September 2016 FrugalMaster Results Monday, August 08, 2016

September was a tough month on the FrugalMaster 9000.  Little time to exercise the frugal muscles in me with the kids back to school (and all the expenses that come with it).  Luckily I had some income luck to cover those expenses.

Income was above normal

This was the second of the "three paycheck months" for the year.  My current job pays me bi-weekly so two of the months each year has an extra paycheck in it.  On top of that I got a $150 bonus for transferring my IRA.  This interest of sorts will get added to my taxable income for the year but since I usually get a refund the tax on it will be little to none.

Needs were over budget

In short I was over by a good $1400 this month.  There were several things that caused this.  Some were planned and some not so planned.

I was dropping my son off at school one day.  As I left the school and turned onto the road I started hearing this clicking noise coming from a tire.  I pulled into a driveway, got out and took a look at my front wheel.  I huge piece of metal (thick gauge wire) was embedded in the tire.  Since I wasn't loosing pressure yet I decided to not put on the spare tire. 

Then I attempted to drive the mile to the tire place we usually go to.  I was doing great until about a block away and the metal wire fell out.  Pressure dropped quickly but I was able to make it to the parking lot of the tire place without damaging the rim. 

Unfortunately that one block of driving damaged the side wall enough that the tire was toast.  The tires had only 2/32 left of tread on them but I was hoping to get another month out of them before replacing.  That cost just came earlier than planned sending me over budget for the year on my car maintenance budget.

Stuff like this happens all the time.  That is why budgeting for maintenance and repairs of your house and automobile is very important.  I felt really bad for another woman that was there who had to take out a line of credit with the tire place to replace her tires.  But looking at here super-sized SUV with chrome trim and raised suspension told me how she got to the place she is in now.

Now the planned reason for being over budget is a good thing.  My school district likes to make you pay lots of school fees on top of my taxes.  Also next spring my daughter's class is taking a trip to Washington D.C.  The school offers a way to offset those fees by using a gift card program.  Basically you buy these gift cards (with cash) and you get a certain percentage of that purchase credited back to you.

I did the math and the gift cards I buy to pay for things I buy anyway averages to 4%.  That beats my BoA Credit Card's 1%.  The only downside to the program is I have to plan in advance what stores I will be shopping at and then ordering before the cutoff day each week.  Since you pay in cash/debit I have to space out the purchases to maximized the time my money sits in my interest earning checking account.

So I was over budget because of this pre-purchase (but we should see that reflected in next month's budget).  I have already accumulated $90 in one month towards paying off the fees and the trip.  Largely because of some gift card purchases to finally buy my 5 year old a dresser to put her clothes in.

Guilt Free Spending Money (Wants) was over budget

Well last month was good and this month was bad.  $100 bucks on dining out.  It adds up fast.  3 work lunches, 2 pizza orders (1 is a gift card for next month) and a trip to gets some burgers and shakes with the family.

2 other another annual expenses were are zoo membership and historical society memberships.  We use those allot and it gives the family some good learning experiences.

Other GFSM expenses include school pictures for the 3 kids in school and my wife's chocolate habit.  That and some charity giving are all part of the normal budget I have for this category.  
Even though we were over budget the savings rate still remained positive at 26%

That extra paycheck kept me positive for the month even though I was over budget in needs and wants.  Having it helped me get those gift cards to lower school expenses going forward.  With a decent buffer in place it feels good to have options to do what will benefit my family over time.  October brings lots of good changes to DFG and I can't wait to share the news with you all.  Until then happy investing.

Kind regards,
Dividend Family Guy


  1. Nicely done DFG. You can get to FIRE pretty fast at 26% savings rate.

    1. Thanks Raptor. I didn't included my 401k which I think I will start doing. It is savings after all.

  2. Hi DFG,
    Congrats on maintaining your Savings Rate and I'm looking forward to seeing the October changes!

    I like to keep 401k contributions out of my own metrics; I agree it's still savings but I'm personally more interested in monitoring the bottom line without skewing the savings numbers higher. If it helps you though then go for it :)

    Best wishes,

    1. lol DL, at this point I need all the support I can get :-)

  3. That's awesome that you are able to save 26% even in a down month. Living in the DC area I often times overlook the number of school children that take field trips to our area. It seems so normal for us since we see everything everyday. Hope your daughter enjoys the trip!!!

    1. Thanks MSM. We love history and all the museums (and the zoo). It is a great area to visit.


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