Most Expensive Month (EVAR)

I am little bit leery of writing this post now, as its the 11th – The month is not even half over, and already it’s shaping up to be the most expensive month I’ll have all year.  This isn’t just because of christmas, but christmas does play a part of it.  There have been quite a few other things that I’ve had to pay for that were totally unexpected.  The amount ballooned again yesterday, when I had some other problems.  I’ll give a list and an explanation for the extra spending that I’ve done (so far) this month.

The first thing that cost money (and probably more than it should have, but I didn’t get off my ass and make the required decisions soon enough) was a plane ticket.  I’ll be leaving for christmas for a few (4) days, and I’ll be traveling back on my own so that I can return to work and keep my vacation time for sometime next year, when I’d like to use it.  (This was a hard pill to swallow, as usually I pride myself on getting great deals from the airlines) Cost: 315

The next thing that was sort-of planned, but still costly was my hunting trip. I headed up north and west to Jackson, WY to go hunt up that way, and needed a place to stay.  I was able to get a good deal on a fine hotel room (60/night) in what is apparently the down season of the resort.  Unfortunately my hunt was unsuccessful (used a new gun and type of ammo) so there wont be nice elk meat around all year :( .  It was good to hang out with my friends and get out of town for a little while, no matter how short.
Cost: 150

Another thing happened yesterday as I was driving to work, my truck became unresponsive.  I had to steer it to a side street and push it into a parking lot, where a tow truck picked it up.  I’ve had  a few problems with this before, and I’ve also written about how important it is to have a warranty.  As luck would have it, I was exactly 102 miles over the limit for the bumper to bumper warranty on the car.  After that awesome development, I was on the hook for whatever repairs that it required, which turned out to be electrical.  I know enough about cars to consider myself more than the regular person, but after talking with the repair guy, it didnt really sound like something that I could fix.  Something had rubbed through a casing on the wire, then touched it and shorted it out and blew a fuse.  All in all though, I didnt have it too bad.  I was able to leave the truck and go to work, and got my truck after I was finished working.  It could have been much worse.
Cost: 250

The last one, of course, is the usual suspect this time of year: Christmas.  I’ll probably get hung by other PF bloggers for not having a christmas fund, but whatever.  Typically I just cash flow out christmas and cut my spending in other areas (not difficult because of thanksgiving leftover to eat and many meals around christmas, so I don’t end up making as many trips to the store.  I keep my list of people to buy for rather low, so it’s never a that big of a deal, but it is just more money that wouldn’t normally be spent in a regular month.  I’m not completely done shopping, but I’ve gotten the majority of it done.
Cost: 200

One that I’ve forgotten up until now is clothing.  Typically, I dont budget money for clothing, because it will just end up getting used elsewhere – I just keep it out of the budget and save the money (or use it in my snowball).  It works well most of the time, but every once in a while, I do need some new clothing (in this case, jeans).  I did my preferred shopping method (go to the closet, find my favorite pair, then order 3 of the exact same thing from amazon).  The whole process took about 5 minutes, but I did spend a bit of money on them.  I’m occasionally one for the thrift stores, but I wear jeans every day of my life, and I like to have comfortable ones.  Rack up another unusual expense!
Cost: 100

When I wrote this, I had a feeling that I was writing it too soon, and more unexpected costs were going to pop up.  Unfortunately, I was right, as I just discovered another one (that I’ll have to go and pay this afternoon) – my vehicle registration.  Since I bought a new vehicle last year this was my first year paying registration on my depreciating asset, so I didn’t really save up monthly because I wasnt sure what the cost was going to be.  About a month ago (or maybe more) I got the bill.  It’s not that bad, but I’d rather not pay it just the same.
Cost: 315

There’s one more thing that I may have to pay for this month that was unplanned, but that is currently TBD.  It’s going to be an expensive month, and my debt snowball is unfortunately going to take a hit.  Boo.

It seems like all of my unexpected expenses decided to show up this month – Have you ever had that problem?  If so, what month and why do you think it was that way?  How are you planning to spread them out over the year for next year (I’m working on it as well)


Mini Yakezie

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About Jeff

Jeff is the founder of sustainable life blog and has been interested in sustainability for most of his life. After realizing in 2007 that his finances were a total wreck, he started reading financial blogs and quickly realized that what is best for your wallet is typically better for the earth, and is usually healthier. On sustainable life blog Jeff shares his journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. For updates, subscribe by email or like us on facebook.

Comments

  1. Robert Muir says:

    My comments:

    $315 – Vacation? Really?
    $150 – Another vacation?
    $250 – your excuses for buying a brand new truck were bogus and this proves it. If you had purchased a quality used vehicle, the saves would more than cover issues like this.
    $200 for Christmas gifts? Really? How about making thoughtful gifts that count or opting out of gift exchanges. Limit gifts to children.
    $100 for clothes is fairly reasonable IF YOU WERE OUT OF DEBT!
    $315 for vehicle registration. Aside from the fact that it wouldn’t be nearly this high for a used vehicle, you were too lazy to call and find out what it was going to be eh?

    As Larry Winget might say, the “hit” to the debt snowball is YOUR FAULT! Deal with it!

  2. Robert
    Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. My first “vacation” is to see family – unfortunately not so much of a vacation. My second one was to go hunt – to cheaply procure meat for the winter. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful.
    As for the truck repair, It happens, and I’m ok with that – at the repair shop they seemed to think it was a critter chewing through the wire, which shorted.
    100 for clothes was for some pants – all of the ones I wear to work (and own period) have holes in them.
    and yes, the vehicle registration was expensive – just imagine what It’d be like if I lived in an expensive state.

    I wasn’t trying to complain, just simply stating the facts as they are. On the up side, I’ll have more holidays this month, which will allow me to work extra to cover what I’ve spent – Oh the beauty of 2 jobs!

  3. I don’t think it is unusual at all to have a bunch of unexpected expenses all at once. They usually happen in threes and I see here that you have two sets of threes, so expect one more set. :)

    I think you would not have bought the plane ticket if you hadn’t had a really good reason for it. Staying in touch with family and/or friends over the holidays can be a very good reason. Those people are your support group for the rest of your life. You can justify the expense because of that.

    I agree that perhaps a vehicle other than a truck may have been a better option, but I realize you do a lot of outdoorsie stuff so you felt it was necessary.

    In all, I believe you would not have purchased these things had you not been comfortable with it. You will get out of debt but it will just take an extra month or two. You have great career prospects and you know it so it will not be hard to make up the extra you spent this month. This happens to everyone from time to time and that’s why it is important to make it up in the ensuing months with some extra frugality or extra income or both.

  4. You only live once man. At least you had a good time doing it!

  5. Awe man, that is one expensive month! :(
    The first step is acknowledging/realizing it :) Much of the time, we can’t plan for unexpected things like this.

    You have the rest of 2011 to make up for this month, so don’t worry about it. :)

    Agree with Sam- you only live once! I would travel all I can because I might not be alive (or I might have disabling cancer or something horrid) when I’m retiring at 65. Hopefully I’ll retire earlier than 65, though. :)

  6. Jeff, don’t ever buy clothes again. Apparently those of us in debt are supposed to wear ripped or damaged clothes to work because THAT’S WHAT WE DESERVE! (Good grief!) /sarcasm

    Sorry you had such a crap month of unexpected expenses. It seems like mine always crop up around the end of December/beginning of January. As soon as my car registration needs to be renewed, that’s when the problems start. I can’t believe how expensive your registration is though! Mine is just $60, and that’s the flat rate for every vehicle on the road.

    Good luck getting back on track next month! :)

  7. @ Gretchen – I agree. A truck may not have been the most practical for my situation (I even considered trading it back in after my time in the rental), it’s what I got and now I’ve got it – there’s not much I can do now.
    And as for the plane ticket – It all comes down to value – Do I value getting out of debt – yes, obviously, but I value my family time more than that.

    @ Sam – you’re right!

    @youngandthrifty – thanks for stopping by! I think realizing it that early in the month is kind of a good thing, it makes it so that I can cut other areas in my budget to stop the bleeding.

    @ Red – Yea, this seems to happen to everyone (an expensive month) the nice thing about it this year is that I’m actually ready for it and it’s not causing me to dig the hole deeper, just causing me to not fill the hole as fast. As for the clothes, I probably wont buy any again until the end of next year – I’m not a big shopper unless I really need something.
    As for the flat rate car fee, that would be really, really nice, but here I think it’s based on a percentage of the “estimated value” of the car.

  8. What a bummer of a month! I am very impressed that your hunting vacation only cost $150, though, and I’m sure it was well worth it to spend time with friends!

    • It was a great time, and I’m glad I live in a place with such great hunting areas – some sections of the state the game is a nuisance to the landowner and eat too much in the area to remain sustainable.

  9. My November was nasty.

    http://www.fabulouslybroke.com/2010/12/november-2010-budget-roundup/

    December won’t be as bad as November, but it’s hard to keep costs down with a hotel and parking and so on (before anyone screams at me for staying in a hotel, I was not planning on staying in this city for more than a month and a half, so getting an apartment = nuts),

    S’all I can say.

    Don’t beat yourself up over it. Even if you regret those clothes and that hunting trip, it’s your money in the end so you have to live with the consequences of not putting that money or more money into your debt instead :)

    If you’re okay with it, then by all means!

    • FB,
      Thanks for stopping by. Your november looks pretty hairy, but sometimes that’s just what happens. You’re right, it’s not worth it to lose sleep over. I do have to live with the consequences, and it does come down to what I value, but I think that I’ve been letting up on the debt paying gas a little too much lately, and I need to get back on the horse.
      I’m ok with it, but I think it’s time to make a change.

  10. Wow!! it looks like you spent about $1 330 in total so far…geez! You seem very positive though, I admire that. Funny, I just found a lot of information about Christmas costs. I was getting a little weary this year, so I started looking into it and found a really interesting article that took the information PNC Financial Group Services, Inc. gathers every year regarding Christmas costs and made it simple to understand. The results are staggering. I love holidays and i love Christmas, family time, and gift giving…but this article was definitely insightful. Ill leave for you guys to check out.
    http://www.gobankingrates.com/how-much-12-days-of-true-love-will-cost-you-this-christmas

    • Natalie – yes, I have spend a lot this month. Thanks for sharing that link, I’ll have to give it a look. I do know from stories though that once you get older and your family grows, Christmas gets rather expensive.

  11. I had a similar problem with my ’97 Honda Civic last month. Vibration on a wire harness resulted in chafing that led to an electrical short. At least it didn’t kill my engine — just the speedometer and alternator. It cost me $150 to diagnose and fix.

    Personally, I would write your car manufacturer and see if they’ll cover you under the warranty anyway — tell ‘em you’re displeased that a problem like that would occur in a relatively new vehicle, especially so close to the warranty. It’s worth a shot anyway.

    (By the way, I’ve been camping up in the Wind River Range area of Wyoming and it is God’s country up there, to be sure.
    Absolutely gorgeous!

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

    • Len,
      Thanks for coming by – It sounds like you had the same exact thing happen, minus it killing the engine! Unfortunately I didnt have the time (or probably the know how) to fix that one myself.
      I’ll have to drop a line to ford, and see what they say – I was rather dissapointed that they didnt cover it, and I figure that the least that I could do at this point is ask right?
      As for the wind rivers – it is quite the place (someone recently opened up a brewery there – great stuff if you can find it)

  12. I cashflow Christmas too, but we have few to buy for so it’s only a few hundred dollars.

    My November was very frugal but this month? NOT SO MUCH. We bought a GPS system, four concert tickets (2 for me, 2 for him), Christmas stuff, and we’ll be celebrating our anniversary (already paid $100 for a spa treatment, and we’ll be going out to dinner).

    I don’t know about the US, but here, car registration is exactly the same whether you drive a 1980 or a 2010 vehicle. Don’t beat yourself up, I think you did fine. Life happens. And while it may delay your snowball, the main thing is not going into more debt when emergencies hit.

    • I don’t have many gifts to buy (I think this year it is 6 people) and I usually cash flow them to – I also may have overestimated on the $200. It sounds like your month seems to be going quite a bit like mine. I’m turning off the faucet, so to speak, and Im thinking that I’ll be able to skate out of here relatively unscathed (aside from all that).
      And here, they charge a different price based on the age of the car. And great point about not going into further debt – I think that’s important enough.

  13. My biggest spending month is either August or September since I’m a college student and have to pay for tuition, books, clothes (for the year), and school/dorm supplies.

    We all do the best we can. I work very hard to spend as little as possible during the rest of the school year to make up for it, as well as working as many hours as I can get at my job.

    I commend you for your conscienciousness (I hope that’s a word!) and for having clear priorities-that’s half the battle!

    Thanks for such a wonderful blog. I check in from time to time to read your insights. :>)

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