August Expenses

August’s expenses could have been the lowest yet, but every month brings some unique expenses. That is just the way life works. One-time expenses happen almost every month. Especially if you own a home, drive cars, have a yard, are married, have kids, or pets. This month would have dropped below $2,000 but we bought a classic car, and continued the bathroom remodel. That said, I was THRILLED we were under $3000. After almost a year of tracking every single expense, I am loving having more solid info to help us figure out our direction after our yearlong sabbatical.


Back to School $85

I wrote about how growing up poor can have an unexpected impact on your finances. One of the things I have always struggled with was overspending on my kids school clothes. It wasn’t a problem before they were school age. I had no issue putting my baby in hand me downs. But once they entered school, all those feelings of being the kid without any of the cool brands, in yard sale outfits would come flooding back. I would jump onto the OshGosh site and drop $300.

I feel like I am finally making more progress! For the first time I bought 10 pairs of used boys pants from a friend for $20. We used some of the cash we earned from selling off items baby #5 has already outgrown. So it didn’t even hit our budget! And another big first for me, I had the boys reuse their backpacks. We bought nicer backpacks last year with the intention of trying to get 2 years of use out of them. Come school time, I held my ground and didn’t spring for shiny new ones.

All that helped school supplies clock in at $85. A huge win for me!

House Maintenance: $328

Work on the bathroom slowly continued. It can be hard to fit in between the 5 kids, making time for adventures, volunteering, and blogging. I think we have 95% of the supplies now, so the expenses should stop. But I still have some texture and paint to put on the walls and tile to set. We have learned all our DYI skills via YouTube. It takes more time this way, but we are learning skills we leverage in our rental properties. It’s not only profitable for us, but also enjoyable. Who knows one day we might even build a house.

Car Maintenance $714

The classic car came on the scene in August. I outlined all those expense here. This $714 included the car’s permanent registration and plates. Plus initial costs like the car cover, and an initial repair. Mr. Mt took a few hours and replaced the back leaf springs. He has been loving driving his classic around town. He drives it to drop the kids off at school, pick up groceries, and most any other times he can. Our insurance for it runs $17 a month, and I think he gets his money’s worth in fun.

August was a fun and crazy month for us. While we were on our 6 week road trip, a summer intern from our church house sat for us. It was great to be able to help him out. It is SO difficult to find affordable temporary housing in our area during the summer because of peak tourist season. Plus he kept our 7 ducks alive, which was great. He stayed for another 4 weeks after we got home which normally wouldn’t be any issue. But remember how we are still remodeling our bathroom? Yup, 8 people and 1 bathroom. Then we had some awesome friends come and stay with us. They slept in our sweet pop up camper set up in the driveway (It worked amazing as a “guest room”! I love that we will get double use of out the camper.)  But it doesn’t have a bathroom… so add 2 more adults and 3 more kids to our 1 working bathroom! Grand total: 5 adults and 8 kids, we had one HARD working bathroom that week.  We have a “more the merrier” “it will be fine” “we are just so happy you’re are here” kind of attitude. And it was better than fine. We were overjoyed to have everyone!

I suppose I could limit our life because of small square footage, or limited bathrooms. But I would rather laugh about the limitations, and enjoy the abundance of friends, fun and generous living.

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you ever feel limited by your entertaining space?
  2. Have you tried squeezing extra years out of backpacks? It’s it worth the savings?
  3. Are there DYI skills you would love to have?

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28 thoughts on “August Expenses

  1. Every time I read about Mr. Montana’s classic car it inspires me to work harder. I really would love to get one and it’s on my financial goals list. There are so many classic cars that appeal to me so I haven’t narrowed down my dream classic car but I do know I would love to reach this goal soon. Thanks for sharing again!!!

    • It was a life long dream of his, and he had been so patient driving our 14 year old Honda civic for the last 10 years! He didn’t really have a specific kind in mind. But he wanted a 4 door (to haul kids, knowing he could drive it more that way), V6 for gas mileage (because I would let him drive it more that way), mostly finished and in the $4000-$7000 range. This is what popped up and he LOVES it. It different enough to draw lots of comments and interest, but have a classic look. Good luck as you keep working toward that goal!!

  2. Hey Ms. Montana – congrats on a great month. Curious as I review your numbers, how do you keep your health insurance down to $105/month? We’re looking at having to go “private pay” after I retire at Age 55, and I’ve been reading ~$1500/month as the typical cost. What’s your secret angle??

    • Ah, not great news… We have the military insurance because Mr. Mt retired from the Army. The $105 is actually my dental insurance ($60, which seems high for one person) and his life insurance. It is an incredible benefit, but it might be too late for you to sign up to serve. =) We have co-pays (kind of 80/20) but ZERO monthly premium. So depending on the month it can be higher if we filled prescriptions or have a lot of Dr. visits.

  3. “One-time expenses happen almost every month.” It took me a while to realize this. When I started tracking my spending I would delude myself by saying “Well this month was only high because of X. Next month will be much better.” But then next month would be higher because of Y.

    Thanks for the behind the scenes look!

  4. Your question “Do you ever feel limited by your entertaining space?” is something that we think about often. It used to bother us because entertaining when living in an RV is near impossible, but since most of the friends we have on the road now are other RVers, they don’t mind the small space, haha 🙂

    • Hey Michelle! We lived in an 29 foot travel trailer for a year, and it seemed like weather was entirely weather dependent. =) Instead of BYOB it was bring your own chair! Some campgrounds have amazing recreation spaces too, which is great. On our 6 week road trip this summer, we would try to find ones with really fun pool area. A pizza from Costco and a fun pool seems to do the trick. =)

  5. Thanks for sharing! Yes to reusing the backpacks! My daughter has reused hers a couple of times, but my son is really hard on them and we’ve never been able to get more than a year out of his. This year, I decided to invest a little more and buy LL Bean packs for both of them (less than $30 on sale). They are supposed to be guaranteed and are reported to last for years. My son will definitely put this to the test.

    We’ve been DIYing since our very first house 19 years ago (before youtube!). We’ve picked up so many valuable skills along the way, and learned from some mistakes as well. We rarely hire any work out unless we feel it won’t save us much money.

    • Oh, I feel you. I got on the boys last year because they want to drag their backpacks everywhere instead of carrying them. They look tattered, but there aren’t any holes in them yet. We shall see if they make it the full year 2! I have heard good things about the LL bean bags. I might try to score some when these meet their untimely end.

  6. We no longer have house guests (everyone lives pretty close). That said, when my mom and her husband were still visiting us on a regular basis we felt ummm …cozy. And when Jon’s family comes over, we’re cozy. It’s a good thing that we’re 10 minutes away and mostly gather at his parents’ house.

    Paid for an LL Bean backpack as well this year. Little Bit’s Walmart bag lasted til the last week of school before the zipper broke last year. Jon, though, sent his 30 year old bag back to NorthFace this year and they replaced the zipper. I’m pretty sold on getting LL Bean, North Face, or Jansport now.

  7. Back to school must be a big expense for you with 5 kids! We only have one kid and it’s a bit easier. He wore shorts and t-shirt for about a month and we just moved to long pants. We got a few new things, but one or two at a time so it’s not a big impact to our budget. Most of the previous year pants have holes or are too small now. Kids are so hard on clothes and shoes…

    • Oh my goodness the shoes are crazy. I actually have been taking pictures of the shoe progress for a post. I just don’t think a person would otherwise believe the damage they do in just a few months with out photo evidence. Shoes never get passed down between my boys. 3-6 months of wear then straight to the trash can!

  8. Nice work! Taking care of a big family, renovating a home, and playing with cars can get extremely expensive. It’s impressive that you are doing all this, and more, for less than $2,800 a month.

    • I think with 5 little kids I am more laid back about that now. Getting rid of bunch of stuff helped, especially having 90% fewer kid toys upstairs. And our dog cheesy taco. He eats all the cheerios that our kids drop. I seriously went from sweeping 2x a DAY to 2x a week. I love that little dog SO much!

  9. Our kids are not school age yet (oldest just started preschool), but I still use my husband’s old backpack from high school & college. I’m not sure if a younger kid would re-use the same Eastpak over and over, but that thing has held on for over 15 years.

    We do not have a large living room but we’ve hosted large parties of well over 50 people by opening our whole home and fitting more people in that way.

    • We have a decent backyard and have had some great celebrations there. Last Christmas we even rented a space for our gingerbread house making party. It was $15 to rent, which is a heck of a deal verses buying a bigger house. =)

  10. That’s a whole lot of people in one bathroom. I grew up in an apartment in a family of four with one bathroom and that was a bit tough.

    The biggest issue we have with overnight entertaining has less to do with space but everything to do with Groovy Cat. Many people are allergic to cats. As for DIY skills, I would love to learn to crochet although so far I haven’t made it a priority. I’m not sure I will in retirement because there are other things that take precedence.

    • I actually don’t mind it when it’s just 7 of us and one bathroom (although it’s a tiny bathroom!) 13, however, was a bit of a scheduling issue. Crochet does seem rather relaxing and fun, I could see enjoying that on a long car trip. =)

  11. Oh the backpack debate. My teenage boys were actually the ones convincing me they didn’t need new backpacks the last few years. We once got one with a suede bottom that ripped after two days but my son was determined not to give up. He duct taped it from the inside. He would not admit defeat. Sometimes they teach us.

  12. Love this. We moved from a 3600 sq ft house to one half that size for the six of us. We had one bathroom for nearly three years as we worked on remodeling the other. It made me realize how spoiled we’d become, coming from a 3 bathroom house. Whenever I felt cranky about the one-bathroom thing I always tried to remember an old boss. He was the only boy out of ten children and they had a three bedroom, one-bathroom house. Needless to say he’s a very patient man. 🙂

    • Oh that is wonderful! I bet he was patient. =) With one small working bathroom, I find us only using it for the essentials. After a shower, we get dressed in our bedrooms. We fix the girls hair sitting in our living room. I still brush all the kids teeth, and it actually works much better if they lay down with their head in my lap, so we do that on the living room rug. Boy, I bet you don’t miss cleaning 3600 square feet! That is a lot of floor space. =)