New debt totals posted! By applying our June savings of $2,859.90 to my student loan on top of our monthly minimum payments, we saw a reduction of $3,292.17. But the most exciting news is the side by side comparison of where we started last year on July 1, 2011. Since that time, we have managed to reduce our debt by $24,900.84!!! If you would have asked me a year ago if that was possible, I would have laughed. It seemed so far fetched of an idea. By embarking on our spending lockdown(to see our list of spending guidelines, click here), we took control of our life and money. There was nothing fancy to our strategy. It was simple, we just cut out the excess spending that was draining our bank account. And we are not talking one major expense, we are talking countless mindless minimal expenses that emptied our wallet week after week. We have many friends that still say they want to do something like this, and I encourage them, but it’s important to remember—personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior(a common Dave Ramsey quote). And that’s the most difficult part of the task, changing your behavior with money.
Now that we have officially ended our yearlong spending fast, what do you think we did to celebrate? Favorite restaurant? Movie? Concert? New clothes? Umm, sorry to disappoint, but none of the above. Instead, this weekend, we took a trip to Trader Joe’s and the local produce stand to stock up on our regular groceries for the week. We also made sure to use our cash envelope which has our allotted amount for food during the month of July. In fact, since ending our spending lockdown, we’ve been talking a great deal about how to budget ourselves through the next year. We are living in possibility.
June savings is tallied, and although we’ve spent the month more relaxed with spending because of a friends’ destination wedding and out of town guests, we still managed to save a chunk. If your asking how in the world do we do this? How ? Here’s how—we follow our guideline of spending restrictions(although a little loosely this month), as we’ve been doing for the past 12 months. On top of these rules, Brad received pay in a timely manner from some of his freelance contractors. Amazing, right? If you’ve followed this blog for a while, it seems like I’m always complaining that he is never paid on time. At the beginning of this month, we were predicting another month of delayed pay. But his invoicing went through without a hitch, and to our surprise, he started receiving payments last week.
However, it was a socially interactive month, which makes saving money difficult. I admit, we make exceptions to our spending guidelines with out of town guests and travel, and this month had both. But we didn’t blow the bank! With our visiting friends, we ate the majority of meals at home and participated in free fun sightseeing activities. When we actually did venture out with them to restaurants, we sought out budget friendly eateries. Also, nowadays, we order menu items that can be easily split—pizza is a favorite for this reason. While on the road to our friends’ wedding, we shared a budget motel room with another couple for 2 nights. On the third night, we slept on couches and air mattresses slumber party style with our old college friends. Brad and I look forward to the day when we can afford ourselves a little more luxury when we travel, but for now, these money saving actions are necessary. Besides, we had a blast with our old friends! That’s what this trip was all about anyways—not fancy hotels or fine dining.
So, we’ve managed to tally up a total of $2,859.90 in savings. Impressive as that number may be, it might be just shy of meeting our $25,000 debt reduction goal for the year. I will apply this total savings to my student loan, and post our July 1 debt totals on Monday. We’ll do a side by side comparison from where we started with our debt from a year ago, and where we are today.
And that’s a wrap folks!
This month rounds out our year long spending lockdown (no restaurants, bars, entertainment unless free, coffee shops, bakeries, generic brands, no clothes shopping, and on and on). This time last year, we were preparing to embark on this spending fast, and to this day, my first post on this blog remains my favorite—Acting Our Wage. So does this mean, we’re done saving money? NO WAY! Our life has been forever changed because of this spending fast, and the length of time (1 full year) has impacted our spending behavior greatly. We’ll continue to penny pinch, save money and pay off our debts, but we realize we don’t need a set of guidelines anymore. We feel like our money saving is more ingrained in our psyche now. As for the future of this blog, I have yet to decide, but most likely, I will keep it up however post less frequently. I would still like to share our savings and debt payoffs as they occur. Our ultimate goal is to be DEBT FREE, and it would not be any fun if you didn’t get to witness this journey.
July 1 debt totals coming to you on Monday! Have a great weekend!
Today, I’m calculating our June savings, and for once in a very long while, our savings is looking better than we originally expected. As always with my husband’s irregular freelance pay cycle, we were unsure if income from his completed jobs would actually enter our bank account by the end of the month. But lo and behold, we’ve received the majority of his due pay. Is it enough for us to make our $25,000 debt reduction goal? Check back tomorrow!
"…look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them. Sometimes our thoughts act like dream glasses. When we have them on, we see dream children, dream husband, dream wife, dream job, dream colleagues, dream partners, dream friends. We can live in a dream present for a dream future. Without knowing it, we are coloring everything, putting our spin on it all. While things in the dream may change and give the illusion of being vivid and real, it is still a dream we are caught in. But if we take the glasses off, maybe, just maybe, we might see a little more accurately what is actually here"
My lack of updates recently has been due to our heavily booked schedule—both personal and business. I feel that my once Gung-ho money saver energy is quickly depleting. We’ve been more than a little slack with our spending this month which will probably reveal itself in our end of the month savings. Yet, we are not giving up on our goals of paying off a chunk of student loan debt this month. Next week will be our big end of the month savings reveal. Until then, happy saving!