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Movin' on up :D

August 1st, 2016 at 06:42 pm

Hello! It has been a while since I have posted. Part of it is that I have been busy, a bit has been me just taking a step away from tracking our finances now that our income has increased significantly (with my finally getting a job!). Moving from living on a grad student salary (25,000 a year) to 62,000 combined has been a big shift! I feel so relieved, and it has been so nice not to feel like I needed to track everything so carefully. I've also been able to see the doctor about an ongoing medical condition I have that was a bit out of whack.

However, now that I've had time away from tracking our finances, I find I miss it! I also notice that in the last month or so we've been spending a bit more than usual--this past month, when I looked at our credit card statement (we always pay off our credit cards each month) and realized that last month we spent around $1,200 (so including rent--which was just raised $15--that was around $2,000 for the month). And we're only two people. With no major medical issues. Or car repairs. Or...anything, in particular. Wasn't even a month we had to pay insurance. Sigh.

HOWEVER, regardless of my semi-mindless tracking/planning of the spending, being used to spending so little (and continuing to make most meals at home) has helped us make good progress on our goals Big Grin! Most significantly, yesterday I sent our LAST PAYMENT to my student loan (*happy dance!!!!*). When I clicked "submit" I air punched at the computer monitor for a good five-ten seconds...DH looked at me all bewildered, and when I told him I was sending the last payment he was like "oh, cool!" and went back to his paper lol

So, progress! Our net worth is also no longer negative! Since December 2015, we've improved our standing by almost $20,000. Here's where we're at now:

August 1, 2016 ($17,585.83)

Debt: -$5,500
(My remaining student loan: BIG FAT ZERO as of July 31, 2016)
(DH's student loan: $5,500 - not in repayment, not accruing interest)

Non-debt: $23,085.83
(EF: $5,976.81)
(Checking/buffer: $550)
(Roth 403b: $13,219.84)
(Roth IRA: $297.05)
(House fund: $2,236.20)
(Early retirement fund: $805.93)

(Travel savings: 1,023.50 - I don't count this toward net worth, I consider it already spent)

I remember when I wrote the goals on my sidebar, and thought they were really ambitious. Now that we're 7 months through 2016, I feel like maybe I was too tame! We're going to kick the butt of those goals (it's been no problem stashing the $1,500 from my paycheck into retirement, since we're used to me not getting a paycheck at all :P and next month we'll hit our emergency fund goal, and we've already met the goal for increasing our downpayment fund), so I'm thinking about making some new goals...but my dental saga is still not over, so I don't want to set us up for failure. I'll have to talk it over with the marital unit and see.

In the meantime, for now, I'm just going to start monitoring our spending a bit and trying to trim wherever possible. I've got my eye on you, grocery spending! And I'm going to start walking/biking to work instead of taking the bus (I always walk home, I've just been lazy in the mornings)

OH, the BEST thing about me working again? Now that it's super hot I allow us to turn on our window AC unit when it gets unbearably hot. SUCH an amazing luxury in this heat and humidity. Oh, but this month I realized I was an idiot before, since using the AC last month whenever it was hot in the bedroom (where we have the AC) RAISED OUR ELECTRIC BILL BY LESS THAN $5. It's a new, small unit (our apartment complex provides and installs AC units as part of the rent) and we have thermal curtains in our small bedroom...so I guess that shouldn't have been a huge surprise. But I swear I thought the bill would have gone up like $20-$30 a month at least...DH has been teasing me mercilessly the last two days, since last summer I didn't let us have the AC installed lol

July wrap-up, overspending but still paid some debt down!

August 6th, 2015 at 01:45 pm

This month's spending was a bit higher than desired...but was somewhat expected because my mom was here for over half the month. Also, some health expenses and 6 month car insurance

Still no job Frown BUT I do have an interview for a position on Monday. Hopefully that pans out. I really put a hold on any job-hunt stuff while mom was here--it had been a long time since I'd seen her, so I don't regret it. Anyway, now I've been getting down to business! And I just got time to look over last month's finances. I tracked eeeevery single thing, so it was really depressing since we spent waaay more than usual because we took mom out to some activities (all free or low cost, but it still adds up!)

Heeere it is:
790 - Rent

34.79 - Electric bill

60 - Dental bill payment

50 - Our cell phone bill

52.43 - Gasoline (Uuuugh, we never have to fill up twice in a month! Hopefully we don't need to fill up again in August..)

312.33 - Groceries (food for three adults is more expensive than for two adults!)

22.46 - Household (misc. toiletries and cleaners)

149.30 - Car insurance (good for 6 mos starting in late August), eye insurance add-on

20 - DH bus passes (DH has been busing instead of walking)

20 - Laundry

104.62 - DH's spending (including one expensive meal that he covered for his friend that I don't think we'll be getting back. DH thinks he will, but this isn't the first time, lol)

56.15 - My spending (mom and I went out of state to visit family, I covered some of the travel expenses, and purchased supplies for a volunteer project)

7.99 - Netflix (my favorite luxury after coffee!)

42 - Eye exam for DH...he needs new glasses, he's choosing now

187.06 - Entertainment and dining out (minor league ball game, entrance fees to nat'l parks, etc.)

Sooo... this month we spent $1,909.13! That exceeds monthly income by $141.13...meh. Could be worse. We did plan to use some of our travel money for while mom was here, but I'm trying to avoid that.

I'm already planning ways to cut back this month, but I know we have some other expenses--DH needs some books and glasses (~$300 total?). Sooo I'm trying to cut back on grocery costs and whatever else I can.

Of course, more than anything right now I'm just trying to get a job (that I enjoy). Ugh, it can be so discouraging

June wrap-up, no job progress

July 1st, 2015 at 01:07 pm

Sooo...I haven't been much in the mood to write anything lately, just been keeping up reading other blogs. I've started volunteering with two local nonprofits and attending workshops at an employment agency nearby. Those workshops have actually been very helpful! I learned a lot of things about how the job selection process works--especially the now widespread use of scanning programs to sift through resumes submitted (especially those submitted online). Apparently there are a ton of things that you can do to your resume that can get it "misread" or "rejected", so I'm working on re-formatting my resume (and also editing it based on other things they taught in the workshops). They have a ton of helpful (and free!) resources and counselors.

I feel a little more hopeful now. I know the best way to get a job is through personal/professional connections, but I have virtually no network here...soo having to slog through the less-effective methods (applying online, mostly).

Oh! When I met with one of the counselors, he asked if I'd put my student loans on deferment--I said no, b/c I thought I didn't qualify since DH has income. Apparently I was wrong! I was granted unemployment deferment, and since it is a subsidized loan, it isn't accruing any interest in the meantime. That's ~$58 a month we don't have to pay until I get a job! (Good especially b/c premiums are due soonish for car/renters/dental insurance)

Anyhow, my mom will be visiting soon, but I won't stop with the job-searching--just tone it down a bit while she's here. I've planned out some fun (and cheap) activities to do while she's here, but our weather has been a little unpredictable lately (rain!).

So June spending was better than I expected (I expected it to be baaaad). I knew we spent nearly $600 in unplanned laptop replacement and car repair (yikes! For many people here that's a tiny percentage of incoming funds, but for us that represents about 30% of our monthly income). I'm going to do a better job of tracking spending this month, because I can't properly sort our charges at the end of the month. I do know that we spent a ridiculously low amount on groceries (b/c of the pantry challenge, and generally trying to cook more frugal than usual meals, anticipating high bills at end of month)...oh, and I took 250 out of our travel savings to cover part of our spending while DH's friends were visiting. Even with all that, we didn't go too much below where we were before (partially because I deposited random cash from around the apt resulting from my stupid habit of taking cash out to go to the farmers market, not spending it all, then just put it down in random places whenever I realize it's in my pocket)

Debt: $11,645.10 ($100 down!)
(My remaining student loan: $5,254.10 - in deferment, 0% interest)
(DH's student loan: $5,500 - not in repayment)
(Dental bill: $891 - 0% interest until late 2016)

Non-debt: $8546.05 (-$9....booo!)
(EF: $5,000)
(Checking/buffer: $1,616.83 - this increased b/c I deposited the cash we had laying around the apt)
(Travel savings: $1,753.64)
(Retirement: $175.58)

In happy news, retirement savings is up! We're going to try for $75 a month.

Well, off to work on resume some more, I'm going to meet with a counselor tomorrow

Getting to terms with our present financial situation...

May 30th, 2015 at 05:54 pm

I decided to join this site as a way of keeping myself accountable and motivating myself (as the budget-handler of the house) to keep us on track to eliminate our debt and start saving for retirement. I found this site shortly after I started trying to plan for longer-term goals (like retirement) and was impressed with how so many people here were having success in building toward their goals--I hope to do the same! Below is my work-up of our current financial state.

My student loan: $5,310 (yikes! but much better than the $12,000+ it was when it entered repayment in February...paid most of that down with my previous job, but since I quit we've only been making around $60 payments each month..interest rate is 4.25% This is the debt we most want to get rid of ASAP)

Husband's student loan: $5,500 (but since he's in grad school, and this is a subsidized loan, it is currently deferred and not accruing interest. Since there will be a 6 month grace period between when he graduates and when this goes into repayment, I don't consider this a priority to save for...especially since he's got another four-five years. I think saving for retirement is probably a more pressing need)

Dental bill: $924 (root canal...ugh. In any case, this is at 0% financing for 18mos, so we're paying $60 a month to get it paid off well within the promotional period)

Total debt: $11,746 (OUCH)

That is rather high. Fortunately we don't have any credit card debt...we use credit cards for groceries and gas whenever possible for the rewards, but we have always paid the full balances off each month.

In terms of savings, we are doing reasonably well...aside from retirement savings (whiiich amounts to nothing).

Emergency fund: $5,037

Travel savings: $2,000 (for visit back home and for going out with friends/fam who are visiting this summer)

Buffer: $1450 (built up when I was getting ready to leave my previous job, to deal with non-emergency overages in our budget)

Retirement: $50 (so not even kidding. This is terrible...as soon as I get a new job, we'll be working on this in tandem with my student loan..especially since the interest rates on retirement accounts is generally higher than the 4.25% interest we're paying on my student loan)

Total savings: $8,537

So we have a negative net worth! Of -$3,209! Ack!

Well, of course as soon as I started trying to buckle down with our finances, unexpected necessary spending comes up! Sooo... I'm off to go figure out if we're going to need to dip into our buffer to pay for the unexpected expenses of a computer (husband's died and will cost more to fix than replace...unfortunately this is necessary for his research. Hoping to keep this cost under $500...we'll see) and necessary car repair (we were quoted $800 at one shop, now it's at a shop where they quoted $350...we'll see what comes of it). Fingers crossed!