This month had its share of wins and losses…sometimes even in the same moment. Spending $600 to repair our Xterra definitely decreased the amount we were able to save, but being able to have it repaired also prevented the much larger expense of replacing our vehicle. Similarly, we had another financial win-lose with our apartment, which I’ll explain a bit later.
Here’s how June turned out:
Goal #1: Live on 50% of our income
Status: At 56%, we continue to come close but we’re still not quite achieving this goal. We did make a few changes to our accounting procedures in June. First, I moved car repairs to Flex Expenses. Gas and general maintenance remain under Absolute Expenses but car repairs (like other unexpected repairs) are not something that happens monthly (I pray!!) and they are not something, in our case, that is required for daily living. Since I work from home, the car is more of a want than an actual need.
Next, in an effort to streamline our expense tracking (ie. declutter my desk of receipts), we decided to try using cash only for groceries, household goods, and dining out. No debit, no need for a receipt. We set a budget of $340 for the month. I’m happy to say that we ended the month with $3.93 leftover. Not bad! We were able to stay within budget, even hosting 2 dinners for our out-of-town visitors; but the bigger win is the fact that we reduced our Absolute Expenses for the month by 4% simply by setting a spending limit. This also helped increase our savings by 1%.
Though it wasn’t a goal per se, we started experimenting with smartphone side hustles this month. From the few apps that we tried so far, we’ve earned a total of $55.
7% of this month’s budget went to prepaying for experiences. We’re taking a few days in July to visit Jekyll Island, GA, where we’ll be taking a dolphin excursion and a nighttime beach walk with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, among other explorations.
Goal #2: Spend more time outside the box (apartment)
Status: We added this goal back in April in an attempt to find reasons to stay in our cheap apartment when our lease came up for renewal. We have decided not to renew our lease so this is the last time this goal will appear in our report. We’re currently playing around with a few thoughts on new exercise goals as a substitute though. But back to the apartment…
Last week we were watching Netflix and enjoying a bowl of homemade ice cream when I noticed a shadow at our kitchen window. I could make out hands cupped around a face peering into the window. It freaked me out. The next day, I went to check the mail and our neighbor from next door blocked me in the stairwell. Though he didn’t do anything but talk, I still got scared.
On Friday, we went to look at another apartment in a better part of town. It is not going to be as cheap as our current apartment but it has a few perks that I feel offset the difference. It’s safe. No one can walk past our window and peer in. In fact, we can actually have the blinds open to see the sunshine. And it has a balcony! We thought we could handle the lack of outdoor space in our current apartment by going to the park but that’s just not feasible all the time, especially when you simply want to sit outside and have a cup of coffee before work. We won’t be moving until the end of August but even coming home from submitting our paperwork (and our $200 deposit), I felt a huge sense of relief.
Goal #3: Be a part-time vegetarian
Status: On track. Our CSA share continues to get bigger and better each week, allowing us to create new and interesting all-veggie meals. Our meat consumption has consisted of mostly pork this month, as we continue to clean out the freezer. Angie made BBQ for our guests. We also found a local source for uncured bacon. (I’ve decided that my part-time vegetarianism still allows for BLTs and sustainably-farmed seafood.)
Our sub-goal this month was to re-evaluate our wardrobe. Here’s how we downsized our duds:
|Short Sleeve Shirts|
|Long Sleeve Shirts/Sweaters|
|Hoodies or Sweatshirts||2|
|Jackets or Coats||3||2|
I anticipate a few more t-shirts will make their way to Goodwill after summer but for now, we were able to cut 17 items from our closet.
Our money saving focus for July will be on canning and preserving foods. We’ve already started putting squash, zucchini, and blueberries in the freezer and are expecting a bumper crop of tomatoes to come in over the next few weeks. My mom has agreed to teach us how to can tomatoes. Since we go through about a dozen cans of store-bought tomatoes a month, we’re really looking forward to that.