September was another eventful month in several respects. Mr. Stapler had to travel for two weeks, and I traveled to FinCon14 for almost a week. Mr. Stapler is done with work travel until after Baby Stapler arrives, and I’m done with travel for … well … the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t feel comfortable going too far away now that I’m 8 months pregnant, and once Baby arrives I don’t expect to be going anywhere for a while.
In the meantime, we are back to rolling the debt snowball! What a great feeling it was to put a good chunk of money towards a student loan! We should be able to do it again next month. I’m just waiting for the last bill to arrive before committing some cash to the endeavor.
At this point, we’re buckling down to anticipate the arrival of our newest addition. He is due to arrive in early November, but honestly could arrive at any point between now and Thanksgiving. So, I don’t want to put too much of our lives on hold until he arrives but I can’t do all too much these days anyway. Most afternoons are punctuated by naps.
Saving and Earning Challenges
Two months ago, I set some extra savings and earning goals. I achieved some of them, and last month achieved a few more. But there were some leftover sticklers that I really wanted to annihilate, so I tried to do that this month. The last dredges are still hassling me, but I made progress on almost all of them:
- Sell my old Barbies and nicer clothes and dresses on eBay: $59.15. I haven’t listed my old Barbies, but I sold some clothes and a Chromecast that I got for free when we signed up for Republic Wireless. We already stream shows to our TV through our PlayStation 3, so it wasn’t something we would use. Last weekend, I took pictures of more clothes that I intend to list. And then I lost my camera. Doh!
- Submit all Flex reimbursements: Many of the reimbursements I sent last month were denied for one reason or another, so I sent in a corrected request and one new request. Of course, I have yet to hear back.
- Ratchet Down the Food Spending: We have been miserable failures with this. My exhaustion and lack of interest in any food that isn’t a watermelon or ice cream has torpedoed my efforts to plan meals ahead.
- Consign Clothes: The ThredUp bag has been sent! I’ll keep you posted on the results.
TOTAL SAVINGS and EARNINGS: $59.15 … so far.
Net Worth Status:
Cash: – $1,273. Oops! I’m still waiting for my last paycheck to hit my bank account. Once it does, we’ll have just about a net zero change in cash.
Credit Cards: – $2,312. I’m happy to see the credit card spending going down. We pay it off monthly, but this number does reflect our monthly spending. I’m particularly happy to see this number go down despite putting an $800 hotel bill on our cards, to pay for FinCon14. I’ll get half of that amount reimbursed in travel rewards, and the rest is a tax-deductible business expense. But still … it’s money we didn’t spend on our student loans.
Loans: +$2,598.76. What a nice, big jump that is! The current balance on our lowest-balance loan is $7,400. It’s in our cross-hairs.
Investments: – $1,360. The market goes up, the market goes down. The weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. I’m not stressing about this market fluctuation.
Net Worth: +$2,277. Our loans and credit card debt went down — making our net worth go up even though our investments took a little dip. Woo hoo!
- Resist Lifestyle Inflation: SUCCESS! All month, I asked myself, “Do we need it?” With your help, I returned the laptop. After a discussion with each other and with my doctor, we also decided not to hire a doula, which had been our original plan. That saved us $900 that we transferred right into the student loan. With the massive student loan payment came a sense of accomplishment as well as a personal challenge to do even better next month, which made resisting lifestyle inflation that much easier. We have our eyes on an attainable goal: To destroy a student loan balance before December 31. What a wonderful Christmas present that would be for each other! Well, maybe just for me.
- Make an Extra Student Loan Payment: SUCCESS! Wellll … I didn’t set up the $89 monthly payment. Instead, we paid $2,200!
- Establish Next Year’s Blogging Goals: SUCCESS! FinCon14 was awesome, of course! My article was published in the FinCon14 magazine, I gave a 5-minute talk on how to save over $500 (by shopping Staples freebies, of course), and I met a lot of great bloggers that I only know online. I have even made a few changes to the site already. (Did you spot them?)
- I did hit a bit of information saturation, and had some scheduling conflicts, so I plan to watch those sessions via the Virtual Pass, which provides access to all the taped sessions. If you’re interested in blogging or podcasting, you may want to attend remotely too. (If you buy through my link, I get a little kickback. Thanks!)
- Roll Over Mr. Stapler’s 403(b): FAIL.
- Set Up Traditional IRA Accounts and Automatic Deposits: FAIL. I hesitated to set this up because I loved the feeling of putting all that money towards a student loan, but then I look at how well our other retirement investments have been doing, and I’m comforted that this small, regular contribution is going to make a big impact over time. Yet, I still haven’t gotten around to setting it up.
- Empty Old Clothes Out of My Closet: SUCCESS! I went through my closet and found a lot of clothes that I don’t think would be worth the ebay effort, so I tossed those in a ThredUp bag and, for those brands that ThredUp doesn’t accept, I tossed the rest into a Twice bag. I saved a few items from the consignment bag, however, and hope to list a few of those on ebay at some point. But for now, I have honestly gained back half of a closet!
- Resist Lifestyle Inflation: Baby is due in November, so I’m not putting a lot of goals or challenges on my plate. But this is one way to stay on task financially.
- Make an Extra Student Loan Payment: The $89 payment is budgeted for the month, but I haven’t set it up yet. If we don’t set aside a bunch of money for an extra payment, then I will set up the extra $89 so we will at least be snowballing our debt. But if we plunk down the cash I’m hoping we well, the $89 payment seems like pennies.
- Get Ready for the “fit to hit the shan,” 😉 as my dad told me. Remember our Second Child Shopping List? We still have to
buy a crib mattress and a nursing stool, install the new carseat, set up the co-sleeper, get the cloth diapers repaired, and find Little Stapler’s bottles. I know I kept them for a while. I just hope I didn’t purge them in one of my yard sale / consignment sale / donation sweeps. Then, we brace for impact.
How did you do last month on your goals? What are your goals for October? Have you found any new ways to save or make money?