Tuesday, February 11, 2014

January Financials

We started off the year not as strong as I would of liked. We only payed 15 dollars extra toward debt on the smallest credit card balance. But we put about 100 dollars in savings. As I thought about that towards the end of the month it didn't truly make sense to me. This may also be attributed to the fact that I have been reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (Finished it just a bit ago actually). For those who aren't familiar, he strongly encourages to have an emergency savings of $1000 and then focus solely on paying off all debt besides mortgage for the first two what he calls baby steps. I agree with many of the principles that Dave talks about but have some conflicting feelings about how the steps work. As we have started this journey to pay off debt, it definitely is making more sense to focus on one thing at a time. For this month I continued the direct deposit into our emergency savings but cancelled all other automatic transfers for savings (our savings accounts are at an online bank so the money is not as easily accessible). Still only planning on paying the $15 dollars extra towards debt though. But if we scrap our car that is officially broken down (sad day,only one vehicle at this point, thankfully have parents with an extra vehicle that they are generously letting us use it) then we may be able to pay off credit card #1 more quickly than anticipated and start throwing more money at credit card #2. The second credit card has a ridiculous interest rate so that would be very exciting. Here are the debt balances as of the beginning of February:

Credit Card #1: $399.54 (-$35.96)
Credit Card #2: $4,211.75 (+$95.29)
Car Loan: $12,737.42 (-$187.33)
Student Loan #1: $25,080.87 (not sure of difference see note)
Student Loan #2: $57,196.82 (-$131.34)
Debt to start: $99, 885.74
End of January Debt: $99,626.40
Debt paid off in January: $259.34

Tracking our progress (even just for a month) has really helped me to gain perspective on where our money goes and make me feel like we are getting somewhere even if slowly. Though it is quite depressing that with all the money we have to use for debt payments, so little is actually paid off. Student loan #1 is a weird one, I am only making a small $23 dollar a month payment but there is nowhere on the website to really see balances and I recorded the incorrect one originally so I changed it in that post as well. Will see if it changes after this month's payment I suppose. Also the reason that Credit Card #2 increased is partly because of the ridiculous interest rate and partly because I charged gas once. Sue me, habits don't change overnight. I had to have gas to get to work. 

Budget-wise we ended up about $324.94 over budget. Basically that means we did not set aside as much money for irregular expenses as we should have. I broke down when looking at the numbers. I feel so helpless but know that I shouldn't, that I should be working on new ways to make more money and save money. I told Matt that just because money is in the bank doesn't mean we should spend it which is kind of the habit we have gotten into. Being lazy and wanting to get food on the way home is still a struggle as is not spending money to have fun. I want to utilize the crockpot more and would love to try out freezer meals. Motivation still seems to be something I really need to find. Winter is killing me. Emotionally draining with this lack of sunlight.

This past week we also got some amazing news on the job front. Matt has been hired in full time at the company he has been working at for a year and a half as a temp. A raise and benefits! So exciting for us and our future. This came after I started writing this post or I probably would have led with it. His first official day was yesterday so next week the larger checks start coming. We haven't decided the exact best way to allocate the money in our budget but we are talking about it. Also we are quite sure that we are not going to opt for the benefits offered through his company for this year (we are still going to review them and then decide). If he opts not to get coverage he will receive $500 which would probably be used to pay off the smaller credit card balance and the rest put towards the larger credit card balance. He does not receive the information for a couple weeks so we shall see.

Anyways Olympic figure skating is distracting me and bed is calling my name.....Good night for now....PS tracking 101 Things to Do in 2014 on the page titled such at the top :-)


Jess said...

I think you are so brave showing finances. I may follow you soon. It isn't pretty. We have gotten a zero based budget in place but I have a hard time overspending on grocery items. Especially now that we are eating healthier.

Jennifer Brock said...

We have a zero based budget too but we still struggle with overspending in general. I just have to look at an overall picture of how much our spending habits have changed over the past 9ish months and see that as progress I guess.