March Ends, I’m Broke

Guess what? No Knitting & Crochet Blog Week post today. Not because I don’t want to do one but because I was so tired and sleepy last night that I forgot to take photos of the project I wanted to highlight today. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to talk about until about ten minutes ago so tomorrow will bring you today’s post and I’ll likely skip the Day 5 post entirely because, well, I forgot about it completely and haven’t done an ounce of prep and don’t really know what I want to do and can’t think of anything great. But enough of all of that and let’s take a look at my completely wrecked March.

Oh I didn’t just miss my March budget, I blew that mother straight out of the damn water!!! It was spectacular failure and one more piece of evidence to throw at those crazy people who claim most of us can’t keep a truly frugal lifestyle for more than a month or two and that spending challenges are stupid because they usually trigger a spending bonanza the next month. Um, guilty as freaking charged!!! And it mostly went to my (curvy) stomach. I blew my budget by $350 bucks, a mind-blowing 54%. Oh yes I am the awesome. What did me in?

Well, shoes for all three kids meant my Kids Clothing spending was higher than usual. The painful part on this one? Eldest refuses to wear the new school shoes I bought him. Why? They’re a teeny tiny bit too big on him so his heel slides out. He’d rather wear the too-tight shoes. I’m SO irked.

I spent $175 on gas this month which is almost double the highest month so far this year. Killed me. At $260, I spent more on groceries this month than I have any month this year. I think the reason was last month I really focused on using up what was in my kitchen plus in March I’ve begun doing more cooking from scratch. I’ve found sales and coupons on basic cooking essentials (flour, sugar, butter, eggs, etc.) seem to come around less often than other things. There was about $60 in Miscellaneous spending which, though less than the prior month, is still high for my taste. I don’t like spending outside of my designated categories. What I believe is the primary reason for my budget blowout is the $263 I spent on dining out this month—fast food, take-out, and restaurants. Last month, I spent only half of that. The month before I spent almost double but I wasn’t on a tight budget. All in all, I spent more than twice on food this month than I did in February. Yes that’s a huge sigh you may have just heard or felt. Needless to say where last month I managed to roll over more than $800, this month I’ve got $200. My only consolation is that I made almost $1200 more in February than I did in March so to have any roll-over at all this month is, I guess, somewhat comforting.

Now, it’s April’s turn and I’m at a loss plan-wise. Also, energy-wise. I think I’m going to try to go for a no Fast Food month like I pulled off in February. That makes me sad because I love McDonald’s French fries so much. I’m going to shoot for $650 again in expenses outside the monthlies. I really want to make this my magic number. I actually want it to be $590 because that’s the equivalent of the monthly cost of daycare which is going to go away in a few months. But I think I might be pushing it a bit for a family of four in a big, sprawling, busy city.  

I’m looking forward to my shindig this Saturday despite the fact I have no idea how I’m going to muster up the energy to bake like a mad woman. I’m thinking: Molten Lava Cakes instead of brownies. Chocolate chip cookies. Rice Krispies Treats. Coffee Cake. French Toast Bites. Bacon Pancake Bites. Champagne Cocktails. That sounds like way too much though. Must mull it over a bit I suppose. The French Toast and Bacon Pancakes are requests and if they don’t end up going I am not going to be amused so I suppose I’ll double-check with them before committing to actually making them. That’ll cut down my time in the kitchen by two dishes. Yeah, good plan.

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14 thoughts on “March Ends, I’m Broke

  1. UGH, I won’t even be posting this month’s spending. We moved into the new place at the beginning of the month so you can imagine what the costs were like the first three weeks of March alone…I actually shed a tear when I checked my Mint app. April is a new month and I am going right back to the freeze I took on in February! It’s time to get things in order. 🙂

    Reply
  2. May your eldest have a rapid foot-concentrated growth spurt.

    Don’t beat yourself up too badly– it sounds like you’re doing pretty well and have a good plan for problem areas to focus on. You went over budget but it wasn’t a disaster because you gave yourself some slack when you made the budget and you’re learning from it. And gas prices have gone up and March is a longer month than February.

    I think a fast food fast for April is a great idea, since that seems to really be the problem area and where you have the most control over. If you stop eating bad quality fast food long enough, you will be unable to eat it anymore (though that may take a few years).

    Those desserts sound awesome!

    Reply
    • A rapid foot-concentrated growth spurt would be perfect, thank you!

      Gas prices are just insane. I’m totally freaked out by them.

      The fast food fast I think is necessary. Fast food is one of those things that is too easily addictive. You start with just one meal and there goes everything! I have a huge weakness for junky food especially when I’m PMSing and I work on a medical campus so there’s just way too many food options and although some are supposedly healthy, they’re really expensive and not even THAT great for you. But yes, I think this is going to be a good April challenge.

      Reply
    • Really?! A copycat? Ooooh I am going to have to look into that. You know, that’s a great idea. Learn how to make all of my weakness and then make them regularly so I can have them with me whenever. I am definitely going to have to ramp up the brownie-making!

      Reply
  3. Well, if you were perfect, you wouldn’t need this blog, would you? I love that you can admit you like McDonald’s fries–we’re all supposed to be too sophisticated for such plebian tastes. Kiss March good-bye and move forward. You know where you’ve been, which gives you a good idea how to prepare for April.

    Reply
  4. Hey, you ended the month $200 in the black despite all the extra expenses! That’s great!

    Maybe you should just do a “Lenten fast” for fast food and let yourself splurge on french fries at the end of the month. Knowing you have that treat to look forward to may be just the incentive you need.

    Reply
  5. I spent like crazy last month. My mom was needing all kinds of elderly person supplies and they are not cheap even second hand, but now there are handrailings everywhere and my mom can put her socks on again. My son also blew a hole through his 4.5 month old sneakers. I just don’t get how he can blow through jeans and shoes so fast.

    I find I need to do little respites from budgeting every once in a while. Sometimes it’s just draining, tracking every penny all the time.

    Reply
    • I agree with the draining factor but I still find when I close my eyes to the tracking I spend a lot more than I want to. Then again, I’m also not convinced I’ve found my “happy number”. I think I’ve found my bottom of the barrel number and god knows there’s no limit on the opposite end of that but I’m still struggling to find an in-between happy place and I have a feeling I’m actually still under it. I’m actually thinking of a post that goes into this.

      Reply

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