Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mission to Financial Freedom: February Update

We started our Mission to Financial Freedom back in January when we began Financial Peace University at our church.  This is something that it a long time coming, but I'll be honest...I just figured that if we could keep our heads above water, not take on any more debt, and living frugally, that we would figure out the paying off debt part after I graduate with my PhD this summer.

Honestly, I should be ashamed of myself.  

There's no excuse to not take control of your finances and figure out ways to better your financial situation NOW.  Every day we waited, we accrued more interest on student loans and in essence, dug our way further into the debt hole.  Beyond that, there are plenty of reasons to find financial peace.

February was our first full month to really take control and make this mission happen.  You can read the mid-month status here.  Here are the major changes we made:

  • Set up a zero-based budget (we always budgeted, but not using a zero-based system)
  • Moved most transactions from the credit card to cash (I really do love the rewards on my Discover card, but we are going with the Dave Ramsey cash plan for now.)
  • Made a savings/debt payoff goal for the month
  • Decided to actually move that savings money into our savings account so that it was less easily accessible

We were also blessed in February with some unexpected sources of income:
  • I took on an additional course to teach when a professor had to take an unexpected leave of absence, which meant about $500 in income for February and additional income for the rest of the semester
  • Alexander the Great hired four more tutors for NU Tutoring Company and began scheduling them with students 
  • Alexander the Great also took on more tutoring hours himself, which meant that he earned about $500 more than we had budgeted

Our savings goal for the month was $1,000, and instead we were able to earn more, cut expenses, and save $2,119!

Budget-wise, we ended up right on target with most of our line items, but in a few places we were over or under.  Despite meal planning every week, getting the grocery budget right has been a struggle as we have become a family of four in the past year instead of a couple with a breastfeeding baby, plus we have been moving towards eating meals on the Paleo diet.  In case you're not familiar with the Paleo diet, that means we primarily eat fresh produce and meat and no processed foods.  In other words, we eat more of the most expensive items in the grocery store and none of the items I can get for free with coupons!  

We were over budget on: 
  • $32 over budget on groceries
  • $4 over budget on parking, which we had budgeted $0 for

But, we were under budget on:
  • $90 under budget on eating out (our $3 XXL pizza helped out here)
  • $14 under budget on gas (I was very surprised at this one!)
  • $48 under budget on my tuition and fees (again, a nice surprise)

So, the month of February was a budget success.  We are well on our way to accomplishing this Mission to Financial Freedom!

In the next week or so, I'll be posting about why we are not starting the debt snowball right now, but are instead building up savings.

I hope you follow along with us as we continue this adventure!

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

No comments:

Post a Comment