Planning Ahead to Succeed: September 2016 Budget Outlook


MAY Budget

I know, it’s already mid-September! It’s been pretty hellacious with my grad school homework and travel, so I am finally sitting down to write this. 

How did we do with our August budget?


  • I was able to pick up 8 shifts, which is twice what I expected at the beginning of the month.
  • We had our pricey date night for $100, and I went out with friends to dinner and one of those new breakout rooms. That was a lot of fun and I would absolutely do it again. It was about $25 per person to do it though. We also stopped for donuts at a popular local donut spot. It was my only night out, so I only spent about $45 of my personal $100 entertainment spending for August.
  • We spent $420 in child care. My mom babysat for free one day and I was able to get my friend’s teens to babysit one day when our sitter was not available. They cost the same as our sitter however.
  • We traveled to Cleveland to see my in-laws and celebrate their 50th anniversary. We stayed at their house. We used 3 tanks of gas, for a total of $120, and took a trip to a beach on Lake Erie, which was free. We spent about $90 in meals out on the way there and back.
  • Our 5 year old passed her shrimp challenge at the allergist’s office and is 100% food allergy free! That means no more Epi-pens and we don’t have to drag Benadryl around with us either.
  • I put $250 in my Roth account.
  • We haven’t had the driveway lifted yet. We are still fighting with the insurance about our roof. It was patched, and the shingles don’t match, so our roof looks like a patchwork quilt. We are hopeful it will be replaced though- our HOA won’t stand for a patchwork roof.
  • August was a five-week month for grocery purposes. We spent $504.98 in food, including the food we were responsible for bringing to the 50th anniversary party.
  • I got $10 in Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks.
  • I only bought gas for the van once to account for my regular non-vacation trips.  In fact, I am still milking that same tank, and it’s mid-September.
  • I earned about $1.50 through Google Ad Sense. Whoo hoo? I won’t see any of that until I reach the threshold though.


  • Our 2 year old was scratched in the eye by the grandparents’ cat while on vacation. We spent the expected $160 in medical copays, but had to pay an additional $95 in urgent care, extra follow-up visits, and medications. Darn cat!
  • My Toys R Us gift card was empty, so I spent about $50 on a baby gift our of pocket.
  • The cheap sheets we got for our girls’ twin beds were already falling apart. This time we bought quality ones from Land’s End, as well as comforters, using Ebates and a coupon code. We spent $286, and these better last at least a decade, if not more. I always regret not buying quality. (The Ebates link is my referral link. If you try it for the first time, you’ll start off with $10 cash back after your first purchase. If you buy online a lot, it is worth using.)
  • Lots of clicks, but no earnings for my Amazon affiliate. I haven’t added any more affiliates yet, as I’ve not had a lot of time beyond school, work, kids, and textbook writing work.
  • We got notice from our HOA that everyone’s yearly fee will increase over the next few years to pay for repairs to the swimming pool and other common areas.

How is September looking?

  • This month changes have started at work. We are moving from business days only to 365-days coverage. I have agreed to cover some weekend days over and above the weekday shifts I take. I will generally be doing every other weekend (Saturday and Sunday), but have not agreed to cover any weekends that land on holidays. I am a contractor, so I can opt out of any weekend days I want. Right now, that is going to be Thanksgiving and Christmas, and some days next June. I have picked up 14 days in September, the most I have worked since dropping to part-time. This will help me aggressively work towards my Roth goal.
  • I already put $450 extra towards my Roth last week, and I expect the usual $250 to put towards it at the end of the month. This should put me at $3200 towards my $5500 goal by end of month. I’ll have to put $766/month towards my Roth through the end of the year to meet my goal. I have already agreed to pick up quite a few days through the end of the year.
  • I expect to fill my gas tank only once, sometime this week. That should be about $35-40.
  • I made an extra $75 by doing a study, and I will use it for groceries. I hope to come under budget for food this month. There will be $31 of food in our Amazon Subscribe and Save order. After this week using cash and using the $75 gift card at end of month, I think we may be $300 or less.
  • I anticipate $135 in office copays , $40 in medication copays, and $40 of OTC meds.
  • Vacation: the mister and I went to a Star Trek convention in Chicago last weekend. We already paid for tickets and a William Shatner photo op, but we needed to pay for hotel, travel, and food. The hotel was $442.32 and the cost included parking and meals in the hotel. We spent $80 in gas to drive there, and $200 in meals out (out with friends one night, a fancy dinner to celebrate our anniversary, and two stops at Cracker Barrel there and back. We also bought Starbucks (a rare treat) and candy for the kids. In all, we spent $757, not including tickets and photo op, which were $300. Yep, $1000 is a lot. The last time the mister and I took any kind of vacation together was 5 years ago for a weekend trip to see friends in Chicago (a much cheaper jaunt) and then 10 years ago for our honeymoon to Maui. We’ve been in baby jail a loooong time.
  • We are having three family outings this month, to the zoo and apple orchard. We’ll have to pay admission to the zoo, and will pay for what we pick at the orchard. I plan on making applesauce and freezing. Our son will probably do the Cub Scout’s Spook-o-ree too, though admission should be low.
  • We’re working on landscaping more this year, and I am budgeting for planting mums (already done) plus a couple fall decorating things (maybe some hay bales and a reusable wooden sign?). I’m looking for deals on those. Can you reuse hay bales, or do they rot? I want to keep them out through Thanksgiving. We’ll get pumpkins at the patch in October.
  • We are ignoring most PTO fundraisers, but are buying wallets-only for kindergarten and 3rd grade pictures and are doing one night of Pizza for the PTO this month. I anticipate $58 for pictures (crazy, I know!) and $45 for pizza.
  • I’m going to have very little time to spend my own fun money, but I am having dinner with a couple friends at the end of the month and we are having lunch with my dad and a cousin after apple picking. I usually pay for dad, since he is retired and on a fixed income.

What are you doing to meet your goals?

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