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January has been a fun month – plenty of visits from family and friends (coming to us, which is much easier than traveling than visit all of them). We're so happy that they came and caught up with us. I hope we can do this more through out the year.

As I was winding down for the evening last night, I checked our bank accounts and noticed our buffer shrank a bit – that's our cue to keep an eye out on what we spend. 

Looking ahead, it seems like we'll be more budget conscious over the next month.

Upcoming Expenses in February

February may possibly be an eventful month – besides a family trip we may also (finally!) get to refinance the house (see below). With so much to do, we'll be keeping a close eye on our budget. We'll have to avoid using the joint account for unnecessary expenses if we want to keep a buffer in place.

Visiting Our Friends in the Mountains

Next month we're traveling to spend some time with our friends. That means we need to make sure the car is ready. It's about time for an oil change, so I'll schedule that as soon as possible. It also means spending a day cleaning the car out just to get out stuff packed in there!

It also means saving a bit for gasoline and food for the trip. It's nothing major expense wise, but just something to keep track of for the budget.

Refinance the House?

I mentioned last week that we were a bit stuck with one of the lenders on getting an estimate for a refinance (ironically with our current lender). We did hear from them (not the original person we were working with, someone else) and it looks like they weren't even going to try and compete.

I kind of disappointed as I wanted to stay with them – I would've prefer having one less account to track. However when the gentlemen kept telling me that 5% was such as a great rate and refinancing to 3.25% wasn't really going to save us on monthly payments (of course – we're looking at long term!), I figure he wasn't willing to even look at getting us a decent deal.

Fortunately another offer came in and it was for 3.125%.   It looks as if we're going ahead with the refinance deal (after we finish reviewing the paperwork tonight and asking a few questions).

While that means saving money for the family in the long term, it'll be a tight fit over the next month .For one thing, we have to decide if we want to put more money down for the closing or if we want to roll some of that into the new mortgage.

Status of the Car Replacement Fund

Depending on what we do with the refinancing, the car replacement fund will be affected somehow.

If we decide to go ahead and take care of everything at closing that could mean pulling some money from our savings and pausing on the funding the car replacement fund.

While the car we're using is uncomfortably small for us now, it's not an emergency. If we have to wait a bit more before buying a roomier family car, then that's fine with me.

Thoughts on No Spending

I think we should talk a bit more tonight and see where we need to adjust and put a Mint alert on spending. What's the longest you've gone without spending on discretionary items? What are your plans for next month?

Photo Credit: dustydean

About Elle Martinez

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..

4 comments add your comment

  1. Sounds like you’re going to have a busy month – I had a pretty packed JAN, but my Feb is free so hopefully I’ll be able to save quite a bit of money in feb.

  2. Whoa! What a lousy mortgage broker; 3.5% isn’t that much better than 5%? It sounds like a change is very warranted.

    I’d love to refinance, but have some remodeling to finish before I can get an appraiser in. I only hope that the interest rates will still be good.

    • I was surprised at how horribly he pitched not refinancing. It seem odd that he wasn’t going to make any reasonable offer. Everything else we’ve seen so far had been around 3.5-3.75%.

  3. Looks like you have a lot going on in Feburary almost reminds me of my month. Two trips, several new projects and anniversary. The longest I have gone without spending any money on discretionary items has been 10 months. It drove my wife crazy but I was happy in the end as I got the savings I was looking for and rewarded myself by going on a trip to Vegas.