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June Punches Us in the Face (and the month isn’t even over)….

June 19, 2011

So, the next sentence will be so sarcastic that I can’t imagine being more sarcastic. I loved seeing this sight when I checked Mint this weekend:

Can you tell what I was presented with when I checked Mint this weekend? Ya…though we’re only a little over half-way through the month (as you can tell from the light grey line) we’re in the red (you can tell by the red) by almost $250!!!

I’m officially turing the finances back over to my sweetheart. Done. And, end of blog. Thanks…

Kidding.

And, it really isn’t as bad as it looks (after I did a little research). The good news: we’ve come up with an idea that will help with future months.

I clicked on the “Miscellaneous” tab to see what we’ve spent, specifically, in that category. Turns out we’ve encountered two problems. One is fixable right now (and I’ve fixed it) and one is fixable in the future (we’ll see if we’ve fixed it…it’ll take a few months to tell).

First off, there are a few transactions in the miscellaneous category that are actually yearly expenses that we’ve saved up for. I had forgotten to transfer the money. Things like insurance, car registration, etc., are being saved up for a little at a time and squirreled away into savings on a bi-weekly basis. And, there were a few transactions pertaining to our yard that we planned on, put the money aside for, and then forgot to transfer over. After I transferred the money from the two holding accounts, we’re back in the black, but not by much. Now for the second problem…

June has been fraught with pop-up expenses that we didn’t plan on, and that all hit in one month. We’ve spent money on three camps, a summer-long swimming pass, swimming lessons, scout camp, a surprise soccer registration fee, a gymnastics fee, and a few other little goodies. Boom. All in June. Thanks for the face-punch, June.

When I say “we didn’t plan on” these, I should say, we didn’t plan on all of these being in June. We knew they were all coming. The big mistake we made was not foreseeing these items in May, and instead of putting a few other non-essentials off, we bought those as well (toward the start of June), then paid for these events, and now we’re nearly out of money in our “miscellaneous” category. Had we known that half-way through the month we would be paying all kinds of fees for stuff we knew we were doing but didn’t realize we’d be doing all at once, we would’ve waited until next month to purchase new piano music, etc…

How are we solving this second problem? Planning better. J and I have decided to keep a little notebook next to the computer. When we think of something that will be due in July (not normal yearly stuff…that is already taken care of) we’ll right it down, along with the approximate amount. Then, in July, we can check the notebook and see if this is already going to be a “spendy” month, or if we have more breathing room. In the notebook we’ll have a list of the coming 12 months or so, so that we’re not caught off guard as easily.

So, we think that’ll take the sting away from future months that would normally wind up like June. On a good note, we have a “Who-knows-what-to-do-with-this-money” category that never gets touched, and I suppose that we know what that money is for this month. We’ve just been sending that money into savings at the end of each month, and this month we’ll dip out of it a bit. Lame, but I’m glad it is there…

What are some ways you reduce the pain during months with over-the-top unexpected expenses?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bonnie permalink
    June 19, 2011 9:58 pm

    Sounds like our “home improvement” category on mint. It is WAY in the red (like $1500) from finishing the bathroom. Every time I look at mint I am reminded of how much everything has cost, but on the good side I know that it will be back in the black again next month when the extra paycheck has set in and the bathroom is complete. It still hurts to look at it though. One thing I have found helpful for me is that I break up my miscellaneous category into smaller categories like “kids activities” or “decorating fund.” All of the money is rolled over every month. If I don’t use any money from my “decorating fund” that month but a swimming lesson bill comes due and there isn’t enough in the “kids activities” fund, I feel ok about it because I can essentially “borrow” money from the other fund to pay for the one with the most need at the time. Next month I can adjust things to pay back the money.

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