One of my New Year’s Day habits is to take my budget book and total up how we spent our money. I know there are apps out there that would track and total it all for me and I have considered keeping it in spread sheet format but I haven’t found one I really like more than pencil and paper. Just like my review of 2016, the figures came as a shock.
Some of the biggest budget killers were unavoidable. We had $3428.73 in medical bills. It all happened in the first two months of the year. The bulk of it was for a child’s surgery. I am happy to say her quality of life and the years of dealing with a medical issue are now in the past and she has been doing amazing since then. The rest was an ER visit for me. I hadn’t been sticking to my dietary restrictions like I should and paid for it physically and financially. This time I got very serious and the issue has been resolved. Total spent : $3428.73
The next biggest drain was home repair. We lost a hot water tank in January that required replacing along with rework of some piping that needed to be brought back up to code. In the summer we replaced the windows on the second floor. We had needed to do it for years. The winter of 2016 we had mold and ice on the inside of the windows. It was bad for our health and heating bills. This year it has been the coldest in several decades and I am happy for the windows. Total spent: $7162.21
Our cars are all at least 14 years old so we had quite a bit spent in repairs. When you consider the fact the amount was for four cars it seems a bit more reasonable. Total spent: $ 3514.90
The remaining parts of the budget were under our control and I really didn’t seem to have much discipline in retrospect. I exceeded our grocery budget by $1602.36. The fix to that is I will no longer shop using the debit card but use cash only. I am also reducing what I buy. If it’s a sale but it just sits on the shelf it isn’t a good deal.
Our memberships were $1673.68. We sat down and reviewed which ones we are going to let lapse. We have two warehouse club memberships and hardly used one so we are letting it go. We have memberships to several local attractions but the kids are a bit burned out on going to them so we will just budget for a trip here and there but let the memberships go.
The other budget items were reasonable. The total showed we had exceeded our budget goals by $19573.84 over the year. I had brought in extra income so all of it was cash flowed. However seeing that number in print was a shock. I learned from this that even if I think I am doing pretty good there is room for improvement.