July was a pretty boring month for us. No big numbers, just stuck with the budget and trudged along.
And despite it being a blah month, we still hit a milestone… we’re officially under $25,000!
- Gas: we’re usually pretty spot-on with our allotted $120 but this month we went over because I went hiking twice, both trips totaling an additional 10 hours in the car. Next month I anticipate hiking even more so we’re going to up that line most likely to $160.
- Cell phones: last month I received a random message from AT&T stating that my plan had been changed, unannounced. I called and they reassured me that nothing had changed. Well, when I received our invoice, it was higher, as they had changed our plan by upping the data. I immediately called them and gave them hell because A. we didn’t authorize that change B. they had told me nothing had changed just a few weeks prior and C. we don’t come close to using the 6GB of shared data as is, there’s no reason for us to pay for 12GB. The representative couldn’t understand why I was refused double the data for just $5 extra and tried to convince me to watch tv on my phone = I was officially pissed. When the rep. transferred me over to the customer retention department, I was on hold for over 45 minutes and gave them even more hell, as nicely as possible I may add. That honey paid off! Not only did the new rep. change our plan back to the original one, he took $20 off of our monthly invoice from here on out as an apology. AND he gave us an additional $25 credit that will be popping up in August. Long story short, our old monthly expense for cell phones was $104.95, it’ll now be $85.62. I’ll take it!
- Groceries: for the first half of the month, I planned our meals and everything went as scheduled… until the second half of the month came and I decided we could wing it. Well, we can’t. I’ve learned we overspend with this tactic so in August I’m going to have to try harder by keeping staples in our pantry. The thing is, our pantry is so low every month because we only buy the necessities. Mom, please don’t read this and think we need money or food. We don’t 🙂 We just can’t have the pantry packed like we could a year ago. In just a few short months however… golly, I CAN’T WAIT to stock up on 81 cent pasta and 69 cent beans, ha! Oh, the shit-eating grin on my face just thinking about all the canned and bulk items we’re going to have on hand. I’m picturing myself walking through the isles with, “they see me rollin’, they hatin'” blasting in the background. Back to reality: we went over by almost $50 this month, also partially because I needed to shop for backpacking food options.
Speaking of food, we did eat a lot of delicious meals! I checked out Chloe Coscarelli’s Flavor cookbook from the library and it’s so so good! It might be my favorite vegan cookbook! The flavors are spot on so far with every recipe we’ve tried. The beau said I’m like the woman cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook, except the vegan version. Made me laugh! (Photographs of the food on Instagram)
Items we didn’t have in the budget but paid cash for:
- deodorant cream from Meow Meow Tweet (the beau now uses this too!)
- I split a hotel in Philly for the Taylor Swift concert – see, you CAN budget fun!
- 2 rides on the subway in Philly
- running coach
- AAA batteries for my headlamp
- a nozzle for our gifted hose (so we can water the garden more easily)
- and a visit to my favorite spa friend
We’ve paid off $66,060.21 in 11 months!
In July alone, we paid off $4,682.07 of debt, or 16.49%. This month we did receive our STAR rebate and a refund from Navient because we were eligible to have 6 months worth of payments (on one specific loan) refunded to us. Their story/reasoning isn’t straight but I’m not complaining – I’ll be fighting like hell to get a refund later this year on a second loan with this benefit.
When I recapped the numbers with the beau, I could see the excitement (FINALLY!) on his face. Every payment I make, I do a little happy dance. Literally. My excitement has been present since day one, but then again, I’m the nerd watching the spreadsheet change multiple times a month. He’s been happy and supportive of this process and gives me the high fives I need to celebrate, but this morning I could see that reality was finally hitting him: we have less than 6 months to go.
I remember when we paid off our last debt and realized we only had two more student loans / debts to go. They’re our two highest debts, $16k and $17k and I’m not going to lie, it felt daunting. I knew it would take months to pay off each debt and the satisfaction wouldn’t be instant like we’ve experienced in the past. But I no longer feel that burden – it’s actually been really exciting tracking the progress on these bigger balances.
Less than $15k to go! Less than $10k to go! And now, we’re in the $5,000s! It’s happening, the process is working. We’re taking it one month at a time and we’re so close to being down to one student loan. Ahhhhh!
Fitness recap for the month: I only ran 61.6 miles in July due to the heat and my lack of motivation, but I did hike 39.6 miles! So that’s 101.2 miles total for the month. Included in those hiking miles, was my fire tower challenge finish on Cathedral Rock! I’ve officially climbed enough (23/23) to earn the patch but I’m going to keep climbing the remaining towers in NYS; there are 7 left that I have yet to summit.
My goal for August is to not skip a workout, as this is my last full month before my race, and to hike at least 8 times. I’ve got a couple other challenges planned for the month ahead – more on those in the next recap.
Finalizing the location for my next FPU class this week – I can’t wait to start back up and witness the a-ha moments! These are the women who took the class along side of me this past spring. In the 9 weeks, the group paid off over $25,000, saved over $3,000 and cut up 15 credit cards! Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!