My husband and I have a self-imposed $1000/month spending limit for our credit card. We put everything on the card, so it’s a good way for us to keep track of our spending. When we’re getting close to the end of the billing cycle, we’re usually pretty close to our $1000 too, and tend to spend very little in the last week or so. This spring we were over $1000 several months in a row, mainly due to all of our trips to Home Depot during our kitchen remodel. Most months this year we’ve been between $1500 and $2000/month on the card. We’ve paid it off in full every month, but it’s nice to be finished with our home improvements and back on track with our spending. I had thought that we’d be under $1000 this month (cycle ends this weekend), but then I decided to pay for a year of Vonage service (we normally pay monthly, but they offered us a 20% discount if we paid for a year, and my money isn’t making 20% anywhere else…). That put us over $1000.
Then I remembered that it was time to take our dog in for her shots. She needed rabies this time, and we decided to buy a years worth of heartworm prevention, so our visit was much more expensive than usual – $160. We go to PetCo for vaccinations for our pets, which is far less expensive than going to the vet. We save the vet visits for when something is actually wrong. Our local Petco has a vet on hand every other Friday evening, and as long as you don’t mind waiting in line for a while, you can get all your vaccinations for just the cost of the actual shot – no office visit fees. So even though $160 is a lot of money, it’s a lot less than all the same shots would have been if we had taken her to a vet’s office.
We also bought an organic crib mattress, for $229. I had factored that into the $1000, but not the $305 for Vonage or the $160 for the dog’s shots. So we’re up to almost $1500 for the month. Even though we went over our $1000, I’m still pleased with how we did. $229 for the mattress, $160 for the shots, and $305 for the phone service means that we’ve only spent about $780 on everything else. Food, gas, baby stuff… especially considering that we added a new family member, I think we’re doing ok. We won’t have to pay for our Vonage service for the next year, and the dog won’t need shots again until next June (it will be cheaper then because she won’t need the rabies shot again until 2011).
OK – June is a new month… I’m excited to see if we can keep our bill to under $1000. I’m hoping that there’s not another big expense that I’ve forgotten about, but I don’t think there is. I have a friend who does the same thing we do – she and her husband put everything on one card and pay it off every month. But she told me recently that their average bill is $5000 (they earn more than we do, but not five times as much!). So I’m feeling pretty good about our spending habits.