Sunday, April 24, 2011

The X List

Man, that was a rough couple of weeks.  Stressful workloads, rejection letters, dismal weather, car repairs, and a serious case of spring fever.  Please accept our warm apologies for the "blog silence."

So I was going to pull concrete numbers for our February, March, and April budgets.   Easier said than done.  How can such a simple budget money in vs. money out be so complicated?!  

I blame it on Mike's new income from the GI Bill.  This often happens when our budget changes drastically our financial bearing goes a little loopy for a few months before things get righted.  These didn't help either:
  • The dentist ended up costing $450.
  • In March, we overpaid on tax filing.  Goodbye $400.
  • In April, we paid off what we owed the government.  Sayonara $600.
  • An unwelcomed 5th credit card joined the family.  Thanks emergency brake repairs that cost $900.  
  • We bought our bikes on credit.  At the rate we could save for them, we wouldn't get them until Christmas.
  • Gas jumped up to $3.69 and will only continue to get higher.

What this adds up to is nowhere.  Any extra money we got from the GI Bill has been sucked up in the vortex known as "when we get some more money, we will take care of X."  

We all have our X List.  X is something that really shouldn't be on the back burner, but you don't feel like you have a choice otherwise.  Car or home repairs, lurking bills, routine medical necessities all overdue in some way.  The problem with X is that you're only delaying the inevitable.  But sometimes you just don't have a choice and things wait.

We have several X's left on our list:
  • General health checkup for the lady of the house
    • Plus annual exam 
  • Good head start on a savings account, $500+ 
  • Ball joint work on the truck
  • Vet checkups for the beasties
  • Patio furniture
  • A container garden
  • A gas grill 
  • A new vacuum 
  • A new printer
This isn't a hideous list, but we must plan for it carefully.  While the GI Bill adds $1776 to our monthly income, $750 automatically goes toward rent.  Then add $150 to our grocery/supply bill to give it some breathing room.   

That really only leaves an extra $700 a month.  Helpful, but definitely not a miracle fix for our budget needs.

I'm glad I have the day off tomorrow.  I'm actually looking forward to approaching our budget under new circumstances.  Hopefully we'll find some more efficient ways of tackling our goals.

Question of the Day: What's on your X List?

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