March 2021 – 31 Full Days of Spending.
A 31 day month makes for budget busters. March 2021, was particularly painful in a few categories. We spent $796 spent on eating out – Yowsers! Lots of this spending involves lunches with several new colleagues. We also celebrated a birthday with steak and drinks! Fortunately, we came in slightly below our budgeted amount of $1200 for groceries/household. Clothing came in at $446, and I have no idea where this money went. I’m going to say my wife bought some clothes for my girls, which seems to be a recurring event. Gas was up but that’s not a big deal as prices are higher and we traveled a bit.
We also spent $717 on “miscellaneous” and $736 on “entertainment”. Many Target purchased at categorized as miscellaneous but could certainly be groceries/household or even clothing. I spent almost $80 trying to buy a $27 extension cord that was a “good” deal. I bought it twice hoping to cancel the first order so that I could substitute the filler item. Unfortunately, both orders shipped. The entertainment budget is a bit more understandable. We spent $196 on 4 tickets to an upcoming concert along with about $200 on various baseball event tickets. We spent $120 on various items while visiting a family member’s house. Another $100 for drinks and appetizers at a nearby resort.
To Cut Costs or Earn More?
Some positives from March: We switched cellphone providers to Visible, a prepaid carrier on the Verizon network. This switch will reduce our monthly cell phone cost by about $30. The service appears worth the cost savings, so far.
We will save about $360 if we keep the phone plan for a year. Yet, there is a point at which it’s a much better strategy lucrative to earn more than to save more. The time spent researching and executing the switch might have been better spent developing business at my day job.
In late January, I mailed a $1,000 donation to a local charity that does great work for the homeless. Giving is not easy for me, so this remains a big deal. The charity never received the check, unfortunately. To make good on my verbal commitment, I also made the donation electronically in March (the original check remains outstanding). If the check is eventually received, I hope to bless the tremendous organization with the extra gift.
Stimulus Inflation Coming?
We make too much money to qualify for the third stimulus payment. A slightly expected financial windfall never materialized. Of course, we don’t need to receive $7000 ($1400 for each of the 5 people in our home). It’s great for people that need it but it also represents a dangerous precedent. We should not look to Washington and politicians as the source of financial security/blessings/hope.
Who knows if inflation will pick up but the total money supply has grown substantially over the last year. See Fed’s chart here. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/graph-landing.php?g=Ckxu&width=670&height=475
Huge deflationary pressure around March of 2020. The growth of the money supply makes it hard to believe there will not be at least some inflation.