Progress Report: Month 6

Day 215 | $17,519 paid | $71,194 till freedom

64 / 68 Total Days Biked to Work (94%) | 58 Consecutive Bicycle Commutes to Work

October was completely overwhelming. It consisted of many evenings and all four weekends dedicated to my job and I worked a total of 365 hours. Understandably, there was little free time for financial tracking, improving the efficiency of our expenses, or Craigslist-ing. However, when all was said and done, it was the least amount of money that we have ever spent in a 30-day period. We excelled in keeping under our projected limits in all categories except for the water bill and groceries. Unfortunately, the water bill is mailed two months after-the-fact, so it’s difficult to track its cause and effect relationship.

October Summary:

  • Starting Cash: $200
  • Starting Debt: $73,410
  • Income: $4,530
  • Expenses (Including regular loan payments): $3,314
  • Amount paid to debt: $1,771
  • Ending Debt: $71,194
  • Ending Cash: $200
  • Total Assets: $38,036
  • Total Liabilities: $71,194
  • Net Worth: -$33,158

Predicted amount of debt at the end of May 2014: $1,229

As the trend line grows longer, it becomes more encouraging to me as I can visibly see that progress has been made. Last April seems like a long time ago, and it really hasn’t felt like we’ve done much. In reality though, after 25% of our time has expired we’ve knocked out 24.6% of what we started with. The more we take down, the bigger the snowball gets. This month we knocked out the smallest of my unsubsidized 6.55% interest federal loans that originally carried a balance of $2,000. I’ve got two more unsubsidized disbursements at the same interest rate that total to about $11,000 left to go before moving on to my two “Special Direct Consolidation Loans”.

Assessment of Expenses and Revenue

Here’s a look at October’s spending. As you can see, WAY more green in this month’s expenses category than any other month. Click once to open, and once to zoom.

Analysis: Expenses

  • Fuel – $65 – This month was the first time we’ve reached the sub-$100 mark, and boy did we shatter it. Biking to work and to carry out errands and not having many large cross-town trips to make made this possible.
  • Eating Out – $13 – Another number I’m very proud of. Planning ahead with our meals has virtually eliminated the “necessary” eating out caused by an empty fridge.
  • Dog Supplies – $37 – We finally reached an equilibrium where vet expenses, pet deposits, and other start-up costs are out of the picture and all we had to do was buy food. Maybe the budgeted $75 is a little higher than it needs to be.
  • Miscellaneous – $59 – This is by far the lowest we’ve spent on miscellaneous purchases. We usually end up somewhere near the budgeted $200, but not this month. This figure may be somewhat under-reported, as a number of Wal-Mart / Grocery receipts were misplaced and there were likely some line items that would have been taken from Grocery and placed into Misc.
  • Groceries – $582 – This is a solid $110 higher than our budgeted $470. There were lots of little extra trips between big trips and those small items add up. This figure is also probably inflated some due to miscellaneous items creeping their way in there.
  • Electricity – $73 – One dollar under the budgeted $74, so we’re right on track here.
  • Water – $76 – Yet another high water bill. This is concerning, as our average at the last apartment was around $58 and we’ve changed no habits. It’s obvious that some extra efforts will need to be made in this area.
  • Auto Insurance – $313 – We only have $63 a month budgeted for our new premium, but I had to pay All-State $250 for the last prorated amount of what we owed them.
  • Out-Of-Budget – $22 – We drained the Running Supplies ING account, and had to dip into our checking account balance a little bit to get some things for my wife. The $40 a month we contribute to the account is really a “best estimate” of what we’ll need to set aside, so occasionally going beyond that isn’t necessarily a negative thing.
  • Student Loan Snowball – $1,771 – I wish that in a month with such low expenses, I could have had some monster online sales action to boost the income and make this snowball roll a little faster. What is encouraging though, is that even in a month with ZERO supplemental income, the snowball payment matches what we paid in April and May when I DID made $1,000 per month online.

All other categories are the same month-to-month and were right where we budgeted them.

Analysis: Revenue

Well, not much to analyze this time. No gifts, sales, windfalls, or deposits of any kind were received except for our salary at the beginning of the month. It makes for an interesting pie chart, let me tell ya.

November Outlook:

I’m writing this post three weeks into November, but the outlook looks good! I’ve been selling some things out of my closet. This includes some unopened wedding gifts and the like that I know I wouldn’t use for a while, as well as other random things. I’m really trying to make the most out of the resources I have available to me. Also, with the end of our football team’s playoff run, it means I have gotten my weekends back which means getting back into the online electronics biz. I expect that going into the Christmas season more people will be looking to sell their unused toys for cash to buy gifts for family and friends and that my business will receive some fresh wind in its sails. As always, I will end this post with the full 24-month outlook. We’re 6 months through, and still have another 18 to go!

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