Over the course of month one we have had some growing pains and great learning experiences. Here is a snapshot of where we stand after one month:
- Oil Change and new headlight for the Car
- Extra week of Food...oops :( A new post to come on how to eat for 2 weeks on $41.20 and what's in the cupboards. I will post an update next week.
- Sold our Billy Joel tickets for NYC to Nick's Mom- don't feel too bad for us, we are still keeping our tickets to see him at Nat's park in DC.
- Nick got overtime this month :) Go NICK!!
- $25 Cash from our Credit Card points
We spent our entertainment fund on a nice lunch at Mount Vernon's Tavern and also signed up for the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, NY. This will be our fourth year participating in the race! Both purchases were well worth our play money for the month.
One of our line items in our monthly budget is personal money. Being able to place a little income in our personal accounts helps to alleviate a little pressure on a tight shared budget. We can spend money on something we individually want, versus a group purchase. This could be a fun beer, in Nick's case, or going out for coffee in my case.
When budgeting, I offered to pay my gym membership out of my personal money; however, after watching Nick make a bunch of small purchases, I've got to say I got a bit jealous at the fact that more then half of my personal income was tied up in my gym membership. I decided to brings this up to Nick and make the case that my physical and mental health is a group benefit; therefore I should be able to consider my gym membership, aka myself, a group expense :) Let me just say, I did not expect to win this argument, and my LOVING husband saw through my crap but still agreed that my fitness was a group benefit. At the end of the day, we agreed that I would decrease my personal money slightly and the rest of my membership would be supplemented by our budget! Let's just say this "argument" lead to plenty of laughs :)
Lessons Learned/Tweaks to April 2014:
I think the biggest tweaks deal with adjustments in our budget. We need to breakout our costs out a little more to help us better manage where we spend our money. For example, in weekly expenses we had "Weekly Expenses," it has now been broken down into groceries, laundry, and short-term savings.
We upped our short-term savings money to include "unexpected" costs that are not so unexpected. For example, we need to get a oil change every three months, our monthly medicine expenses, an upcoming summer weekend away, and holiday expenses. None of these items are truly unexpected, so we tweaked the budget to put money aside for these foreseeable items. Saving 10 bucks a month for an oil change will allow us to be sure we have $30 every 3 months without sacrificing on groceries or our entertainment budget line.
Total Payment to Debt: $745. 75, on top of our minimum payments
Current Debt: $172,738.81
* This number will look lower then the $745.75 payment from our first debt amount of $180,000. Over the course of the month, we decided to use a portion of our savings to pay off our credit cards immediately and focus solely on the student loans. Though this does put us at greater risk if something happens, we determined this is the best option for us at this time. Therefore, after we complete our debt elimination, a new counter will be started for our savings. At this point, our savings has enough to cover expenses for about a month... Scary, but also motivation to get moving on our debt so that we can get moving back to savings.
I think that about does it for the month. We are SUPER excited to have put $745 on-top of our minimum payments toward our student loan debt!
We have a total of 36 Student Loans. They range from a principal balance of $928.85 to $13,754.66.
So to help Nick and I stay motivated, we will also be listing our countdown by remaining Student Loans. Some will take 2 months others 8-10 months, but in the end they will ALL be paid off :)