Mintly Budget Preview: September 2015

If you’d like more details regarding our monthly budget, please see my first 2015 Budget Post.

Welcome to the Mintly Budget Preview for September 2015!

Some info:

  • We use a zero-sum budget.
  • We get paid a little more than what I budget for – but I use that extra either to pay down unexpected expenses from the month before or I can snowflake it to Debt Eradication. Most months we’ve been able to stash it away in our Money Market account to build up before I send a lump payment to our Student Loans, but that wasn’t the case this time.

Note: This image is a screenshot from the Budget tab of my account on Mint.com.

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September 2015 budget

September Budget Breakdown Total: $4900

(I only give explanations on the areas that have changed from the previous budgets I’ve shared.)

Debt Eradication: This is the amount of money we think we can afford out of our $5000 budget each month. It’s been a static number ($1206) for a while, but I needed to use some of that money for other places in the budget that needed help this time around.

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The $100 left was set aside into our Sinking Fund (I did it as a separate transaction, so that’s why the Sinking Fund transaction is the same amount as usual) for Christmas gifts for our nieces and nephews. That’s right! Christmas! But here’s an end-of-September spoiler: I used Chase reward points to purchase the Amazon gift cards (we have 2 nieces and 3 nephews, and they each get a $20 gift card), so I just moved that $100 over to our Debt Eradication fund. Woohoo!

Food & Dining: I’m keeping the food separated out as groceries and restaurants – we are going to be spending more than usual because our friends are visiting us over Labor Day weekend (wait, by the time this post goes live, we’ll be hanging with them!), and that will be more expensive.

Home Services: This accounts for the one time the guys cut our grass in August, the two times they’ll do it in September, and the monthly payment for our trash and recycling pick up.

Bills & Utilities: Cell phone bill, Water, Electric, and Internet are included in this category. Last month was higher than usual, but this is back to normal.

Kids Activities: L’s piano lessons are back for the fall!

Babysitter & Daycare: L’s after-school care program has raised their rates by $10 a month now… joy.

Slush Fund: This fund will cover the $15 fee we just paid for L to join Girl Scouts (I know that this should come from our L’s Extra Stuff sinking fund, but I know that’s going to be cleaned out when her ballet school actually finally charges my card…), and, of course, it will cover whatever else comes up…

Fees: We got hit with the $95 credit card fee for having the Chase Sapphire Card. (We got it last year so we could rack up points and go to France for less, which was awesome!) We want to hold onto this card, so we’re going to suck this up and deal with it. I don’t know yet how we’ll cover this cost yet (use Slush Funds? use Sinking Funds?).

September Extra Funds: $0 – We had no extra funds this month, since we over-spent last month. The money over the total $5,000 that we earned in our paychecks all went to evening up what we spent last month. Ew.


I’m looking forward to fall! We plan to take our friends apple-picking this weekend… YES.

August 2015 Accountability

Welcome to the August 2015 Accountability & Budget Recap post!

August has been a whirlwind of school starting back up (which affects all of the members of our family, since H & I work in higher ed, and L is in 1st grade this year!), KonMari-ing, and, well, the KonMari has pretty much taken over my life for now…. A post is forthcoming about Part 2 in that experience!

Of course, I have to mention that our retirement funds (which I don’t include in our budgets or recaps) have been taking a beating, but we’re in it for the long-haul, so I try not to freak out about it.

This post is broken into two sections: Budget and Debt Eradication.


Budget Accountability for August 2015:

August Budget

August 2015 Budget

Woohoo!:

  • We did send a lot to Debt Eradication, which is nice, but there’s not much else to say that’s awesome about August….

Whoops!:

  • We had to scramble to find childcare for our daughter during the days that H had to go back to work full-time (he’s off in the summers), but the public school hadn’t yet begun. That cost us a little more than I budgeted for, but it was a necessary evil.
  • We went over again on food. (I’m sounding like a broken record, I know, I know.)
  • Home Services was so high this month because of our issue with the lawn last month. All caught up now, though….
  • Our utilities/bills were higher this month because AT&T charged me for the July add-on I felt was necessary for our France trip, even though I never even turned it on. Oh, well. Peace of mind.

Total Debt Eradication for August 2015: $2,066

December 2014 - August 2015

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Debt Eradication:
  • $1206 extra payment sent to Loan 1 & Loan 2
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Click to embiggen

August 2015 Net Income: $1,459


Snowflaking: $430.55 (all of this went into our Student Loan Debt Eradication Fund – if it was prior to the middle of the month, it became part of the big supplemental payment we made; if it was after the middle of the month, it’s still hanging out in the account to be used in September)

  • $211.62 – leftover from our July paychecks (we snowflake any amount over $5000)
  • $75 – American Express Dollars (credit card points we earned and turned into a payment towards the balance on the card; the money we saved from doing that went directly to student loans)
  • $27.42 – Payment from Ebates! (<– referral link!)
  • $60.35 – consigning – cash from 6 boxes of books we consigned! (Again, KonMari to the rescue!)
  • $0.29 – interest income on our checking accounts
  • $43.67 – reimbursement from LL Bean (we returned L’s backpack from last year that didn’t hold up the way we had hoped – we had already purchased her a new backpack for this year)
  • $12.20 – direct payment from Gradible to our student loans (Gradible used to allow you to do tasks for “creds” that could be turned in for a payment towards your student loans; however, they have stopped providing that service and now just aim to help educate people on dealing with student loans, it seems.)

2015 Consigning Totals: 
I’m curious about how much we will make in one year by consigning our clothing and L’s old toys at my favorite consigning store (and any other sales, if I decide to participate). 
  • $0 (January)
  • $56 (February) – yeah!
  • $20 (March) – woot!
  • $80.31 (April) – yay!
  • $44.20 (May) – whee!
  • $20 (June) – woohoo!
  • $12.82 (July) – what what!
  • $60.35 (August) – wowie zowie! (can you see that I’m running out of imagination on my happy exclamations?)

2015 Consigning total so far: $293.68


2015 Mintly Snowflaking Goal Progress:

My goal originally was to snowflake at least $50 per month, for a yearly total of $600. As you can see, we’re doing better than that, so far:
  • $110.01 (January)
  • $929.75 (February)
  • $649.58 (March)
  • $534.50 (April)
  • $289.84 (May)
  • $273.91 (June)
  • $292.02 (July)
  • $430.55 (August)

2015 Snowflaking total so far: $3,510.16

To see more 2015 Mintly Goals, please click here.

Life Accomplishments this Month:

  • I’m really working hard to pare down our possessions and reorganize the things we do want to keep. I’m not joking when I say that, so far, the KonMari process has been changing my life!

TL;DR: Back to positive net income, still can’t stop spending on food because I haven’t developed an actual plan, and KonMari-ing the crap out of our house. It is awesome.