“If you’re a regular reader, you might remember that one month ago today I issued a badassity challenge to my family. For July, August and September, we’re going gazelle intense with our budget. We’ve got several big expenses coming up the next few months, and I want to be able to pay them in cash even on our tight budget. Despite our debt payoff progress, our DTI (debt-to-income ratio) is still pretty high so this is a challenge, but I’m convinced we can get it done.”
This is what I wrote one month ago at our one-month update. At the end of month two, we weren’t as frugal as we were in month one. We paid cash for everything but it left our savings account smaller than it had been.
Along with our previously stated extra expenses, we had even more extra expenses. I wrote earlier about the upcoming summer expenses that we were having to deal with for July, August and September. Here they are:
- Hay for the horses, which we buy on an annual basis (paid in cash in July)
- New tires for two of our vehicles
- A furnace repair that is not urgent but needs to be done
- Krav Maga classes for the kids, which is a huge priority for us
I didn’t include school curriculum in that list ($800), or an unexpected car repair that we had this month costing $300. Plus, after going gazelle intense in July, that left us pretty short on groceries and toiletries. Here’s what we spent in August:
Our Second Gazelle Intense Month
We spent $442.20 on groceries in August for our family of six. Lower than our average this year of $473.89 (pre-challenge average) but still higher than I wanted it to be.
Our pre-challenge gasoline average expenditure is $135.60. I spent $159.24 in gas for August. The main cause for the increase is that we’ve got to get oldest daughter’s driving hours in so she can get her drivers license in October. She’ll turn seventeen this month, so it’s time for us to get moving in this area.
I did spend $19.15 on entertainment this last month. $9.50 for a “date” for me and Rick – we hit a local Taco John’s before a trip to Menard’s. I also spent $9.65 on a date to Arby’s for oldest daughter and I – teenage emotional breakdown was the reason; money well spent.
We spent $157.50 on toiletries last month. No splurges here; all necessities such as toilet paper, contact solution, soaps, shampoo, conditioner, etc. $77.05 is our monthly average for toiletries so this is a really high number, but we ran out of everything at once in August, so it couldn’t be avoided. Note that we’re buying frugal in all toiletry areas: shampoo, conditioner, female needs, etc. Just the basics with no frills or name brands.
Our extra expenses were a huge challenge this month, but Rick worked some overtime that was available and I got a fair amount of freelance work, so we were able to pay it all in cash. although we did take $200 out of savings.
The $800 curriculum bill and $300 unexpected car repair bill were definitely the big challenges this month. We also had to get the propane tank filled, to the tune of $200. Also, as I talked about last month, Rick had a summer vacation week in August and we spent $236.85, below our budget of $250. This is our only “vacation” expenditure for the year. No trips or other splurges.
Month three is going to be a challenge. The new tires we need for the vehicles will cost upwards of $1200 if we can find them on sale. The furnace repair and Krav Maga classes for the kids are going to have to be a wait-and-see thing, as I had only budgeted $900 for the tires. Luckily the furnace repair of $700 isn’t important at this point (per the technician) but it will need to be done eventually. The Krav classes are a high priority to me, but so is living within our means, getting out of debt and keeping our savings account afloat. If they need to wait, then they need to wait.
Sometimes gazelle intense sucks. Having to make choices about things that are high on the priority list is not fun. But the end result, I’m sure, will be worth all of the efforts and sacrifices we’re putting in. It may not seem like it now, but I’m certain it will when we’re walking on paid for grass. 🙂
How did you do on your August financial goals?