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Last November, we finished going through a Financial Peace University Class. We are continuing the journey by working through Dave Ramsey’s list of Baby Steps. The new year has brought changes to our insurance costs and annual income. The increase in costs have kicked in, but the increase in income hasn’t. Here’s our progress as of the end of January:

Baby Step #1 

Our “baby” emergency fund is currently: $1,009.41

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)
December 2016:  $45,352.38 (-$2,274.77)
January 2017:  $43,814.66 (-$1,536.52)
(current projected payoff – July 2019)

Notes: Just plugging along this month, but big changes are coming! At least I hope so!

EveryDollar 2017 Challenge Update

  • Build our initial 2017 budget spreadsheets. – goal met Dec 2016!
  • Continue having at least 1 budget committee meeting per month. – 2/12
  • Continue giving every dollar a name each payday (zero-budgeting). – done in Jan
  • Pay down our Debt balance by at least $18,892.86. – $1,536.52 so far
  • Pay off at least one of our five remaining debt balances.
  • Increase our giving category by at least 1%.

Speed Bumps Encountered

  • Printer – The printer (10 years old) has been hanging on by a thread for a while. As I’m gearing up to resume teaching one day a week, I need a working printer. We have had a color printer for about 17 years now, but after looking at our options, we decided not to shell out the almost $500 (and that was “on sale”) it would take to replace ours. We went with a black/white model that should still be dependable and do the bulk of our printing. That decision took weeks to make as we kept going back and forth. In the end, we decided to live differently than we have in the past by choosing a printer that would constantly remind us that sacrifices are necessary to get where we want to go. I’ll have to go to Staples to print in color, but it will make me really ponder whether color printing is necessary. Once we settled on what we were going to purchase, we hunted down the best deal for a new one (thought we found a used one on Craig’s list but that didn’t work out). (-$216.98 – included shipping and extra toner cartridge)
  • Switching Cell Service – Here’s that cancellation fee I mentioned last month. Ouch. Hopefully this is the last of the expenses for this switch and we can start throwing the difference in the lower bill toward debt. (-$244.99)
  • School Fee – I thought we had already paid the 14 year old’s annual “miscellaneous fee” for the local college program she’s in, apparently not. (-$82.00)

We got a bonus during this month, but it arrived too late to show up on the CC statements, so it will show up in February. We also spent hours trying to forecast what our tax bill is going to be. I’m not going to go into politics here, but let’s just say the IRS has had it’s hand deeper in our pockets for the last few years (and no, we aren’t making much more – they’re just taking more). Anyway, we needed to know how much of the bonus to hold onto for paying the tax bill. I guess one good thing about college tuition is being able to deduct it, because it looks like we might not owe anything more come April 15 (Lord, please let it be so). Of course, we won’t know for sure until we get all the official documents the middle of next month.

When I saw the bonus, and the potential that we may not have to hold it for taxes, I got really excited! This could mean we’ll pay off at least two more debts instead of just one this year. So, I ran some more numbers and came up with more areas we could slash the budget even further. I am hopeful this will mean we can move up our overall payoff date significantly. All of this should take effect in February.

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