June 2014 Recap

 

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Next time I will change the green line where it says “Total Debt Decrease from Dec 2013” to “Total Debt Decrease from Previous Month” – not sure why it’s taken me so long to catch that!

June 2014 Overview:

This month has flown by! School was out during the second week, and the third week I worked at a camp, and then we traveled to visit family (and still came under on our gas budget, because H isn’t driving two hours a day to work this month!).

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Click to embiggen!

 

Snowflaking: $480

We have changed our goal from snowflaking all of our extra money to the Citibank card to building our travel fund for next summer’s trip to France for H’s conference. I’m planning to build the fund to $5,000 because I’d rather have more money saved than not enough…. However, we made this decision in the middle of the month, so we still snowflaked $125 (H earned it from a side hustle gig) to the Citibank card early in the month.

At some point, I realized that I was paid more in my May paycheck from my regular job. Sometimes that happens because it has something to do with how much they take out for social security, retirement, etc. at the end of the year. I took that money ($355) and put it into our travel fund!

How I Used My Side Hustle Check from May 30 ($1528.98):

  • $226.83 – went to paying off the Chase Card (It was a Mary Kay order so I could send a customer an order – I also got my mom to order some things which she pays for at cost, so she’s still getting a good deal, and I’m not left shouldering the cost of an enormous order to get the 50% consultant discount!)
  • $301.99 – went to paying off the American Express card (this is from the shoes and clothes we bought this month… see below for more information!)
  • $1,000.16 – was moved into savings! I put $300 in the Travel Fund, $350 in the Emergency Fund, and $350 into a brand-spanking new category: Moving Fund. It’s weird not to immediately allocate this to paying down our Citibank card – it kind of irks me, but I know that we have more to save for right now and it’s very important for us to be in a secure place if we have crazy things come up in the next couple of months.

Notes:

Since I have this interview, I can’t help but plan for how our lives would change if I were offered the job. Moving, getting L registered at a new school for kindergarten, trying to sell our house, trying to find a rental, uuuuuuggggghhhhhhhhh…. and finding out about life changes in late July are no good for people who work on the August-June school year. There isn’t much I can control at this point (other than preparing to kick ass at the interview, which I will try my hardest to do), but it makes me feel better to know that I can at least set some money aside to help defray the costs that will crop up along the way. I added new categories in our savings account spreadsheet. Now – in addition to our sinking fund categories – the spreadsheet includes “Travel Fund,” “Emergency Fund,” and “Moving Fund.” Just in case.

 


Money Accomplishments this Month:

  • Somehow managed to bring in more in my side hustle check than I planned. All the excess went to paying off the consumer debt that we racked up by shopping for clothes.
  • Sixth month in a row that our net income is positive, not negative!
  • H made $125 in a side hustle.
  • We brought in about $50 from selling clothing at the consignment store. We kept it as cash and used it for food, since that’s where I knew we were going to go over budget this month. (We went so far over budget – by $200! – that we ended up eating up the savings we had in other budget categories, like gas and utility bills! Grrr.)

Money Setbacks this Month: 

  • We bought clothes. Like, you know. A lot. We spent about $400 in clothes (Banana Republic & Old Navy), and then I bought $90 shoes. We never really do buy clothes (not even for L – my mom does a lot of that, she’s amazing!), and it came out of the excess we had in our budget. H got new work shirts (on sale) & new shorts, and I got shorts and – the kicker – two new dresses and cardigans (from Banana Republic) that I can wear to the interview. One was amazingly cheap and the other one was the perfect dress. I love both dresses so much that I still haven’t decided which one I will wear. I also had to buy kitten heel black shoes that I felt were comfortable enough to stand all day in but looked professional and stylish. (The “stand-all-day” requirement is because if I don’t get Awesome Job, I want shoes I can teach all day in, if necessary!)
  • This is another month in which we were never reimbursed for the $300 H was promised from the work trip he took back in February. Words cannot express how frustrated I am over this situation. I will say no more.
  • Over budget in food. Ugh. Gotta focus on this in July!

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

  • Landed an interview for Awesome Job!
  • L went to my parents’ house for two weeks, which gave us some extra time to ourselves, even though we couldn’t use it the way we wanted since one week H was working at a camp a state away, and the second week I was working at a camp (but it was local).
  • On June 30th and July 1st, I’ll be at a conference to kick start the Opportunity. Maybe I should start calling it the Teacher Project? Yeah, doesn’t have a great ring to it. I’m taking suggestions!
  • I have been working really hard on preparing for the interview – I’ve done three informational interviews (and follow-ups) with people who are in-the-know in the field, and I’ve got two more coming up. It’s a pretty exciting time – the interviews have really helped me understand more about the job I’m interviewing for, and I’ve been able to fill in some pretty significant gaps in my knowledge by talking to these people. I am pretty proud of myself for taking the initiative to look up people to reach out to and actually following through with it. All of them have been exceptionally kind and generous with their time. I also think it’s good practice in general to talk to new people in a professional capacity. It can’t hurt, anyhow.

What I’m Looking Forward to in July:

  • Setting up our July Budget! One real downside to Mint.com is that you can’t set up months in advance. Grrr.
  • Best friends visiting in the middle of the month!
  • Getting a small check for the camp I worked for in June.
  • Interviewing for Awesome Job in the middle of the month!
  • BEACH VACATION AT THE END OF THE MONTH WITH MY PARENTS! They are paying for the hotel for all of us!
  • Getting my first check from the state government for the Teacher Project / Opportunity. (It will go into filling out the rest of the Emergency Fund.)

 


Review of our 2014 Goals

Mintly Goal #1: Pay off our Citibank credit card

Verdict: Working on it. We’ve gone back to paying a flat payment of $525 monthly, which will get the balance paid off in time to avoid any interest penalty. We were going to snowflake all of our payments to this account, but we decided to put all of our extra money to saving in our Travel Fund.

Mintly Goal #2: Pay off our car loan

Verdict: SUCCESS! This was completed in May 2014. Need to modify this goal!

Mintly Goal #3: Save for known expenses that don’t occur monthly (sinking fund)

Verdict: Yes. We’re thankfully going to be in the black on every category except for one when the automatic transfer happens in July.

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

Verdict: I need to modify this goal, since we’re going to work on building our Travel Fund and Emergency Fund.

Mintly Goal #5: Track Goal Successes

Verdict: Yes. It really helps to have this blog! When I’m feeling down about finances, I can remind myself that we’ve paid off over $13k since January 2014. Woohoo!


I’m considering sharing my actual budget with you next month. That’s putting a lot of financial information out there, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that. A lot of PF bloggers put their budgets out there and then what they actually spent, and that is always intriguing to me. I also feel like maybe it would give more structure to these posts. What do you think?

Also,  I obviously need to revisit our goals! They can be new goals for the second half of the year. Just add it to my to-do list….

Thanks for reading!

– M.

P.S. What do you think of my new blog layout? I think I like it better, overall. Opinions welcomed!

Halfway Through 2014 – A Quick Check-In

Half the year is basically over! On June 24, my mom said, “Do you know, in six months it will be Christmas eve?” CRAZY.

A few items of note from the past 6 months:

– I got a side hustle, which has helped me bring in more moolah!
– We paid off the Citibank credit card (all consumer debt)
– We moved our high-interest student loan to the Citibank card and are on track to pay it off in 10 months (with 0% interest)
– We paid off our car loan!
– We’ve been paying down debt for 6 months now, and we’ve paid off more than $11k!
– Our house has gone up in value (?!)
– I applied to a paying gig just for teachers in my state, and I was accepted!
– I landed an interview for Awesome Job! (More info below!)

This month (and July & August) are all different from our regular school-year months. I’m a 10-month employee, which, in my position, means I get paid only 10 times a year. That isn’t the case with all state jobs, just apparently K-12 teachers. Yes. Anyway. I use our Credit Union to save $400 a month during those ten months and then I have $4k to use for the two months I don’t get paid. The CU just gives it to me at the end of June and then at the end of July. It’s lower than my normal paycheck during the school year, but I have justified that by saying that our daycare costs are nil during those two months, so it all evens out. I guess I should look into changing it up next year, since it will seem like a more drastic change over the summer without the daycare costs coming out each month.

In any case, I’m still bringing in money from my side hustle, so I took the step of actually incorporating it into my budget this month.

What I actually did on pay day at the end of May was this:

In Mint, I changed the date for my side hustle paycheck to the first of June (instead of the end of May). Then I added the amount I knew we were getting from our regular jobs (that would be coming in at the end of June). That way I knew exactly (well, more or less!) how much we had for the month. I don’t know how helpful this was, as I still allocate the side hustle funds to savings & debt eradication and I decidedly do not want it to be used for living expenses or other such things.

Have you heard of You Need a Budget? I don’t use it because I haven’t felt the need to Need Their Budget (because I use Mint.com and I love it), but there’s a principle they encourage their users to follow: living on last month’s income. Technically, we do that already. We get our paychecks direct-deposited into our checking account at the end of the month, and we know exactly what we have to spend for the following month. However, I think that really what they’re saying is to have a month’s worth of expenses in your checking account. I guess if you get paid twice a month, the “live on last month’s money” concept makes a lot more sense – but we always know exactly what we have to spend in our checking account.

On the whole, though, it would be great to have that kind of cushion. It would be like an emergency fund, and that would be freaking awesome.

In other news, and as stated above, I landed an interview for Awesome Job! I didn’t think it was actually going to happen because it took them so long to call me, but I have the interview next month. I was asked to give a presentation relating to the position, and I’ve been combing the internet for information to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I’ve been in touch with five people who I consider knowledgable in the field, and I’ve already spoken with three of them. I’m scheduled to speak with two others (one today!). I also am going to schedule a time to speak with another person who has responded to my request. It’s a lot of time and work, but I’ve gotten more confidence and feel like I’m really getting the information I need!

We’ll see what happens. I’m happy to stay on in my current position – it’s a lot of work because I have my side hustle and this other great teacher gig on the side, and that’s a lot to be juggling in addition to a family and taking better care of my health (no worries, just want to be healthier, which requires time to exercise and plan meals). The Awesome Job would be a lot of work, too, but it seems like it would be concentrated in one job (instead of basically three) for about the same kind of money. So, there’s that.

I’ll be updating with an end-of-the-month recap as usual soon!

Car Title Has Arrived!

Just wanted to, you know, shout it from the rooftops one more time…. We paid off our car loan! And we have the title to prove it!

The loan was originated at $9,000 in May of 2012.

We paid the minimum payment of $172 each month for about a year, then began a more focused repayment. We didn’t really make a huge dent, though, until February 2014, and from then on, we snowflaked every little amount of money we could so that we could own it.

Our mission? Not to owe any money on it when it breaks down again or needs to be replaced.

Mission: Accomplished!*

Now, on to all of the other debts and savings we have on our list….

– M.

*Doot-doot…doot-doot-doot-doot….. wah-nah-nah…… nah-nah-nah…..etc.