Looking back on our finances from previous years has really made me wonder if there is such a thing as a normal budget month anymore.
For instance, in just one year Tori started the year on disability due to her first foot surgery, went back to work, then went back on disability again for her second foot surgery. Our income that year was anything but normal.
Once you added in our side income, which varied greatly from month to month, it was pretty difficult to predict our income for any given month that year.
Of course, income is just one line item of your budget, or maybe a couple lines depending on how you break it out.
Where things were all over the place for us that year was the expense side of our budget. Why? Everything under the sun popped up as irregular spending month after month. What am I talking about? Let’s dig in!
Purchasing Our New House
The first three months of this particular year were a blur as we looked for a new house and dealt with all of the costs associated with buying a property.
Looking for a house didn’t cost hardly anything. That said, we were saving like crazy to be able to have enough cash. We needed money for the down payment and closing costs to secure a conventional loan without touching our emergency fund.
Once we found a house, the transaction costs added up quickly.
Between surveys, home inspections, various closing costs and the down payment itself, we bled cash like crazy in the beginning of the year. We had planned for it all, but those definitely were not normal budget months.
Foot Surgery #2
Foot surgery #2 was an unplanned surgery and a complete surprise to us after Tori’s first surgery failed.
This hit us in the income category (since we only got 80% of her employer stated hours which were just 83% of a full time employee) and in the expense category, as we hadn’t planned for another surgery with her flexible spending account (FSA).
This was a bummer because we didn’t have the money in a tax free account. On top of that, we had to pay for all of the co-pays, deductibles and other medical and insurance costs out of a smaller income.
Rental Property Costs
After we moved into our new house we had to fix up our old house in order to rent it out. There was a lot of time and a good chunk of money that went into this endeavor, but it paid dividends (actually, rent) quickly.
To make things even more complex, we decided to get married in the year in question. Thankfully we were able to keep our total wedding costs, including the rings, to just under $5,000. However, that didn’t include the honeymoon.
The honeymoon was the next item on our list that made yet another month an abnormal budget month. We had a pretty awesome honeymoon and you can read about how much our trip cost starting in this post.
What Is The Lesson?
The lesson we have learned from that year is that life happens, sometimes when you least expect it. While we had planned a few items on this list, others were more spontaneous.
When it rains in Florida, it pours. That’s exactly what has happened during this particular year with our expenses!
How Survived That Year
There are two key things we did to survive that particular year. The first was spending significantly less than we earned. This allowed us to have a huge cash flow surplus every month to deal with extra expenses.
The second was we saved our cash surplus in months where we didn’t need it. Whether we saved it in a targeted fund for our wedding, our honeymoon, a general purpose cash fund or our emergency fund, we saved for the future. We’re so glad we did.
Is there such thing as a normal budget month? Are your expenses always similar every month? How do you handle the odd months?