December 2014 …. Happy Holidays!
I plan to do a little bit of reflecting on this year’s Debt Eradication (well, would you call it “Reduction,” since we didn’t exactly Eradicate it?) in a later post, but I wanted to get this information all updated! Exciting times!
I’m including – for the first time in a while – balances on our credit cards (with the exception of the Citibank card, which is where we house some of our student loans to avoid the hassles of paying Navient – formerly Sallie Mae – extra payments each month). All those previous months where there was no balance was often because those balances were paid off at the end of the month, so I didn’t count them towards our overall debt. We use credit cards to generate points (especially on our Chase Sapphire card, which I have called our “Travel Card,” as we plan to use the points towards our flights to France in July!), but we nearly always pay them off at the end of the month.
This month was more difficult because:
1) Despite planning, we ended up over budget in food.
2) L needed some expensive dental work (ugh ugh ugh) – and it’s not over yet
3) H made a business-related purchase (which can be used as a tax write-off, yippee!), but due to the nature of the purchase, he has to purchase three of the same type of item to determine which of the three is the best. The credit card is charged, but then two of the items will be returned later this week, and our card will be reimbursed.
The money for the business-related purchase(s) came out of our savings fund. The purchase isn’t reimbursable by H’s work, but is a business-related expense, and for those kinds of expenses, we have a sinking fund. By the end of December, we knew we’d have about $250 saved up, and he wanted to use that to make the purchase. We did, but that was before we knew that L would need three more (expensive) trips to the dentist over the next few months. At least about $400 of that credit card bill will be reimbursed in January (before the billing cycle is up and we get charged interest, with any luck!).
However, that does leave us with more than $300 owing on credit card bills that AREN’T the Citibank card. That’s all from L’s second visit to the dentist. In order to pay down that cost, we will be pulling from our sinking fund and emergency fund to avoid finance charges. Not fun, especially knowing that there will be another $600+ charges coming our way between January and February!
Additional Money this Month: $109.90 to Travel Fund, $100 to Medical Bills
– $19.21 – from selling some Playstation 3 games to Game Stop
– $62 – money earned from consignments (woot!)
– $18 – money earned from book consignments (double woot!)
– $10.29 – interest paid on our savings account
– $100 – money earned from some side hustle work I did – but as I got this after we found out that L would need expensive dental work, I ended up putting this towards those medical bills (a little over $400 worth – now about $300, as mentioned above)
Money Accomplishments This Month:
- Our Travel Fund is fully funded! It now sits at $5106.96. Our goal was $5000, but I decided to put the rest in there because I applied for a passport renewal (which costs about $110, plus the cost of the passport photos, which I did get with a coupon and a discount through Ebates, so that wasn’t so bad – about $7, all told), so that should cover that cost when the check is processed (whenever that will be).
- We made an extra payment of $700 (from the sale of our car) to Navient. It was a pain in the a#$, as usual, and it still makes me sad that our overall debt reduction this month was only around $750. However, if we hadn’t had the other setbacks this month, that number would have been over $1400, so that’s some consolation (I guess? maybe? maybe not…).
- We have designed a budget that we think will work for 2015, though we haven’t quite determined how we will deal with the setback of $1100 in medical bills.
- I did some math and came to the realization that we are living on basically half of our income! We can’t say we’re saving it, but we’re putting it both into savings (the sinking fund) or to debt eradication. Woohoo!
Money Setbacks This Month:
The dental costs are a big set back, as you’ve already seen. By the time we’re done, it will cost us over $1100. Our current plan is to pay off the bills each time they come in (again, paying the credit cards off to $0), but we’ll have to use money from our emergency fund and from the sinking fund. With the visits spaced out, we’ll be able to use some our sinking fund deposits (we have a category for health costs), but we’ll still end up behind in that category, so using our emergency fund money and then snowflaking money to that until it’s built back up again might be our best course of action.
We certainly won’t be sitting around with that balance on our card for long – not long enough to get slapped with an interest fee, at any rate – but we have to discuss which fund we’ll pull the money from and how it may affect our goals we’ve set for 2015.
Life (as in, Non-Monetary) Accomplishments this Month:
- The holidays!
- The Nutcracker (both seeing it with L in it, and seeing it with L, when she wasn’t performing in it!)
- Seeing the lights display with friends
- Hot chocolate & hot tea
- Family & friends
- Time to read
- My family’s good health (knock wood!)
Thanks for following along with me this year – I’m really looking forward to figuring out how the 2015 will look for us and our Debt Eradication… as well as figuring out what changes I’m going to make to how I share information here on this blog! I think I’ll be putting up a monthly budget – some of my favorites do this, and I always enjoy seeing their projected budgets, as it gives me some general guidelines and ideas for how to budget for variable expenses. I also expect to change the layout of my recap posts a bit. Exciting times! Hopefully with it, it will be bring exciting Debt Eradication!
Anyone else planning on shaking up the way they share their financials in 2015?