Losing sight of the goal

by Erika Torres
12 comments

Something happened this month with our finances which I’ve noticed has become a reoccurring theme.

At the beginning of the month, when I planned out our budget, I underestimated Eric’s take-home pay because we still didn’t know what his salary would be. When he finally did get a full paycheck, we were pleasantly surprised thrilled to find out it was about 35% more than we had expected. With two paychecks a month, that’s a heck of a lot of extra money to our budget!

Now, the correct “pay off our debt” thing to do, would be to continue to live off the previous budget and put all that extra money toward our debt. Or at least toward buying that flatscreen I’ve been wanting. Or my gym membership since these jeans are starting to create a little muffin top.

But of course, doing the right thing would just be too easy. We have to make it difficult and write about our failures.

So let’s face it–we didn’t save up that extra cash. Instead, we spent it. On what? I’m not really sure. And isn’t that the worse? When you look back at your budget and ask yourself, where did all that extra cash go?

TRUTHFULLY–I must admit we would have been fine this month except for TWO unexpected expenses (and to think I thought we were done with those!).

The first was our poor child broke his foot! (okay okay OKAY! I accidentally closed the door without realizing his paw was in the crack! I’m a horrible mother, I know!)  That little accident brought us a $222 vet bill.

Now, we managed with the $222 vet bill and paid it off right away because we had the cash–thanks to our excellent budgeting. BUT, then we got a lovely $391 exit bill from our last apartment, which we completely thought we had finished paying!

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ve never lived in an apartment complex before, but I assumed a landlord’s responsibility was to pay for the paint between renters, and for the cleaning, and carpet cleaning. They not only took our original deposit ($100) but on top of that, gave us the bill for all the extra services. BLEH!

Unfortunately this unexpected bill sent us over the edge budget-wise. I hate being sidetracked! We had to dip into our savings in order to pay next month’s rent.

Considering how much extra income we had this month–on top of Eric’s extra salary we hadn’t accounted for, we also got $150 from another garage sale we had, and another $80 from Eric’s tip money–there really should not be any excuse for how much we spent.

I think one of our goals in November is to stick to a tighter budget (don’t I say this every month?), perhaps allotting money more realistically, and giving us some wiggle room so we each don’t feel suffocated.

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12 comments

Sonya November 9, 2010 - 5:34 pm

Hello! I’m just visiting your blog for the 1st time!

I think apartment fees are a joke! Even though I hated the complex I first lived in, I didn’t owe anything! I only had to pay 1/2 the normal deposit up front and I knew it wasn’t coming back. The last apartment my husband and I rented had a $200 “refundable” deposit, but the carpet cleaning came out of it plus their cleaning charges. When we moved out we got a check for $2.31! I didn’t even cash it! I was furious! I wanted to send them a bill since I actually did cleaning for them that they never did! I cleaned a bathroom floor that I noticed wasn’t the same as the one in the other bathroom and realized it was dirt that was stuck on! Apparently they thought it was ok to treat us like they treat the college kids and we weren’t students! We love our rental home now and our landlord loves us! When people come in they always remark on how clean we keep things!

So I’d say if those things weren’t in your lease that they had to be done, I’d fight it! That’s just ridiculous!

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jp November 1, 2010 - 12:06 pm

Please, please, please fight those apartment charges!! In California, the landlord cannot charge you for “normal wear and tear” – and that is very subjective! They are NOT under any circumstances allowed to charge you a “cleaning fee”. If they claim they had to clean something, they MUST provide detailed description of everything (who cleaned it, how long it took, the hourly rate). If you were in the place for more than 2 years, they cannot charge for ANYTHING with regards to the carpet (even if you destroyed it, 2 years is the “lifetime” of carpet). Do a google search of california landlord/tenant laws. We just fought with our apt. that we moved out of, and they reimbursed everyting.

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jp November 1, 2010 - 12:06 pm

Please, please, please fight those apartment charges!! In California, the landlord cannot charge you for anything above normal wear and tear! They are NOT under any circumstances allowed to charge you a “cleaning fee”. If they claim they had to clean something, they MUST provide detailed description of everything (who cleaned it, how long it took, the hourly rate). If you were in the place for more than 2 years, they cannot charge for ANYTHING with regards to the carpet (even if you destroyed it, 2 years is the “lifetime” of carpet). Do a google search of california landlord/tenant laws. We just fought with our apt. that we moved out of, and they reimbursed everyting.

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City Girl October 30, 2010 - 8:08 pm

It’s great that you planned ahead and that Eric’s take-home is higher than you expected! I wish that there were these surprise expenses, but it sounds like you’ll allot for that next time. I hope that your best furry friend heals quickly. xoxo

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Shannon October 30, 2010 - 5:33 pm

Poor Bently!! I think you guys are doing really well, just for the record. It is tough but you guys are making stride.

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Erin B. Inspired October 27, 2010 - 11:26 am

Oh no! Poor puppy. 🙁 Be careful, Mom! A friend of a friend closed their min pin in the car door when she unknowingly tried to follow her owner out the door. She almost died and I think is blind in one eye now. I can only imagine how much those vet bills were. Poor puppy.

And yeah, about budgets… ditto. On all accounts.

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Jennifer October 27, 2010 - 10:21 am

Poor pupper dog! He knows you didn’t mean to hurt him.

When we rented, they never made us pay for painting, cleaning, etc.
Maybe look back on your renter’s contract?

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prettylittlereckless October 27, 2010 - 10:11 am

seriously? You had to pay for the paint etc? I’m kinda surprised by this since I’ve only ever had to pay for the carpet cleaning (which I’m 90% sure my last place didn’t even have the carpets cleaned before or after I moved out) and that’s maybe $50 out of my deposit. Where I live, I guess deposits are more for if there was any damage- not, pay to update the place when I leave. :-/

Keep that goal in mind! It’s definitely hard, but think how much better you’ll feel having that zero balance! 🙂

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Lauren October 27, 2010 - 7:19 am

Poor pup!! The cast is super cute though. Hope he is ok!!

I wish I had your dedication budget… I, well… Suck at it. So yeah. Hope you have better luck next month!!

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Cait October 27, 2010 - 7:03 am

I don’t know exactly what the laws are in California, but as far as I know, it IS the landlord’s responsibility to repaint the walls and shampoo/replace the carpet between renters. It should only be your responsibility to leave the place as spotless as you can (i.e. clean everything, vacuum, mop, etc. – all of which things are basically common sense, right?). If there was any damage or major staining, you might possibly be responsible (check your laws or see if there is any sort of city tenant union/legal advice). But again, most state laws are there to protect renters from having to eat the normal wear-and-tear costs that should rightfully be the landlord’s responsibility.

If I were you, I’d go over your old lease with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that the landlord a) made it explicitly clear exactly what they could charge you for, and b) that those expenses are in line with local laws and regulations.

Who knows, you might be able to get some of that money back if you find they’ve been jerking you around.

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Ashley October 27, 2010 - 6:26 am

Oh my goodness, that picture of your pooch looking so helpless is too cute! What a sweetie!

Good luck with getting next month’s budget all planned out… and don’t beat yourself up too much!

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Dani @ Body By Nature October 27, 2010 - 6:00 am

Aw poor puppy!! I hope he’s ok 🙂

I hear your about the goals…maybe it’s something about October. I’ve found that creating a vision board helps to keep me on track (or at least the idea of is to keep me on track) You’re an inspiration!

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