We’re almost through January!
Where has this month gone? Some where between Christmas, the kids Winter Break and starting a new work-at-home position (more about that in a future post!), this blog has taken a seat on the back burner. One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog was to share my journey and build a community that could hold me, and each other, accoutable. So, here’s to getting back on track, and here is my January budget check in!
Things we have done:
I’ll preface this by saying that aside from bills that got behind, my student loans are the only source of debt that I have. But at a current balance of $70,270.04, it’s no small feat! I did just have them consolidated and am on an income based repayment plan, which is currently at $0. But just this month alone I have racked up over $500 in interest, so the sooner I can get on top of this, the better! I plan on agressively tackling these loans before the original $68k becomes $168k!
I have actually gotten my husband at least somewhat on board with paying attention to the budget. We’ve had 2 paychecks since I really started cracking down, and each pay period I have sat him down and forced him to see where everything is going. He moaned and complained a couple of times because he is working on building a bow (more on that in another post, maybe!) and didn’t have the money to get all of the things that he wanted to complete it right away, but he’s been surprisingly pretty chill. I won’t go into the exact numbers in my check in’s just yet, but I managed to catch up on two bills that were behind, and stay within our grocery budget. I did give my husband a $40 allowance, and I bought myself a $3.00 sticker pack for my planner. My 12 year old had a birthday in the beginning of the month, but we kept it low-key and baked cupcakes and spent the day together. Next month we will be going to do an Escape Room because that is what he wanted to do. I constantly sese deals on Groupon and there are several in the area. I did, this week, have to buy him a new backpack because the straps broke on his old one. That only set me back $23 on Amazon, and he loves it!
As mentioned above, I started a part-time job this past week and our pay periods will be the same. Our second January, and our February paychecks will catch us up completely and get us back in the “green”, and in March I plan to start tackling my student loans. Thankfully, that’s also tax refund time! I plan on putting a decent chunk of that towards debt, after I fix my brakes which seem to be crapping out on me. 🙁
What we didn’t do:
We have not eaten take out or fast food in almost 2 months! Not even a quick stop at Dunkin or Starbucks! It helps that my son got me a pressure cooker for Christmas, and I have been using it almost every single night. I’m sure I’ll post some of the recipes I’ve been trying. I love it, and I don’t know how I lived without one for so long!
Strayed from the meal plan or grocery list. This has been KEY to keeping my grocery bill in check, keep the junk food out of the house, and curbs the urge for take-out! I make a plan every 2 weeks, and I shop for the plan and the plan, only. There are nights that I end up not cooking, but I eat leftovers and let the rest of them fend for themselves. It is definitely a work-in-progress, but I have kept our grocery bill to $500 or less. Not bad for a family of 4!
Bought beer or any alcohol. Ok, I did have a bottle of wine that I got for Christmas, and I did have a gift card to Target that I got for Christmas that we ended up buying both beer and wine with. I don’t feel like those things should count, though, so I’m going to say that with our own money, we did not buy any alcohol! I feel like I am going to budget in 2 bottles of wine a paycheck, though. Just a couple of glasses on Friday and I’ll be happy. Being too restrictive will leave me feeling resentful, right?
Join the gym that won’t even be open until March or April. There is a Crunch gym opening up near me, and htey had a 0$ enrollment and $9.95/mo special. First it was only supposed to last one night in late December. Then it went to New Year’s Eve, then I received a text the other day that “TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT IS THE FINAL NIGHT!”. I want to join the gym, and holy hell I cannot wait until they actually OPEN. But I know 2 weeks after they open their doors they’ll have the same or better deal again, so this time I actually sat out the temptation of a “SWEET DEAL!”
So that is how January has been so far. Is one of your goals this year to get your finances on track? What steps have you taken so far this month to accomplish your goals? I’d love to hear what’s working or what you’re struggling with!