January, Or, The Financial Train Wreck

by Kelly · 9 comments

in Uncategorized

Where no goals are met, and no well-laid plans come to rest.

Don’t you get tired of reading success stories? Of comparing yourself to those who have climbed out of the financial hellhole and are on their way to solvency? Of seeing others manage to sock away their hard-earned cash?* Don’t you wish you had someone to feel superior to?

Well, I humbly offer myself to your derisitory gaze. Look down upon me, for I have met none of my goals this month! Oh no, I have failed, both miserably and spectacularly! At least I can get a blog post about it…

First, the good news! I set up a price book this month. Well, actually it’s a price excel spreadsheet. This helps me to know when I’m saving money on groceries. And speaking of groceries, we spent less money on food than we have in a long time: €380.25, compared with €441.10 for January 2007. I think this is due to only going grocery shopping twice. Not included in the total is the €19 and change I accumulated on my fidelity card- I’m saving this for a rainy day. We also came in under budget for gas. I had budgeted €150, and we spent €144.79. This is for two cars, and remember, gas in France is dancing around the €1.30/liter mark. And, I received a letter from the water company, informing us that we will be paying €18 a month, instead of €22, and we get a refund of €25.62. Last, but not least, I added €150 to my savings account, proving that even when we’re most strapped, we can put away money for a vacation.

Now, the bad news: I had projected to spend €3586.26 and I spent €4522.08 instead. Gulp. I had projected to earn €3286.17, and earned €4421.57. We took in €111.91 less than we spent. So not only did we not stick to our budget in all categories, we certainly didn’t finish the month with a positive bank balance. My pessimism was justified indeed.

Where did we go off the rails? Well there were two big expenses. First, we paid €401.96 in medical expenses. The whole family has been sick, and there were many, many doctors visits. We will be reimbursed for at least 75%, but that will come in February. We had to pay €216.29 for the kids’ new passports, an expense I had forgotten about, and thus not budgeted for. We also received our phone bill, €89.76, which I wasn’t expecting to get until next month.

The bad news isn’t all bad, or maybe I’m just trying to look on the bright side. Had we not had the unexpected medical expenses, and had I not forgotten the passport fees, we would have come into the month of February at almost zero in our bank account. That would have been a big improvement over the -€600+ where we are now.

So what can I learn from this? First, and most importantly, I need to remember to carry over unpaid expenses from one month to the next, including checks that haven’t cleared our account yet. I also need to include money for posting things, as I spent an unbudgeted €10.60 last month, and to give both my husband and myself a cash allowance, albeit a small one.

I feel confident that I’ll be able to meet my budget in February, and not overspend in any categories. I’ve slowly been getting closer and closer each month! I hope that we’ll be able to finish the month in the black, but I’m not counting any chickens until their eggs have hatched. I’m working hard on creating extra income, and with that and the medical reimbursements, I have a feeling we’ll come pretty close- if we stay the course.

*I only mention these bloggers because I admire them deeply, and take great encouragement from their stories.


1 paidtwice February 3, 2008

lol. In a month I paid out $3600 in an unexpected car repair expense and actually added to my debt total instead of subtracted from it, I'm amused I am considered a success story :). But cool anyway. hee hee.Good luck getting back on track, you can do it!

2 K February 3, 2008

Hi Paid Twice,Well, you managed to pay a lot of it in cash right away. I would have had to put it all on our credit account! That's one of the reasons I consider you a financial role model…Thanks a lot!

3 Michelle Dawn February 4, 2008

Keep your chin up! I think you did really well actually. I hope everyone is feeling better 🙂

4 Sophie February 4, 2008

Oh yeah… Hoping too to finish February in the black…Good luck, we'll all make it!

5 paidtwice February 6, 2008

Only 6 months ago I would have had to charge the whole thing too. A lot can change in a short time with a little luck and a lot of scrimping.

Good luck!!

6 K February 6, 2008

Thanks! I go between feeling very discouraged and very optimistic about the future. But it always seems to be like that at the beginning of the month.

7 frugalbabe.com February 8, 2008

Hang in there! We spent $3000 (our health insurance deductible) this month on my husband’s knee surgery. We did have the money saved in our HSA, but it still makes the total net worth take a dive.
I am curious about your medical expenses. I’m not familiar with the French medical system – in fact, Michael Moore’s movie Sicko is all I know about it… sad but true. In that movie, he has a bunch of Americans living in France who talk about how they have no out of pocket expenses for health care beyond paying taxes. But it sounds like that is not the case?
Good luck having a great February!!

8 K February 8, 2008

Hi Frugal Babe,
The Medical Expenses were from a lot of visits to the MD and physical therapists. Even though it costs, at most, €27, if you go 10 times, that’s €270! I also returned a breast pump that I had rented, and that cost €160. I’ll be reimbursed almost the entire cost for everything, but it’s going to take a little bit- I think it’ll come in at the end of the month. Here’s another post which touches on the subject http://smallcents.blogspot.com/2008/01/money-in-france.html.
I haven’t seen Sicko yet- but it’s on my to see list!

9 Shevy August 4, 2008

Sigh. I know the feeling. I just posted my review of July's goals the other day and, out of 5 goals I only sort of managed one! And yet I was busy all month and had success in other ways.

Shevy's last blog post..Another Miscellaneous Sunday

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