At the beginning of each month we estimate a preliminary debt payment, leaving enough to cover our estimated expenses for the month and a cushion for unexpected expenses. Usually that’s at least $1,000. Then, at the end of each month, we take whatever is left after actual expenses and make a second student loan payment. This is part of our strategy for maximizing debt repayment every month.
In July, we made our normal $1,000 debt payment at the beginning of the month. That left us about three hundred dollars of cushion over our estimated expenses.
We didn’t get to make an end-of-the-month payment in July. Part of the way through the month, we saw a surprise automatic withdrawal of $697 by our loan servicer, FedLoans Servicing. To make a long story short, we were kicked into normal repayment status because we had not re-certified our income-based repayment status on time. It’s now corrected, but not in time to avoid the $697 withdrawal. While we could have made a final payment of about $300, with some extra expenses this month, we weren’t prepared for the almost $700 of withdrawal.
We were so thankful to be living on last month’s income, so there was plenty of money in our checking account even though July’s budget alone couldn’t cover the unexpected withdrawal. I’ll be writing a post in August about how we handled everything.
Our total amount of debt repayment in July was $1762.
The Debt Remaining number is uncertain. Each month we check our debt totals on the FedLoan Servicing site, and this month we noticed something strange. Neither the site nor the printed statements are ever very straightforward or intuitive, but the way interest was added to several of our loans in July made no sense, and the total amount required to pay off the loans jumped by over $1700. I won’t go into all the details right now, and Mr. SixFiguresUnder will be calling to figure out what happened and get it straightened out, but taking the numbers at their face value, even with the July payment of $1,762, our loan balance only went down $14.
Our total net income for July was: $4,290. For those who are new here, this is income that won’t be spent until August since we live on the last month’s income.
Etsy Income: $ 398–My Etsy income was just under average in July.
Other Income: $923– This income includes blog income and income from selling on Ebay and Amazon.
Tithing–$412 One of the expenses that we never cut out of our budget is a 10% tithe on our income.
Utilities– $0 Utilities are included in our “rent,” but I include them here just so you don’t think I’m forgetting them.
Dumb Phones– $20 We pay my dad $20 per month for our dumb phones that are on his family plan. We will be cancelling these phone thanks to our successful Republic Wireless experiment. In fact my dad, who had an unlimited data plan with AT&T, decided to make the switch to Republic Wireless as well, which will save him over $100/month.
Republic Wireless– $1.70 We signed up for Republic wireless through a link for a $20 service credit (UPDATE: referral program is now expired). We used $10 off for June’s service, $10 for July’s service and had a bill of $1.70 remaining (essentially 2 months of tax). At the beginning of August, we will be getting another Republic Wireless phone!
Health Insurance– $114 This is through our ACA plan. You can read the details here.
Dental– $23 Our dental discount plan. We finally had dentist appointments, so we cancelled this discount plan until we need to go to the dentist again. The plan allows you to cancel and sign back on anytime, which is weird, but nice.
Car Insurance– $97 It’s kind of fun that the insurance for our two ’97 vehicles is $97.
Food– $254 We always set our food category at $300, but we’re usually under during summer months since we have garden produce to eat! In addition, we don’t eat out, we cook from scratch, and we buy in bulk when things are on sale or in season.
Clothing– $29 This was a higher-than-usual clothing month for us considering we didn’t even have any dry cleaning. I bought a few things for the kids here and there. There were some online sales (no minimum shipping plus a percentage off that counted for clearance items), as well as some in-store deals and thrift store finds.
Household– $42 We bought supplies for more homemade laundry detergent, toilet paper, a few toiletries, mascara, and a few random things liked waxed paper and sandwich bags.
Fun– $25 We bought the Frozen soundtrack on iTunes, which the kids have loved! We had enough iTunes credit from an old gift card for half of it. We bought a map from the ranger station and a fishing pole from the thrift store for a family backpacking/camping trip that we took this month (a couple pics from the trip here). I also bought an e-book and a few things for a future sewing project.
Lawyer Marketing– $196 We’re just about done with the monthly fee for a print ad in a monthly publication that costs $160 per month. In addition to that ad, Mr. SixFiguresUnder had to pay dues for a business group and breakfast with a chamber of commerce group.
Law Practice– $44 Monthly subscription to my husband’s law practice management software.
Car Registration– $154 One of our vehicles needed to have its registration renewed along with a smog test. The other car is due for registration next month. Before we started our maximum debt repayment plan we would have broken annual costs like car registration up and set aside 1/12 of the cost each month ($12.83 in this case). Now, rather than letting that money accrue and sit idle for 11 months, we prefer to take care of these expenses the month that they come and just pay off a little less in debt. This works for us because we don’t have minimum payments on our loans, so we can be flexible.
Car Maintenance– $109 It was time for an oil change for the car. Instead of paying for a single oil change, we bought the shop’s special customer card that is good for several oil changes and other services throughout the year. We bought one last year and it more than paid for itself.
Dentist– $706 This was the payment for my dental checkup and the down payment on my husband’s crown and root canal. He had a filling that was cracked and a cavity had formed under it and gotten as far as the root. Two crowns and root canals in one year is painful for the budget, but we’re thankful that everything else looks good for both of us.
Emergency Fund– $0 We were hoping to add another $200 to our emergency fund (currently at $4,594), but with the dental work and the surprise student loan withdrawal, we opted to not add to our emergency fund this month. We keep most of our emergency fund in our Capital One 360 account.
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How did your finances go in July?