The FrugalMaster exercises took a break in July as the DFG family went to Niagara Falls for a family vacation. There was also a payment due on our vacation in August for the condo rental. Both were realized expenses this month so let's take a look and see if I was able to save for July
Income was slightly above normal
2 ordinary paychecks, some dividends in my taxable account and finally some hustle money. We had an old washer and dryer sitting in the garage for over 6 months. It was on Craig's list and we finally got a buyer. The sweet smell of cold hard cash finally was mine. They didn't even haggle and gave me what I was asking.
I am also now getting cash rewards plus a bonus using my Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit card. We pay it off in full every month so as to not incur any interest. Instead the bank pays us and we get 30 days to pay it off. Not a bad deal. Vacations and other charges got us a $140 cash deposit.
Needs were within budget
eSurance credited us $54 since we combined our Auto and Home Insurance. The rates were already low and this combining of policies dropped it lower. Best move regarding savings I have made this year.
That helped offset some new outdoor lights we bought for the front of the house. Some of them were not working and the rest were pretty rusted. I put up the new lights with LED bulbs and painted up the trim. The house looks great (and maybe I will convince the Mrs. to sell soon and move to something more affordable).
Food was under budget by a mere $26 dollars. That was even after the 4 day vacation. My average so far this year is $758. It is very hard to control my families junk food & juice habits. Cutting that out would save me $20 a week. Junk food is easy to explain why you don't need it. Juice on the other hand appears to most people to be healthy. However it is pure sugar, destroys your tooth enamel and the vitamins from it you can get in a pill or by eating real fruit and vegetables. I used to have the same habit but realized it was just more empty calories and dropped it. Now my morning no longer includes it and I think I am better for it.
Unfortunately to keep costs under control I have decided to pause the organic and nitrate/antibiotic free food buying. Back to old fashioned milk and meats. With seven mouths to feed my goal is to keep it at $100 per person a month for the year. Time to tighten the belt to get that average down.
Overall my needs as a percentage of my income still remains low at 61%. Even with a job loss there is still plenty of fat that could be trimmed from that to get it even lower. The trend is downward for the past three years so I am happy.
Guilt Free Spending Money (Wants) was slightly over budget
But only by $13! This was actually a good month for my family. It may sound allot to Frugal Masters out there but for me I will take it. Thirty percent of it went to candy and another 24% to dining out. This was mostly from a trip we took to Amish Country.
Looking back the area we stayed at is just a big strip of American consumerism at its best. Things weren't made by the Amish. Everything we looked at was made in China. The only USA stuff was in the antique shops. Regardless of my views the family had a good time and that is what matters the most.
Outside of the budget but still an GFSM expense was vacation. To save on costs my family of 7 packed into one King suite with a pull out bed. We were going to stay in two rooms but decided to save $400 and squeeze into one. That was our number one expense followed closely by 4 days of dining out.
The baby we brought her baby food but the rest of us, we sure can eat. In retrospect the two young ones never finished their meals (they were just to big). So on our next vacation I will definitely split a lunch between them and maybe even dinner. The same applies to me as well. I am trying to lose weight and super-sized lunches and dinners while on vacation don't help. My plan is to split my dinner in half and eat the leftover for lunch the next day.
Even with vacation my savings rate still remained positive at 6%
My income was enough to cover the vacation expenses on top of my normal expenses. However I still have the cash in savings for vacations as part of my monthly savings goals (which I met this month as well.) If I end up being able to cover my vacation in August with income, the savings will just roll into my investment accounts.
I hope your July was in the $green$ as well.
Dividend Family Guy