February has been the month from hell. Between stagnant ad income and personal drama (which prevented me from completing freelance projects), it’s not exactly pretty. As with all the ugly aspects of my finances, though, I’m putting it out there anyway. Because that’s how I roll.
Luckily I was saved by my tax return and didn’t have to pull money from savings. But if March doesn’t go a little better from a financial standpoint, I may be looking for a J-O-B.
FEBRUARY GOAL: $1860
Private advertising: $750
AdSense: $56.98 (This could change slightly by the end of today)
Tax Return: $1068 (Doesn’t technically count as income, but I got it this month so I’m counting it.)
Rollover from January
If you remember, I was $200 down when the month started, so there was no rollover this month. In fact, it takes my total income down to $1674.98.
Taxes: $133.40 ($1541.58 remaining)
This was 20% of the amount I actually earned ($806.98, minus $140 for health insurance since that’s a tax deduction).
Fixed expenses (car payment, insurance, utilities, phone, Jay’s allowance, etc.): $910 ($631.58) remaining)
I got to save $40 in this category since my son is grounded and can’t earn allowance right now.
Groceries/Household: $243.64 ($387.94 remaining)
This was better than last month but still ridiculous. I noticed that I made a lot of small trips for things like bread, milk, and snack foods (my nemesis!), which added up because I usually went to the convenience store down the street. Which means I threw in random candy and crap since I was already there. I definitely need to set limits on snack stuff – once it’s gone, it’s gone until I go to the store again. Not much I can do about bread and milk.
Restaurants: $42.92 ($345.02 remaining)
Still kicking butt with the restaurant points. For reference, in February 2011 I spent a little over $200 dining out.
Gas: $48 ($297.02 remaining)
Can you believe that? $48 for an entire month. Of course I’m going to need gas tomorrow, but still. So thankful for my little Yaris that gets 40mpg!
Cigarettes: $77.41 ($219.61 remaining)
This was a little lower than last month. That’s because I still have about half a carton left, so I divided the number of packs I smoked by the total cost of the carton. Cheating? Maybe a little. But the remaining packs will go into March, so I’ll pay for them eventually. And I did make a note of it so I won’t forget.
Miscellaneous: $136.85 ($82.76 remaining)
Someone please give me a gold star or something! This is probably the lowest miscellaneous spending I have EVER had in a month.
- Haircut for Jayden – $11
- Contact lenses – $27.90
- iTunes (apps) – $7.39
- Amazon (books about Asperger’s to help me with Jayden’s transition to high school) – $90.56
I really tried to watch myself this month because my income was so low and I wasn’t sure when I would get my tax refund. So this is proof – I CAN control my impulses when I have to. But I also got lucky because I didn’t have a bunch of events or unexpected expenses this month – I don’t know that the same will be true for March.
Overall Outlook for Month
Basically, this month taught me one major lesson – no matter how hectic life gets, I HAVE to complete my freelance work. It was one thing when I was also working a full time job (and a part time job for 4 months last year), but now this IS my job. I need to set firmer boundaries. Even when things are going on with my son (like the 400 emails I seem to get from school every day), I need to ask myself, Would I be dealing with this right now if I was at my old job?
It’s been really hard to divide my time appropriately. When one of the dog pukes or the hamper is overflowing or a friend needs help with something, it’s been hard for me to remain focused. The distractions have got to stop. I also have TWO other sites that need to be launched, yet they’ve been so neglected I’ll probably have to buy a Swiffer to dust them off. So I’ve got a lot of changing to do before I have to bust out the classified ads.
Here’s what I’m budgeting for March:
- Taxes: 20% of whatever I make, transferred to a separate bank account
- Fixed Expenses: $910
- Groceries/Household: $225 (I got close this month!)
- Restaurants: $50
- Gas: $75
- Cigarettes: $100
- Miscellaneous: $150
That means I need $1510 after taxes, or $1812 total. There is a lot riding on this month, so please cross your fingers that I get it together and make some money like I did in January!