May Madness

14 05 2008

Photo courtesy of kerindaj

Hi guys,

Unlike my last post, I haven’t been hiding so much as I’ve been buried with tasks and functions to attend. The month of May is notoriously busy for me each year because of the many birthdays, graduations, weddings and holidays that happen in this lovely mid-spring month!

And of course with this blog being about our personal finance fiascoes, naturally I’m looking at these various events with an emphasis on the cash needed to pull them all off.

So here is what my month of May has looked like so far from a dollars and cents point of view:

May 8th I had to pay $100 out of pocket for a farewell party for my departing manager at work. (The money will be reimbursed, but it will be s-l-o-w in returning to it’s rightful place in my pockets!)

May 9th I had to get fitted for a tux for my cousin’s wedding. (more on that below) I’m a groomsman, and although $150+ isn’t a bad price for a tux rental, timing is everything, and right now timing is TIGHT!! lol

May 11th my wife and I hosted a Birthday/Mother’s Day Dinner at our house for my mother, mother-in-law, godmother, my wife and myself. Though we kept the menu pretty basic, thus keeping costs down, a lot of time, energy and fuel went into researching and gathering the materials used for the event. Let’s say $50 total was put towards the event when accounting for gas.

Ah, yes let’s discuss fuel for a moment… we recently increased the amount of money we budget for gas to $75 a week. That’s up $10 a week from what our traditional consumption has been in the past. ($65) The frustrating part is that we have had to come to grips this on the fly, which is not easy. We kept coming up short in the recent weeks and found ourselves using Blow money on gas. So instead we decided to lower our entertainment fund a bit each month and put the rest towards gas. UGGHHH!!!! An extra $40 a month is now going towards just gas, and that is only so that we can continue to do the minimum amount of traveling possible. From home to work, work to home, and church once a week is our normal routine and now even that is pushing us to our limit. “Gas” is quickly becoming a cuss word in our household. But I digress…

Next up was May 12th, my wife’s birthday… This year my best friend and I joined forces to celebrate our wives’ birthdays together. We did this on the 13th because it was the day between both of their birthdays. I wont get into the details, but basically we cooked and served them a very unique and interesting dinner experience lol. Again here, just as with the Mother’s Day dinner, even though we didn’t go overboard with spending (I must be careful here, she’s my number one reader for this blog lol.) a lot was spent in gas rounding up the items for the menu, etc. oh, and text messaging. (Sorry, you just had to be there to get that.)

So that’s been the month to this point, but even more daunting is the rest of the month to come! My cousin is graduating from medical school on the 19th in Richmond (again gas is the issue), My mother has a birthday on the 23rd, I’m in a wedding in New Jersey on the 25th for the same cousin, and on the 29th my niece is graduating from high school in South Carolina… our mode of transportation will be by car… gas is approaching $4.00/gallon… not to mention that before we can even GET on the road we need to replace the 2 front tires and get an alignment and oil change as well (We’re looking at maybe $250 for those to be done)!! This is why I love and hate May at the same time!!

Whew — calm down Adrian… count it all joy man! (James 1:2)

Ok, sorry about that, i flew off the handle a bit there, I know…

But before I go I’ll leave you with a few stats I’ve compiled for our trip and the estimated costs we’ll be racking up for the sake of family!

Total estimated miles from DC to New Jersey to South Carolina and back to DC: 1650
Total estimated hours of drive time from point to point (not including intra-city driving): 25
Estimated Avg cost of mid-grade fuel per gallon: $3.85 (it will be more expensive in the north and less in the south)
Estimated cost per fill up: $63.14 ($3.85 multiplied by 16.4 gallon tank capacity)
Estimated Avg MPG: 20 (according to, a VERY useful site these days!)
Estimated number of fill ups: 5 (MPG multiplied by Gallons per tank divided by total miles)
Estimated cost of fuel for trip: $315.70 (cost per fill up multiplied by number of fill ups)

Your prayers will be appreciated! @men! lol

The bright side to all of this is that by sticking with the TMM, we started the process of properly budgeting to help defray some of the costs associated with all of these various events and the costs that come with them! And this was all done MONTHS ago, because it’s built into our budget! There is a category for vacations/trips that we set aside money for, and also there is a category for gifts as well. Now I’ll be honest we haven’t done it exactly as Dave Ramsey suggests, but we’ve made a pretty good run at it considering we are still VERY much in the thick weeds phase of defeating our debt!

I for one am proud though, because 12 months ago, I would’ve just as quickly suggested skipping a mortgage payment so that we could make this trip and all the rest of May Madness happen as planned. The Total Money Makeover, really shows us how we are growing in our financial maturity…. and it will give us plenty to talk reminisce on when we finally take our first “paid in full” trip once the debt is gone!

@men to that too!!





2 responses

19 05 2008

I can relate to your May madness. Like you we have my husband’s birthday, our anniversary, both of my brother’s birthdays, mothers day and the list goes on. Like you we recently increased our monthly budget for gas by $50. It was painful but we had no choice. One good thing, I just found out from my boss that I can work from home twice a week, probably starting in June. That will save on gas. I work 17 miles (34 miles roundtrip) from my job. God is always watching out for us.

One good thing you did was start budgeting for your trips and gifts. We also are doing that and it makes a big difference. Our struggle now with the TMM(total money makeover) is working on the 6 months of savings/emergency fund. We are on Baby step 3. We have about 2 months of savings now but it is slowly dwindling as we are expecting a child in the fall and trying to prepare the nursery. Is preparing the home for our child really an emergency? This is one thing we didn’t budget for but I am thankful that we do have this fund so we are not using our credit cards!

Stay strong, keep pushing toward your goal of being debt free. It will happen!


19 05 2008
Adrian Wright

Tina, you said it best! God is ALWAYS watching out for us! Thank you so much for your comment.

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