention the spillover expenses of India trip). And the expenditure left not only the targeted but also the realistic budget far behind, the final blow came yesterday when suddenly there was a promotion at a newly opened Indian grocery store. The prices were really good so we stocked up on many of our essential groceries.
This has been our most expensive month in the US. It almost looks ironical because this is the first month when we try to live with a concrete budget and also made positive changes in our expenditures to meet our targeted budget.
The silver lining in the cloud was that we got back some of our outstanding money, so our bank balances don't look quite as bad. I'm just hoping that this is an exceptional month and other months will be better. I'm not going to adjust our budget yet because I think it is fair and am hoping that our expenses will closely match it in the next months...we'll see...
But as expensive as June has proved, it was also the month of positive changes in personal finance. Some highlights:
  • Made budget(s) ( *tries to pat her own back *)
  • Opened a high yield savings account and started an emergency fund in it (brownie points)
  • Got enough money from surveys to lend it on Kiva - First borrower - A couple from Indonesia ( I'm lovin' it). Collected about half for next lending.
  • Opened an account to try my hand at P2P landing. We'll see whether it was a positive change.
  • Trimmed the fat from our telephone bills. Got the family back in India on board on Skype. Everybody is happy.
  • Cut back on eating out, entertainment expenses.
  • Pared down our gas usage
  • Cut down on our laundry expenses. (awesome!!!)
  • Started stitching again ( my current project is a skirt )
The ones below are not strictly finance but a healthy mind and body would definitely have a positive impact on finances, or so I believe:
  • Tried jogging instead of biking, accomplished my goal for the month.
  • Lost holiday fat (hmmph...boy! am I glad)
  • Tried to get (slightly) better at maintaining my beauty regimen
  • Trimmed down the intake of caffeine.
Even I am amazed at what we achieved this month. Even with all the expenses I think June was a really good month. However, a big credit goes to BEB for trying hard to save even when I was thinking that we should be writing the money off in certain cases. So I'm glad that we made all those changes and I'm also glad that I took the time to write them down so that I can see the half full part of the glass.

So I say, bring on the July, we have worked hard here in June, and hopefully we'll reap the benefits for it in the months to come. Some things that I want to be done in July:

  • Ask baby brother to complete the paper work in India
  • Ask sister-in-law to apply for her passport.(Power of persuasion...:D)
  • Pay attention to oral care. I'm not quite happy with the way I'm taking care of my teeth right now. I need to make sure that I take good care of them so that they last me a great many years.
I'm sure there will be many more things to do this July but I'm just happy that I'm here...

PS: By the way, we could recover some of our money from that impulsive food processor purchase. Last saturday we got back our 35$ after a price match from Sears.

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