How We Did in January 2014

Here’s how we did this month:

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 10.38.47 PM

(Look, I know there are better spreadsheets out there – I may figure out how to make a better, more efficient one at some point, but this will have to suffice for now.)

H had a business-related trip this month, but since we knew it wasn’t going to be reimbursed (though we can use it as a tax write-off on next year’s taxes!), he was admirably careful. His friend took him out for dinner one night, he ate cheaply at all other times, and he stayed with said friend. Gas was the biggest expense, but because he didn’t start back to work until the second week of the month and I had a couple of snow days, I didn’t end up going into work as much, so I think somehow we made that even out!

Review of our 2014 Goals

Mintly Goal #1: Pay off our Citibank credit card 

Verdict: Slowly but surely – we’re paying what we need to in order to get it paid off before interest comes due!

Mintly Goal #2: Pay off our car loan

Verdict: Slowly but surely – we’re just paying the minimum on this loan ($172)

Mintly Goal #3: Save for known expenses that don’t occur monthly

Verdict: FAIL – we spent the $450 we were supposed to save on credit card bill payments. UGH. Hoping that our tax return will help me reimburse that… and then some.

Mintly Goal #4: Snowflake any extra money to consumer debt

Verdict: PASS! We had $40 left in the checking account, and once we got our paychecks at the end of the month, I put that $40 directly towards the car loan (since the Citibank card isn’t accruing interest).

Mintly Goal #5: Track Goal Successes

Verdict: PASS! Definitely.

Money Accomplishments this Month:

  • Stayed below budget on our food
  • Stayed below budget on gas (despite H traveling quite a ways away for a business trip which will not be reimbursed!)
  • Really stuck close to our budgets on just about everything, because we knew how tight this month was going to be
  • Paid down debt by a total of $395 (well, this isn’t a great number, but at least our debt is continuing to go down, rather than staying the same or going back up!)
  • Had to buy a new coffeemaker because ours is officially done – but had Amazon gift cards to use so it didn’t cost us anything!
  • Student loan interest rates were reduced by .25% (all five of them) because we went to automatic debit. (This was actually put into place in December, but only went into effect in January. Of course, the automatic debit almost gave me a heart attack when it didn’t go through.)


  • $40 to Car Loan

We had an extra $40 left over in the bank account: snowflaked that to Car Loan. Originally my goal was to snowflake all money left over from our budgeted items, and since we stayed below budget in food and gas, it would have been nice to do so. However, because of the credit card bills we paid off last month, we were really scraping by this month. In other words, we HAD to come in under budget by quite a bit to make it through the month. And to be honest, we didn’t really make it through – we had to put more than $400 on the credit cards!

Money Setbacks this Month: 

  • Water bill ended up being high (we only pay it every two months, and my parents were visiting over the holidays, which means two extra showers a day!), so we went over budget on our utilities
  • Didn’t put anything into savings because all of that money went to paying of both of our Chase cards (which had a balance due to H’s gift for me for Christmas)
  • Due to a couple of unexpected bills last month, we ended up with less cash this month, so we had to put some things on the two Chase cards. CURSES!

Life (as in, Non-Monetary) Accomplishments this Month:

  • Applied for two jobs (which included a lot of research, time on the phone doing informational interviews, and nights spent hunched over the laptop)
  • Turned in two applications for L to go to kindergarten next year (one for a charter school, one for a different district than ours)
  • Recorded and edited a video for H to send in as the second step of a job application.


Looking at how little we actually reduced our debt (despite sending out over $2500 in debt payments!) is pretty discouraging. We spend an extra 53 cents on our mortgage a month (just to keep it at a nice, round number), but we don’t over pay on any other debt except our Citibank credit card. Well, technically we don’t owe a monthly minimum, but that’s the amount we set so we could pay off the card by the time we want. I’m really looking forward to when that card is paid off and we can divert that extra money to our car loan! Plus, next school year, L won’t be needing $660 in daycare expenses! Sad to say, she will still have to participate in some kind of after-school care, which we will have to pay for (to the tune of over $200, for most of these places!) and the costs for her dance lessons will probably go up. However, I’m counting on an extra $300 (which I hope is conservative) left over from that $660 to throw at debt, too!

Uh, is it sad that I have to look so far ahead to find solace in our debt situation?

What I’m Looking Forward to in February:

  • Tax return!
  • Lowering debt significantly!
  • Replenishing savings account!

Any goals that you met this month? Anyone else having to look insanely far ahead to a time without certain debts hanging over your head?

Thanks for reading!

– M.


7 thoughts on “How We Did in January 2014

  1. It’s great that you’ve taken the time to reflect on your past month. Please don’t get discouraged! You’re forming good habits, and you will be able to vanquish your debt sooner than later. Just think about the euphoric moment when you pay the last of the credit card bills!


  2. Wow! What a fantastic first January. $395 is an excellent total to pay for debt. Just think…it is more than last month. I had the the same problem with my student loan auto debit. I called the day before to confirm that it would be going through and it did not. I also almost had a heart attack 🙂 Keep up the good work!


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