Let’s start with the good news:
We got $500 back into our Emergency Fund! It feels so good to have a safety net again, even if it is really tiny. It’s still something.
I set up a new retirement account. My new job matches up to 3% of my retirement contributions, so I set up a 3% contribution. 6% per year is not a boatload of cash, but it’s better than nothing — and 3% of it is free money. That’s hard to pass up.
You may have noticed that there is some new advertising on the blog. It’s all randomly generated — I have no control over what ads appear after my posts and what appears on the sidebar. I hope it’ll generate more revenue than what I earned on my affiliate links (which was $0). I expect about $5 a month from these ads, but it’s better than nothing.
The bad news:
We didn’t do the envelope system again this month, and put our spending back on plastic. We don’t have disastrous results, but we have spent more than we would like. We had some housing expenses. The hot and humid weather really wore on our sanity, so we caved and bought two air conditioners. To the tune of $500 total. We also moved Little Stapler into a high-back booster seat because his little brother grew out of his infant carseat and we switched him into Little Stapler’s convertible carseat. To the tune of $110 total.
August Net Worth Update:
Cash: $6,789. This nice, positive, uptick is partially because of our reinvigorated Emergency Fund. Woo hoo! It’s also the end of the month, which means we’re building up our cash for our first-of-the-month payments like the mortgage and monthly daycare bills.
Credit Cards: – $2,550. Definitely a reflection of the fact that our Envelope System only lasted us 3 weeks! I should follow up with my lessons learned, one of which was: once the grocery cash ran out, we still needed groceries; and once we started using the credit card again, we continued to spend money. We didn’t go out an purchase anything extravagant, but there were some home improvement and baby gear purchases that we paid for with plastic.
Loans: -$1,526. Although we keep plugging away with our regular repayments, Mr. Stapler’s federal loan no longer qualifies for income-based repayment, so they switched him to a 10-year repayment schedule. That means $850 in monthly payments! We’re not particularly motivated to slay his loan because it has a competitive fixed interest rate (4%) and the flexible repayment of a federal loan. To get on a 25-year repayment plan, we needed to put the loan on forbearance while the servicer takes it out of income-based repayment. As a result, Mr. Stapler’s student loans aren’t dropping as much as they were before. We should be back on regular repayments of $450 a month by November.
Investments: – $1,771. You probably know that the stock market took a big dip this month.
Net Worth: + $4,024. I love that upward trajectory! (again, this is despite a $1,771 market dip)
- Survive: SUCCESS!
- Draft a Business Plan: Still on the list — it is a work in progress. But at least I started it!?
- Fix Mr. Stapler’s Student Loan Payments: SUCCESS! It “only” took three phonecalls and about an hour and a half of our time. Mr. Stapler is now on a 25-year standard repayment plan for his federal consolidated loan and in forbearance until that kicks in.
- Stick to the cash envelope system until Little Stapler gets to kindergarten. FAIL. We got about three weeks in before we hit our $500 grocery budget. After that point, the plastic was out and we spent money not just on groceries, but on some unplanned expenses, including $600 of big ticket items and some smaller items, like some Christmas gifts that were on sale, including one on Amazon that was the best price we would see. How did I know that? Check out my tweet here.
- Cancel my Jet Blue credit card. SUCCESS!
- Survive: We are in the home stretch! Baby Stapler is 9 months old, sleeping through the night, and we are getting into a good groove now that I’m working a regular, but part-time, schedule.
- Stick to the cash envelope system until Little Stapler gets to kindergarten. I am late posting our goals for the month, so I’ll spoil the surprise: We have already failed at this goal. Womp Womp.
One more month of using cash when it makes sense and then we’ll reconsider switching back to using credit cards again. But I love to see such a low credit card balance. We go on vacation with our extended families this month, so using cash might be particularly difficult, given that we will have to make plans with our families — who all have different spending priorities. Both trips are budget trips, so hopefully there won’t be too many opportunities to spend lots of dough. We are driving, renting a house with a kitchen, and the main attractions are outdoors, where it will only cost us a weekly parking fee.
- August Goal: Put $500 into an Emergency Fund. I originally had the goal for put $1,000 in an Emergency Fund, but we were able to squirrel away $500 last month, so now the August goal is to get $500 more into that account. As of right now, our balance sheet shows that we’ll be able to achieve this goal!
Did you achieve your financial goals this month? Did you have any particular challenges?