Whew, January has come and gone and I'm not kidding...I felt like it lasted WAY more than it should have. My husband pay schedule is FINALLY fixed and we're back on track. It's too long and confusing to explain, so lets just say his pay has been messed up since the end of October. At the beginning of this month, our 12 year old dishwasher took it's last breath....you guys, we have 6 people in this house and I never realized how much I not only use that beautiful piece of equipment, but how much time it must have saved me. I had been searching all month to find a gently used one and yesterday(after the much anticipated pay day), I went and picked it up. I budgeted $150 for a used one and was going to save and have it installed in March....but I was able to buy that gorgeous thing for $120 and my husband used the remainder $30 to buy a part we needed and installed it himself last night. You guys would have laughed seeing me and my two little people dance in the kitchen when the light on it came on. I've learned a lot about patience this month. I've been tested on it multiple times.
I had my very first Debt Free Journey meeting the other evening with like minded women who want to change their finances. I'm hoping they gained as much as I did just talking about our story, what we're doing, how to construct a budget, and all the random facts we shared. I think it's really important to surround yourself with as much positive people as humanly possible. Life is too short. February's budget looks insane and that's ok...we're doing a little catching up, but by March everything will level back out again. I'm keeping up with every single penny and putting everything we have towards this monster. You know what's funny though? I'm looking forward to paying as much as we can. Every step is a single step closer.
The bare minimum we'll be able to put extra towards debt(that means in addition to the normal payment) for February is $517. By the beginning of March I will have also cashed flowed the graduation present for my daughter....shhhhhhh, and yes, it's a good one. Jackson's birthday is this month, Kailyn's graduation fees, the dishwasher, a few kids' school events, the dogs annual vet visit & car taxes and inspections all came up for February so that's what I mean it's not a normal month for us. Sinking funds should have been in place for these things, but we're still learning like everyone else.
Some things I have figured out this month:
1) Your local Humane Society has monthly vet clinics for healthy animals. What that means is that their vaccinations and well check up are sooooooooo much cheaper. I've decided to break up all 3 of our dogs to one per month so it's easier on the budget.
2) I got asked how we budget our energy bill every month. Did you know you can set up to have the same amount billed every month? They average your previous year and divide by 12 to come up with the average. We've done this for years and it helps so very much.
3) I called to put extra money towards our Verizon bill(b/c we're stupid and got new phones last year and you know how they divide the cost of the phone over to your bill?)...you can't pay extra towards your phone unless you have the full amount to pay it off.
4) You really can do alot of tasks yourself, well my husband can lol, if you really want to save money. He put that dishwasher in HIMSELF!
5) Kidizen is still my most favorite app to sell my children's clothes. It's so stinking easy.
6) I have to put "blow money" in the budget. We each have to have a little money to do with what we want. Mine is usually spent on going to lunch with my 5 year old ;)
7) We have to budget for date nights. They don't have to be expensive but they are a need.
We have also beefed our emergency fund back up since we had to dip into it to fix two of our vehicles. Murphy, you suck lol.
A big thing for me is to making sure I keep meal planning. I have a calendar that I got for Christmas that I use strictly for meal planning. I also write down any extra payments I make from my side hustles in that notebook to keep track. I have a list I keep track of pantry and freezer items so I can utilize those first into meals for the following week. I pay cash for groceries which means my calculator is always on my side while shopping. If I didn't meal plan, keep track of expenses while grocery shopping, and have cash...we wouldn't be able to pay anything extra towards debt...I know it. For most people it's this single category that drains budgets. I refuse to allow that to happen. We still only budget $125 per week for groceries so I have become quite the planner lol.
One thing we added this month was Crossfit for both my husband and I. My husband has been an avid Crossfitter for over a year now, but we both went to a grand opening of one 30 seconds from our house and I was sold. It's budgeted for me, for my health, and as I type this my arms feel like they may fall off, but that's ok ;)
And I know what you're thinking..."but Mellisa, that money could be used for debt." Listen, everyone's budget, what they find important in life, and what they are willing to sacrifice will be different. This is something just for us, for me, for my health. I don't feel bad about it one bit. And in case you were wondering where we are going....I give you Crossfit Stacked. I'm totally hooked and to us, it's worth every single penny.
Anyone have any other tips? Leave a blog post and lets help each other out. Happy Friday friends!