January budget wrap-up

Month one of budgeting is complete using Dave Ramsey's budget method where we spent all our anticipated income on paper before the month began. We were actually pretty close our first month out and had a $97 surplus, not including the $3K we socked away into our emergency fund. We also paid off all our credit cards from Christmas purchases and took them out of our wallet. We are debit/cash only and loving it! Watch the documentary "Maxed Out" and you won't want to support creditors any more. We didn't estimate correctly in our food categories. We needed to flip flop the categories as we spent more in groceries than I initally budgeted. However, we equally spent less in eating out. This is a good thing overall as the main food cost was within limits. I think we can refine this further if I can use all our groceries before things go bad. Meal planning and preparation will be a work in progress. We also sold a number of items on Craigslist, returned unused items to stores, cashed in rebates, and received a large weatherization incentive from the Energy Trust of Oregon related to insulating our home during phase I of our remodel. We made an extra $1600 in unanticipated income in January after all is said and done. If we are on track, even without selling anymore stuff, we will be able to save at least twice as much next month thanks to no credit card bills. I'm happy to be able to tell our money how to work for us now! If we continue to sell junk (I haven't sold anything I really cared to keep yet) and get some more freelance work, we will be able to pay my car off soon and have a sizable emergency fund to cover at least 6 months of expenses. I will likely sell my Mazda 5 after we pay off the note, but I'm thinking of keeping it while we are still remodeling because it is large enough for hauling drywall, etc. It was purchased new so we already have to absorb most of that original depreciation (hello stupid tax DOH us!), so keeping it for a few extra months won't see much as far as dropping in value. Once remodeling phase II is done (hopefully by the fall), I should be able to sell it and maybe buy a used small hybrid of some sort with cash! Yay!

7 Responses to “January budget wrap-up”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Hey Dawn! If you DO end up deciding to sell your Mazda 5 and it’s an automatic (I’m useless with a stick shift), would you mind letting us know?

    We’re a one car family and want to stay that way, but we’ve been talking about selling our Honda Civic and switching to a Mazda 5. We love our little Civic, but it does seem somewhat microscopic when we try jamming two kids and two dogs into it. And we can’t haul ANYTHING. I can’t even pick up Chloe’s friends from school for play dates because we literally do not have enough room in the back seat for a third car seat. When relatives come to visit, we have to rent a car and take two cars everywhere because much as I do love the Honda, I refuse to ride in the trunk. We don’t want a big honking beast of a car, but the Mazda 5 seems like a good compromise. Unfortunately, there are very few used ones for sale….

  2. Nicole Says:

    Way to go! I’m glad things are going so well for you so far! We magically (or not so magically) have a 6+ month emergency fund and no debt except for a 0% loan for Jesse’s lasik and all our student loans. Definitely loving having cash socked away since I know we’re gonna need access to some at some point this year. It’s very very comforting knowing it’s there. It would only be better if all the loans were gone too! Someday… hopefully not too many years from now! And by then you’ll probably have your house paid off :)

  3. Dawn Says:

    Weird! I didn’t know Mazda 5s were in demand at all. We’d sell it now haha!

    If we had kids, it would be a PERFECT vehicle but alas we’re probably a few years off still on that, and if we were to sell now, I’d prob. get an older Subaru Forester or something to still haul stuff (and maybe kids) someday haha!

    It’s a 2007 Mazda 5 Sport: silver, automatic, remote start (my fave), Sirius XM satellite radio/5 cd in-dash player, power windows/doors, cruise control, etc.

    Looks like this guy, minus the sunroof.

    oh and has about 15500 miles (I thought it was 13000, but I just checked DOH) and I believe a transferable 10 yr/100,000 warranty we paid extra for (ugh)

  4. Joy Says:

    Hi! I was just looking at pictures of your kitchen on flickr…it is lovely! The old bungalow we’re thinking of buying has all the original woodwork in the kitchen, …but not much else, and I’ve been looking for cabinetry that would work well for the space and wondered if you could tell me where yours is from. I just love all that you’ve donw with your house!

  5. Stephanie Says:

    Wow – cool! Well, we aren’t in any big rush, and actually would be fine with waiting (you mentioned wanting to keep it through the summer.) When you’re ready to put it on the market, please let us know – we’re definitely interested! :-)

  6. Dawn Says:

    Hi Joy, we had a local cabinet maker create the cabinets from inspirational photos found in the book: The New Bungalow Kitchen

    Their pricing was actually cheaper than the quotes I received from Home Depot for both Kraftmade and their other cheaper brand that I ca’t remember the name of. AND all of our upper cabinets are finished fir inside and out (not cheap pressboard like many nationwide cabinet chains). So it does pay to shop around.

  7. Joy Says:

    Thanks, Dawn!

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