I can describe May in two words busy and expensive. Water leaks, new HVAC ducts, stove broken all these added to the fun. We have had 2-3 ballgames a week along with church activities and a few end of the year activities. I am sure the next three months will go by quickly but I am so looking forward to them.
Groceries– budget amount is $650. $338.23 this did include some soda stock up. I would like to keep the summer grocery budget down to $300 a month but I am also wanting to maintain a food level so that in September I can reduce the budget again. We will see how things go! But so far we are under budget for all 6 months this year! HUGE success in this area.
Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is $400 a month. $394.89. This month was a huge jump in gas prices plus an oil change. This seems to be the right amount.
Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met! This seems to be working well so no plan change now! We are going back to a more strict use of cash in May. I did excellent on only cash until the last week. But still working well so I am going to continue!
Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. 10 post for the month. My reason is that I worked 40 hours in Guam. This should be the last month of so much work. My plan is to stay at one day a week (Monday) for next school year as well.
Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month. Nope and again I blame Guam.
Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast. I am planning to start a reading program this summer.
Earnings- $25 in gift cards. I have a strong sense that this will need very soon.
No Spend Days- NONE! Yikes 2 months in a row means we need some belt tightening.
I knew May would be busy and I am hopefully to make June less busy and less expensive but we shall see.
March was overall a great month. During the last two weeks, I have been able to reduce my Guam work load by at least half! We also completed a re-fiancé of our mortgage and were able to update and re-build a new square foot garden. We spent a lot of time anticipating our upcoming Disney trip as well. I am very excited and please with all the results.
Groceries– budget amount is $650. We have actually spent $91.84. This is lowest month in a long long time.
Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is $400 a month. Both of our vehicles needed oil changes this month. So ending at $375.32 is a very good thing.
Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met! This seems to be working well so no plans to change now!
Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. 11 post for the month is definitely an improvement but not the goal.
Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month. Nope not even close
Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have been listening to a podcast every day that I drive to work. I should be able to listen to the entire session by June.!
Earnings- $55 in gift cards
No Spend Days- 1
April begins with no credit card debit and a goal to pay off the house and car within 5 years. We finally have arrived at a stable financial place and need to just stay the course and enjoy life!
This is actually a very positive and happy post to make for me. As most already know, interest rates for mortgages are at a historically low right now. We are receiving multiple offers each week to refinance our current mortgage. After some prayers, we decided to check into doing a simple refinancing of our mortgage. We actually did a refinance seven years ago and lowered our rate from 9.99% to 3.85%. I was amazed to learn that we would qualify for an even lower rate, 2.75% to be exact.
We decided that since we have a sizable amount of equity in the house (over100k) that we could also look at paying off credit card debit. We did not see any disadvantage to this as in significantly reduces the interest rate as well as allows us to free up over $1000 a month. Our van was scheduled to be paid off in July but we decided to go ahead and pay it off as well. In total we decided to use about $25,000 in the equity. This allows us to completely pay off our credit cards and the van.
We actually received the proceeds today and we are debit free except for the mortgage and the car we purchased in November. We decided against paying it off as well in order to help establish and build Matt’s credit. It would also have changed the interest rate on the mortgage.
In order to reduce the length of our mortgage from 15 years to 8 years, which is the length that was originally left we will be paying an extra principal payment a month. Our goal is also to pay an extra card payment each month to reduce the length of that payment as well. Finally we are working to establish an emergency fund of 3 months.
We have been working toward this point for several years and it feels good to finally be at a stable place financially.
This year we significantly reduced our food for two reasons. First was COVID 19. Second I had to work for 3 hours! We had wings, weeines and chips in addition to
Our chartouse board
Kendall’s requested veggie tray!
And desert of course!
I usually get this post completed in December and I usually look forward to reviewing and writing it. Well like everything else in 2020, that did not happen. But I am going to take the time to recap the year and my goals and also include what we will be working toward for the next year.
Groceries– 2020 goal was $550 a month. I was able to achieve this goal four times this year, January, August, September and October. We have spent a total of $7578.12 on groceries or an average of $631.51 a month. After review and consideration I am going to increase the budget amount to $650. I will review that all household cleaning products and paper products are included in this amount. For January to kick start the year, I am going to complete a pantry challenge and plan to spend $100 or less for the month.
Auto/ Gas / Insurance: We did separate out our insurance and AAA membership from this budget. I transfer $99 a month to cover our car insurance and AAA membership. AAA is paid on a yearly basis and car insurance is every 6 months. I am proud of myself for being more careful with keeping up with car expenses 2020. We have had several unexpected expenses such as 2 replacement windshields in addition to a $500 deductible for repair of the passenger side of the van. We are using our part of our stimulus money to cover the van deductible but both windshield replacements were included my records. For 2020 we spent an average of $318 a month in auto expenses. My goal for 2021 will be $400 a month with any excess to be applied to debit.
Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met! I do plan to keep using this system as I can see the benefit of it. For the months of January-March an “extra” money will go toward our Disney trip in April to cover the food expenses.
Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is more of an accountability goal for me. I met it this year 5 of 12 months. I am not going to change this goal as I can do it when I have time and focus.
Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to walk 3 times a week. I struggle with this goal. But I know the accountability is important so I am going to change the goal to Exercise of some type at least 10 days a month. This should allow some flexibility and also encourage me just to move.
Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Again this is truly an area that I struggle with. I am going to try and listen to a podcast on my way to work each day. So I am going to change this goal to Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year.
Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.- Currently on #59 GOAL MET!
Earnings- This has decreased significantly over the past several years. In 2014 I could earn $200 a month on a regular basis. In 2020 we struggled to earn $50 a month. I leave this at the bottom just to help me remember every bit helps.
No Spend Days- I am going to add this section each month in order to see if I can get a good rhythm going to saving money by not entering the store!
I spent a good chuck of time yesterday, paying bills, looking at the budget and see where we are and how we move forward. I want to share this December in Review post separately so that it makes it easier for me to comply the information. December was a busy month with a 5 day trip to Disney. I have been using the last week to catch up and stock up for the months ahead.
Gardening- We killed the last basil plant. I do have big plants for the garden in the spring including redoing all of the beds.
Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $683. This does include my stock up trip for soda. Definitely some changes coming next year.
Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $176.50 . I ended up filing two insurance claims for damage on the van. The deer caused the door to need immediate repair but the insurance only wanted to cover half because of the damage when I hit the pole. I filed a separate claim for the pole damage in 2018 and now all repairs will be covered for $500 deductible.
Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. This is finally starting to work and make sense to me.
Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 10 for the month! Working both jobs and life make mean I need to reduce this goal for next year.
Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. We walked at least 5 miles a day at Disney does that count?
Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes! Actually downloaded a pod cast to start listening to on my way to work.
Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.- Currently on #59
Earnings_ $30. Extra money is extra money!