July numbers are in! Lots of camping and enjoyment of the summer weather over the past month. Summer offers so many budget-friendly opportunities to get outside and have fun. Hiking, hanging out at the beach, camping, biking, kayaking… The list goes on.
All of these factors helped our budget this month and we came in under target. Unnecessary discretionary funding remained pretty low throughout the month, which helped a lot. Summary chart courtesy of Personal Capital’s Free Budget Tracking Tool.
July 2017 Spending Total: $3,900
|Utilities||$256||Electric is higher and the internet bill hit on the first and last day of the month.|
|Gas/Tolls||$362||Lots of travel for camping trips!|
|Restaurants||$100||Yum! Check out the BBQ restaurant recommendation below.|
|Entertainment||$29||Hulu, NY Times and a concert!|
|Hobbies||$303||Some fun items, some boating repairs.|
|Vacation||$14||Camping is cheap 🙂 Plus, our 4th of July weekend was prepaid.|
|Miscellaneous||$120||Bought something completely ridiculous this month...|
July Spending Details:
Restaurants: We ate out a little more often than normal due to being on the road for weekend and day trips. In our travels around New England, we found an awesome BBQ joint in Sturbridge, MA. If you are ever at the junction of the Mass Pike (I-90) and I-84, stop by B.T.’s Smokehouse for a delicious meal. It’s a casual, counter-serve restaurant with large portions of your favorite BBQ items. BYOB – there’s a convenience store next door if you need to buy some beverages. The lines are long during peak hours, so call ahead to place your order if you can.
Pet Care: We love our two cats, but pets are not cheap! July was their annual vet visit and $364 later, both cats were deemed healthy, albeit a bit grumpy from the multiple vaccines they were each subjected to. One of the things I love about our veterinary office is that it is a privately-run, woman-owned business with an all female staff. Our vet is incredibly knowledgeable, the whole staff is friendly and everyone tells me how adorable my two kitties are 🙂
Entertainment: Guys, we really splurged this month… We spent an extra $10! Mr. Saverdink won free tickets to a Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert in Boston via a local radio station, so we headed into the city for an evening of live music. It was a lot of fun. We stopped at Panera Bread on our way in for dinner, which was much better quality and half the price of the food we saw being served at the TD Garden venue.
Frugal tip for Boston Folks: Parking at the TD Garden parking garage for events = $45 and traffic is a nightmare when 15,000+ of your closest friends try to leave at the same time. Parking at the Museum of Science parking garage is only $10 after 5pm and a 10 to 15 minute walk away.
Hobbies: Summertime = boating weather! We’re lucky enough to borrow our parent’s small motorboat for a few weeks in the summer for water skiing and general boating awesomeness. Some of July’s expenditures were fun boating supplies, but a good chunk was required maintenance and replacement components for engine repairs. Access to a free boat means we try to step up and do as much maintenance/repairs as possible.
Vacation: Camping trips are our favorite summertime vacation activity and are budget-friendly to boot. We had an extended long-weekend camping trip in upstate NY with several friends for the 4th of July. The campsite was prepaid, so costs during July were very minimal. We had one other overnight trip to a small island off the coast of Rockport, MA. $5/person is very reasonable in my book! Plus, when we’re camping, we bring our own food and aren’t spending money on paid activities.
Miscellaneous: I’m impressed that we kept this category so low during July, but I do have one confession… I bought one completely superfluous and utterly unnecessary item. Amazon Prime Day took place on July 11th and while we held strong against impulse purchases, there was one exception – I bought a DNA Test Kit and my spit in currently in route for processing! 23andMe had the Ancestry and Health Markers package on sale for half price. Combined with a $10 credit (another special offer for Prime Day for reloading a gift card), the total cost was $90. There is no reason in the world why I need my DNA analyzed, but I’m curious how accurate it will be and if I will learn anything surprising. Stay tuned – results in 3 to 5 weeks!