February is HERE and that darn groundhog (Puxatawneywhathuh?) says 6 more weeks of winter! How about no? I hate February, I even wrote a poem in college about how much I hate February-I should try to find that. The only thing February is good for is remembering how to bread fish-Flour, Egg, Breading (FEB)! And tax returns if you get your taxes filed in January (and get something back)! We are planning on paying off our 3 smallest debts with our return and putting some money in savings for our Cali trip (we have since changed our exemptions so we get more in our checks). I feel confident about February and I think God is happy we are being intentional with our money.
Our friends wanted to plan a weekend trip to a fun town about 2 hours away. We worked the numbers and realized that it would cost about $300 if we stayed the night. So, I opened up to our friends about being on a tight budget and guess what?!? They still want to be our friends! Haha, but really, they are in the same boat. They have student loans, rent to pay, food to buy, and debt. They worked with us on planning a day trip! We won’t have to board our furry babies (saves us about $80) because we will have a friend let them out during the day. We decided we will pack a lunch and eat out for dinner (and get coffee of course). We planned the trip for $125 a couple! I am excited for a little weekend getaway but we still have to find a day that works! I know we could live more frugal than we are but we still have 4.5 years of debt to pay off. This is a marathon-not a sprint! We are re-learning money. In the past we would have blown $500 $600 on this trip and then some (probably definitely on a credit card). I am excited that our friends are willing to make changes so that they can spend time with us and taste lots of wine!
We are lucky to have the life we have. I am grateful every day for our friends, our jobs, our fur babies, our family, and our health. I think some of the most important things to remember when getting out of debt is to have gratitude, patience, and lots of money-jk on the last one!
This will be our second month of official budgeting! We use an excel spreadsheet and the free version of the EveryDollar App/Website. We didn’t break the bank on groceries ($240), fuel (We came in at $96), or eating out (we went a little over on eating out by about $15)! Go us! Food is probably the hardest category for us (and everyone else) because it is easy to justify, we love to cook, and if we go to the store hungry-all bets are off! We shop at Aldi for almost all our food. This makes our produce bill way lower than if we shop at Hy-Vee. I like Aldi because there are fewer choices (this might sound funny because most people want more choices/variety) but for us, fewer choices makes it more efficient. On the everyday stuff I get to know the prices and usually know what range my bill will be in.
Happenings this month:
I turned 28! Seeing that in writing makes me feel young and I like it! When I was 10 I thought 28 sounded so much older and wiser! Boy, I am definitely not wise! I thought a 28-year-old Mrs. D would be a certain way. A house, at least one child, a 100K a year job that would allow me to buy anything I wanted (we make 100K a year combined-maybe). Well, I have learned that houses don’t make homes, I can wait a little longer before I have a baby, and 100K doesn’t buy everything–especially after taxes.
Mr. D went on his annual fishing trip-he broke the bank! We had some issues with his gear not being delivered on time so we had to buy a more expensive version at the store. We will return the unused ones but we will have to pay shipping (again because the first gear was the wrong size). Sigh. We got into a few arguments about the budget but nothing major. Sometimes we are on the same page and sometimes we aren’t. Usually, we are at least in the same chapter 😉 He has grown so much in the last month as far as financial fitness. We start FPU next week and he seems excited but is very curious on what we will learn. We filed our taxes and will be getting a chunk back that we will use to pay off some debt (our two smallest debts are two credit cards that will be paid off in February!) We will use the rest of the money to buy our plane tickets to attend our friends’ wedding in August! We never took a honeymoon so maybe we can use some of the time there (Cali) to enjoy each other and to celebrate the love of our very good friends.
I received a lot of gift cards for my birthday so I built those into the budget (you know you are a DR fan when you build gift cards into your budget). Mr. D, nor I, have bought clothes in a while so we have a clothing budget (a very very small). I want to just buy workout leggings but I know I should get a nice pair of jeans instead. I justify the workout pants because I have been thoroughly enjoying my time at the gym (where I can wear leggings) and I hate wearing real pants! He needs a new pair of jeans as well-and that’s our clothing budget! I told you it was small!
February will be an exciting month because we will pay down about $4500-$5000 in debt with our tax return and our usual pay down. I have since changed my exemptions on my W-4 at work so we will not get as much back next year but getting more in my check has been great! January was our first month with our new health insurance. I was paying about $130 a month for mine and my husband was still on his mom’s. Now we pay $480! It ends up being about $350 because of it lowering the taxable income on his pay check. It covers a lot more than my old insurance (I am a Type 1 Diabetic on an insulin pump with Continuous Glucose Monitoring CGM $$$) and it has a much lower deductible/max out-of-pocket than my old insurance. We also changed our dental which I was paying $48 a month for just me but now it is $36 for the both of us but it doesn’t cover as much. It’s amazing how much you can adjust your budget to make things work-like, what were we doing with that $350 before January?! Probably buying expensive coffee and beer! Haha.
We went to an open-house last weekend and on Monday night I realized I needed to take a cold shower and break the house fever because…”WE ARE BROKE!” We don’t need a house! We have a pool, a workout room, a dog park, and soon to have an outdoor patio with a fireplace, a foosball table, and a dart board at our current townhouse that we don’t pay extra for besides rent! We don’t have to mow the lawn, we have a dish washer, a washer and dryer, and we are located in a great neighborhood! Why would we want to move at this point? We are in a two bedroom townhouse so if/when we get pregnant and have a little Mr./Miss D then we will figure out something then. We could rent a three bedroom from the same company and be just fine paying a little more per month. We are at least 4 years out from buying a house. Anyone telling you that renting is a waste of money and you can buy for cheaper is probably broke and has a 30 year mortgage and as DR says-“you don’t take advice from broke people!”
“Broke people with financial advice is like a shop teacher with missing fingers.” -Dave Ramsey
My husband (Mr. D) takes an annual trip in January and I still haven’t convinced him to put it on freeze while we pay off debt. We decided we aren’t going to buy a house this spring because we are broke and we don’t have a 3-6 month emergency fund and we don’t have a down payment-did I mention we are $130K in debt?!?!?! WE ARE BROKE!
We received an amazing gift of $500 and another of $50! We were able to build our savings back up since it was depleted from the vet! We paid $170 extra on our next smallest debt and paid off $126-the smallest debt-a hospital bill. First week in January I had a hypoglycemic episode (I am a T1D). We ended up in the ER. With our new insurance our copay is $150 for ER-hopefully. We didn’t have our insurance card with us! Stupid.
Mr. D keeps wanting to buy these “good deals” like a $300 item for $26! Honey! We are broke! It doesn’t matter how good of a deal it is if we can’t afford it.
He has been donating plasma and we used part of the money for groceries but I still feel like he is not on the same page as me. There are days I am not even on the same page as me! I get stupid ideas like-let’s get a credit limit increase or let’s buy a house or let’s plan a vacation! We are broke! Stop being stupid Mrs. D!
We have been pretty good with the grocery budget this month. We will be a little over but it’s about a $100-200 decrease from previous months so it’s a start! I am excited for February! We start FPU and I hope it makes a difference in our motivation. I put back $50 in savings this month to help pay for it and I also put back $80 for my car tags that are due by March (I will save $80 from Jan, Feb, and March) I miss a lot of things in the budget that Mr. D either forgets to tell me about or decides he “needs” I forget to include a haircut for me a lot! (he gets 2 a month because of work) I get 1 every 3 months. Sigh.
He is going to Canada for another fishing trip ($700 probably). I haven’t done anything fun for a long while and he tells me I should but duh honey! We don’t have the money because you are being selfish (and I have been selfish for a long time which is why we are in so much debt). I love him dearly and in most things he is very selfless. We have only been sharing money since September so we have a long road of learning.
We paid off about $4000 in debt after funding our $1000 emergency fund… welp, then our dog ate something (not the first time and probably not the last) and we have no idea what it was. The emergency fund saved us! The vet bill was $650-no sweat. We had it in savings! So we paid cash for the vet bill; I hadn’t done that in so long. Usually I would pull out the “zero percent stupid card” and charge it to that and hope I could pay it off before the 6 month period was over. WE PAID CASH! We weren’t very tight on our budget but we managed to not completely blow it on Christmas. We hosted a Friendsmas with lots of wonderful people at our tiny home. We are so blessed to have those people in our lives. Mr. D and I have learned to pray together. We have started praying for our families, friends, and thanking God for all he has given us. Hopefully we are better with the budget in Month 2.