Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..
After a month of taking the 50/50 Challenge, it’s time to show my work. Did I make it or did I fail? (play dramatic music here)
How a Monthly Money Review Can Help
Taking the 50/50 Challenge been a fun way to push me to both earn a little more and trim our monthly expenses. It’s also way to keep me accountable with our budget.
If you’re trying to reach your money goals for the year, having regular check-ups can be invaluable.
When we did monthly net worth reviews, some benefits we discovered were:
Comparing planned budgets vs actual spending is eye opening. Those reviews allowed us to see if what we planned was reasonable or if we completely missed the mark.
We got to see our progress (or lack of) on our financial goals for the year. We could make adjustments as needed.
Okay, enough talk, let’s look at the numbers!
Extra Money Earned: $300
With a full schedule, I knew going in that earning more would be a challenge. My initial idea was to get rid of stuff around the house by selling them, taking care of two birds with one stone.
It didn’t go that way though.
Still no buyer for my dress on Vinted. I lowered the price so maybe I’ll get a bite soon.
With the time crunch, I really didn’t have success with listing stuff on Craigslist. I went ahead and donated several bags and a few boxes of my stuff.
I did get receipts, so when it comes time to filing our taxes this could be a really good thing.
With that hurdle, I was looking really hard for ways to earn some more cash.
Fortunately an opportunity for freelance work came up last week and I took it, netting me an extra $300.
So while it’s not how I planned, I am excited to reach my earning goal.
Extra Money Saved: $250
Meal planning was a mixed bag. For about half the month we had thoughtfully shopped and prepared meals. It then failed as the month was finishing up as deadlines for work, a family wedding, and a busy week of showing converged.
I switched over to Republic Wireless’ refund plan to see if I can save a bit more. I was doing extremely well on my usage, but in VA I ran through almost all of it.
So for my day to day activity it’s a win, but if I’m out of town, I have to keep an eye on things.
I just made my goal (with a few extra cents to spare!), but a win is a win so I’m celebrating.
Thoughts on Taking the 50/50 Challenge
So you’ve seen my numbers, I’d love to hear from you – how were thins last month?
Were you able to earn some extra money? Did you cut back on your spending?
I’ll get into it more in my review post, but we did save some money which is always a plus.
The not so good news is that an unscheduled expense came up and we ended up using it.
While I’m not thrilled about the money that went out, I’m happy we had the cash to cover it.
New Month, New Spending Plan
New month means it’s time to plan our budget for the month.
Encouraged with how things went in August, I’m posting up our spending plan in hopes of keeping our expenses in check.
Accountability can be a powerful motivator and with travel and a business conference scheduled, I’d love to have some extra motivation to watch our money.
Family Spending Plan for September
Mortgage & More: $1,060
Utilities & Internet: $230
Cell Phones: $115
Life Insurance: $120
Car (Insurance & Gasoline): $200
Household Goods: $200
Examining Our September Budget
Before we break down all of categories, you may notice that there is no giving category here.
We do set aside a portion of money towards giving. While I think it’s important, I’d rather keep those numbers private for this review.
Mortgage & More
Besides our mortgage payments, we also have to take care of HOA fees, property tax, and insurance.
Utilities & Internet
Our water and sewer is included in our home association fees and we have electric heating and gas for our stove. Our electric bill has been much higher than normal – part of it is the higher A/C use with this humid heat.
The showings haven’t helped either as we have to leave the lights on and keep the house cooler than we’re used to.
Our internet is through Time Warner Cable. I called a few months back and shaved off some of bill.
My two phones (work and personal) are on Republic Wireless. My husband uses T-Mobile for his service.
We have our semi-annual premium due this month for my term life policy. We want to leave something for our kids should something happen to one or both of us.
We have full coverage on our two cars. We use Amerprise and get a discount by being Costco members.
Since we’re driving to Charlotte for FINCON later this month, we’ve set aside extra for gasoline.
This area covers regular expenses like diapers, pet stuff, and cleaning supplies. We’re also allocating some money towards sprucing up the townhouse.
Since the flooring has already been paid for this month will be mostly paint. We have some touch-up work to do.
My favorite part of the budget 😉
We’re back to meal planning to keep expenses down AND to make sure we’re not wasting any of the weekly produce deliveries.
Thoughts on Our Budget
Now you see our plans – do you see anything we could improve on?