April’s budget heading south of the border

Life just happens, doesn’t it?

This week has been quite busy with work commitments, but on the sidelines, I’ve watched the family’s budget head south of the border.  Yep, into the negative territory. I know, I know you hard me belly ache about this last month.  Truth is, this month it’s gone far enough south that I can’t recover from it, at least not in a way that I can see clearly right now.

The difference between this month and last month is my attitude.  I don’t feel like a failure this month.

When you track every nickel and then spend time thinking about making the right choices, the picture does become much clearer.  I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about this month. There is no lack of discipline involved in the results I’m forecasting for end of April.

The first huge hit is medical expenses. I had budgeted $400, and I have spent just shy of $1500. Did I go to the drug store and stock up on extra-strength tylenol?  No.  My youngest went to see her specialist and he prescribed a new medication for her to try.  That alone is $700 per month. My eldest needed the last needle in an immunization program to protect her from HPV. That was almost $200.  These expenses aren’t optional, they mean my kids can live normal lives. Would I rather have that than a new pair of shoes?  Hell yes.

I also was hit with a fee from my retirement savings company, which I didn’t see coming.  My advisor and I have had a stern conversation about full disclosure of all fees and their timing.  I now know what to expect for 2011. He now knows that I’m serious about my personal finance, which he should appreciate as a finance guru.

Truthfully, I figure April will end with about  $200 in the red. Frankly, I think that’s pretty damn good considering that I have spent over 300% more than I banked on in medical expenses. I haven’t spent one dollar that was unnecessary. Just because the bottom line doesn’t shake down the way I’d like it doesn’t mean there was a lack of good management on my part.

This overage will not mean that I add to my line-of-credit balance or put me in overdraft.  In February I made a mini-goal to have a minimum balance in my bank account for the start of each month, to keep me in safe territory.  Since I have accomplished and maintained that, I can skate through this little blip on the radar easily. By June I’ll have recovered from it.

On the revenue side of the budget, I’ve had a few opportunities to take other people’s weekend shifts for the part-time gig, and this means a few extra bucks in the months ahead. I won’t win the battle of April, but I am rock solid confident that I will win the war against debt retirement and saving for the future.

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