Month 14 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: February 2014

Debt Totals through February 2014
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I’m a little late with this post, but Happy March! 🙂 Our February finances were only partially affected by my new part-time job, so we still made pretty decent progress. Our budgeted snowball amount for March looks pretty meek compared with what we’ve been doing. BUT, I am home with my little boy 2 days out of the week that I would not have been, so I’ll happily take it.

Here’s what we look like on our Monthly Snowball Totals:

Snowball Total through February

Like I said, don’t look for March to be as high next month. And here are our debt balances as of now:

Debt Totals through February 2014

So we paid the Civic down another $1,134 and are currently sitting at $7,242.71. That totals to 69% of our debt paid off. Yay!

If you’ll remember, I had set another small goal for us to have the Civic down to at least $7,000 by the end of March. We got this!

Not only do we have less income coming in now, but we’re also thinking of beefing up our $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund a  little bit. Our reasoning behind this is normally we have an extra $1,500 or so a month so if something did come up it was usually cash flowed through our budget. Being that we’re only going to have an extra $300 or so every month now, we feel like it would give us a little more security to have some extra. I’m not really sure when we’ll become “debt free” now though. Things are changing and I’m just so blessed that I have this opportunity to cut our income and be home more.

Our groceries came to $440.15 for the month. I am determined to get this D..O..W..N! Maybe March will be the month? We also went over in our clothing, eating out, and entertainment budgets by $25.70. We really need to get a handle on things like this now. We’re trying really hard to keep ourselves in check, but it’s HARD!

The CR-V also had some work done to it in February. It was leaking oil and had gasoline in the oil. It was in the shop about a half a day and cost us $190. The amazing thing there is normally when a vehicle needs work, it makes me mad. Somewhat irrational I know, but I think modern technology and we have this newer car and blah blah blah is going out and look at how much it’s going to cost me! Not this time. Instead I thought.. yep we knew buying an older vehicle might need more repairs here and there because some things are just wearing out and that’s okay. I mean at least it was only $190. I’m really excited that I have heat now! The thermostat had gone out so Lucas and I did not have heat on these cold mornings. Yes, Mississippi gets some cold weather too! It’s cold to us anyhow. 🙂

Have you started your Debt Snowball yet? How are you doing in 2014?

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You Need A Budget {Part 3}

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Part 3: It All Comes Together..

Happy Monday! And it’s now March–already. Have you gotten your budget ready yet? Well, this is the final part of the You Need a Budget Series, which means you should have decided why you need a budget and what categories you need and how to figure out your monthly income. Today, let’s talk budget amounts.

Of course you know some things like your mortgage and your phone bill, car insurance– anything that is the same amount every month.

Things like electricity and water you may have to estimate until you have a better idea, unless you can see what you spent over the last year. I average it out for the year and budget that amount monthly. Some months it will be a little less and some it will be a little more but you will have money accumulated in that budget category for the “more” months from the “less” months.. does that make sense?

I would take everything but the groceries, eating out and entertainment budget and subtract it from your monthly net pay (ours will be $3,000).

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So in this case, you’d have $662 left for groceries, eating out, entertainment and any kind of savings and/or debt you had. I would budget $400 for groceries, $40 for eating out and use the rest as savings and/or a debt snowball on that car payment. 😉

That will all just give you an idea though. I’m visual so I like to show numbers with what I’m talking about it. I think it’s really important to budget to $0 though. If you have $10 left in the budget, call it “savings”. If you leave it, it will get spent!

Another really great tool for this to give you some perspective is this budgeting tool that Dave Ramsey has on his site. Each category has a little drop-down that explains what would fall under each category. I wouldn’t just use this, but I do think it’s a neat tool to see what you are “supposed” to be spending with your income level.

Isn’t that neat? Budgeting doesn’t have to be such a pain though. Of course, it’s annoying when you run out of money before you get to the end of your budget.. but you only have what you have. Unless you want to be rolling around in credit card debt, of course. I take it as a challenge though.. for instance, I want to get our grocery budget below $400. Every month we seem to be pretty much right at $400. I’m challenging myself to do less convenience stuff, even though we do little now, and just be more frugal with it and get it down. Even if it’s only to $380 every month! That’s an extra $20 for our Snowball! 😉

And you all know I’d recommend YNAB to keep track of it all. 🙂 Here’s my referral link if you’re interested in getting $6 off the purchase price. There is a 34 day free trial to give it a test run if you aren’t sure, also.

Have you got your budget planned and ready for March? Are there any other aspects of making a budget I could touch on that would help you?