We just had our end-of-the month budget planning meeting, so it’s time to give our report! For those who are new here, we make our personal finances public each month by reporting everything we earned, spent, and paid toward debt. I enjoy these monthly posts because they keep me accountable. Readers like an honest peek into someone else’s budget, which can be kind of taboo in regular life.
During January, we put $2,454 toward our student loans. We paid off the loan that we had been working on. Now only five more to go! The one we’re working on now is $15K. I was hoping to get that “debt remaining” number down below $80K, but we didn’t quite make it. It will be nice to see a number in the 70s next month!
Our total net income for December was $4,056. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we will spend in February.
Blog Income– $942 My blog income is down this month. This is the income I actually received this month (it takes a month or two to get paid in some cases). Part of the lower income is due to one of my biggest affiliates pulling their affiliate program in December. From my end-of-January numbers, it looks like February’s income will be back up to normal.
Etsy Income– $142 Part-way through the month I opened my Etsy shop back up. I had closed it during November and December because my things aren’t geared toward Thanksgiving or Christmas and I had a lot of other things going on. January was busy too, so it was nice to have a slow start getting back into Etsy.
Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. Our spending in January comes mostly from the income we earned in December. In addition to the debt payment above, here’s how we spent money in January:
Other Giving– $20 Other charitable donations we made.
Mortgage/Rent– $0 Even though we don’t pay any rent living in my in-laws unfinished basement, 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 don’t pay any utilities either, though we still try to keep our usage low. We do pay for extra internet bandwidth, but it comes out as a blogging expense.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $22 We both have smartphones through Republic Wireless (you can read my review here). With tax, each phone comes out to $10.89 per month. We have referral credits from back when they had a referral program, so we didn’t actually make any payment this month. If you are paying crazy amounts of money for your cell phone, I definitely recommend checking out Republic Wireless.
Health Insurance– $156 Our ACA plan went up a little in the new year.
Car Insurance– $97 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– $259 We stocked up on apples and ham. The apples are from a local orchard that always discounts them in January. We usually can homemade applesauce this time of year, but we canned some homegrown apples in the fall of last year, so we have just been eating lots of apples. I found the ham at Grocery Outlet for a fabulous price, so I got some to freeze. I cubed it up for soup and pizza.
Gas– $267 Gas at our local station is down to $2.25 and it’s even a little cheaper at a few places in town! I know pretty much every other state has it cheaper, but we are still thrilled to see it this low! We had also had week of sickness around here, so my husband missed three days of commuting to work.
Fun– $28 My husband and I went on a date to Olive Garden because we had a $10 off two entrees coupon. Back in our pre- law school days, I would earn Olive Garden gift cards with MyPoints, so we would go regularly. We haven’t been in years and Wowzers! have the prices gone up (and the portions gone down). I expected our coupon to pretty much cover half of our total like it would have in the good old days. On the up-side, our server earned her 20% tip by refilling our salad and breadsticks at least 3 times. The unlimited salad and breadsticks has been our favorite part about Olive Garden over the years. It will be a long time before we go out to eat again though.
Household– $90 We had another high month in this category. Nearly half of it was for “sick supplies” like over-the-counter flu & cold medicine and honey to make a vinegar and honey drink that my husband’s family swears by. We also bought drywall screws for my Christmas present that is still in the works, toilet paper, toothpaste, and new (from the thrift store) sheets for my kids triple bunk beds (for all of you who have asked, I will take pictures soon or at least eventually!).
Clothing– $80 I found another brand new Jos A Bank suit for my husband on eBay for $100. I was helping my mother-in-law look for a suit for my father-in-law in the eBay store I bought from a few months ago. They didn’t have much in his size (he wears a normal size), but I saw a great one in my husband’s size (he wears an odd size because he is really tall). I also returned some kids clothes that I bought on Black Friday.
Law Practice– $77 In addition to the normal $44 for my husband’s law practice management software, he had to pay for parking downtown ($15!) for a seminar and some office supplies.
Lawyer Marketing– $185 Annual dues for a professional organization that my husband is a part of.
Medical– $99 A couple of co-pays from a couple of doctor visits.
Car Maintenance– $377 Repair on van. Nearly $300 of this was already sitting in the car maintenance category (left over from the bear incident), so only a portion came from January’s budget.
All in all, we are happy with how the month turned out.
How did your finances go in January?
Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links. For more info check out my disclosure page.