June was an on-target month for our budget, except for one giant thing. A window.
It had been on deferred maintenance for too many years. We did it ourselves, with the help of an awesome friend. But it was much more pricey than I budgeted. I had gotten two previous quotes over the years, and thought I’d be fine estimating it, but I was way off. The window itself was $584. It was a perfect fit, because it was the exact measurements and the same manufacturer as the original. (A total shock!)
We were over budget on home repair, then, but it was okay, because we had the cash flow for it. Other categories were a little over or a little under, and my income was more than budgeted. I just didn’t send as much to savings in June.
Which brings us to July. We went on a vacation, just the two of us. Most of it was paid for as a gift from DH’s company (a service recognition we didn’t expect), and we never would have taken the trip if not for the gift. It was a lovely trip to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon North Rim, and we were so blessed to experience them! We expected there would be some expenses we would have to eat, including new hiking shoes and taxes on the rental car. As I hoped, we came in under budget for the vacation!
However, when we returned, we had a really nice dinner out because a) we were under budget, and b) we didn’t really get the nice dinner out that we expected at the lodge. And then we had another dinner out. And then we were over budget.
I also budgeted less for groceries because we were gone for a week, and #2 was gone most of the month. I didn’t count on some fabulous, irresistible grocery deals late in the month. After all, I had to refill my freezers, right? When the end of the month hit, and I got around to reconciling receipts, I realized the error of our ways. We had made some expensive choices. Not devastating, but not smart, either.
An unexpected issue came up with shower grout, too. Since I knew from experience how difficult the job was, and that I couldn’t do it myself now, we hired a pro. The price was good, and we had it done right away. Also, an unexpected but necessary trip out of state to care for parents meant an airline ticket, and that upset the budget, as well. Fortunately, we had extra income in July, and that offset the spending.
I didn’t send anything to savings. In fact, I’d used savings to pay the second installment of our property taxes (which was planned). But we still have a nice emergency fund.
So we sat down and had another go at the second half of the year’s budget. We looked at our real spending (which was actually pretty good most of the time) and reconsidered some categories we had only estimated before. Some items are delayed because of the upcoming trip, and we restructured several categories.
We’re back on track now! We realize that we need to sit down more often than every six months, and be sure all the expenses are being input. And that’s what this process really is….adapting to the circumstances.
One area we have not adjusted is our giving. We’re still at 10%, over various projects, and I can tell you that it makes all the difference. After all, it’s not “our” money, it’s a gift to be used for His glory. We are blessed to have what He has given us, and to be on the right path to be better stewards of these gifts.