Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our Financial Status - Update #5

February was an interesting month for our finances. We had some wins and some losses, but overall, I'm proud of how we did. Let's crunch the numbers first and summarize later.

INCOME: $5216.47 OVER BUDGET! We were all over the place on this the best of ways! We were short one unemployment check. Chip turned down a job because he is in the middle of an interview process right now with one that is much more promising and prosperous. They held the check until they could review his case. We have received a letter from the Dept of Labor noting that his reasoning was legitimate, and we will be receiving that check soon. So we'll see it, but it wasn't in the month where is was supposed to be! However, we received a check for $2761.54 for the balance of our escrow account when we refinanced our mortgage for a MUCH better interest rate as well as a state income tax refund of $1859!!! In addition to that, we got a check from our insurance company for $687.04 for overpayment, and we also got $19 for selling some books on Amazon and $3 rebate for using our debit card (we have a rewards debit card with our bank.) All in all you can see that we came out WAY ahead, so we have been paying off some major debt!

Car Repair/Service: $12 over budget. Chip bought some air filters and cleaning supplies in addition to the oil and filters he usually gets.
Mobile Phone: $122 over budget. Wow. This was from when we upgraded and got some new supplies (chargers and whatnot). It obviously has been rolling over on our bill. Since I previously could not see the bill (it was coming to Chip and we had a failure to communicate) we owed on this one big. The good news is, we are current now and this will not happen again. Lesson: COMMUNICATE!
Groceries: $2 over budget. Seriously. We ALMOST made it, but needed $3 worth of baby food to finish out the month. We were SO CLOSE!
Home Services: $14 over budget. This was from what we paid to file our income tax.
Home Supplies: $50 over budget. This was some cleaning supplies, some batteries and some other items that just sometimes arise.
Pharmacy: $10 over budget. February was an everyone-was-sick kind of month. We all needed drugs.
Credit Card Payment: $3298 over budget!!! This is one I don't mind in this category because WE PAID OFF CARD #2! YIPPEE!!!

Auto Insurance: Predictable.
Television: On budget.
Newspaper: On budget. About to be cancelled (before end of March)
Mortgage: This one was significantly lower than previous months because we were able to skip a month's payment due to the refinance timing. However, I'm not counting it "under budget" because we were expecting to skip it. It did free up some big money though and March's budget will be about $300 less in this category as a result of the refi! Woo hoo!
Hair: On budget

Eating Out (Fast Food & Restaurants): $1 under! WOO HOO! If you have been following these updates at all, you know this is our weakness. We should have a lower budget, but first we needed to be able to get in control and at least meet the current budget and after 6 months of fighting our urge to eat out, we have done it this month! This in itself deserves a small party...but at home of course. =)
Gasoline: $3 under budget.
Baby Supplies: $20 under budget. Finally! Buying all of those diapers in the past and being over budget in this area has paid off. We are now stocked up with a good size for Abigail, so this should stay pretty lower going forward (at least for a while).
Childcare: $24 under budget. Abigail was sick and stayed out of school one day.
Makeup/Toiletries: $1 under budget.
Clothing: no money spent this month, but still trying to catch up from a bad January, so no gain here either. Just a win in the fact that we're letting the dust settle from January.

So to summarize, we have made some progress in our spending on "everyday"things like gasoline and eating out. That makes me happy because it makes it evident that we can really do this on an everyday type basis.

Biggest success was the payment of Credit Card #2! We have now paid off the two smaller of our 4 cards. Our debt snowball is rolling and we are ready to buckle down and get after the next two. They are significantly larger, but with our momentum we can really see that we can do this.

In similar news...
  • I have finished reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and Chip is about halfway through it. We have finished Baby Step #1 (small emergency fund) and are knee deep into Baby Step #2 (debt payoff).
  • We will take March to pay off the remainder of my medical bills from Abigail's birth (with our federal refund).
  • I have updated my W-4 with-holdings at work in order to get more on my bi-weekly paycheck. As much as I love our huge refund, we need to have more in hand. This will change our income budget of course.
  • Chip is still in the process of trying to land a new job. Keep praying, please.
  • Chip has sold his piccolo trumpet and his C Trumpet. He used them for performances and weddings and such in the past. They are great horns, but Mr. Ramsey has inspired him to sell them for debt payoff. So we will see those numbers in March, but they landed us another $2000 income.
  • We will be receiving a sizeable federal tax refund in March. We will pay off my medical bills (seen above) and fund a medical procedure for Chip this month. Anything left, we will use to pay off debt.
  • Chip has sold his "fun" car. He is trying to sell the van. He wants to get another (in addition to mine) sedan that will work for family purposes, but free up some cash for debt repayment. It's part of the reason he bought the extra cleaning and maintenance stuff for our vehicles on this month's budget. The income won't show up until March though because the exchange of money (and car) happens this weekend. We are rocking, guys.
  • We have increased our net worth by $9283.92 since October when I started these financial updates!

Whew! What a month! Come on March...we're waiting for you!


  1. I'll jump in here.

    With only a 50% match, I'd reduce or eliminate the contribution and knock out that debt. You have plenty of time before retirment and can easily catch up after your debt is paid off.

    I must confess that I don't actually follow my own advice and here's why (my excuses).

    My employer match is 100% up to 6% of my salary. I contribute the 6% even though my hubby has been out of work for almost a year. Should his unemployment get cancelled, this will be the first thing to go. I also enjoy a reduction in taxes since the 401K is pre-tax.

    One lesson that I have learned over the last year is that our debt will be our first priority after hubby is employed. I hate the worry and stress that it brings when one of us is not working. If we didn't have the debt, we could easily swing our bills on one salary. That's our goal.

  2. Thanks, Kim for jumping in. I know how you feel with the stress of only one income when you are used to two. That's where we've been since September. Things are looking up for us now though. And since we began this journey to financial freedom on one salary, whatever Chip is able to bring in once employed can ALL go to debt! I'm really looking forward to that!

  3. It sounds like you all are doing really good!