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Ahh, January. The start of a new year. A new perspective on finances. And the start of income tax season. Andy and I will be filing our taxes late this year (we’re shooting for mid-March) because I can’t even begin to think about my own taxes when I spend approximately 40 hours a week working on my clients’ taxes. I have at least put all of our W-2’s and other paperwork into the software, minus my 1099 from blogging income, so I have a pretty good idea on how much of a refund we will be getting this year. Show me the money! 😉 Andy got a power of attorney from the JAG office because he wants nothing to do with filing our taxes and wants me to sign on his behalf. In fact, his words the other day were “I would literally rather change a baby’s poopy diaper than deal with taxes.” Sure thing, honey bun! I’ll remember that someday 😉
All joking aside, January was an odd month. You know how in December many people go crazy and get totally off-budget and January is their fresh start? Well, January was our December. We had yet another nearly-$600 car repair (hopefully this is the end of the car issues), Andy went on a TDY trip that we paid for out-of-pocket and are awaiting reimbursement on, I started a new job that required new clothes due to a super strict dress code, Andy needed to buy a textbook for his second college class, and Andy also needed another set of winter PT’s (he owns one set, yet does PT 5 times a week, so he has to do laundry every single day!) Oh, and just for fun, I bought us season passes to Kentucky Kingdom while they were on super-sale– just $60 per person, plus free parking and $1 sodas all season long! It was a small investment, but Andy and I are so excited and feel we will definitely get our money’s worth this summer, especially since it will take just two visits for the passes to pay for themselves! And while I was at it, I ordered a second Shutterfly scrapbook of our relationship when I had a 50% off coupon. Oh, and one of my favorite musical artists will be performing nearby next month, so Andy and I splurged on tickets since he is unlikely to perform around here again for a few years. Plus, with Army things coming up these next few months, we won’t be able to have a regular date night for a while. So basically, while we were big spenders this month, I’m definitely looking forward to a fresh start in February!
January Income- $3,363.28
We live off last month’s income. For an explanation of why we do this, check out this post.
Andy’s January Paycheck- $2,253.99
This is Andy’s net (take-home) pay. 10% of his paycheck is automatically deducted for his TSP (retirement fund.) This post explains why my husband and I are comfortable sharing our salary information on my blog.
Bailey’s January paycheck- $104.39
I started working again! One job is a part-time Office Assistant job at a department store while the other is a part-time seasonal tax preparer job that is expected to last about a month or two.
Bailey’s Income from Surveys & Coupon Apps- $40.00
I cashed in $40 from taking online surveys and using coupon apps. Read my blog post about my favorite ways to earn money from home through apps and surveys!
Christmas gifts- $XXX
We were so kindly gifted some gift cards and cash for Christmas, which we are using to supplement our budget. However, it would be tacky to share the amount online. Just know that we are very much appreciative of them! 🙂
Since we live on-post, this is automatically deducted from Andy’s paycheck so it does not come out of our regular budget. When we use less utilities than allotted, we receive a refund check by mail.
We believe that “our” money is not ours, but God’s, so we give a 10% tithe on Andy’s paycheck. Read our thoughts on tithing here.
We bought the welcome snacks for church one morning. I also have a sponsor child, Veronica Sarah, through Compassion International, to whom I gave a monthly donation. A woman from our church is going through a divorce, so we were able to give her a small sum of money as well. It was such a blessing for us to do so, as my parents divorced when I was 7 and I remember how difficult the divorce was on our family (emotionally and financially.) We left the remainder of the tithing money in our budget to do something awesome with it!
Total Spent- $149.16
Rolling over to next month- $140.04
This includes our cell phones, internet, renter’s insurance, Amazon Prime and Netflix.
This is actually a bit lower than usual, since we didn’t get charged for renter’s insurance (or auto insurance, which comes out of our “Cars” category) in January. We have no idea why, and after a lengthy phone call from USAA they said we are still current on both of our insurances and didn’t need to worry. It still sounds odd to me, but we’ll see if we’re double-charged next month.
Total Spent- $220.77
This includes groceries, fast-food meals (not date night meals), household items like toilet paper, and home improvement.
I had been budgeting $300 a month for groceries, but decided to lower it to $200 after feeling confident I could shop sales from Kroger’s and pick up staples from Aldi’s. We came in under budget for that as well! So, we moved the extra to a budget category we were over in.
Total Spent- $239.56
Moving to other budget category $41.30
This includes my dental insurance, chiropractor visits, and any over-the-counter medicines.
I didn’t have to pay out of pocket for any medical expenses this month, but I found out I will have to pay $840 out of pocket for a dental procedure that neither Tricare’s MetLife Dental nor my mom’s dental insurance (I’m still on her plan since I’m under 26) will cover. Apparently my teeth “aren’t in bad enough shape” according to the receptionist who called me about the pre-treatment estimates. -eye roll- I thought medicine was supposed to be preventive, not reactive?!
Total Spent- $0.00
Rolling over to next month- $65.00
This includes gasoline, car insurance, car repairs, AAA membership, and car taxes.
We had to get the front sway bars and struts fixed in my car, which was expensive. We’ve spent about $2,000 repairing my car this year, which is a little more than my car’s value. Most people would probably give up on a car at this point, but since it shows no other signs of issues we’re going to keep it for a few more years. It’s a 2001, so after 16 years we’re not surprised it needed so much maintenance, especially since I didn’t pay attention to it before we were married. I’d like to think all of these repairs are just due to us paying more attention to keeping my car in shape. We also had to buy more coolant for Andy’s truck and our gas budget is increasing slightly since I’m now traveling 30 minutes each way to work.
Total Spent- $719.41
This includes new uniforms, college classes, haircuts, and mandatory fun events.
Andy went TDY for a week, so we cash-flowed the expenses. In reality, we adjusted our budget software so this particular category is in the negative for the month, and will be in the positive again once we are reimbursed. (One of the perks of living off last month’s income— we have extra money in our checking account for situations like this!) We’re hoping to make a hundred or so dollars from the TDY which we will put in our emergency fund. We also bought Andy’s textbook for his English class and he got two haircuts.
Total Spent- $148.74
TDY expenses- $415.23 (negative balance)
Rolling over to next month (for new uniforms)- $72.27
This includes anything related to Bailey’s work and education.
I had to buy a few new blouses for work, since the dress code literally gives me 3 color options for tops. I also ate out for lunch on my first day of work since I didn’t know where the break room was or if they had a refrigerator 🙂
Total Spent- $128.13
This includes any and all Gracie and Lily-related expenses.
We bought Lily some dog food from Aldi’s and the commissary (they had a super sale on a great, all-natural brand!) and for Gracie, some Litter Genie refills from Amazon and cat food from Kroger. (We also bought the pets their Christmas gifts the day after Christmas, but I used my Walmart gift cards from my family to buy them.)
Total Spent- $20.83
This is for any date-night related expenses, including activities and eating out.
We went to Winter Jam at the beginning of the month, and also bought season passes to Kentucky Kingdom as well as concert tickets to hear one of my favorite artists next month. This is WAY more than we would normally spend on date night in a month, but since Andy will be busy with Army things over the upcoming months, we won’t budget for date night then.
Total Spent- $268.48
This is for Andy and Bailey’s individual fun money allowances. They each get $100 can spend them however they please or roll it over to the next month.
I spent my fun money on eating out– I ate out 5 times in the month, which is very unusual for me! I also bought some cards from Hallmark, and bought a new book from LifeWay. I just couldn’t resist! I also bought a scrapbook from Shutterfly about our engaged days 🙂 Andy spent his money on one video game, a bouquet of flowers for me, and the rest on fast food. What can I say, the man loves to eat! 😉 Seriously though, work was so busy for him he rarely had time to come home for lunch. He opted to not move his “leftover” money (aka like $1 and some change) to the next month and put the rest in our general budget fund.
Bailey’s Total Spent- $163.33
Bailey’s Rolling over to next month- $0.00
Andy’s Total Spent- $98.62
Andy’s Rolling over to next month- $0.00
Like most military families, we’re on the move every 2-4 years, so we try to save in advance for these moves.
This is not a priority for us right now, since we will either get an advance or use the Government Travel Card for our DITY move.
Total Spent- $0.00
We’re hoping to go on vacation soon (no clue when), so we wanted to start saving towards it now.
We didn’t put any money towards our vacation fund this month, since we were focused on other goals. We’re hoping to go somewhere for our first anniversary in June!
Rolling over to next month- $0.00
We’re working to pay off our debts, so I decided to list these with more detail than our other budget categories.
Discover Card- $66.00
This is for the minimum payment on my Discover card. It went down $2 this month and in February will go down another $3!
Student Loan- $72.54
This is for the minimum payment on my student loans.
Personal (Wedding) Loan- $230.39
This is for the minimum payment on my personal loan, which we used for the wedding.
Debt Snowball- $60.00
This is for any payments above our minimum payments.
When we first began debt snowballing in September, we allotted $25 a month extra towards our debts. As our credit card balance has been dropping, the amount of extra money to throw at it has been increasing; it’s already up to $60! We’re hoping to pay off our Discover card by our first anniversary or at the very least, the end of 2017.
Total Spent- $428.93
Andy and I keep a $1,000 emergency fund in our savings account to cover any major unexpected expenses that we can’t cash-flow in our monthly budget.
Unfortunately, Andy and I had to tap into our emergency fund to cover my car repairs. It stinks that literally an entire 3 week TDY’s pay was wasted on car repairs, but such is life. I’m just grateful we did have that TDY pay!
Rolling over for future- $1,000.84
I’m participating in the second round of the Growella Games. They challenged me to save $75 a week for 8 weeks, and by the end in February I will have saved $600; if I save the $600, they will match it! It’s been a little tricky to save so much money since our budget is so tight, but Andy has been totally on board with this. It’s been a fun challenge to save this money. This month was a little tricky to save so much, but we did it!
Rolling over to future- $300.00
How was your January budget?