I sat down to do our budget last night and realized that March’s budget is horrible.  While we earned $4,256.35 for March expenses our checking account is exactly $300 short that amount.  Why?  My husband and I looked hard at our budget and realized Japanese preschool for my daughter cannot happen this year.  Maybe we could afford it, but only at the expense of aggressive debt reduction and any savings.  At my age, I am no longer willing to live in the here and now and set aside improving my financial situation for later.  Instead, she will go to preschool 3 mornings a week at the parochial school my son attends.  That is much more affordable for us.  However, to reserve her spot for next year, we had to pay a $300 deposit.

As if starting the month $300 short is not bad enough, we have had several other expenses:

Husband’s conference–$1200.  We will be travelling out of state for my husband’s conference in March.  Almost all of this expense will be reimbursed later.   In the past, we would have simply charged this expense and paid it off after we got the reimbursement.  However, now that our credit cards are in peanut butter and we have vowed not to take on new debt, that isn’t an option.

Son’s summer school deposit–$300.  My son will be attending the Japanese summer program this summer, so a deposit is required.  However, this deposit will be applied to his tuition, so it will be $300 less we will have to pay this summer.

Car repair–$586.  Just this week, the check engine light kept coming on sporadically.  I brought it to the shop on Wednesday, and they said it has a fuel injector sensor that is no longer working.  That is one expensive sensor to repair.

CSA Shares–518.50.  As part of our plan to lower our overall grocery bill while eating healthy, organic foods, my husband and I decided to get a CSA share.  We will be getting fresh, organic produce from a farm near us for 20 weeks.  The rate is $490.  We also opted for a one time winter delivery that will have enough root vegetables to last us through the winter.  That was another $120.  To get a 15% discount, we had to pay by March 1st.  Paying early brought our total from $610 to $518.50.

How We Plan to Handle Our Budget

Most of these expenses, save the car, will save us money in the summer.  My husband’s conference expenses will be reimbursed, the CSA will save us money on groceries this summer, and my son’s deposit will be used to pay part of his summer tuition later in the summer.  However, it is painful to pay all of this money upfront.

In the old days, we would just charge it.  Now we don’t.  We do have a small emergency fund, but we don’t plan to tap that either, because none of these expenses represent an emergency.

So, what will we do?

Thanks to gazelle intensity, we know we can raise money when necessary.  Here are some of the ways we plan to raise extra money:

  • I should get back about $300 in flexible spending money from paying the babysitter.
  • Some of my freelance jobs offer me a range of work.  For instance, one blogger gives me the window of writing 4 to 8 posts a month.  Usually I write 4, but in March, I will try to write 8 instead.  I have several jobs like this, so with hard work this month, I can recoup quite a bit of this money.
  • My husband has considered donating plasma.  I used to do this in grad school.  Now, my husband is willing to take one for the team, so to speak, and do this to raise extra money.
  • Get rid of stuff we don’t use.  I have some more kids’ clothes to sell as well as baby gates and other baby gear.  Now is a good time to sell them.

I’ll be back early next week with our budget.  First, I need to figure out how to make the numbers work.  🙂

How do you handle budget shortfalls?

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