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What does a mobile infant, a (somewhat) overlooked celebration, and a less-than-focused attitude have in common?
Two words: Budget. Havoc. We will get more into that later on in this post.
Last month, I talked about our long and short term goals regarding our journey to become debt free and you can get the more in depth look at that here. You also definitely want to check out our debt story for an inside look at why we are going through this process and sharing it with you as we go!
Before I dig into the numbers, here is a recap of our payoff strategy!
Debt Snowball Method
- Arranging debts from smallest to largest (don’t pay attention to interest rates)
- Pay minimums on all debts except for the smallest
- Pay the minimum on the smallest PLUS whatever extra money is available that month
- Once the smallest debt is paid off, take that minimum payment and add it to the next smallest debt minimum payment (this is what begins the “snowball” effect!)
The goal for this month was to pay an additional $650 on our smallest debt, which is a school loan with a balance of approximately $5000. Did we meet it? Nope. But we did manage to pay an additional $400 off and we are so excited about that! Before we started this journey, we would count down the days until the next paycheck would come in since we all but emptied our account on mindless purchases.
Keeping a budget is no easy task. Sometimes we do well and other times we fall short. This month contained more teaching moments than we were “banking” on. *drops mic…crickets….picks it back up*
The biggest areas we can work on is actually our behavior and preparedness. We spent way more on food than we budgeted for because we ate out more often than usual. I think much of that had to do with lack of planning. My husband traveled a bit more this month for his job and because we didn’t take his travel into account when we went to the grocery, he often went through a drive thru. Other times we were together and if we were heading out the door around meal time we told ourselves the convenience of grabbing a quick bite outweighed the $10 or $15 we would spend. Of course, it made sense then but looking back we know we need to do better.
So remember that mobile infant I mentioned at the start of this post? Yeah, she is adorable but you know what isn’t adorable? Having to spend $85 on a new computer charger because said baby is capable of mass destruction. Our first baby was busy but she doesn’t hold a candle to our second. Most days the collateral damage consists of teethmarks in unused k-cups or the once-folded laundry scattered all over the floor, but this particular day E set a new PR. She’s lucky we love her.
We overlooked an important category this month which caused our spending to go over as well. It is C’s birthday at the beginning of next month and for some reason, I overlooked the fact that we would be purchasing items for her party as well as her gifts with the money from our last paycheck in February. $100 later we back on track for her birthday, but off the rails with our spending. She’s so worth it though!
Even though it would have been awesome to tell you our budget went according to plan and we had no mishaps, I am thankful in a way that it didn’t. Not because it gives us an excuse to let things slide next month, but that it gives us the resolve to do better. Sure, it’s nice to pay $400 on debt…really, it feels great but it motivates us even more to try to beat that number!
My husband didn’t travel as much in the month of January and so his mileage compensation was approximately $60. Even though that isn’t a large sum of money I like to think of it in terms of how it is helping us, such as covering a utility bill. It’s something that we WOULD have had to cover if his job didn’t offer that benefit and so I am grateful for it, no matter how small the sum.
Putting It All Together
Our goal for this month was to pay an additional $650 on our debt. We didn’t hit that goal due to a few unforeseen or overlooked expenses and a casual attitude toward eating out. I had also hoped to hit our goal by making some additional money selling unwanted items through a garage sale site, but that was unsuccessful.
As a result, we ended up making an $400 payment to our school loan. Even though it isn’t the best we could do I am still very happy with it and am excited to continue moving forward.
Next month, we continue to tackle our school loan. It has a minimum payment is $88 and we hope to be able to add much more to that total. Our target goal is to pay an additional $700 by the end of March. But because there are few expected variables that will come into play (taxes, bills from a doctor visit this month), this amount can sway either direction. I’m hoping to be able to pay even more!
That’s a wrap for February! Come back next month to see what happens!