It’s that time of the month where we make our personal finance public! I’m really excited to share with you our successes in February. We had a great month both in debt payoff and in income earned.
I am continually amazed at how the pace of our debt payoff has picked up. We were going slow and steady for a long time, but with our income increasing and our frugal muscles as strong as ever, we are making nice progress. While $38 K of debt remaining should sound daunting, seeing where we’ve come from, it doesn’t really. It’s the home stretch of our enormous goal, which was a huge stretch goal when we made it!
If you are at the beginning of your debt repayment, I encourage you to go back and check out budget reports from our earlier days. You can find all of our previous debt repayment progress reports here. While the numbers won’t be the same as yours, I hope you can be inspired to keep going, even when you don’t feel like you’re making much progress. If you stick to your plans and don’t give up, you will get to the point where you’re running, instead of crawling.
Steadiness is the key. Just keep on truckin’ my debt-smashing friends.
In February we paid off $8,056 in debt! We were pretty excited about paying off debt this month because we brought in a good income last month. At the beginning of the month we put $6,000 toward the loans and were really hoping to have enough of an end-of-the-month payment to not only get us into the thirties (thirty thousands, that is) of debt remaining, but also to pay off a specific loan that we were working on.
Our total net income for February was $16,894. 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 and I can’t wait! 🙂 We will keep our expenses low and be able to knock off a nice chunk of debt.
Attorney Income (Day Job)– $5,140 With Mr. SixFiguresUnder’s new job, in addition to taxes being taken out of his gross earnings, our health insurance, dental, vision, parking, union dues and retirement are taken out. In order to keep consistent and comparable reporting, I add the value of those benefits back in to come up with this income number, although they are deducted from his check before he gets it. His actual take-home pay is $3,762.
Attorney Income (Private Practice)– $9,654 In addition to his job with the state, my husband does legal work for private clients. His income is very variable. This month he got paid for something he has been working on for about a year and a half, which is pretty exciting!
My Income (Blog)– $2,100 The income that I report is the income that I received this month minus all of my blogging expenses. I keep track of both what I earn and what I receive. If you’re interested in the details of my blogging income 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’re interested in starting a money-making blog, check out my complete step-by-step instructions for setting up a self-hosted blog and you can get yours started today.
Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. Our spending in February came from the income we earned in January. In addition to the debt payment above, here’s how we spent money in February:
Other Giving– $40 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 have a skill to barter with.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $29 We switched our Republic Wireless phones to the new Republic Refund plans. With our refund for the data we didn’t use the month before, I ended up paying just over $12 and my husband paid just under $17 for our phones. That includes taxes too! You can read about getting refunded for cell data you don’t use here.
Health Insurance– $739 We have our insurance through my husband’s employer. This is our part of the insurance premium that his employer does not cover. I include dental and visions in this too. You’ll notice that it went up $74. I guess the new year comes with a new price. We actually used the dental portion this month to take three oldest to the dentist and it was so nice to not have to pay anything out of pocket!
Car Insurance– $158 We are insuring three older vehicles. Yes three. You can read about our van drama here. We did make an effort to get rid of the red van this month. We need it to either pass or fail smog so we can get $1,500 through the vehicle retirement program. You can read about that below under smog.
Renters Insurance– $14 We have our renters (and auto) insurance through USAA. It doesn’t cost much and it’s really great to have when you need it.
Food– $271 Since we made a big grocery trip at the end of January, we didn’t make one this month. I did stop by Grocery Outlet more than I normally do, which pretty much made up for it. Still, that $29 that I budgeted for groceries but didn’t use is going toward debt! Every little bit helps!
Gas– $250 This is pretty exciting, as our gas budget a year and a half ago was more than twice that! Gas prices are starting to go up again, but during the month it dropped as low as $1.93! Another reason our total was low was because my husband missed four days of work when he was super sick. 🙁
Parking– $155– Working downtown means paying for parking. It is set up to come straight out of his paycheck, which means it is paid for with pre-tax dollars, a small consolation I suppose.
Fun– $1.61 We got a movie from Redbox for a family movie night. The kids were excited to see Inside Out and the grown-ups enjoyed it too.
Clothing– $24 I bought some clothes for my daughter whose birthday is coming up. Between thrift stores and credit at ThredUp, I don’t spend much on kids’ clothes, but I saw some things she will really love, so they will be birthday surprises for her. One is a pair of overalls. Her brothers have several pairs and she has wanted some since she grew out of her last pair when she was 4. 🙂
Household– $48 I paid for a year’s subscription to the “new” YNAB. We still have and love YNAB4, but I had been receiving lots of questions about what I thought of the new one, so I decided to give it a try. I am curious about some of the new features like “aging” your money. You can get a 34-day free trial, as always. And if you already have YNAB4, you can continue to use it.
Car Repair– $440 I finally brought in the “new” van for an oil change and new brakes (and rotors). We knew it needed new brakes when we bought it. The rotors were a surprise. The mechanic said it looked like the previous owner would just change the pads but never resurface the rotors. We also picked up some coolant for my husband’s car.
Birthdays/Gifts– $46 My oldest is turning 8 this month. I already have gifts for her that I’ve bought over the past several months. She is getting baptized, so I made her a pretty white dress. Spending $23 on fabric is a pretty big splurge (especially since I am pretty clever at getting fabric free or super cheap) and I probably could have purchased a dress for less, but I guess you’d say it’s a family tradition, so it was worth the splurge. My husband took some photos of her and I put together an invitation that had printed and sent to family (most of whom are out of state and won’t be able to attend).
Smog– $60 We took the van in be be smogged this month so we can turn in our application for the program. Well, it didn’t pass OR fail. Either would have been fine, but it couldn’t complete the test! We are still going to apply to the program, but add a letter explaining the issue and hope they’ll still take it. For those of you not from California, without passing smog, we can’t even sell the van because the title can’t be transferred. If the vehicle retirement program denies us, we will donate the van so we can stop paying insurance on it.
Medical– $87 My husband had to go to Urgent Care when he was sick, then get several prescriptions. Thankfully he is better now. The baby girl (who is becoming less and less of a baby every day it seems), was diagnosed with a double ear infection at her well baby check-up, so she got some antibiotics as well.
Retirement– $484 With my husband’s state job we are forced to save for retirement. While we have some retirement savings from our before law school, it’s nice to finally be contributing again. This amount is taken out automatically.
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.
Fees– $79 I saved the worst for last. I’m embarrassed to admit that we had to pay credit card fees this month. It was completely an accident, but a costly one. In last month’s budget planning meeting , when we normally pay all of our bills, the website for one of our credit cards was down, so we couldn’t pay it. And then we forgot! That meant a $25 late fee and $38 in interest. I had to create a new category in our budget this month because this is something we never have to pay! Oh, and I also paid up on a year and a half’s worth of library fines. Wouldn’t want those credit card fees to be lonely in their budget category. 🙁
UPDATE– After all of your helpful comments and emails, my husband called the credit card company. Before he could even finish explaining the situation, they removed the $25 late fee and the $38 of interest! 🙂
How About You?
- How did your budget go in February?
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