We are just seventeen months away from when when we want to have all of our debt paid off. I know the numbers don’t look like that’s possible at this point, but we’re not giving up! Our goal is definitely a stretching goal, as it has never looked possible with the current numbers on paper. We really wanted a goal that would push us. We want to reach our goal as soon as possible so we can move onto saving up for a house.
As you probably already read, we bought a new van this month. I took the opportunity to analyze the total cost of our old van in the four years that we had it. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s experience and opinions on whether or not buying a used car is worth it in the comments. Definitely good food for thought!
Between purchasing a new-to-us vehicle and paying some medical bills from our daughter’s birth, our debt payment was smaller than normal this month. In addition, all of our income was down this month so next month’s debt payment won’t be spectacular either. Even so our motivation and spirits are still up!
During July, we put $1,336 toward our student loans. That’s a pretty low payoff this month. Most of this went toward the 0% APR balance transfer that we’re using to save money on interest. We also had a small amount from SmarterBucks that was credited toward the student loans. When a payment comes from SmarterBucks, it is divided equally between all of your student loans.
There is still some mystery as to what goes on behind the scenes with these student loans. Sometimes the final payoff amount goes up and sometimes it goes down. The interface for the loan servicer is pretty useless, so we have no idea why the payoff amount randomly fluctuates for the four loans we have remaining. If you aren’t tracking yours on your own spreadsheet, you probably wouldn’t notice (and there’s no way to look back and see historical data like that). I definitely recommend tracking your final payoff amount regularly. In our monthly budgeting meeting, we make note of the current payoff amount of each loan (with our servicer, you actually have to click to have the payoff amount of each one be calculated).
Our total net income for July was $4,226. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we haven’t touched yet. We will budget and spend it in August.
Attorney Income– $2,610 July happened to be a low month for attorney income commissions. It just depends on how the cases fall and when the bills come in. In case you missed it, I explained our switch to variable income recently if you’re interested in more details. Next month is looking much better already.
Blog Income– $1,471 This is the income I actually received this month, which means I earned it a month or two ago (payments always lag a month or two). I have already subtracted my blogging expenses, but taxes are not taken out yet.
For those who are curious about how my blogging income breaks down, please sign up for my Behind-the-Scenes Blogging emails. Since most of my readers aren’t bloggers, I’ve decided to share my blogging details (income breakdown, blogging tips, answers to your burning blogging questions, etc) via email instead of here.
Etsy Income– $145 With my blog and baby taking more time, Etsy has taken the back burner, which is fine for now.
We use YNAB (YouNeedABudget) for our budgeting and absolutely adore it. Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. Our spending in July came from the income we earned in June. In addition to the debt payment above, here’s how we spent money in July:
Tithing– $603 This is our normal 10% tithe on our income. We pay tithing at the first of the month on the total income we had the previous month. You can read more about why we pay tithing even though we’re in debt.
Other Giving– $20 Other charitable donations this month.
Mortgage/Rent– $0 For those who are new here, we don’t pay any rent living in my in-laws unfinished basement. This 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.
Internet– $70 We are still loving our unlimited internet! It’s wonderful not having to budget my bandwidth anymore! My in-laws take care of all the other utilities, so this is the only utility we pay and we pay it with a smile.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $22 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. I recently wrote an updated review Republic Wireless: A Year Later.
Health Insurance– $152 Our insurance went down slightly because our subsidy went up when our family size increased in April. I’m sure we’ll end up paying more when it’s all evened out at tax time because we expect to make more money than we did last year.
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– $327 Our weakness this month was stopping by the store to buy popsicles when we were in town on a hot day. We always got more than just a frozen treat, which is the main reason we went over our normal $300 grocery budget. There was also twice when my husband got Subway at work for lunch or dinner. One time he accidentally left his lunch at home and the other night he stayed super late and needed dinner.
Gas– $478 Gas is at $3.29 where we live. We took a small road trip (about 6 hours each way) at the end of the month for a family reunion and memorial service. Other than that, our gas usage was normal. My husband commutes an hour+ each way to work, which would normally be a ridiculous proposition to save money, except it means that we can live in my in-laws’ basement for free.
Fun– $37 There is a theater in town that has $1 matinees for kids during the summer. We saw Muppets Most Wanted. We paid for parking when we went swimming with friends at a great spot on the river in the mountains. There are plenty of places we can swim in rivers for free, but one of our favorite spots has a parking fee. I also put $25 into a pool with others who are trying to lose weight. Everyone who loses 4% of their weight in 4 weeks is considered a winner and gets to split the pot. I succeeded, so I will be getting at least my $25 back, but probably more!
Clothing– $92 My husband needed new running shoes (so he could go running with me!). I found some packages of new kids socks on clearance, so we should be set on socks for a while! I spend $32 at my favorite thrift store mostly on kids clothes. I bought 33 items, so they averaged less than a dollar each. The store has tag colors that are 25% off, 50% off and 75% off. It’s fun for the kids to help me find the 50 and 75% off tags. I even got a few things for myself! I also ordered some things on Schoola with free credit and had to pay tax.
Household– $32 I always wear rubber gloves when I clean or wash dishes, so I stocked up on them when I found the size and style I like. I also bought the ingredients for my homemade laundry detergent and another DIY project I’ll be sharing on the blog soon!
Medical– $1,035 We paid some bills related to the birth of our newest little one.
Baby– $0 I bought some bows, a teething toy, and teething medicine using a gift card that I received as a baby shower gift.
Gifts– $20 We went to a party for two three-year-old girls, so I made them art boxes for gifts. While I was at it, I purchased the supplies to make six more for future kids gifts.
New Van Fund– $1,600 We didn’t have a fund set up for a new van, but knowing that we weren’t going to be spending too much on it, we decided to just buy one with cash and “finance” it through our own budget over two months. Since we’re a month ahead we can do this (similar to how we handle unexpected expenses (method #2), though this expense was not unexpected). We will budget the rest of the van’s cost in next month’s budget
Registration– $158 Registering the new van.
Law Practice– $51 This is the monthly subscription for law practice management software that we pay for out of pocket, as well as paying for parking downtown one day.
College Savings– $100 We contribute $25 per month per kid to 529 accounts. More on our decision to start saving for college in this post.
A Special Treat
For those of you who made it all the way to the end, I have a special treat. I made my first-ever blog video last week for the #MoneyMinute contest. I didn’t hold anything back– I’m in costume and singing about something dear to my heart that you’ve heard me mention many times. If you enjoy it, click the thumbs up under the video to vote for me! Feel free to share! 🙂
How did your finances go in July?
Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links. For more info check out my disclosure page.
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