Another month has flown by! It’s time again to make our personal finances public by sharing exactly what we earned, spent, and paid on our debt during November. We had a good income in October, which we used to pay November expenses, since we keep a one-month buffer.
We are planning on a rockin’ 2016 in order to polish off this student loan debt. Yep, that’s a lofty goal, but we aren’t giving up.
During November, we put $2,808 toward student loans. Since we put $2,000 toward our new van fund, (as you’ll see below) our payment wasn’t quite where it needs to be to reach our goal of being debt free by December 2016. The good news is that if we didn’t have the van expense, we would be on target with a payment over $4,500 (which is what we will need to reach our goal).
Also worthy of note (in case anyone out there is double-checking all of our calculations from month to month), is that our debt remaining was reduced by a little bit more than we paid. Yes, you read that right. For three of our loans (each around $7500), the total payoff amount fluctuates each month. It would make sense that they would keep going up a little each month because of interest, but these changes are inconsistent and inexplicable, sometimes going down when we don’t pay anything on the loan, sometimes going up an unusual rates. It might be happening to you too. If you don’t keep a record of your payoff amount at the end of each month you would never know. Student loan servicers (at least ours) have lame historical record capabilities, so if you aren’t keeping track of this data, you likely won’t be able to retrieve the information.
Our total net income for November was $6,639. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we haven’t touched yet. We will budget and spend it in December.
Attorney Income (Day Job)– $5,117 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. I show what we spent on these benefits below.
Attorney Income (Private Practice)– $0 We had some big expenses this month including a new scanner (which he says is absolutely fantastic) and malpractice insurance. We also didn’t get any invoices out until the end of the month. We’re also still trying to figure out the logistics of how we’ll get the business budget a month ahead and how we will keep the books (in YNAB of course). It’s pretty complicated with all the different accounts required for attorneys to hold cost retainers and fee retainers. I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say it gave me a royal headache figuring it all out the other day. I’m still not ready to talk about it. The bottom line is that, although the office received income, we didn’t take a paycheck this month.
My Income (Blog)– $1,514 This is just blogging income since my Etsy shop is on vacation right now. Taxes have not been taken out, but normal blogging expenses have. My husband and I file jointly, so his tax withholding takes care of my tax liability and I don’t have to file quarterly estimated taxes.
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. If you’re interested in more details of my blogging income, as well as other blogging tips and resources, you can sign up for my Behind-the-Scenes Blogging emails.
Other Income– $87 We got another refund check from our old insurance company. We’re not sure why we got this one. We’ll take it though! We may have overpaid something when our daughter was born in April. For those who are wondering about my income from my #FiverrHustle gig, I haven’t withdrawn it from my account yet, so it’s just accruing there. You can get a little update in my post from Monday though.
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 November came from the income we earned in October. In addition to the debt payment above, here’s how we spent money in November:
Other Giving– $20 Other charitable donations this month.
Mortgage/Rent– $0 We appreciate living in my in-laws’ unfinished basement for free. This opportunity has motivated us to buckle down on all areas of our budget so we can have this unusual rent-free time make the biggest impact 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– $37.50 We switched our Republic Wireless phones to the new Republic Refund plans. For $18.75 (that’s after taxes) we each get unlimited calls and texts, unlimited WiFi data, and .5GB of cell data. Whatever we don’t use will be refunded and used as a credit toward next month’s bill. I was used to only having data on WiFi with the old $10 plan, but it has already come in handy to have data when I’m on-the-go. You can read about getting refunded for cell data you don’t use here.
Health Insurance– $0 Okay, this one is kind of complicated to explain. We are still kind of in transition here with the new paychecks here. Feel free to skip the gory details below and save yourself the headache that will follow.
Our new insurance coverage became effective in October, but the state didn’t start taking it out until November’s paycheck, which we won’t budget until next month. For the record, it will be $665 per month. Since they take the insurance premium right out of my husband’s paycheck, we technically paid it in November, but since we live on last month’s income that check won’t hit the active budget until next month. It is complicated enough handling the expenses and benefits that come out of the paycheck before we get it (so that you can see what’s going on), that I don’t want to make unnecessary complications by “paying” health insurance on the books this month when we’re not using that check (and the benefits it carries with it) until next month. Confused? I know the feeling. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. From December until the next insurance premium increase, health insurance will be $665.
Car Insurance– $150 We still have insurance on all three vehicles. Ugh. Once again, I thought we would have the van situation resolved by now. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ll spare you all the details for fear this first world problem will sound complain-y. I’m back to driving the purple van that has expired plates because the red van died on me. Thankfully it was very close to home, but on a winding road, it’s scary to lose power steering.
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.
Life Insurance Premiums– $678 On a normal budget, we’d put away a bit of this each month so when the premium came due we would have the full amount without scrambling. While YNAB makes this easy, we have opted to do things differently during our super debt payoff mode. We just pay it entirely as part of November’s expenses each year.
Food– $275 The frugal highlight of the food budget this month was when I found 2 pound blocks of mozzarella cheese for $1.99. They were reduced because the “sell by” or “best by” date was in less than a week. Knowing that unopened cheese is good well past its date and also that you can freeze cheese, I didn’t hesitate to load up my cart. I bought 14 blocks of cheese (and another 12 or so for my mother-in-law). Some of it we’re using fresh, but most of it I shredded (or cut into sticks) and froze. Other than that, our groceries were the standard ingredients. 🙂
Gas– $333 Hooray for another low gas month! I’m hoping this will be our new normal. Even with a 1.5 hour commute each way, it is less driving than my husband used to do when he was meeting clients all over the place pretty regularly.
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– $0 I had a little bit of fun money set aside in the budget, but we didn’t end up using it. In a normal budget, I would probably roll that over to the next month’s fun category, but with our super debt payoff budget I empty all “extra” from the categories at the end of the month and put the amount toward debt. (You can read about my method here).
Clothing– $88 I took advantage of the sales to get my husband new dress pants and dress shirts. He used to have to wear a suit everyday, but now he doesn’t have to be quite as formal. I don’t want him to wear out his suit pants (which is what he has been wearing since most of his dress pants are well-worn) since they are more expensive.
I’ve done some clothing shopping for myself and the kids on ThredUp and Schoola, but I haven’t found anything like that for men. I’m sure it’s because people think that men wouldn’t get into buying gently used clothing online, but really, in many cases it’s the wives who do the shopping anyway! Very occasionally I find things for him at the thrift store, but it is rare because he is super tall. I also got him and the kids some surprise clothing items, but those fall within the Christmas budget/allotted funds.
Household– $57 I added four more kitchen storage containers of the kind I mentioned last month. I got some normal toiletries. I also bought the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle on the flash sale at the beginning of the month (it’s no longer available, but I can let you know when the next one comes out).
Medical– $15 A copay for an office visit for the littlest one.
Fund for Another New Van– $2,000 We set aside another $2,000 to bring our van fund up to $5,000. In the beginning we were looking for something in the $2-3K range, then after some frustration with what we found, we upped our budget to the $5-6K range. After looking at vans in that range, it was honestly no less frustrating. When it comes to a used vehicle, it seems like it’s a gamble any way you slice it. If we end up getting burned again (which hopefully won’t happen, of course), I’d rather have spent less for it. Plus, we would really like to take a chunk of the money we have saved and throw it at our debt! We’re still keeping options open and definitely praying we’ll find something that works and we’ll know it when we find it. You can read our cost analysis of our last van (not to be confused with the first used car case study).
Registration for Purple Van– $153 We heard back from the vehicle retirement program to say that we needed to pay for the van’s new registration (even though it can’t actually be registered because it won’t pass smog) in order to qualify for the program. Had we known this we would have paid it a long time ago (and not accrued late fees). We’re hoping to hear back from them again before the end of the year since we’re coming up on 120 day since our registration expired (the limit for the retirement program).
Costs of Finding a New Van– $201 We were pretty close to getting a van a couple weeks ago. We went as far as an inspection and getting a Carfax report. In the end, we just didn’t have peace about it. There were some concerns that weren’t resolved. This cost is nothing compared to the cost in time and travel that my husband has spent looking at vans. We’re trying not to fret though. I’m sure there’s something great just around the corner!
Christmas– $100 We added $100 to our Christmas budget. We spent this and some of what we had previously allocated to Christmas.
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.
I just got a cashback statement in my inbox this morning from some Christmas purchases and it got me pretty excited! If you’re going to be shopping online, be sure to use Ebates, Swagbucks, or another cashback site to maximize your savings!
How About You?
- How did your budget go in November?
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