It’s that time again when I share our real budget numbers with you– everything we earned, spent, and paid in debt last month. I have been transparently sharing our finances for two and a half years now. And let me tell you– we have come a long way!
When we started this journey, our income was about one third of what it is now. There was no blogging side income and my husband didn’t have side income either. When I added up all the numbers this month, I was pretty shocked. That side income makes a big difference!
I have never felt like a “disclaimer” was necessary on these reports, but this time I’m a little worried that our income might make some of you feel like you can no longer relate to us. Our income isn’t outrageous, but it has grown considerably since we started out a couple of years ago with a pre-tax salary of $39K. Making steady progress on paying off our student loan debt on a salary one-third of the size of our debt was encouraging to many of you who are in a similar situation.
From the beginning, we knew that we had to increase our income to make reaching our goal possible. When I announced our initial goal, I got naysayers telling me that I obviously couldn’t do math because it was impossible to pay off $100K in 3 years on an annual income of $39K. Having people mock our goal just got me more fired up and motivated.
I hope that this report will show you that when you put your mind to something, you really can reach your goals. We’re not there yet, but we’re happy with our progress and know that we can achieve our goal.
My advice is to get your expenses low (my book will help you) and do whatever you can to increase your income. As you’ll see, our expenses have not changed much from when we were making under $40K. In fact, some of them have even gone down. I hope that making our personal finances public will encourage you to reduce your expenses and increase your income too.
Here goes! Let’s see how our earning and spending looked in January. We’ll start with debt payoff.
In January we paid off $2,866 in debt! We are really close to knocking out another loan which is exciting! This is the year we’re going to finish off the rest of our debt! Our goal is to be done by December, but I’m secretly hoping that we can do it sooner.
Our total net income for January was $10,473. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we haven’t touched yet. We will budget and spend it in February.
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)– $2,990 In addition to his job with the state, my husband does estate planning, small business, and real estate work for private clients. His income is very variable. Some of the work gets paid up front, and some he won’t see for over a year after the work has begun.
My Income (Blog)– $2,286 This is just blogging income since my Etsy shop is still on vacation right now. I have already taken out my expenses (besides taxes), which were higher than normal because I bought a ticket to FinCon!
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.
Other Income– $57 I earned a bit of income selling some old sewing patterns. They’ve been passively listed for sale for a while, but I had two (high-priced ones) that sold in January.
Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. Our spending in January came 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 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.
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– $24.85 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 $11.72 and my husband paid $13.13 for our phones. That includes taxes too! You can read about getting refunded for cell data you don’t use here.
Health Insurance– $665 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.
Car Insurance– $158 We are insuring three older vehicles. Yep, the crazy red van is still on there. Stay tuned.
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– $307 We went slightly over our normal $300 budget this month, which is kind of crazy because we didn’t spend anything on groceries for the first two weeks of the month! I guess by that point we were out of everything. We should be pretty set for a good part of February though, so I’m planning for a low grocery budget in February.
Gas– $316 Hooray for gas prices going down! Gas is down to $2.24 here! With my husband’s long commute, gas prices make a big impact on our budget.
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– $9 I went out to lunch with friends to celebrate my a friend’s upcoming baby.
Clothing– $28 I was in Sacramento near one of my favorite thrift stores. Since I don’t get there very often, I stopped in. I found several nice pairs of shoes for the kids and a pair of dress shoes for my husband, along with some other kids clothing.
Household– $166 This is super high this month. Mostly because we bought new hair clippers and accessories. We take care of haircuts at home for all of us (but the clippers are just for the boys!), which saves loads of money. Our other clippers bit the dust though. We also bought some texture and primer to finish a wall in our basement abode. Pretty exciting. Of course there are normal toiletries too.
Gifts– $23 We attended a triple birthday for three nieces (all in the same family).
Car registration– $90 The registration was due for the crazy red van. We will be taking it to fail smog (we assume) this month. Then the plan is to retire it (in other words, collect $1,500). If by some odd chance it passes smog, I have someone who wants to buy it (and has been asking to do so for months now). So either way it’s a win. But the registration needs to be current in either case.
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.
How About You?
- How did your budget go in January?
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