Did you notice that the title of my monthly report is now “Budget Report” instead of “Debt Repayment Progress Report.” I’m pretty excited about that. If nothing else, it’s a shorter title!
Even with our debt paid off, I’ll still be sharing with you all our monthly earning and spending. It really does keep me accountable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve avoided a purchase because I thought “I don’t want to have to tell my readers about this!” We’re committed to transparency here as we make personal finance public.
Speaking of transparency, I added a new series to the blog in August called Frugal Feats, Flops, and Funnies. Each Friday (well, except for days like today when a monthly update falls on a Friday), I’ll be sharing details of my frugal adventures during the past week. I’d love to have you share your own frugal feats, flops and funnies in the comments, too, so we can laugh and learn together. If you had some in mind for today, just save them for next week. I’ll be excited to hear them.
Okay friends! Moving on to the numbers
Now that we’re done paying of our debt, which totaled a whopping $144,000, we are working toward some new goals. Initially, we have some intermediate goals totaling $33,000 that address things we’ve while on our crazy-focused debt payoff adventure, like saving for vehicle replacements, putting money toward retirement and taking advantage of tax-reduction strategies (more on that here). You can read about our pre-house goals in detail here. We want to knock these goals out before the end of the year.
We starting saving toward these goals in July after making our final debt payment and paying for our family debt-free reward (you can see our reward at the bottom of July’s report). This month we put an additional $6,278 into our pre-house goal fund, which brings our total to $8,673, or 26% percent of our goal.
Our total net income for August was $9,509. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we haven’t used yet. We will be budgeting and spending it in September.
Attorney Income (Day Job)– $5,141 Mr. SixFiguresUnder has been working full-time as an attorney for the state of California since the fall of 2015. His actual take-home pay is $3,778, but I add back in the cost of the benefits (insurance, dental, vision, parking, union dues and retirement) that are automatically taken out of his check so that I can show them to you in our budget below.
Attorney Income (Private Practice)– $1,837 On top of working full-time (and a three-hour round-trip commute), my husband has his own private law practice on the side. He will go back to working just one job in the future, but hasn’t decided exactly how it will be arranged. His practice paid some annual business expenses this month, which reduced the profit distribution, and he’s behind on collecting on bills again, one of the struggles of doing everything solo. Hopefully next month this will be up again.
My Income (Blog)– $2,531 The income that I report is the income that I received this month minus all of my blogging expenses. Well, all of my expenses except taxes. We will deal with that one later (and it’s going to be painful).
If you’re interested in the details of my blogging income and expenses as well as other blogging tips and resources, you can sign up for my Behind-the-Scenes Blogging emails to get the scoop. If you want to start your own money-making blog, check out my complete step-by-step instructions for setting up a self-hosted blog.
Other Giving– $120 Other charitable donations this month.
Mortgage/Rent– $0 Living in my in-laws’ unfinished basement is a huge blessing. I don’t expect everyone to do what we do, but for us, it’s worth sacrificing some comforts and privacy to pay off our debt faster. If you are considering living with family, here are some things to consider.
Internet– $0 Thanks to some legal work that my husband did for our service provider, we will have free internet for a while. It’s nice to stretch our budget by bartering, though we will still pay income tax on the fair market value of Internet service at tax time next year.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $30 We’ve been using Republic Wireless as our cell phone carrier for over two years now. This includes both my husband’s phone and mine, along with the taxes. If your cell phone bill is killing you, I definitely recommend that you check them out!.
Health Insurance– $739 We have insurance through my husband’s employer. This is the portion of the insurance premium that his employer does not cover. It includes dental and vision insurance premiums too. The portion that comes out of his paycheck will be going down next month.
Car Insurance– $107 We insure two older vehicles (both 1997). Our auto insurance at USAA is great. In addition to the wonderful coverage, they also give us dividends at the end of the year, which is always a nice treat.
Renters Insurance– $14 Our renters insurance is also through USAA. It doesn’t cost much and it’s really great to have when you need it, like when my husband’s car was broken into a couple of years ago. Car insurance covered the car damage and vehicle related items, but it was our renters insurance that covered his personal property.
Food– $417 I obviously struggled with the grocery budget this month, but honestly I didn’t know it until the end. I had gotten lazy at entering the grocery transactions in YNAB and trusted my brain to track my spending. This is why you need to track your expenses, because you’ll go $100 over your grocery budget without even realizing it. Had I been entering my transactions like a good girl, I would have known when to stop! 🙂
If you are struggling to get your grocery budget down, I definitely recommend the Grocery Budget Makeover. It’s only available a couple of times a year, but one of them happens to be now!
Gas– $361 While this gas budget might look outrageous to some, it actually makes me smile. When I started Six Figures Under gas prices were much higher and some months we were over $500. I like this range better. Gas around here is around $2.39 per gallon.
Parking– $155 Working downtown means paying for parking. It comes straight out of my husband’s paycheck, which means it is paid for with pre-tax dollars, a small consolation I suppose.
Clothing– $105 This is mostly due to buying new shoes for all the kids before the new school year.
Household– $66 I purchased school supplies, toiletries, sandwich bags, and a few other miscellaneous household necessities.
Entertainment– $6 We watched several movies on VidAngel and grabbed a Redbox once.
Car Repair– $17 My husband got a new headlight for his car on Amazon and replaced it himself. The story of the busted headlight was what sparked this frugal funny.
Car Registration/Smog– $50 Well we didn’t quite make it to the registration because Mr. SixFiguresUnder’s car didn’t pass smog on the first attempt. He has an appointment to get the car fixed next week. At that point he can do a free smog re-test, then finally get his car registered. (More on this here).
Medical– $15 A standard co-pay for a doctor visit.
Retirement– $484 With my husband’s state job, this amount comes directly out of his paycheck and into his state retirement. While we have some retirement savings from before law school, it’s nice to be contributing again.
College Savings– $100 We contribute $25 per month per child to 529 accounts. More on our decision to start saving for college in this post.
And that pretty much covers our finances in August. We’re happy to be making progress toward our pre-house goals, but, as anyone who is working hard toward a goal knows, it never seems to go fast enough. We’re still looking at houses, dreaming, and trying to be patient (and getting a little sick thinking about how much of a down payment we’re going to need).
How About You?
- I’d love to hear about how your budget and/or debt repayment went in August!
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