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My Crappy Budgeting In January


This year I have set the goal for myself to pay off my house loan. Obviously, this started with a little bit of planning and budgeting for the year to come. In January, I planned to spend only $1,995, but somehow my actual spending was $3,707. YIKES! That’s terrible! This just goes to show you that I don’t always accomplish my goals. There are plenty of times that I have fallen flat on my face – an this was one of those times.

My Spending in January 2014

budget january 2014

Let’s start with the bank-breakers:

Auto Service and Parts

I didn’t plan on anything going wrong with my car this month (of course, no one ever does), but there were actually two things. I needed to get my hood latch fixed, my timing belt replaced, and get a new water pump. This totaled over 500 bucks. Not too great when you’re planning on zero.


I has been extremely cold here so my gas bill was $160. Then, my water bill was sky-high because my toilet has been leaking. This probably cost me an extra $80 this month. I really need to get that thing fixed.


So you might think that I’m really generous, but this was actually not the case this month. Yes, some money went to church and charity, but the majority of this expense was due to an erroneous direct deposit to my account from the American Cancer Society. It’s a long story, but in short, I decided to call them up and let them know, and then paid their money back this month.


$337? Really? This was a shocker for me. It turns out that I am going out to eat more than I previously thought. I really need to crack down on my grocery spending (meaning, food spending in general) in February. It’s a short month, so I figure that I can spend less than $150. We’ll see how I do.


I forgot about a doctor bill that was still on it’s way from November. Sure enough, it showed up in January and required immediate payment. Blah… at least it’s over with.

Ok, now for the good stuff. What did I do well this month?

Car Fuel

Booya! I only spent $55 on gas this past month! I was able to cash in some reward points mid-month, so I’ve been using my $100 gas card instead of my credit card. Plus, I am car pooling with a group of friends for my Grand Rapids classes, so that is saving me a ton of gas money too!

Everything else was pretty much in order this past month – I plan to do way better in the month of February! I can’t wait to tell you how awesome it was.

Weekly Round-Up

20 Money Saving Tips for Low Income Earners – by KNS Financial

Being Out of Touch With Reality Doesn’t Make Sense – by Financial Samurai

How to Become a Millionaire by 25 – by The College Investor

How to Furnish a Home For Next to Nothing – by Prairie Eco Thrifter

7 Things to Keep In Mind When Lending Friends Money – by Narrow Bridge Finance

Making Savings a Priority – by 20s Finances

Extra Income Series: I’m a Group Cruise Planner – by Making Sense of Cents

Why Americans Are Buried in Debt – by See Debt Run

5 Ways to Make Money Online – by Sweating the Big Stuff



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I know what you mean about the unexpected car repairs — they always hit when we least expect them! It’s good that you got your water pump changed at the same time as your timing belt.

    • My water pump needed repair, and the timing belt was only an extra $20. It was really a no-brainer. It will be a great selling point once I put my car on the market in a few months.

  2. Hey Derek, I know all about those unexpected car repairs. We ended up putting almost $2,300 into our car over a 2-year period before finally selling it to a junkyard!

    Thanks so much for linking to my money saving tips post! 🙂

    • Yikes. I don’t think I’m quite up to $2,300, and hopefully I won’t get there! I think I might just sell the car soon. Most likely I’ll find a deal on a car, buy it, sell my Honda, and then drive my deal-car for a while.

  3. I’ve been burnt by the car maintenance bug many times in the past myself. I finally got tired of it and started to save a small amount from each paycheck for car repairs. With my new car, all maintenance and parts are covered for the first 3 years so I get to do nothing but grow that account for a while, hopefully covering me when things do go wrong.

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