April’s Report Card: B

I was torn over how to self-assess myself for April. It was either a B or a F, for fail.

Why the indecision?  First, I spent $229.52 more than I earned in April. First rule of budgeting is you can’t spend more than you earn. It’s really a very straight forward guideline. You spend more than you earn and you’re digging your debt hole deeper.

While I knew I’d be in this boat a couple of weeks ago, I have to reward myself with a reasonable mark for some smart long and short term planning that saved my fiscal butt this month.

There were a number attacks against Fort Fiscal Restraint this month.  Including:

  • a 35% increase in my house insurance
  • a $52 RSP management fee that was not disclosed in advance
  • a 300% increase in medical costs due to a new drug for daughter number 2

The medical expenses were the sole expense line that showed me early on that I’d have difficulty keeping my head out of the red this month. Thank you budget spreadsheet.

On the positive side, and I think these are huge (hence the B), here’s what went well:

  • managed to put enough money aside every month, without touching it, for income tax purposes throughout 2009 for 2010.  This includes paying the nice man who did my income taxes,
  • adjusted a few budget lines to make sure my deficit wasn’t any greater than $229.52,
  • still managed to take daughter number 1 out for a nice birthday dinner,
  • still put a bit of money in long-term savings, and towards the kids education fund,
  • paid more than the minimum required for my line of credit (although not as much as I had planned)

Even though I overspent this month, the really cool thing is that doesn’t mean I’m actually in the red. Because I set a short-term goal back in February and March to have a month ending minimum balance that gave me a bit of a cushion, I will finish the month with only $110 under that cushion. Still in the black. Yeah baby!!

Long way of saying, I gave myself a B because I managed to overcome some really big hits this month, and still came out without stress or anxiety, and a continued positive outlook for how the rest of 2010 will play out.

Sure, I’m still fantasizing about an electric bike. I’m not as ready to whip out the credit card. I am still going to do a bit more research. May promises to be a really lean month too. I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, I will have this debt gone in 2010, not in January or February of 2011.

As they say in the lottery commercials, just imagine the freedom….

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