It’s that time of the month where we make our personal finances public! We report everything we earned, spent, and paid toward debt during the past month. Did February go fast or what?! I guess it is 10% shorter than January, so it’s not just me!
During February, we put $1,999 toward our student loans. For $.07 more, we could have made it a nice round $2,000, but I didn’t realize that until I started typing up this report since it’s split between a beginning and end of the month payment.
It’s nice to see the number for “Debt Remaining” finally be in the 70s! The 6-month goal that we set for ourselves for the Frugal Fresh Start Challenge was to get our remaining debt down to $65,000 by the first week in July. We still have quite a ways to go, but we’re always up for a challenge.
We are still baffled by some of our loan totals. We have a spreadsheet where we track the payoff total of each loan each month because the student loan servicer site is worthless. You’d think that they would make it easy to see your totals, but it’s not. Also, you can’t see any history, like how much interest you accrued in the past month, so we keep track of it ourselves. It has paid off in the past, because we have found obvious errors and reported them. A weird thing this month, is that some of the totals for the loans we aren’t currently paying on went down a little. When we calculate our “debt remaining” we use all of the current payoff amounts, so this also contributed to the decrease.
Our total net income for February was $4,692. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we haven’t touched yet. We will budget and spend it in March.
Blog Income– $1,383 This is the income I actually received this month (minus my blogging expenses), which means I earned it a month or two ago (payments always lag a month or two).
Etsy Income– $337 My Etsy shop was just about as busy as I can handle right now, so even though it was below my normal average, I’m fine with that! I may be putting my shop on vacation again soon so I can get ready for our new baby.
Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. Our spending in February comes from the income we earned in January. In addition to the debt payment above, here’s how we spent money in February:
Other Giving– $20 Other charitable donations we made.
Mortgage/Rent– $0 We don’t pay any rent living in my in-laws unfinished basement, but we still keep this category here so that you know we aren’t leaving anything out. Our alternative living arrangement not only frees up money in the budget to put toward debt, but it provides a constant reminder of our goal to get this debt paid off as fast as possible.
Utilities– $0 We try to keep our usage low even though we don’t pay for utilities. We do pay for extra internet bandwidth, but it comes out as a blogging expense.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $27 We both have smartphones through Republic Wireless (you can read my review here). With tax, each phone (with unlimited talk, text and WiFi data) is around $11. They let you change your plan twice in a month, so when we went on our road trip (more on that in a minute), I upgraded to the $25 plan so I could get 3G data on the road. Then, I switched back to the $10 plan after our trip. The days on the $25 plan were prorated, so instead of being $11 for the month, my phone was $16 for February, which is still such a bargain!
Health Insurance– $156 We have an ACA health insurance plan. We had a private, high deductible plan back when those were allowed. You can read about how the ACA chanaged that.
Car Insurance– $97 We have auto insurance through USAA for our two older vehicles (both 1997) with a $250 deductible.
Renters Insurance– $14 We also have our renters insurance through USAA. It doesn’t cost much and it’s really great to have when you need it.
Food– $237 I set our food budget lower than our normal $300 because I knew we would be out of town for a week. I purchased all the food and snacks for our trip back in January, so I didn’t have to budget for that. We did get some pizza and chicken nuggets on our trip, which is included in our food total. Other than that, we had a grocery trip to Winco, Sam’s Club, and a couple mid-month stops at Grocery Outlet when I was in town.
Gas– $483 Our gas this month included a road trip. We drove 19 hours to visit family for my niece’s 8th birthday and baptism. Thankfully our trip was near the beginning of the month, before gas prices had gone up to what they are now ($2.89 is currently the lowest I’ve seen here). We did have one unfortunate incident that inflated our gas spending. While the gas was pumping, I ran into the bathroom (seriously the first time I have ever left the pump). My husband was in the car on a work call while the kids slept. The auto shut-off on the gas pump didn’t work, so when I came out the van was in a big puddle of gas. Fortunately a bystander came and stopped it. It could have been a lot worse. Learn from my mistake and don’t leave the pump!
Fun– $36 About half of this was to get fabric to make poodle skirts for my daughter and me for a sock hop that we went to. The other half was getting some things for our road trip. It’s amazing the entertainment value a new box of crayons, a clean coloring book and drawing pad have!
Household– $80 We got two new toner cartridges for our home printer (I’m not quite sure why my husband got two). We also got a couple other odds and ends throughout the month.
Gifts/Baby– $100 Last month, I was contacted by DealAction.com to try out their cash back program to possibly add to my roundup of best cash back sites and apps. They offered me $100 to spend to try out their site. When I was deciding if I wanted to accept the offer, I was excited to find that at the Children’s Place and Walmart (and others) the cash back percentage is higher than at the other sites I use! I took advantage of this by getting a couple of baby shower gifts for friends who have babies on the way, as well as some practical things for our baby, new socks for our kids, and a few other things for them to grow into.
Clothing– $50 Half of this was a dry cleaning. The other half was a visit to my favorite thrift store that’s an hour away. We got quite a haul for $25, including a pair of dress shoes for my husband, a winter coat for one of the boys next year, and lots of other great kids clothes for super cheap.
Medical– $210 Just some co-pays.
Car Repair– $103 We got a new car battery for my husband’s car. It was getting kind of ridiculous how often we had to jump it!
Law Practice– $44 We pay personally for my husband’s law practice management software subscription.
Lawyer Marketing– $25 It was my husband’s turn to pay for breakfast at a meeting.
How did your finances go in February? How are you doing on your 6-month goal?
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