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Apparently, my new backyard needs mulch. Who comes up with this stuff?

Unfortunately, April was not a cheap month for the Johnson household.  However, it was mainly due to the fairly-frugal vacation we took to Florida and the expenses that resulted from it.  On the other hand, our vacation budget was an epic fail.  I budgeted $600 for gas to Florida and back, groceries, and entertainment, and we went over by $124!  I guess that isn’t so bad, but we could’ve done better.  I know I certainly could’ve done without a few of the delicious meals we enjoyed.  I haven’t weighed myself, but I’m feeling a little chunky today.  Boooooooooooo….

Anyway, I did our zero-sum budget for May last month and nearly cried.  I thought we were out of the woods with heavy-spending, but it’s not even close.  First, let me share the dirty details, okay?  Then I will explain.  Try not to hit me.

Club Thrifty May Budget Breakdown

  • Mortgage: $1,500
  • Groceries: $500
  • Daycare: $750
  • Internet: $50
  • College L: $55
  • College V: $25
  • Gas/Misc: $200
  • Cell Phone: $55
  • Health Insurance: $394
  • Electric: $25
  • Gas: $40
  • Sewer: $30
  • Water: $35
  • Garage Repair: $300
  • Mulch: $200
  • Birthdays: $150
  • Las Vegas: $600
  • SEP IRA: $1,000
  • Roth IRA: $1,000

Total $6,909

Budgeting Gone Wild

As you can see, there are a bunch of weird and unusual expenses on my budget this month.  Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!  It’s making me crazy.  However, there is a logical explanation for each one of them:

  • Our mortgage is not anywhere close to $1,500.  I could pay less, but I want to pay that thing off….and quick!
  • The garage door springs snapped at one of our rental properties, and we went ahead and had a few other repairs done in the meantime.  The total cost: $300.  Ouch.
  • Our new yard is really great, but it does have a lot of landscaping.  Our back yard desperately needs new mulch, so I think we’ve decided to alternate adding mulch to the front and back yards from year to year.  This year we’ll do the back yard and next year we’ll do the front, if needed.  I told ya, I’m seriously keeping up with the Joneses this year when it comes to my yard.  Not.
  • My youngest child turns 3 in June, and we’re having a joint birthday party for both of our kids at the end of this month.  Is that tacky?  Anyway, the $150 I budgeted should cover a few presents for my youngest child and food and drinks for the party.  I’m going to make the cupcakes myself and go low-budget for the whole thing, so I think $150 should do it.
  • A few weeks ago, I wrote about how we’re going to Las Vegas I know, I know.  It doesn’t sound frugal at all, but here’s the thing: Our flights were free and we paid around $200 total for three nights in the hotel.  On top of that, we’ve budgeted $600 for meals, drinks, and entertainment while we’re there.  That equals out to $100 per person, per day to spend on whatever we want whether it’s beer, gambling, hookers, or whatever.  There are no rules here, folks.  SPOILER ALERT: My crystal ball tells me that Greg will lose all his money playing craps and eat bagels off of the free breakfast buffet for three days.

Overall, it’s going to be a fairly expensive month.  However, that’s exactly why I create these budgets, and why zero-sum budgeting is so important to begin with.  If we didn’t write this out each month and plan our spending, we may never know how much money we’re blowing through.  And that, my friends, is scary as hell.  I would rather be confronted with the cold, hard truth than live a life of denial, am I right?

Do you freak out when you have an expensive month?  Do you think anything on this month’s budget is crazy?