October spending summary: better late than over budget

Since we had a baby last week, updating the site has fallen to the wayside.  In fact, I was planning to post an October spending summary last Saturday, but our first-born daughter Eliza was born on Friday night and we were too busy resting up and celebrating her arrival to spend any time thinking about family finances.

Eliza joins the family. (taken the morning after her birth)

Our October spending was pretty much in line with September’s spending with the notable exception of our medical expenses.  We paid that $670 co-insurance for the prenatal care and birth of Eliza Lynne.  The formula that the insurance company uses is somewhat complicated and the folks at the birth center where Eliza came into the world indicated that $670 is mostly a rough estimate.  It could be more or less, depending on what side of the bed Aetna woke up on when the final bill is submitted.  Of course, we all know that it won’t be less.  (this reminds me that I still need to write a thing or two about the cost and utility of health insurance)

I will make this note about our $670 co-insurance.  Even though it seems like a steaming pile of cash, it is only about 10% of the total price of the prenatal care and birth.  This means that the portion of the bill that we did not have to pay is roughly equal to all the insurance premiums we’ve paid year to date.  Not a bad return on investment for 2012.  Of course, this does make me wonder: how often does the cost of the medical services that our insurer pays for reach the level of premiums that we pay to the insurer?  I’m kind of glad I don’t know the answer to that question.

One more thing about the birth center bill: I’m really curious to get the explanation of benefits from the insurance company to see if they actually pay the full amount we were quoted before we signed the agreement with the birth center.  Or will it be a “negotiated rate” that is lower than we would pay if we self-insured?  Now I’m getting dangerously close to rant mode, which I need to save for a full post down the road. Moving on.

Most of our other spending categories came in lower in October, or just marginally higher.  The only significant increases were the “kids” and grocery categories.  Fortunately for the budget, the increase in groceries was mostly offset by a decrease in dining out.  The spending on kids stemmed from our preparations for the birth of Eliza.

Josiah meets Eliza.

Without further ado then, here is a rundown of October’s spending.  Amounts in bold mean we spent more in that category than last month.

Medical: $730 (!)
Groceries: $337.75
Dining out: $137.07
Gas: $214.2
Entertainment: $22.54
Household: $43.76
Babysitter: $0
Gifts: $76.14
Postage: $27.30
Rent: $1,200.00
Cell phone: $74.00
Fines: $0
Travel: $0
Utilities: $67.65
Auto: $0
Internet: $34.99
Clothes: $40.58
Kids: $41.48
Personal Care: 34.71

Health Insurance: $514
Student Loan: $77.97

October Total: $3,674.15 ($219.60 higher than September)

I take encouragement from the fact that our spending only went up $219 in a month where we had a very unusual one-time medical expense of $670.  It’s almost as if we knew it was coming and got extra frugal for a couple of weeks. I’d like to think we are that clever.

The pile of November receipts is growing.  We need plan to get back to somewhat regular updates soon, if only to keep the receipts from fully colonizing our kitchen counter and refrigerator.


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