March Budget Report {with actual numbers}

My original ambition for starting this blog was to share my family’s real numbers and real budget as we strive to climb out of 6 figures of debt. This is my monthly budget report post in which I do exactly that. Please be kind and non-judgmental as I make something as personal as finances a public affair. 

monthly budget

I can’t believe that we are already in April! It’s crazy to me how some days seem to drag on forever, but then bam! We’re at then end of another month. Which means taking another hard look at our family’s spending and saving for the month.

The theme for this month was Budget Setbacks {which I wrote about HERE}. There was a broken cell phone, vehicle repairs, and that blasted “Other” category. We were $1267.16 over budget for March. Ouch. We were set to have $1700.00 in surplus had we stayed on budget. At our monthly budget meeting this month, Mr. Daisy and I made some changes to our budget categories and a huge commitment to altering some spending habits.

Below you’ll find my easy-to-read snapshot of our monthly budget. It is comprised of 3 categories: Budgeted, Actual, and Results. I fill in the Budgeted at the beginning of the month, enter data in the Actual twice each month (mid-month check-in and end of the month), and the Results column is designed with formulas to easily show us if we were over, under or on budget and by how much.

monthly budget
March 2017 Budget Report

Budget Fails

There is a lot of red in the Results column. Here’s the breakdown on the major snafus:

  • Cell Phone: $175 over budget. My phone completely died on me, woh woh. This $175 covers the cost and shipping of a replacement.
  • Vehicles: $484 over budget. I touched on this in the Budget Setback post, but Mr. Daisy’s truck was in dire need of some maintenance. I hate to think what this would have cost had we been required to take his truck into a shop and pay retail for parts and labor. I’ll have to jot this point down in my gratitude journal because it surely could have been worse.
  • Household Misc: $64 over budget. Mr. Daisy sprayed the yard for fleas and ticks, we purchased a new shower head, and replaced the rest of the light bulbs in the house with LEDs.
  • Groceries: $69 over budget. This isn’t too awful considering that I included our personal items (soap, detergent, shampoo, etc) in the grocery category this month. To get a better feel for what we’re actually spending on food, I am going to break personal items out into its own budget category for April.
  • Entertainment: $80 over budget. Mr. Daisy went paint balling with some of his friends, we bowled in a tournament, and got ice cream a few times with Little Daisy to celebrate that spring has finally sprung here in the Great Lakes region! Money well spent in my opinion 😉
  • Spending cash$60 over budget. There’s no real reason for this one other than I got a little ATM happy this month. Next month I am going to attempt to track what I spend that cash on because for the life of me I have no idea where it went.
  • Other: $450.00 over budget. Yuck. There were several culprits in this category. Lunches out, dinners out, clothes, wedding shower gifts, other wedding items, and stuff. Stuff that was not vital and completely unnecessary. I didn’t budget it into the Oh $hit category because it wasn’t Oh $hit stuff that came up.

Budget Successes

There is some light at the end of this $1200 over budget month:

  • We were under budget on pet food. My mother in law had some dog food that her dogs didn’t like and it happened to be exactly what we feed ours. Lucky coincidence.
  • Somehow, we were under budget by ~$50 on fuel. We got creative with some fuel perks at our regional grocery store and maybe we just didn’t drive as much. Not sure.

Moving Forward

Like I said, April is going to hold some changes for us in regards to our budget and spending habits. Here are the 5 major action steps for April:

  • We are going to pay ourselves first. Rather than waiting to see what we’ve spent and what’s left at the end of the month, we are going to transfer a set amount of money to savings prior to the spending commencing.
  • We are placing a larger impact on savings vs. debt repayment for the next few months. While we do have some savings put back for an emergency, we both decided that we need more of a reserve. Normally, I would have thrown that $580 remaining after expenses onto a debt. We are going to hold off on extra debt payments until we get an additional $2000 in savings. We set a goal of having this completely by July (which should be simple with Mr. Daisy’s overtime picking up)
  • We are splitting and adding some budget categories.
    • The grocery category is going to include only food. We are going to add a Personal Item category to capture shampoo, conditioner, deodorant etc. I will put detergents, cleaning supplies and the like in the Household Misc. category.
  • I am going to track my spending money. I’m a bit ashamed that I have no idea where my spending money went, which means that it went to unimportant endeavors.
  • We are going to baby step our way into implementing a cash budget for variable expenses. Starting with Entertainment in April, we are going to start using only cash much like Dave Ramsey touts.

Although this month did not go anywhere near what we had planned, I am thankful that we didn’t go negative. (We do have a reserve amount that kept in our checking account because $hit can and will happen)

Monday, I will share more details about our plan for April. Tomorrow, I am so excited to say that I will have a guest post (my first one!) up over at The Frugal Farmer. Laurie has some exciting stuff going on over at her blog for Financial Literacy month so be sure to stop by and check it out!

How did your finances pan out in March?


You can follow Dirt Road Daisy on Pinterest HERE

Related posts:

Budget Setbacks {& how I handle them}

Mid-Month Budget Check-In with Actual Numbers

Our Monthly Budget with Real Numbers


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  1. Erik @ The Mastermind Within | 6th Apr 17

    Looking forward to reading your content on Frugal Famer 🙂 Laurie has some great stuff as well.

    I was looking at your budget and thought to myself, well at least the Oh Sh*t column didn’t get hit 🙂 Best of luck in April

  2. Troy @ Market History | 7th Apr 17

    March wasn’t a great month for me. Although I don’t stick to a fixed budget per month, I have a general idea of how much I want to spend each month. I had a bunch of large miscellaneous expenses which put me several thousand dollars above budget! April doesn’t look like it’ll be much better either. I just broke my surfboard while out surfing on big waves, so I’ll probably need to spend $800 on a new one.

    • Mrs. Daisy | 7th Apr 17

      Ouch, Troy! But on the bright side, at least you are fortunate to have a couple thousand dollar surplus to be able to cover those unexpected items! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer | 8th Apr 17

    I love that you guys are being so honest about your spending fails. Good for you for facing up to the facts. If it makes you feel any better, our March was the same way and we’ll have extra expenses in April as well. Beefing up the savings account is a good idea. We are doing the same. When those extra expenses come, it feels so good knowing you can pay for them with cash.

  4. Francesca - From Pennies to Pounds | 10th Apr 17

    Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your real numbers with us. Holy moley, you guys get some great income! I wish that ours was even half of that 🙂 what do you do for work?

    • Mrs. Daisy | 10th Apr 17

      Hi Francesca – thank you for your kind comment! I’m a Biochemist in the food, beverage, and nutritional supplement industry. I work in a research and development facility running the compliance and regulatory department. I’m very grateful for my income yes, but the student loans I took out to make this income make me question if it was worth it 😉

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