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We recently finished going through a Financial Peace University Class. It was exactly the kick in the pants we needed to get moving in a more fiscally sound direction. Dave Ramsey has a list of Baby Steps to move through, so here’s our progress to this point:

Baby Step #1 

We have our “baby” emergency fund, which is currently: $1,009.24

Baby Step #2

Starting Debt Amount: $53,285.44
(original projected payoff – December 2019)

As Of:
September 2016: $52,035.26 (-$1,250.18)
October 2016:  $50,243.99 (-$1,791.27)
November 2016:  $47,627.15 (-$2,616.84)
(updated projected payoff – July 2019)

Notes: Again, any “extra” money we had, we added it to our snowball. This moved our projected payoff up by another month!

Speed Bumps Encountered

  • Dining out/Thanksgiving – We totally messed up. We let our food spending get away from us a bit by eating out more than usual. This meant we didn’t have enough in the general food budget to cover Thanksgiving dinner. So, we ended up going over budget. (-$158.33)
  • Switching Cell Service – We are starting the process of switching to another cell provider to save money. However, it’s gonna cost us to make the switch. So far we’ve purchased 5 SIM kits and a phone for the son (he’s paying for part of it). There will be more costs involved with this over the coming months (breaking contract) but we should recoup those after about 4 months on the new plan even with adding a fifth phone. (-$135.11)
  • Fitness – because we cancelled the gym, I started looking into at home fitness plans. I got all excited about the T-Tapp program and ordered some DVDs. This was a purchase I failed to talk over with the husband and was not in the budget. He gently brought that up during one of our talks (he’s so great) and I realized I had broken our agreement to discuss purchases like this in advance. I’m used to doing whatever I want because I’m the one who tracks the money, but no more! We’re in this together and that’s how I want it. Hopefully that won’t happen again. (-$137.96)
  • Weight-loss – well, going without Weight Watchers wasn’t working. Sure, I was saving a little money on the subscription, but I definitely think all the eating out was because I wasn’t tracking what I was eating. So, I rejoined, but only the online version (about half the monthly cost). If I want to go to a meeting I’ll pay for that out of my personal “blow money”. I had to pay the 3 month promo fee to get a discount on the first three months. So that’s something I hadn’t planned for. (-$40.90)

Once again, I am surprised that we didn’t have to rely on credit cards to cover anything this month. And obviously our baby emergency fund is still in tact. So far we’re paying cash for Christmas. I’m realizing I probably didn’t budget properly and will be short, but I am determined to keep Christmas credit-free this year.

Well, that was November… on to the next billing cycle!