May was a FABULOUS month for us!
Not because of our numbers, well, those helped too, but because I started teaching my first Financial Peace University class. I was nervous because I had never attended the class let alone led one, and because the response was lower than I expected. Our small group is pretty open with each other, not something that is required to attend the class FYI, but I think has really brought us closer. It’s a judgement-free zone and we make sure each of us leaves confident for the next step / week ahead of us. Nine weeks sounded daunting as I was making the decision to commit but we’re half-way through the course already and trying to figure out how we’re all going to stay connected when it’s over. And if you’re curious, I will most likely be teaching another class this fall! It won’t be free and it won’t be in my home — but I can promise that it’ll be just as good!
Now let’s get to the numbers!
Our income increased this month, which helped us DUMP cash toward debt! If you can’t cut your spending any further than it already is, you’re only other option is to earn more to make a dent in the process. I participated in Market Research one evening, I received a Young Living check, and the beau took on freelance work.
This month we reduced our principle balance by $10,785.23 or 22.53%!!! To date, we’ve paid off $51,992.72 or 58.37%!!! in 9 months! We only have $37,082.73 in debt left to pay off and to meet our goal, we need to keep this momentum up, big time.
To put things into perspective:
- In September 2017, our monthly minimum payments totaled $718.27
- As of June 1st, our monthly minimum payments are only $194.20
That means if an emergency were to happen and we needed to stop the snowball, only $194.20 would be needed to cover minimum debt payments. Not too shabby!
A lot of people are curious how we eat and stay on budget. We only plan our dinners, here was our meal plan for the 1st thru the 15th:
- Mondays: fajitas
- Tuesdays: veggie stir fry
- Wednesdays: taco pasta
- Thursdays: BBQ tempeh with a crockpot green bean casserole and sweet potato fries
- Fridays: tofu & broccoli + a birthday dinner out
- Saturdays: dinner out at a Mets game + tofu & broccoli
- Sundays: king oyster mushroom pulled pork sammies + a Mother’s Day lasagna
My mom had been requesting this lasagna for months, so I offered to make it as an early Sunday dinner. I made the sauce and roasted the veggies ahead of time during the week so that it would be less to do on Mother’s Day (more time spent with my mom).
This was our second time making the pulled “pork” sandwiches via Bosh = so good! And we had enough leftovers for another meal, so we froze the cooked mushrooms…. we shall see how those hold up! I’ve never frozen mushrooms before, I’m hoping they’ll be okay and then we can just cook ’em up in the air fryer.
Oh yeah, we won an air fryer! Whoop whoop! Culinary Square had a giveaway for TNO and I entered after picking up a bridal shower gift. We’ve fried mushrooms, gyoza, sweet potatoes, chicken-less tenders, eggplant, zucchini, tofu and russet potatoes (home fries) – this thing is awesome! The beau tends to use more oil than I do (but he does get things a lot crispier than I do), so I was excited to use this device and cut back on oil. LOVE IT!
The beau requested I buy canned green beans for the casserole because fresh or frozen were still too crunchy for him. Confession: I had never purchased canned green beans (or any canned vegetable for that matter). I was a skeptic at 40 cents a can but I have to admit, they were delicious! Yes, these canned beans were not organic and yes, they were in a can but I have to remind myself that these are the sacrifices we are making now so that we can invest more later. Don’t judge… at least we’re getting a serving of veggies.
Our meal plan for the 16th thru the 31st:
- Mondays: tempeh jalapeno wraps with roasted broccoli
- Tuesdays: veggie stir fry
- Wednesdays: pasta with TVP sauce and roasted asparagus
- Thursdays: Chinese takeout + tofu + broccoli
- Fridays: tofu + broccoli + loaded potatoes
- Saturdays: eggplant parm + loaded potatoes
- Sundays: southwest quinoa burgers + tater tots
This month we cash flowed ($585) a CSA with Denison Farm – all USDA certified organic and I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about it. I’ve been rocking the whole meal planning thing and now I’m going to have to shop / cook on the fly with what we receive each Saturday at the Farmer’s Market delivery. I like shopping twice a month. And I also prefer shopping on my lunch break, avoiding the weekend crowds. Once the CSA begins in June, our monthly food allowance will decrease by $27 per week because of the prepayment amount. I’ll surely have an update next month with how I’m juggling this change.
We also cash flowed:
- a birthday gift and two mother’s day gifts – sinking fund envelope
- hair gel for the beau and soap for us both
- a new website layout (business investment)
- tickets for a show at the Egg (beau)
- the beau signed up for a watercolor class at the Arts Center of the Capital Region
- parking at the train station (the day we went to a Met’s game)
- stuff for our garden (some seedlings, burlap, screws and twine)
- our 6 month car insurance payment – sinking fund envelope
- and a small gift certificate for an employee on my work team
This month I also tried to focus on my running more, as last month (April) it took a back seat… and I have a race to run in three months! I ran almost 70 miles in May, which wasn’t what I was aiming for but I’m happy with because I feel like I’m easing back into a routine and not overwhelming myself. I’m remembering what it feels like to be sore and getting use to being out of the house before 5AM.
June will hopefully bring a lot of miles… and a lot of cash because I’ll be working downtown again on Saturdays. I’ve picked up a side hustle at Annick’s during the farmer’s market – hey, I’m going to be down there anyway getting my veggies!
That’s it folks, we made yet another budget, told our money where to go, hustled and made it happen. No magic, just a plan!
[Again, sorry no photographs, I should be purchasing a new phone over the next three months prior to race day.]