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Reduce Decrease Spending Expenses
in Blog, Budgeting, Reports, Spending

Past Month’s Happenings

This January report should get some more depth than I was able to afford over the past couple of months, especially since I was trying to bust the previous reports out. The house purchase went smoothly in November, and we began to modify and improve (in our opinion) on the house in December through to late January. Here are some pictures to show you how things look now after we have modified and worked on the house to make it our own!

Office DIY First Home First House

That Learning Guy’s Liar!

Kitchen Update DIY

The kitchen. We got rid of the tangerine and replaced it with a gray-blue color (with a name that sounds very soothing).

Kitchen DIY

The front of the kitchen facing outside!

Living Room Update DIY

The pièce de résistance! Old fireplace on left, new, white-washed fireplace on right.

Living Room DIY First Home

Living room before and after!

How about that fireplace? That Learning Gal did work, am I right? That thing just ties the whole room together.

We also did a ton to other rooms in the house. We repainted every single room to a more neutral color, we installed new hardware (toilet paper holders, towel racks, towel hooks, etc.) in both of the bathrooms, and we installed a new toilet in the master bathroom! We had the service door in the garage replaced because there was a giant (unneeded) doggy door in the old one, in addition to wood boring insect damage in the trim around it. We hung curtain rods in the living room, installed a carbon monoxide detector, and more!

Needless to say, the house is awesome and we are loving it. It’s becoming more and more ours every day. It had taken up a majority of our time over the last couple of months (and I have been taking a Project Management Professional certification course two nights a week). So, I hope to be back here full force starting now! Now, without further adieu, let’s bust this report out.

The Report

BillsMonthly EstimatesMonthly Actual ($, USD)Change From Last Month (%)
Car Insurance113.42113.420
Mobile Phone65114.73215.8
Online Television18180
Gym Membership44440
Renter's Insurance12.2612.260
Student Loans210021000
Car Payment159.62159.620
Car Service/Parts60240100
Dining Out150161.84-9.01
Fast Food4045.96-39.95
Online Business/Writing/Marketing100120
Home Improvement1001755.20100
Home Upkeep100237.68100

The following are areas of note for January:

Mobile Phone

We spent almost double the monthly budget in this category, but that was due to a both a good reason and a not so good one…

The first reason, is that all of That Learning Gal’s data and unlimited talk and text, were all prorated from December onto the January bill. The second reason, is when we moved into our house in the beginning of January.

When we moved in, we obviously had no internet, tv, etc. So, the time we were on our phones cost us bigly (to borrow one of our president’s favorite words).


We got a membership at a new gym down the street! It is great because this gym is actually much cheaper, at only $44/month for two people. Our last gym was $60 for two people. We had to pay the first month and last months fees upon joining (and I bought a lock), which is why the number is double what it will normally be.


This category almost blew all of the others out of the water. It was a time we knew was coming, but dreading the last couple of months. At our old apartment complex, we had to give 60 days notice if we were moving out. We did that, and to break the lease, it costed us an extra month’s rent, in addition to an incentive we got for re-signing. This came to a total of $1104, which we had to pay in addition to our last month’s rent of $904, bringing the total to $2008!

However, we did get lucky that this is all which was required of us. I checked around before we moved to our current location, and there were plenty of complexes with worse lease-breaking clauses. There are probably thousands and thousands of apartment complexes out there which charge 3, 6, even a full year’s rent if someone wants to vacate early. This was the best deal I could find.


We tossed out a lot of stuff from the apartment, and bought a ton of groceries and non-perishables to fill our cabinets and our refrigerator, which jacked up our monthly grocery expenditures. As an FYI, we always include toiletries and associated items (like toothpaste and paper towel) under the groceries category.


This was very high due to the fact That Learning Gal was driving around her parents’ Tahoe for the whole month. That sucker definitely does not get the gas mileage of a Prius.


This will be broken out into two separate items in the future reports, but we had such a high increase in this area due to paying on electric at both the apartment and house, and the fact we started paying for gas for the house.

We try to keep the temperature in the house around sixty-six to sixty-seven degrees Fahrenheit to keep the bill down and use less energy, but this is also a necessity because the furnace is only 80% efficient and 20 years old!

Car Service/Parts

That Learning Gal had a problem with her vehicle. It is the reason we swapped vehicles with the in-laws. The issue ended up costing approximately 240 dollars, which is the check we wrote for her parents.

Personal Budget/Expenditures

This area had the biggest improvement out of anything in January. Spending in this area dropped by approximately 50%! The levels have returned to the level found in November of 2016. The idea now is that personal spending has hopefully normalized at a much lower amount. We allowed things to get a little out of control over the last couple of months, and will try to keep this item from reaching those soaring peaks again.

Home Improvement/Home Upkeep

This area was still extremely expensive in January. This is due to the fact that we got a new washer and dryer, in addition to replacing the service door on the side of the garage. Both of these things left us in the lerch and accounted for almost every cent spent in this category.


Our expenses again continued to climb in January, by 47.48% over December, which itself climbed 15.78% from November. The reason for another huge spike in January was mainly due to the purchase of a washer and dryer, and to replacing the service door on the garage.

However, there were several other smaller increases throughout the budget which helped this month be one of the most expensive months so far!

I hope you enjoyed the breakdown and the pictures of the progress we are making.

As always, let’s talk about our spending and budgeting in the comments! Was there a weak point for you guys in January? Let’s discuss!

-That Learning Guy

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