Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January Low Spend Challenge Update

We are all at home today due to the third blizzard in two weeks. I would rather have the cold than the blizzards. However, its not my choice.

Our grocery spending is at $441.33. My goal was to keep this under $450 for the month. I did some stocking up last week because canned tomatoes, beans, soups, veggies and tomato sauce were all on sale. I also included things for the baby in this category like diapers and wipes. Honestly, that stuff is too expensive to sneak it into this category. I either need to increase my grocery budget or do a separate line item for baby. I think I will separate it. My new goal is to keep this under $500 for the month.

Another goal for the month was to keep all other spending to $300, excluding gas. We are at $283 which includes a trip to Menard's for supplies to start finishing our basement. I'm pretty happy with this category.

Gas--I budget $500 and we're at $223.22. We are way below budget here. Woohoo!

I had a goal of paying for all medical bills this month with the savings from our low spend month. We paid all of mine and I submitted them for reimbursement from our medical flex account. The gal in HR refused it and said we needed to go back to the hospital and request that they take our insurance company's in-network rate (even though they are out-of-network). I was annoyed but did it. They revised it and I owed $190 less. Cool beans! Yesterday I received the bill for Baby G so I called the hospital this morning to see if they would revise it again. She said she would look at it and let me know.

Besides paying medical bills, my goal was to increase our regular savings to $3000. I'm happy to report that it is at $3000 now and I received the medical flex this morning for $709. I'm hoping that after I pay for Baby G's medical bills, I will still be able to add another $300.

I have everything ready to file our taxes but need to wait until the end if the month. After the debacle last year with the accountant, I've decided to do them myself. I'm not sure what software to buy. Anybody have any ideas? TurboTax or TaxAct? I'm hoping for a refund of around $1500.


  1. Have you looked at Amazon Prime Mom? Yes, it's a $79 yearly subscription, but sometimes you get very cheap diapers (about 0.14 per diaper) deals and cheap wipes. I just bought a packet of Snuggies size 1, 234 for $33 (for a diaper cake for a co-worker). I've been told that's a pretty good price, and they run those sales fairly often. But yeah, I don't think it'd hurt to separate the budget. It'd make more sense that way too. Great job on the gas savings! I like TurboTax, but last year I used a free online service (available to those with income less than 51k). TurboTax in my opinion is very intuitive and easy to complete. I'll be using them this year as well. They're pretty affordable compared to others for simple returns like mine. (I normally owe some amount)

  2. I always use Turbo Tax. We haven't gotten any forms yet though ...

  3. On the taxes, I have used both Tax Act and Turbo tax in the past. I started using Turbo Tax exclusively because the investment information downloads automatically. I think you can enter your information for free in both and only pay when you print or file your return? Either way, it is a pretty affordable option if your return is relatively straightforward. I have also had to amend prior returns and found the process to be pretty simple.

  4. Tax Act has been good for me

  5. I have always used Turbo Tax. I think it is all about what you get used to. I tried Tax Act and just had a hard time with it.

  6. We do our taxes with a local group of volunteers. They are awesome! And I know what you mean about diapers. My youngest had diarrhea for the past week, and I had to put him back into diapers. Ouch! I don't miss it!!

  7. Turbo Tax for me. I've always done my own taxes and find this software works great. You've done a great job reaching most of your goals - I think baby deserves his own budget line (and will for years to come lol)!!

  8. You're doing good with spending! Bravo.

    I've used HR block at home for our taxes the past several years. Its supposed to include live support from the people at the HR stores but I've never used that. It seems comparable to Turbo tax... I'm sure either would be good.

    I had to drive an hour in our blizzard today (normally a 20 minute drive)... we've gotten around 14 inches so far today. Fun stuff!

  9. Great job on the grocery budget! I use TurboTax and I'm able to do my daughter's and son-in-law's taxes, as well as my other daughter's taxes all form the same program.