October was a kind of expensive month. There wasn’t anything in particular that happened, we just let our spending get high (for us) in a lot of categories as you’ll see below. Our debt payment wasn’t very impressive either, but we’re not losing momentum.
Isn’t it crazy that $58K could feel like the “home stretch?”
We have 14 months left of our big goal of getting the rest of our debt paid off. At this point, a lot of that will have to come from making more money. Saving money and being frugal is important, but it’s only half of the equation. We still plan on reaching our goal, though we’re not sure exactly how it’s going to happen since it doesn’t quite work out on paper.
During October, we put $1,383 toward student loans. This is a pretty low payment for us, but that’s because we put nearly the same amount toward our new van fund. We’re really close to finishing off one of our loans (next month for sure), which is always exciting!
Our total net income for October was $8,418. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we haven’t touched yet. We will budget and spend it in November.
Attorney Income (Day Job)– $4,937 With Mr. SixFiguresUnder’s new job, he gets paid at the beginning of the month for the previous month. At the beginning of October he was paid for all of September. They also automatically deduct things like health and dental insurance, parking, and retirement. For the sake of consistency with the way we have been reporting income for the past couple years, I will be taking the check amount and adding in the amount that is automatically deducted for benefits, parking etc, so the income I report will include all the expenses that are automatically taken out, then I will report the individual expenses below.
Mr. SixFiguresUnder didn’t get any commission checks from his old job, though he should have as client payments for the work he did are slowly trickling in. We’ll have to look into that.
Attorney Income (Private Practice)– $800 I had fun setting up a separate business budget for him in YNAB and I’m eager to see how his budget works in more than just theory. Most of this month’s earnings went toward a buffer in the account. It’s kind of arbitrary at this point, but we decided to leave $2,000 in his business checking account. At the end of each month after paying any business-related bills, we will take whatever there is in excess of $2,000 and transfer it to our personal checking account as income. This month we took $800 of earnings from Mr. SixFiguresUnder’s private law practice as his”paycheck.”
As for the business, it is taking more time than he has right now. He has a backlog of work that he is catching up on. With a couple of holiday days (from his day job) in November, along with a “personal development” day scheduled, he should make some headway.
My Income (Blog)– $2,437 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– $244 We got over $200 back from our health insurance plan. The Affordable Care Act requires most plans offered on the state insurance exchange to pay at least 80% of the insurance premiums collected each year back out to plan enrollees in healthcare claims and related expenses. This is called the plan’s medical loss ratio. Since our insurance plan didn’t pay out as much of the premiums as expected, it wrote us a premium refund check to keep it compliant with the max medical loss ratio for the year. I also finally withdrew my $34 from a diet contest of several months ago. I paid $25 to participate and then everyone who lost 4% of their weight split the pot. I ended up with a total of additional $9.
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 October came from the income we earned in September. In addition to the debt payment above, here’s how we spent money in October:
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– $39 We both have smartphones through Republic Wireless (you can read my review here). My phone has unlimited talk, text and WiFi data for just over $11 after tax. My husband doesn’t have WiFi access at work, so he has the $25 plan that has 5GB of 3G data.
Health Insurance– $151 We were double insured this month. We weren’t sure if the enrollment in the plan through my husband’s new job would come through since he signed up right at the end of last month, so we kept our Covered California plan for October. Unfortunately, the new insurance cost didn’t come out of his check like it should have (I think it’s something like $700/month). I’m afraid this means that next month there will be two months’ worth of premiums deducted from his check.
Car Insurance– $150 We still have insurance on all three vehicles. We were really hoping to have the van situation worked out by now. We are still waiting to hear about the “retiring” the purple van that won’t pass smog, putting in a new 10 amp fuse every time we need to start the red van, and looking (not so) patiently for a new van.
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– $289 I spent the majority of our food budget in the first two weeks of the month, so the last half of the month kind of felt like a “no-spend” month.
Gas– $372 I kind of panicked when I saw this number during our budget meeting because it is so low for us! I thought surely we had missed a transaction or something. We had just reconciled our accounts, so I know we didn’t miss anything. I guess it makes a big difference that my husband just drives to work (granted it’s 1.5 hours each way) and stays there all day. When he was at the small firm he drove between a couple of offices, met clients at their home, appeared in court, filed things, etc. I guess that all added up.
Parking– $155– Working downtown means paying for parking. It is set up to come straight out of his paycheck, which means it is purchased with pre-tax dollars, which is a nice consolation I suppose.
Fun– $57 One Saturday when my husband had a million things to do for his law practice, we got pizza and a Redbox movie and let the kids watch it at the office while he and I worked on getting some things taken care of for his business (now he only had 999,997 things left). I also threw our Halloween expenses in this category, which included a couple small things we needed for costumes, treats to share with their school classes, and some (mom) candy.
I took my kids to the school’s Halloween carnival. It’s a fundraiser that’s not icky, so I figured we should support it. The kids were super excited about it and had a fun time.
Clothing– $70 The clothing spending this month was a little out of control. I made a trip into my favorite thrift store (an hour away) and got (mostly) kids clothes. Also, now that my husband doesn’t have to wear a suit everyday he needs some dress pants. All of his dress pants are pretty well-worn, so he has been wearing his suit pants. I don’t want his suit pants to wear out, so I insisted on getting him some new pants. I had a Land’s End gift card that had $42 on it, so I ordered two pairs of dress pants and paid the remaining balance (something like $30). After I completed my order, they emailed me a $25 off $75 coupon. Argh! If only I had had that before I purchased, I would have spent much less out of pocket!
Household– $125 We definitely spent more here than normal too. At the beginning of the month we restocked our toilet paper stash and got some paper towels, freezer bags, and the like. My younger son turned 4 this month, so he moved from a 5 point harness to a booster seat. It’s become a tradition that the kids get a booster seat for their birthday and I must say he was thrilled (he also got Legos and a couple of shirts).
I made my first ePantry order with a $10 ePantry credit. They now carry some things we use regularly, like the Tom’s toothpaste that my picky toothpaste connoisseurs require. Now I have no *legitimate* reason to go to Target, which is the place I bought it before. I also got some liquid castille soap, which I want to use for some DIY homemade products.
I have been longing for containers for my flour, sugar, oats, etc that fit in the space I have for them and all match. We have quite an assortment now, including old ice cream buckets! I had decided on some and got three of them (all they had in stock). I plan to get another three next month. I am so excited!! It’s the little things.
Car Repair– $21 We didn’t pay for any normal repairs this month, but we did pay $21 in 10 amp fuses. The van goes through one every time I start the ignition. After buying fuses locally, we found that we can get them in bulk for waaay cheaper (like 90% savings)! Still we hope to be done with this game soon.
Fund for Another New Van– $1,346 At the beginning of the month we took what would have been our beginning-of-the-month debt payment and put half of it toward our new van fund. The current total of this fund is $3,000. We’ll put another chunk toward a new van in November (and hopefully buy one!). Hopefully we will be able to get $1,500 for “retiring” the purple van. If you missed the story of the van drama, you can read our cost analysis of our last van (not to be confused with the first used car case study).
Christmas– $127 I ordered three $49 Kindle Fire Tablets for Christmas (one for the kids to share, one for my husband, and one for me). I used some amazon credit I had from Swagbucks that lowered the cost. It pays to wait to buy electronic gadgets. Once they’re standard, the price goes way down!
Law Practice– $0 I used to report these costs in our family budget when my husband worked at the small firm but still had costs of his own. Now that he’s all official with his part-time law firm, we take care of all those expenses over in the business budget!
Retirement– $50 It’s kind of nice to be 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 really small because it’s based on the check he got last month, which was for his first 4 days of work.
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.
Two Special Announcements
The KitchenAid giveaway that I’m hosting in celebration of Six Figures Under’s 2nd birthday ends tonight (Monday) at midnight. If you haven’t entered yet, be sure to do so. A brand spankin’ new KitchenAid in the color of your choice sounds like a pretty nice pre-Christmas gift to yourself (or you could be nice and share it, too)!
How About You?
- How did your budget go in October?
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