February 2017 Frugal Momster Expense Report: A Forced Day Without the Car

February was filled with a lot of excitement. It included some fun for Valentine’s day, in which we don’t really celebrate much. Since I was on the elimination diet, it became even more of a non-celebration for Chris and I and a fun little treat for Monkey and Crab.

Monkey loves working with tools, so I couldn’t pass up this set of tool chocolates! It’s taken Monkey over four weeks to make his way through the tools. It was fun when he’d say, “Could I have my plier chocolate tonight for dessert?” It was worth the few extra dollars for that cuteness! The Crab received chocolate pudding he devoured.



Tool chocolate!

While on the elimination diet, I explored baking gluten and food allergen free. I made this great quick bread with my Vitamix that was simple and tasted delicious. It was a little dense, so I have some reconfiguring to do next time. I omitted the chocolate chips and any other allergens to swap out. The batter is pretty simple to sub out for whatever might fit your needs.

Banana Bread – 8Safe

With February came some surprises. One morning I woke up and before we could get the car out of the driveway, there was this:

Which caused the below on a 20-degree day! We had to walk to school and boy was it freezing! We managed to make it through and it reminded me I still rely way too much on my car for short trips even in winter.

Oh man, we weren’t going anywhere all day long. I was home from work for a long weekend which worked out perfectly, as they started work right around the time I would’ve had to leave. They dug up water pipes to replace them which is great, but there was no warning that there would be no way out. I would’ve loved to have moved my car down the street ahead of time. Alas, a forced day without the car wasn’t so horrible. Sure, it was freezing out during a month where many days hit 70 degrees, but Crab and I had fun indoors and walking back and forth to school.

They dug up water pipes to replace them which is great, but there was no warning that there would be no way out. I would’ve loved to have moved my car down the street ahead of time. Alas, a forced day without the car wasn’t so horrible. Sure, it was freezing out during a month where many days hit 70 degrees, but Crab and I had fun indoors and walking back and forth to school.

But wait, there’s more! In March, they did a bit more work, turned our water back on and blew out our interior house water pipes! So, they had to hire a plumber to come to our house to fix a toilet and replace a faucet. No skin off my back, it didn’t cost us anything but time. Thankfully, I was home when it happened so I was able to speak with the supervisor and get a plumber there within an hour. Whew!

I’ve learned from this experience and many others that life will always throw you something. It just matters how you react. Maybe with age I’ve calmed down a bit, but walking in the cold was no big deal. It was exercise. And pipes being blown out with sediment, as long as it wasn’t my fault I was glad I didn’t have to take care of it.

Sometimes life sends you a reminder of how much you rely on silly things like cars. There are so many trips I take that could be handled by bike or by walking. I do that often in the warmer months, but I’ve been a wimp this mild winter. Time to make a few changes to that routine where I can. If all goes well, once the boys are older I’ll bike to work every day because that was fun the few times I was able to do it last year!

February brought with it not too much of a change in expenses. I lowered my cash allowance by $60 from $100 now down to $40. Chris still uses the full $100 since he drives quite a distance. I stopped adding that into our monthly expenses below as it just goes to pay for gas. In the summer, we don’t rely on that allowance at all so we focus on walking or biking more to remove those costs completely.

Let’s see how February shaped up…

Item Amount Frugal Mom$ter Musings
Donations $57.00 A fundraiser at Monkey’s school.
Food/Clothing $702.76 I’ve retooled our food budget to try to bring it back into focus, and this was yet another over-budget month. I was around $500 per month for food and for March I’ve dropped it to $300. I’m not sure it’s realistic, but it keeps my spending in check. February was a rough month at the end of the elimination diet and I spent quite a bit for specialty foods!
Gifts $72.10 Not exactly gifts, but party supplies for Monkey’s birthday in March.
Household $311.33 Our household boasts a new popcorn machine, a new dirt devil vacuum, and a new handcrafted work table for Chris in the garage. In addition, I purchased a new Vitamix container that I’ve used daily since! And this covered a bit of yarn for crocheted decorations for Monkey’s birthday party.
Insurance $158.00 Auto insurance is a must!
Leisure $328.00 This included several programs I signed up Monkey, Chris, and I for this spring at our local parks. I’ll be exploring cooking and gardening, Chris fire starting, and Monkey cooking and t-ball!
Mortgage $2,000.00 The usual.
Pets $73.87 Dog food for Ruby and her updated vaccines.
Electric $82.00 Budget bill.
Internet $64.90 An important investment in our lifestyle.
Natural Gas $60.00 Budget bill.
Sewer $230.00 Twice yearly sewer costs.
Water $35.50 Thankful for fresh, cheap water.
Total Spent $4,175.46 Up about $400 from January. Not the greatest, but we ended up getting several things for Monkey’s birthday next month.
Without Mortgage $2,175.46  Within the range I hope for, but we could do better. We still seem to spend quite a bit on household items we could get more creative with. Our landscaping project is coming up, so that’ll blow our budget soon I’m sure!

Wondering why some bills may be missing from this report?

The September 2016 Expense Report will answer your questions.



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