Monthly budget review – January

Monthly budget review – January

The last weekday of the month is payday for Mr. Tucker and so it’s a good time to review our spreadsheet and make sure we’re on track. It’s also a good time to move money into categories that I didn’t use the previous month.

I budget pretty tightly and I can see now that our grocery bill is a lot higher now and that I’ve actually budgeted too low for groceries. One of the things about eating at home all the time is that we prefer not to scrimp on food. However, it does look like one of my medications has gone generic so I may be saving significantly there. That’s a huge win for me because one of my drugs is really expensive even after my benefits. I am going to call to make sure that I can make the switch. That should mitigate the food budget.

It’s also a new tax year so that means Mr. Tucker has EI and CPP contributions again until July. That ate a larger chunk of the pie than I had thought, so I need to make a small adjustment there. EI and CPP have gone up a lot in 2021 with the new maximums being 884.54 and $3166.45, respectively. Once August comes around though, Mr. Tucker will be all paid up and that will mean $220ish will be added to our budget.

Gas and pocket money are down because there is a stay-at-home order so we don’t go anywhere or do anything. Our alcohol budget was up in 2020 but since we quit drinking in November & we’re not eating out at all (even takeout) we really don’t have anywhere to spend it. Wow, we sound really sad! But I guarantee you that we’ve been enjoying doing music, playing games with the kids, reading library books & Zoom chats with family and friends!

My benefits aren’t covering the Bean’s braces as much as they were, so instead of having to pay $87.50, we are now paying $100. Thankfully, we can add those receipts to our taxes & come November she will be all done with braces! Probably just in time for her sister to need braces but it is what it is.

One of the things we’re still debating is whether or not to borrow from our Line of Credit to bring Mr. Tucker down a tax bracket. On one hand, a $4400 contribution will net us another $2000 in tax refunds. On the other hand, just using the cash we have will still net us a significant refund. I am leaning towards not borrowing the money as even though it is a low interest rate, I hate the idea of $4k sitting on my LoC for two months or more. Ehhhh. This is one of the times where the emotional choice isn’t the logical choice. Sometimes you have to make the decision that helps you sleep at night.

With the new covid variant being more virulent, we are also considering limiting our big shop at Costco to every two months instead of once-a-month. Right now we hit Costco once, the fruit & veggie place twice a month, and then get a curbside pickup for anything else we may need. I also try and time our library book pickup for those times but it doesn’t always work out. Our city’s infection rate is 0.8% (anything under 1 is supposedly manageable) but if it goes up, we may have to switch our plans. With schools opening Monday, we’ll see how it goes.

That’s pretty much it: some minor changes this month but we also were able to add some extra money to savings so I am calling it a win.

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