Club Thrifty May Budget Review Epic Fail - picture of rolled up bills on laptop

Club Thrifty May Budget Review: Epic Fail

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Good morning, peeps.  Welcome to our public shaming.  I have some good news and some bad news to share with you all.  I am proud and horrified by what went on around here during the month of May and I wanted to share as a way to hold ourselves accountable.  First, let’s get to the good news.

The good news

May was my first full month being 100 percent self-employed and I’m happy to report that my income exceeded my wildest dreams.  There are several reasons that we did so well:

  • Our blog income is up
  • I got a ton of freelance work
  • I got a few other paid internet gigs
  • I’m awesome

So, exactly how did I manage to make so much more than I hoped for?  Who cares?  I made twice (TWICE!!!!!!!!!) my goal income for the month of May and I hope that I can continue with that pace.  Even if this month was an exception, I am still excited.  I know that my income is going to fluctuate so it’s good to have some great months to make up for the bad ones.

The bad news

This month’s budget didn’t go very well.  I started working from home on May 1st and we quickly realized that we had a lot more free time.  I’ve been getting all of our housework and most of my writing done during the day….so our evenings and weekends have been free.  Do you know what we did with that free time?  We totally fell off the stinkin’ wagon!  Below you will find the dirty details.  I’m not proud…but I feel like I should be honest about our activities.

  • We went out to dinner 8 times costing $240
  • We spent $116 on alcohol
  • We indulged in all of my favorite gourmet foods all month
  • We spent $50 at a cheap kiddie arcade

Because of all of these shenanigans, we went over our grocery budget by $400.  I also gained 4 pounds!!!  What the f’hell? 

Our new budget plan

We have done so well sticking to our budget that this month really caught me by surprise.  So, now we just have to get back to our frugal roots.  We have to get back to the habits that made our finances work in the first place and the month of June WILL be different.  We’ve been on autopilot for a while and I now see that we’re going to have to start keeping an eye on our spending.  Here’s our plan for June:

  • We’re going to check in with our budget weekly like we used to
  • We’re going to limit our restaurant dinners to 1-2 times a month
  • We’re going to save on alcohol by mooching off our friends
  • I’m having a damn garage sale!

You heard it here first, folks.  I’m going to sell my shit in my garage…..even though I loathe having garage sales.  It’s my punishment to myself for letting our May spending get so out of hand.  I’ll let you know how it goes….

So, how about you guys?  How did your May spending turn out?

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82 Comments

  1. Don’t feel too bad, Holly. At least you didn’t run out and buy a new Escalade on credit or buy 100 ferrets or something like that.

    But seriously, you fell off the wagon, but at least you acknowledged it immediately, and your awareness of it (and public statement about it) will keep it from becoming the new normal.

    Good luck with that garage sale. That’s punishment enough to absolve you of damn near anything.

    1. I know! Last time I had a garage sale I sat outside all day to make something like $63. Plus, people kept smoking in my driveway/garage!

    2. This has to be my favorite comment of the day. 100 ferrets would be hilarious. Please do this! 🙂

    1. Hey, so did I! My vacation was in a totally separate budget though so that didn’t affect the fact that our grocery budget went over!

  2. That self-employment income is awesome! We all have bad months, and it’s not surprising that yours came at a time of big change and excitement. What matters is that you recognize it and take the steps needed to get back on track for your goals. I spent more than usual this past weekend because I was visiting a bunch of old college friends. Not the best thing for our budget, but it was also a rare occurrence and it was fun. Nothing wrong with that every now and then.

    1. Yes, now and then it’s okay. I just want to nip it in the bud before we slip back into our old habits!

  3. Congrats on doing so well with your new self employment venture! So glad its working out for you:)

    1. I honestly think this month was an exception. I hope to meet my goal each month and everything over that is just bonus money!

  4. I was attempting to become a landlord and that has all fallen apart so that is a fail.

    I was planning on paying down at a lot of debt this month because May has 3 pay cheques but I seem to have blown that somehow and I gained back the 5 pounds I lost in April so fail all around.

    I get paid Friday and I am starting fresh with all of my goals because that is all I can do.

  5. Looks like you guys are planning on being pretty dang frugal! 1-2 times a month isn’t very much for going out to eat, I think you should increase it to 4 times 😉 I’m a terrible influence haha. I still have to enter more for our May spending, but one thing we need to do is slash our cable bill. It went back up (I negotiated it down 40% six months back) and there isn’t much they can do without downgrading us a ton….so we plan on switching companies and will probably save 40% yet again.

  6. Weren’t you on vacation in May as well? Glad to hear that you are back on the bandwagon. A garage sale? Ouch! At least you seemed really productive.

    1. Yes, we went on vacation BUT that was a totally separate budget!

  7. I’m gonna remind you you went on vacation this month. With earning double your goal income, you should be able to spend a little of it. However, I’m sure you’ll do better next month after realizing what happened in May!

  8. Way to go on the income side. And as for the overspend on going out, it could have been much worse. I like the plan of belt tightening (literally and figuratively) next month. =)

    1. Yeah, that 4 pounds did not make me happy. I am short and petite so it’s a lot on me.

  9. According to mint we’re over “budget” in every category… by quite a bit. A lot of that is one-time lumpy spending (summer camp, DH bought an Ipad out of his allowance, trip to meet the grandparents and drop DC1 off), but that doesn’t explain the extra $400 in groceries. DH even went over his usual coffee expenditures.

    Last month we were way under our usual spending… maybe June will be the same. At some point we’ll have to get a handle on this or else bring in extra income, but we’re ok for the next year or so.

    1. Hopefully you will go way under budget in June. That’s my hope!

      I also hope to recoup some of my losses with my garage sale. I’ve got some big ticket items…..a flat screen television, an armoire, a high chair. Anyone?
      Anyone?

  10. The Happy Homeowner says:

    Congrats on the income boost–that’s awesome! May has fallen apart for me in the budget department, so I understand how you’ll be making more effort in June. Best of luck to you–I’m sure you’ll continue to rock it as you always do!

  11. I’m sure this budget fail is only normal since you just made the switch. I’m afraid for what I’ll do when I have more time. I will have to find a new hobby!

  12. Wonderful news about revenue! Sounds like you’re being careful to monitor spending–it’s always an adjustment with increased income. Good luck.

  13. I can imagine that if I worked from home I’d definitely spend a lot more. It’s good that you didn’t start to shop! I likely would have, online, and ended up REALLY blowing the budget.

    1. Aside from a month long obsession with ebay, I have never really gotten in the habit of shopping online. It’s probably a good thing too!

  14. Well, consider this “disaster” as your celebration for your first month of self-employment! We all deserve to get a little bit crazy every now and then and this was your time. Now you have the energy to get back on track!

    And to answer the question, we also went over our May budget, but it was our first time we had one so it’s excusable 🙂

    1. Don’t give up! You just have to keep tweaking your budget categories until you find something that works!

  15. Congrats on killing it with the income, that always feels good. Don’t be too hard on yourself about the budget, we ALL do it at one point or another. The key is to seeing it and adjusting yourselves in light of it. We have seen it ourselves in the last month. We spent way much more on booze than we normally do. It’s funny on one hand because we’re not huge drinkers, but it still needs to be reined in none the less.

    1. We’re really not big drinkers either. It just goes in spurts.

  16. I feel a little late to this party. May’s monthly finance meeting between my lovely fiance and I will be held tonight, but I suspect will will have had a very good month despite an increase in our grocery budget. I suspect somewhere in the ballpark of $2 grand to be saved after extra payments to (her) student loans are made, on top of paying next months rent, etc… so I am optimistic.

    1. Great job! Way to make me feel like crap. Thanks.

      =)

  17. We’ve never gone quite so over-budget and I attribute that to our “envelopes”. Yes, they are virtual. But it helps to know the money isn’t there to be spent. We have to stay within the budget… there is no alternative other than dipping into our emergency fund or something, and neither of us would do that.

    In other news, holding a yard sale sucks. A few years ago I made like $100 for countless hours of work and the cash was subsequently stolen out of my vehicle while at a park. (I know, totally unrelated events. But in my mind, they are correlated: have a yard sale, get screwed. haha)

    1. Oh man! That would truly to suck to put in all the effort and have the fruits of your labor stolen. People suck!

      Once someone’s spare tire fell off their car as they pulled up to attend my garage sale. Instead of taking it with them, they were going to leave it there!

  18. Don’t be too hard on yourself! I think this happens to everyone. The important thing is you caught it and have a plan to correct course. May was okay for me although I did splurge and buy two dresses and a pair of wedges. Thank goodness for Target prices.

  19. Sounds like something is in the water. May was expensive for us as well (I supposed the vacation didn’t help). It looks like we too will have to be a little more aware in June. We are planning a flea market sells weekend where we pack up our crap and sell/give it away. We actually prefer that to the garage sale because we don’t’ have to have everyone at our house or do any marketing or anything like that.

    1. Sounds like a good plan! The bad part would be hauling all your stuff to the flea market!

  20. Congrats on making it to one month of self employment! My budget went absolutely crazy this month too. From the cat getting sick, to over $100 in dental work, to wedding spending, a trip, and impulse buying Paul McCartney tickets, my June 1st net worth update is going to be an absolute blood bath.

  21. ” Hi my name is Tonya and I totally blew my May budget too.” Perhaps we should form a support group? 🙂 Some of it was my fault an some was unexpected (which I should be more prepared for). Congrats on having such awesome income though. Sadly my clients dropped the ball and have not paid me on time, so my May income sucked too. At the very least I know the money is coming, but June needs to be really frugal.

  22. Our May budget was hit hard by medical bills this month. In fact I had over $1000 in medical bills with over $700 of that coming from the dentist. What’s worse is we still have 3 months to go on paying my sons surgery for his tubes, and on top of that my wife goes in for gallbladder surgery on Monday. I know it’s only a phase right now and I guess it’s like they always say when it rains it pours.

  23. Congrats on the awesome income report. That is a great way to keep the passion going. I have been there regarding more budget when you work from home. You have time to eat more and do other things, so you just tend to. Good luck bringing it back down.

  24. Congrats on exceeding your income goal! That’s awesome. We all have our moments, and hopefully next month will be better. It’s great you guys recognized it right away and are putting a stop to it with a plan. Plus, it’s to be expected – you have to adjust to being home way more often. That’s probably something I wouldn’t have thought about if I was in your situation.

    My May spending has been under as far as food goes, but because we are trying to furnish the apartment we are moving into, that has definitely made us spend a lot. Hopefully it will calm down once we move in this weekend. We are also planning on a garage sale, and I am not looking forward to it either!

    1. Ugh, aren’t they the worst. My plan is to have a joint garage sale with my mom. That way we can each tag out and take breaks occasionally.

  25. I don’t think that sounds too bad. You have to let yourself slip every once in awhile. lol Good luck with the garage sale, I loathe them as well. My brother is having one this year so I am just putting my stuff with his. 🙂

  26. I love “mooching alcohol off friends..” that is another one of our downfalls. I like wine and he likes gin….(in addition to our indulgent foodie ways!) I hope your June gets better! We are trying to limit our alcohol purchases to special occasions– Thank goodness it’s my daughters birthday today! Time to buy more wine! And Father’s day is right around the corner. And summer solstice….and….flag day is coming too! 🙂

    Hop back on the wagon! I’m hoping that, in a year or so with hard work and enough interesting things to say, I can be operating Life or Debt as a job too! Self- deprecation is always funny, right?

    1. Haha, I hear ya. I just feel like we need to bring a case of beer whenever we go to somebody’s house. It’s probably completely unnecessary but it feels like the right thing to do. From now on, I’m just going to take as many free drinks as I can and take my booze back home with me after I create the illusion that I’ve contributed. That’s what friends are for, right?

  27. All budgets should have some miscellaneous money set aside for these situations! It may not cover the entire excess, but it should cover some. Secondly, I would not beat yourself too much. You can recover by just cutting back for awhile.

    1. Sadly, I do have a $200 miscellaneous category. That money usually takes care of things like grocery overages or birthday presents I forgot to plan for. This month, it was spent along with everything else!

  28. Amazing job on your income goal!! Thanks for the honesty with your splurges – I think it’s human, and at least you’re super motivated enough to get back on track in June. Good luck with the garage sale and a stellar June!

  29. If it’s any consolation, we blew it with our May budget too. What was it about this month? Spring fever? 🙂

  30. We had visitors over Memorial Day weekend and spent a TON on food, alcohol and brewery tours. Good times had by all but we need to be better about asking guests to share the costs (since they’re more than happy to in most cases). Of all months for you to mess up your budget, this is a good one since you had a surplus in income!

    1. Yes, exactly! I’m thankful for that at least!

  31. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says:

    Congrats on a successful first month being 100% self employed! That’s awesome.

    Our May budget didn’t go so hot either, perhaps it’s in the air? Good luck with your garage sale, who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone interesting and make a new friend to help spend your extra time with!

    1. I think it’s spring that’s ruining everyone’s budget!

  32. Congrats on a first great month of self-employment! I can’t beat you up for going over your budget because it’s such an anomaly for you. Plus, there is an adjustment to working at home and I’m also guessing this was some pent-up fun you and Greg needed to release too. 😀 You’ll be on track again next month!

  33. I haven´t checked my spending for May just yet, but it should be ok, although we might have gone over the food budget. I never had time to go on big grocery shoppings due to my studying, and went to the nearest and most expensive store, just out of convenience. You´re not the only one with the unexpected weight gain! I gained 4 lbs in May too! yikes!!

  34. LOL, we had a similar May, in regards to expenditures, anyway, which I’ll be blogging about soon, so I know how you feel. That being said, WOOHOO on the great first month as a completely self-employed woman – yea!!!! I hope you’ll share your income-earning tips. 🙂

  35. Holly. That’s amazing (your income). You should be very proud of yourself! It’s all a novelty right now, which will throw you off – you’ll get into a better routine as time goes on. The only time I lived downtown for a month I went out to dinner every other night! 🙂

  36. Congrats on the great self-employment income! That’s fantastic!

    I can completely sympathize with gaining weight while being/working at home. When I was on stay-cation, I thought I would lose weight since I had more time to work out. Nope, not even close. But, I did have time to make dessert every night and then snack on it throughout the day. Oy!

    I feel like we’re still “digging out” from the time we overspent our grocery budget by 50% in February. It happens, and we haven’t been perfect since then…but we’ve certainly been a heckuva lot better!

  37. Wow, good job with your income. Congratulations. Feels good right? Now that you know what could happen when you just let yourself spend. lol But don’t be too hard on yourself. Think of it as a celebration and do better next month.

  38. Mr. Bonner says:

    Well, awesome job and better luck next month 🙂
    We had a community garage sale recently and got rid of a bunch of things our kids have outgrown. It’s so nice that we’re done having little guys, so as our youngest outgrows things out the door they go. Soon enough the little closet in the garage that’s filled with toys, carseats and strollers will be fermenting my own little concoction.
    I think the only thing that keeps me in shape is that I find working out is a super helpful stress relieving outlet and if I become lazy I sign up for a race that I know is going to be a pain in the ass. That’s usually enough motivation for me to go out and train enough so I don’t die during the race. Oh, and riding my bike to work counts as training and saves a ton of money. Double bonus!

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  40. Holly, I think you’ve got the right attitude. Crazy months happen, and it helps that you doubled your income! so congrats!!!!
    But I think buckling down and monitoring the budget closely for a month is a great way to get back on track.

  41. My problem with self employment was to get out of bed in the morning and not watch TV all day long, at least you are productive so I wouldn’t sweat the expenses too much.

  42. This post was so funny! I feel ya.

    May has been blown to hell because I had nasal surgery and my cat is on his last of his 9 lives. Actually, the budget will likely be blown for June too, because I have to take him to the vet on the first (it will probably be THE appointment but I will have an exam and an x-ray too because I want to make sure). Count on another $300.

    Then, I’m moving across the country at the end of the month, and that’s not cheap. Fortunately, I’m selling my car, so that will save me a ton for the rest of the year, as I was still working on paying it off. Anyone want an SUV in Denver? Or a queen bed or a patio set?

    1. Sorry about your cat=/ That’s never fun.
      Hey, you should sell your stuff on craigslist!

  43. That’s so awesome that you gave yourself back some time in the evenings. Ah I’m so excited for you! We all fall off the wagon from time to time. I’m sure yall will get back on track. Plus the arcade sounds legit!

  44. Congratulations on your income increase and being a 100% self employed. It’s only your first month and there’s always a learning curve, so don’t worry too much about going over your budget. You still made more than you spent and you know what to expect next month with a new plan. Good luck!

  45. TWICE!? That is fantastic!! I’m curious to see how much of an ebb and flow there is in your self-employment income.

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