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!

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