Goodness! It’s March already! I’ve been keeping myself super busy so far this year so the days just seem to be flying by! You know what a new month means around here! A new budget challenge and an update to last months! If you’re new to mine little corner of the interwebs here, my budget spiraled really, really far out of control for 2014 and combined with a very large income drop (we’re talking over $40,000 per year loss in income), we almost lost everything. So in 2015, we’ve challenged ourselves to getting back in financial shape! You can check out the previous months budget challenge posts here and I would LOVE to have you challenge yourself right along with us!
In January, we were most concerned with getting our bills caught up. We were majorly behind and needed to get caught up. The catching up continued in February. I made a couple of payments big enough to physically hurt, BUT, starting March? We’re ALL caught up!! 100% caught up, nothing late and actually a couple of accounts with small credits on them! I can NOT express to you just how relieved I truly am! We did end up being a bit over budget on some things, but I boosted our budget with InstaGC and Perk and some freelance work and we actually ended the month with a very nice balance in the bank!
So the rundown for Feb looks like this:
- All bills caught up
- $250.00 spent on groceries
- Bank Balance on Feb. 28: $1507.02 (whooo hooooo!!)
So we are sitting fairly pretty right now and just need to keep the ball rolling! For March, we have $4667.60 coming in (including the $1507 that we started the month with). Because everything is caught up, it’s time for me to start slowly working on lowering expenses and to start working on building those accounts up so they have credits on them. If you’ve never put a credit on an account, the reason I do this is because if there is a lower income month and a bill has a credit on it, I can use the credit to cover the bill. Generally I like to have 2-3 months worth of credits built up on each account JUST in case.
So for March, I’ll be working on getting those credits built up. This is an ongoing process for me. I do it in smaller amounts so that I don’t stress my budget out each month. So you’ll notice some amounts that may seem high, but they’re high on purpose so that I can build that credit up. As far as cutting expenses, in Feb. we switched cell companies. We only had one phone between the two of us and were paying quite a bit for that one line. Now, we’re contracted, BUT we’ve got the 2 lines we need (mine and Tom’s) for right around the same price each month. Because we switched, you’ll notice that my bill for this month is a bit higher than I would like. That’s because of activation fees so it’s a one off fee.
Here’s how this month’s budget looks:
- March Rent – $825
- Electric – $250 (This will put a $125 credit on our bill. The bill itself was higher than this, but the deposit we paid when we switched companies last month covered all but $125 of the bill.)
- Water – $75 (Gives us a $25.00 credit)
- Groceries – $350 ($330 of this has already been spent when I did our once a month shopping. The remaining $20.00 will cover any unexpected expenses like an emergency milk run.)
- Business – $550
- Cell Phone – $175 (activation fees, plus a $50.00 credit)
- Internet – $100 ($40.00 credit)
- Car stuff – $365 ($25.00 credit)
- Netflix/Hulu/CBS – $26.00
- Misc. $450
- Gasoline – $60.00 (we’ve got a couple of small road trips this month so I’ve had to account for that)
Incoming Income: $4667.60
I also still have $30.00 in Amazon Gift Cards left from InstaGC, $10 Amazon cards from Perk, $25.00 in Amazon cards from Swagbucks and $15.00 in Target gift cards left over from Shopkick that I can fall back on if I need to. If I don’t use them, they’ll be held onto until I need them or Tom’s birthday rolls around.
So far this month, I’ve paid rent (whoo hoo for the first time it’s been on time in 6 months and YES, I am VERY grateful to have the landlords that I have!), the cell bill, bought groceries, and put $150 into savings. IF everything goes correct this month, we should end the month with around $1460.00 left over. $825 of that will be set aside to cover April’s rent, $300 will go into savings and the remaining balance will be split between our utility/car accounts to continue to build up the credits. Anything extra that we bring in on top of the $4667 I’ve already counted will go into savings as well to give our emergency fund a little harder push to get it back to $1,000. Once it’s set there, we’ll work on it a bit more and build 3 months worth of expenses in there, then 6 months and finally 1 year worth of expenses.
Also, this is the month where I will actively start working on lowering our expenses. To start, I’m going after our electric bill. It needs desperate help…lol. I’ll check in with you next month on how well we do on lowering it…lol.
There you have it! March 2015’s Budget challenge! I hope that you’re being helped by my honesty here! Lord knows I am by having to post it! Make sure you pop over and check in on Danielle at The Frugal Navy Wife and check in on her challenge update too and be sure to leave me a comment if you’re challenging along with us!
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