Club Thrifty October Budget Breakdown and Blog Updates - picture of pen in hand doing budget
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Club Thrifty October Budget Breakdown and Blog Updates

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I just realized something- I completely forgot to spell out my budget details last month.  I know, I know….I totally dropped the ball.  But I’m going to make up for it somehow!  Pinky swear.

Fortunately, last month was pretty boring when it came to budgeting and spending.  I mostly just paid the mortgage and bought groceries, and paid for a bunch of other boring Midwestern housewife stuff.  The only expense that was out of the ordinary was the $400 I spent at FinCon.  And, as I told you last week, that was totally worth it!

Club Thrifty News

First of all, some exciting things are happening in and around the Johnson household.  For starters, we’re getting this here website completely refurbished…by a professional.  That means we’re paying real money for it, folks!  No more half-ass blog designs with my vacation pictures plastered all over the place- things are getting serious.  And we have plenty of plans for our new design, including the launch of my new business. 

Say What?!?!?

Yes, you read that right – more to come on that soon.  Pinky swear.  Again.

In other news, my writing calendar is already booked up this month, which is stressful….but awesome!  We don’t have many plans on the personal front aside from going to see Pearl Jam in Denver on the 22nd.  Other than that, I envision a lot of nights and weekends working- and copious amounts of Real Housewives streaming live on my Roku box.

On the other hand, the countdown to our trip to London and Paris is officially ON- 27 days to go until I embark on an 8-hour plane ride from hell.  I don’t want to tattle on myself here, but I may have gotten a doctor’s prescription to take the edge off.  Remember how much I hate flying?

Club Thrifty October Budget Breakdown

We all know what you’re here for.  So let’s get started, shall we?  Dear nosey readers, I now present you with my October budget breakdown:

  • Mortgage: $1,500
  • Groceries: $600
  • Daycare: $540
  • College L: $25
  • College V: $25
  • Gas/Misc.: $200
  • Cell Phone: $35
  • Health Insurance: $394
  • Electric: $100
  • Water: $40
  • Sewer: $35
  • Gas: $25
  • Internet: $51
  • Denver: $150
  • Grass: $52.50
  • Pictures: $350
  • St. Maarten: $175
  • Christmas: $200
  • SEP IRA: $1,000
  • Roth IRA: $1,000
  • HSA: $2,000

Total: $8,497.50

You’re probably wondering about a few things, and that’s okay.  Asking questions is perfectly normal- and even encouraged here.  Don’t be ashamed!  But first, let me go ahead and try to clear a few things up for you:

First of all, my mortgage is not $1,500.  I’m just overpaying it because I hate having bills!  Second of all, some of my bills are paid irregularly- things like car insurance, life insurance, etc.  None of those bills are due this month which is why they are not on my budget, capiche?  And third, people always ask me why I don’t budget for homeowner’s insurance or property taxes.  Both of those expenses are paid out of the escrow account I contribute to with each mortgage payment.  A few more things:

  • The $150 I budgeted for our trip to Denver is for taxis and food for the two days we’re there to see Pearl Jam.  Our flights and hotel were paid for with credit card rewards.  #Winning
  • No, the $52.50 I budgeted for “grass” is NOT so I can buy weed in Denver.  <LOLOLOL> I got a lawn treatment done.  Gotta keep up with those Joneses!
  • Let’s get one thing straight– $175 is not enough to go to St. Maarten.  The $175 I had to pay was for the taxes and fees for our airfare in January.  (Yes, I’m going to St. Maarten and maybe Anguilla for my 35th berfdaySue me.)  Other than that, our trip was paid for with 90,000 American Airlines miles.  I’m still working on the hotel part, but it will definitely be paid for with credit card rewards.
  • We are paying $350 for professional pictures, outfits, and photo editing for our new website design.  And that’s one thing I love about having an online business.  Instead of taking out an installment loan to open a storefront or business with a physical location, having an online business means that I can just pay for and budget for our expenses as we go.
  • The $200 I budgeted for Christmas will allow me to get started on my Christmas shopping.
  • As I mentioned a few days ago, we’re losing our traditional health insurance starting January 1st.  That means that we’ll only have access to a health savings account for a few more months.  The contribution limit for 2014 is $6,350 for families, so we’re trying to put as much money as we can in before the end of the year.  I put $2,000 in a few months ago and I’m putting another $2,000 in this month.  My plan is to put another $2,000 in next month too. (Related: Why We’re Opting Out of Obamacare)

So, that’s about it.  This month, I’m trying to have a better work-life balance, be a better wife and mother, and make dinners that don’t involve cheese puffs or canned fruit cocktail.  Wish me luck…

Any questions about my monthly budget?  How is your budget looking this month?  Anything new or exciting coming up?

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78 Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your new business! And I can’t wait to see your new site design. So much excitement! Congrats!

  2. It looks great! I love that you are putting so much into retirement. I wish more people took it as seriously as you do! 🙂 I’m excited to hear more about this new business too! And I can’t wait for FinCon next year!

    1. I have no choice- that is the downfall of being self-employed! =)

  3. Wow. I am impressed with your savings and financial management. I wish I could be serious as you when it comes to securing retirement savings. Looking forward to reading your post on your new business!

  4. A new business?! Congrats.. I am really excited to hear your plans. I’ve been having some ridiculous plan ride phobia as well. I’ve been contemplating asking the doctor for something to help take the edge off too. My next trip isn’t until February and I’ve already been stressing about the trip. AHH!

    1. I just hate being bored that long. The longest plane ride I’ve ever been on is 5 hours….and it was awful. This upcoming trip is an overnight plane ride too, and I’m afraid I won’t sleep well.

      1. Suggestion…get a pair of noise cancellation headphones (not overpriced Bose, however). Connect to your mp3 player. Then relax. I use mine for plane travel and while operating a line trimmer, walk behind mower, or tractor. It won’t totally eliminate the background noise, but it greatly reduces it, then you add your own favorite music, video, or podcasts. I could never go back to ordinary ear plugs.

        1. Sounds like a great idea to me!
          Now I just need to figure out how to sleep overnight in coach =(

  5. Awesome job on working towards maxing out that HSA! I will be very interested to hear how your experience with the healthcare sharing ministry goes. I don’t know anyone who’s done that yet, but you are not the first person I’ve heard of who is going that route now.

    1. Yep, a lot of people in a similar position are. I hope it goes well. If it doesn’t, we can always sign up for a regular plan during each year’s 3-month enrollment period.

    1. HAHAHA. I know. I will probably get a contact buzz at Pearl Jam, but it won’t be intentional! =)

  6. You seem to apologize a lot for traveling. Why? It’s your month, you earned it, you are savvy with the cc rewards, so why feel bad?

    1. I don’t know- sometimes I do actually feel bad! I think it’s hard for some people to understand how I go on vacation all the time and not really pay for it.
      Thank you for the comment though =)

      1. They are just jealous 🙂

        1. Yeah, I don’t blame them. BAHAHAHAHAHA
          What people don’t know is that I work like a million hours when I’m not on vacation- so that I can go on vacation. It’s pathological!

  7. I didn’t even blink at that 1500 because that is practically my rent. lol! Have fun seeing Pearl Jam in Denver! And hope you have a great month with work and work/life balance!

  8. I can’t wait to see the new blog design and hear about your new business! Very exciting!
    What’s wrong w/ fruit cocktail? haha

    1. Nothing =) I fed my kids cheese puffs and fruit cocktail the other night in a terrible parenting moment. Trying to do slightly better than that from now on! =)

  9. I’ll be honest, I went there with the grass comment. Living by Colorado we commonly hear about “road trips” so it’s not unheard of. It was such a specific amount too. Good luck on the new stuff.

  10. I can’t wait to hear about the new job!! Hopefully you won’t keep us waiting long. I also can’t wait to see the new site and the results of all of your pro work. Definitely lots of exciting stuff in the Johnson home!

  11. $350 is actually great for pictures. I’m trying to redo my website too and found an amazing photographer, but she won’t be in NYC till May (she’s LA). I’m wondering if I should find someone else or use what I unenthusiastically have in the meantime to hold me over :/

    1. Yeah, I am using a quasi-professional. She is trying to build her portfolio up. That figure includes a few clothing items for our pictures as well.

  12. I bet you’re gonna start selling Thirty One or Mary Kay, am I right? I hate long plane rides too and that’s why we’re going in business class on our Europe trip. With the kid, it’s really important that she sleeps!

    1. Nope! Scentsy and Tupperware! BAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  13. Big happenings at clubthrifty, I always love a new theme and upgrade, I’m anxious to see the revamp and the new biz.

  14. “Midwestern housewife stuff”, haha. Can’t wait to see the new look of the site and to hear about your business! Exciting stuff.

  15. I can’t wait to see what your blog will look like. I’m sure it will be awesome!

    I want to hear about the new business as well 🙂

  16. I can’t wait to see the blog design! I’m jealous of your London /Paris trip!!! 🙂

  17. Looking forward to seeing your new redesign and hearing more about your new business. 🙂 I momentarily forget your fear of flying but I remember the plane crash pics now. I can’t remember if the girls are going with you on the trip, That can always be interesting. We downloaded a couple of movies on our tablets to help keep them occupied. I’m not afraid of crashing butI do fear screaming kids for 8 hours. Our girls did fine and if your girls are going with you, I’m sure they will do great too!

  18. Since this is a budget blog, I’ll ask the question: how much of the $1500 house payment is extra? Is there a target payoff date? Just being nosy….I mean curious.

    1. Hey, I’m an open book! I think I’m prepaying something like $500-$600 on the mortgage compared to the minimum payment on a 30-year loan. I would have to look. Last time I checked, our home would be paid off in less than 12 years. That would be ideal!

  19. Re your Paris trip, I highly, highly recommend doing the Fat Tire bike tour–especially if the tour leader is a native Frenchman/woman. Most of the guides are American but we lucked out and had the cutest French guy. Since he was born/raised in Paris, we felt we got so much more info. We did both the day/evening tour. Much preferred the day tour. It is so fun!

    1. That sounds fun!!!!!! I would love to do something like that.

  20. Wow…lots going on. Can’t wait to hear about the new business and see the redesign. And pretty awesome with the upcoming trips! I don’t mind flying too much (the fear part that is)…but I can’t stand being cramped into small spaces for a long time.

    1. Yep, that’s part of it. Fortunately, I’m short. That helps.

  21. Also, if planning to go to Versailles, do the gardens and the smaller chateaux first. You can also have a pinic or take a boat out on the water; or rent bikes. Go back for the actual Versailles tour a couple hours before they close. Lines are practically non-existent at that time and you’ll enjoy the palace so much more.

    Don’t forget to stroll around Montmartre and watch the artists work. Try to get to one of the “marches”–French version of Farmers Market. Great place to pick up some fresh fruit and just fun to wander around. I bought the cutest little straw purse there.

    The Rodin museum is awesome, awesome, awesome.

    Just eat in the small cafes along the back streets. They are much less expensive and the food is delicious.

    Have fun. France is my favorite place and I’ve been everywhere (used to work for an airline years ago).

    1. I honestly cannot wait. I just got our London stuff ready- a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath and two tickets to Les Miserables. That part is done, but I haven’t even looked into Paris yet. We’re only going to be there 2 days- what would you do if you were only there 2 days? I MUST go to the Catacombs and see the Eiffel Tower, at least walk around under it. Other than that, I don’t have any big must-dos. You tell me =)

  22. All that travel sounds awesome, Holly. You guys are travel hacking masters. You got us started on on our very first hack with the SPG points, so thank you again!

    1. Yes, I remember! If you want a referral link for the Chase Ink Plus 70K offer, please let me know ASAP! I get 10K points if you sign up and you get 70,000 points after spending requirement- worth $875 in travel!

    1. What is mysterious? Do tell! Or are you just making fun of me for being a dork?

        1. Oh yeah! That! It’s not really that exciting or surprising =/

          1. Okay. I confess.

            I’m going to start selling Amway!!!

            (P.S. Do you need any soap, shampoo, or energy drinks???)

            BAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHH

          2. OMG I’m totally kidding. Wouldn’t that be funny, though? I think everyone I know would disown me.

          3. Oh, I was just letting you know that I don’t need any soap, shampoo, or energy drinks!

  23. Hey re the HSA, I think you have until April 15, 2015 to max it out for 2014.

    1. Yes, you are correct!
      The only problem is, we are joining a healthcare sharing ministry on January 1st so we will no longer be able to contribute. So we need to get all of our contributions in this year.

  24. Well, I know the Christmas holidays are just few months away but $200 month for shopping makes it look like you will have a very good time 🙂

  25. Love that you introduced your list of expenses with an address to all the “nosey” people out there–so true that we all love to know each others business!

  26. I can’t wait to see your new site design!

    1. Thanks Carla! Me too- I have no idea what I’m doing.

  27. I’m so excited that big things are in store for you and the site! I’m sure it’ll all look fabulous when it’s done (including your pictures). Sounds like you have quite the trip planned for your 35th birthday, too! You have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. =)

  28. Sounds like an exciting trip for your birthday. If you are going to St Maarten, definitely include at least a one day trip to Anguilla. You can get there via ferry and I hear they have amazing beaches. Although I have been to St. Maarten a few times, I have never been to Anguilla so I will live vicariously through you. 😀

  29. Exciting news about your new business and redesign! I am looking forward to hearing more about the business. I just got back from a trip that included a 23 hour plane ride. In that perspective, 8 hours doesn’t seem so bad!

  30. St.Maarten and Anguilla are fun!! You’ll have a great trip. Don’t forget, skip the seafood (not sure if you’re of the pescatarian persuasion or not.)

  31. Yay! Can’t wait to hear more about your new business!!!

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