It’s time for a monthly check-up to account for how we are doing on our big fat goal. In order to pay off our remaining debt by the end of 2016, we will need to put just over $3,000 per month toward our student loans. We know that this is an audacious goal, considering that my husband makes only slightly more than that $3,000 each month.
I am happy to report that we put $2,800 toward our debt in September! While this isn’t as high as our goal of “just over $3,000,” it is very close and almost seems impossible when you crunch the numbers.
For the sake of accountability and record-keeping, as well as keeping this transparent for readers who are in similar situations, I will give you all the numbers. You may notice that they don’t quite add up (the income doesn’t look like it covers all the expenses). There are several reasons for this.
The main reason for the apparent discrepancy between income and spending is that we use credit cards for almost all purchases. We count the expense in the month it was incurred (the month we swiped the card) but we don’t actually pay for it until the next month when the statement comes due. I know many people are dead set against any credit card use, but because we never carry a balance on the cards, we never pay interest or fees. We just let the card company provide a no interest loan each month until the statement due date.
Regular: $3083 (after taxes) This is par for the course. This won’t change until Mr SixFiguresUnder’s draw is renegotiated.
Etsy: $705– This is the most I have ever made in a single month. Hooray! What a blessing! For the past year, I have averaged around $400 a month, so this is a nice jump up. Now I just need to keep it like this.
Ebay: $90– I didn’t list many new things this month, just relisted some “Buy it Now” (30-day) listings that hadn’t sold. I have more items to list, but October is already going to be a busy month.
|Tithing||$350||$408||We pay a full 10% tithe on our income and make a modest monthly donation to help the less fortunate in our area. This is one category where we don’t skimp.|
|Rent/Mortagage||$0||$0||We have a a little basement apartment in my in-law’s house, so we have no expenses here. Since it’s an hour out of town, we do have a higher-than-average gas budget.|
|Gas||$500||$579||Mr SixFiguresUnder was in charge of helping his Boy Scouts with their rummage sale fundraiser, which involved extra driving around in the van to pick up donations and several other un-predicted trips into town. Even with gas prices fluctuating, we are generally right around $475 each month in this category.Note: My husband commutes an hour each way to work. While we could save on gas if we lived closer to work, we save over $1,000/month by not having rent or utilities.|
|Utilities||$0||$0||Once again, thanks to my husband’s generous parents, we have no expenses in this category.|
|Groceries||$300||$244||All spent in just three transactions: WinCo, Sam’s Club, and Grocery Outlet.|
|Gifts||$25||$23||I bought 8 DVDs without cases (Cars, Monsters Inc, etc) on ebay for $23 for my kids for Christmas. Other birthday gifts given this month were all handmade.|
|Clothing||$10||$4||We bought a few things at the thrift store. No dry cleaning this month!|
|Home & Office Supplies||$40||$12||This category include pretty much everything we use at home that isn’t food, from toner to toilet paper.|
|Cell Phones||$20||$20||$10 each for our antique dumbphones. I think this plan is over 10 years old!|
|Health Insurance||$450||$526||Our premiums increased from $396 to $450, but we also had to renew our Farm Bureau membership to keep the policy. Even with the extra once-a-year expense, our policy is still by far cheaper than any comparable plan in the area. However, we now have an annual membership in the Farm Bureau even though our Farm Bureau insurance policy is being discontinued on January 1.|
|Lawyer Marketing||$450||$394||This is one of those areas where we feel some expense is inevitable and even important. Building a client base early not only increases income now, but will continue to strengthen my husband’s practice in the future.|
|Lawyer Marketing Food||$25||$48||This is a special breakout marketing category. Sometimes meeting the right people includes buying food and eating together. This category usually covers a weekly business meeting where my husband has breakfast, but this month he also had another one-off event.|
You may notice that there is no category for entertainment or eating out. That isn’t an oversight. We didn’t eat out and all our entertainment was free.
There you have it! How’s that for personal finance made public?