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Our plans for our March budget went up in smoke when we found out unexpectedly that Andy will be sent to Recruiter school in a few months and we will be moving this summer. Needless to say, we don’t feel financially prepared for this at all! We hadn’t been saving any money for the move because we honestly thought we were a year and a half away from it. We had planned to hopefully pay off all of our debt by the end of 2017, while also saving for a first anniversary trip to Aruba this June, and begin saving for the PCS (military move) immediately after. Those plans are smashed and we’re left to pick up the pieces. But hey, that’s the Army so you just gotta roll with it 😉
The good news in all of this is that Andy’s TDY (“business trip”) that was a few months long was canceled. This means we won’t be losing pay (since his food allowance would be taken back since they were providing meals for the soldiers.) Other perks about this means he was able to take me to my colonoscopy, and spend more time in the office studying for the promotion board as well as working on college classes.
The other good news is that we paid off our credit card at the beginning of March! We did this prior to knowing about the Recruiter school orders. Hindsight is 20/20, and had I known we would be moving so quickly, I would have preferred to kept that extra $3,000 in case an emergency came up during the move. My sweet husband, bless him, has decided to look at paying off the credit card before the move as a blessing in disguise. Andy is also hopeful that our PCS could actually help us financially, between making money from doing a DITY move, to me finding a better job, to us being able to live “on the economy” and pocket some BAH.
All that being said, our future budgets will look increasingly different. Every penny that isn’t allocated for necessities will be saved for our move this summer. Date nights will be more of the “finish everything on our Fort Knox bucket list” variety. The money we had been saving for our anniversary vacation to Aruba is being re-purposed into a “vacation” of moving our entire home thousands of miles across the country in a U-Haul truck. (Not exactly my idea of a relaxing getaway!) And, the hardest part for me, our debt snowball is 100% on hold. We’ll be making only the minimum payments until we are settled into our new home. We’re hoping we will make a few thousand dollars off of this PCS to pay off our next debt. It will take a few months once we are settled into our new home to figure out a new budget, since the cost of living in our new town will vary greatly, I’m sure.
March Income- $8,026.37
We live off last month’s income. For an explanation of why we do this, check out this post.
Andy’s March Paycheck- $2,187.40
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 March paycheck- $2,134.75
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. We are immediately putting 100% of my paychecks into savings for our big move.
Since I’m paid bi-weekly, March was a 3 paycheck month for me.
Tax Refund- $2,413.00
Since we bank through a credit union, we get a small share of their monthly profits back as a dividend based on how much money is in our accounts. We are saving these pennies for the big move, because every penny counts!
TDY Reimbursement- $593.50
We finally received the reimbursement from Andy’s “business trip” in January, and it was more than we had expected! We had assumed we would just break even, but we actually ended up pocketing $175-ish dollars, which (like everything else) is going straight towards the move. Thanks to my sweet husband for eating on the cheap while he was away! 🙂
Various Extras- $97.45
This month we were reimbursed for an extra month of car insurance (the agency forgot to cancel our policy when we requested after switching insurances) as well as I earned some money from eBates. (For more info on how I earn money from home, check out this post.)
Since we currently 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.
Total Spent- $960.00
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.
I have a sponsor child, Veronica Sarah, through Compassion International, to whom I gave a monthly donation. I also bought some baby gifts for Andy’s namesake! His best “battle buddy” (who I wrote about here) is having a baby girl this spring and naming her Andria (aka “Andi”), after my husband! Needless to say we are over-the-moon excited to have a baby girl that is “ours” 😉
Total Spent- $86.42
Rolling over to next month- $313.67
This includes our cell phones, internet, renter’s insurance, Amazon Prime and Netflix.
We canceled our Amazon Prime subscription, which was for the best since I impulse-shopped online too often. We also bought Andy a new cell phone, as his old one had poor service. He is using AT&T GoPhone. It’s actually $5 a month cheaper for the GoPhone than his old plan, yet he has the same exact plan (unlimited talk and text and 4G internet.) I’m actually planning to switch to AT&T GoPhone as soon as I can get out of my overpriced contract which won’t be until January 2019! -gasp-
Total Spent- $315.32
This includes groceries, fast-food meals (not date night meals), household items like toilet paper, and home improvement.
We also spent $125 to frame the canvas artwork we bought in Jamaica on our honeymoon. Michael’s was having a super sale, so it was actually $75 cheaper than we had budgeted! We also had some money left over on groceries.
Total Spent- $389.44
This includes my dental insurance, chiropractor visits, and any over-the-counter medicines.
I was referred to an off-post gastroenterologist for my stomach issues, and they did a colonoscopy at the end of March. Thankfully, Tricare covered the visit and procedure in full and most of my prescription (which I had to fill at Walmart.) My mom’s health insurance picked up the remainder of the prescription cost, so we paid nothing out of pocket! As much as I complain about military healthcare, it is nice to rarely have to pay out of pocket for medical bills.
Total Spent- $0.00
Rolling over to next month- $910.00
This includes gasoline, car insurance, car repairs, AAA membership, and car taxes.
We had a surprise car emergency this month. Andy and I were headed out of town when suddenly my car engine started smoking! We had it towed (for free, thanks to AAA) to the on-post auto center. They determined a coolant line developed a hole, so they replaced the line, flushed the system (to make sure there were no more leaks) and refilled my car with coolant. It was only $200! The best part is, they also looked over the car for the upcoming PCS and said it was good to go!
Total Spent- $533.33
This includes new uniforms, college classes, haircuts, and mandatory fun events.
We used the last of Andy’s FY2016 uniform allowance to buy one more PT uniform and will buy more in May with his FY2017 allowance. This is perfect timing, because when he graduates Recruiting school he will need new uniforms! We finally received that TDY reimbursement which we are thrilled about! 🙂 And we also bought Andy’s textbook for the college class he is taking this semester– at the same time as being in Recruiter school!!
Total Spent- $132.21
This includes anything related to Bailey’s work and education.
With me having to leave my job so soon, there’s nothing I need to buy on the work front.
Total Spent- $0.00
This includes any and all Gracie and Lily-related expenses.
We bought Lily a new harness and some nail clippers as well as a bag of dog food. It dawned on us that we are overfeeding our pets (aka, they always have a bowl full of food 24/7) and that we should probably cut back on their food. In addition to being good for their health, it will help save money because we won’t have to buy so much food so it’s a win-win!
Total Spent- $27.41
This is for any date-night related expenses, including activities and eating out.
We went to the Kentucky Science Center and ate at Chipotle one night for our “big date.” We also rented a Redbox movie and ate at my favorite local Mexican restaurant in-between. Otherwise, our dates from now until the move will be doing as much as we can on our Fort Knox bucket list!
Total Spent- $45.77
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 an e-book, a meal from Chick-fil-A, some Advocare Spark (which I LOVE!), and a trip to LifeWay, while Andy spent his on Burger King and Taco Bell. Oh, and a new video game! He had a few dollars left over on his monthly allowance, so he decided to contribute it to our regular family budget instead of hoarding it for himself like I did 😉 What a gem I married 🙂
Bailey’s Total Spent- $86.62
Bailey’s Rolling over to next month- $13.38
Andy’s Total Spent- $97.43
Andy’s contribution to general budget- $2.57
Like most military families, we’re on the move every 2-4 years, so we try to save in advance for these moves.
In March, we found out we’re moving this summer— a year sooner than we had planned! Every penny we aren’t using in our budget is going toward the PCS fund. We still don’t know where we’re moving to yet, but we will share it when we do!
Rolling over to next month- $2,169.67
We’re hoping to go on vacation soon (no clue when), so we wanted to start saving towards it now.
Our big anniversary trip to Aruba has been canceled for a “vacation” of moving our entire home cross-country. While we are living in a new place, our next vacations will probably be to explore our new home.
All money from vacation fund was moved to moving fund :/
We’re working to pay off our debts, so I decided to list these with more detail than our other budget categories. Any “extra” money for debt snowballing will be paid in the next month.
Discover Card- $62.00
This is the minimum payment for our Discover card.
Estimated payoff date: June 2017.Official payoff date: March 2017.
Student Loan- $72.54
This is for the minimum payment on my student loans.
Estimated payoff date: June 2018.Estimated payoff date: ???
Personal (Wedding) Loan- $230.39
This is for the minimum payment on my personal loan, which we used for the wedding.
Estimated payoff date: March 2018.Estimated payoff date: ???
Debt Snowball- $2,989.79
This is for any payments above our minimum payments.
We paid off our credit card!!! Unfortunately, this is the last “debt snowball” update we will have until we are settled in our new home this summer or fall, because we’re going back to making minimum payments only so we can save for emergency moving expenses.
Total Spent- $3,354.72
Andy and I keep a $2,500 emergency fund in our savings account to cover any major unexpected expenses that we can’t cash-flow in our monthly budget.
So far our emergency fund is holding steady! 🙂 We’re hoping to keep it at an even $2,500 and tap into it only when absolutely necessary. We’re not planning to use our emergency fund for our PCS unless we come up short.
Rolling over for future- $2,501.41
How was your March budget?