One-third of the way through the year and it’s time to see what progress we’ve made to-date.
Our Debt Recap – April Edition
One of the hardest things about writing from a personal standpoint comes when times get tough. I waited an extra week to update you on our April debt and savings results simply due to the fact that so much happened during the month of April.
Honestly, I’m still trying to digest it all myself.
Of course, there were a couple of successes.
We managed to pay off a total of $2,535.59 in debt this month. Much of that was paid toward our final credit card that we’ve been working hard to eliminate. I credit this success to the fact that I made the payment immediately at the beginning of the month. If I had waited, I know we wouldn’t have paid anything more than the minimum payment on it.
Ultimately, we didn’t meet our goal of $2,750, but we paid more than nothing, which is a success in my book.
(If you’ve been keeping track, that’s a total of $16,916 paid off this year!)
Tip: Grab my FREE Debt Tracker to help you do the same!
Our challenge for April was to save a little more money by utilizing coupons.
Can I just say that using coupons is HARD? I have great respect for those individuals that use coupons on a regular basis because I used ONE coupon this month and it got me two dollars off of a pound of Starbucks coffee.
Now…just know that I clipped a TON of coupons for other products we enjoy using but then, I either forgot them at home and didn’t realize it until we unloaded the groceries, OR the price of the item was so high to start with that I just didn’t even bother.
I will say that the couponing was a success in that we saved a total of $2.
Any savings is good, right?
As with any family budget, struggles are inevitable. April was definitely a month of struggles for us.
I’m really not sure where we got off track with our grocery budget, except to say that we did. We had a hard time sticking to the weekly amount and, in the end used our debit card to supplement the final week. Overall, we were about $150 over budget.
Part of the struggle came from having additional people in our home. They’ve moved out now, though, so we should be able to stay on track with our May budget.
Starting this month, it’s back to more stringent meal planning and only heading to the grocery store once per week.
Tip: Want to streamline your grocery shopping? Grab my FREE Grocery List Template to help you do just that!
Another struggle (success?) came in the form of a big purchase.
If you’ve been following the blog for any period of time, you likely know that my husband Justin has been dealing with some medical complications for the past six months or so. As we’ve dealt with the varying severity of what the doctors have considered to be the issue, our world has shifted slightly.
We began really contemplating what the future might look like for our family unit and in the end made the tough (and yet, exciting) decision that life is short and to stop putting off our dream of vacationing together in a camper.
And thus…we bought a camper.
I will say that while we did choose to finance a very small portion of it (with the hopes of paying it off this fall), we were able to trade our car in and put a sizeable chunk of money down on the camper as well. Our payment is low and, until further notice, will be paid directly out of Justin and my spending money.
Honestly, I spent the first week after the purchase feeling as if I’ve failed you as my reader. I mean, you come here excited to learn how we are “successfully” managing our finances, cheer on our debt payoff journey, and then today, find out that we took on more debt?
And yet, one camping trip in, I know it was the ABSOLUTE right decision for our family and look forward to sharing our journeys with you from the road.
Changes Going Forward
In addition to purchasing the camper, we’ve decided to make a shift in our financial goals for the next few months.
As you know, we’ve focused heavily on debt payment without a huge savings to fall back on. Over the next three months, we intend to pay the minimum payments on all of our debt and focus on sticking as much money into savings as possible.
To do this we’ve decided to take half of the “extra” money that we’d been putting toward debt and stick it immediately into savings.
Ideally, we want to have at least three months’ worth of expenses set aside.
With the purchase of our new camper, vacation has also become a priority for us financially. Between now and September, the other half of the “extra” money in our budget will be designated to our vacation fund. This should allow us to travel to several of the places on our bucket list and really enjoy our summer as a family.
It’s something that we intended on holding off on this summer, so we didn’t plan ahead as well as we could have. Yet, we’ve decided as a family that, coupled with saving, it is the right use of our finances as this point in time.
As they always do, those pesky medical expenses have crept back into our lives.
Payment plans have been set up and we are so grateful for some financial assistance we received to waive part of one of the major procedures. In the end, we’ll be chipping away at those bills by paying the minimum payments until such time as we have our three months’ worth of savings set aside.
Then…it’ll be game on again when it comes to paying down that debt.
Downsizing or Refinancing
Finally, we considering the next step in our home ownership situation. At this time we are struggling to decide whether we should downsize our living arrangements (smaller home = less maintenance = smaller payment) or simply refinance. With the housing market the way it is, we haven’t figured out the logistics of moving just yet, but know we intend to in the future.
In the meantime, refinancing might be just the ticket.
I’ll definitely keep you apprised of our decision moving forward.
Reevaluating Your Own Progress
I think it’s safe to say that I highly recommend reevaluating your own progress and what your budget looks like going forward.
Are you considering all of the possibilities, while still using your money wisely?
If you had a hard month, like we did, are you ready to pick yourself back up and start fresh again? If, on the other hand, you had a great and very successful month, are you taking notes so that you know how to keep up the good work going forward?
Either way, I’d love to be able to cheer you on! Leave a comment below and let me know how your month went AND what you intend to do better next month!