RSS Feed

March Budget Recap

Posted on

Recap:

Okay, March was a rough month. I technically got paid three times this month, which was something I totally forgot about and didn’t plan for. The month flew by and we made a lot of decisions that affected our spending.

Here we go:

march recap 1

march recap 2

Where things went right:  Pet food, Gas, Utilities, House Stuff, Cell Phones.

The easiest categories to stay under budget for are of course the fixed expenses. We’re pretty frugal with the basics (don’t use a lot of energy; cats don’t eat gourmet cat food, etc.). And gas is always the same amount every month unless we take a road trip. These types of expenses happen once or twice a month.

Where things went wrong:  Food, Clothes, Personal Care, Entertainment, Fun Money, Side Hustle, Misc., Parking, Fees.

Boy, oh boy. Our biggest area that needs improvement is Entertainment. That’s what living in the big city does to you, folks. When you live up the street from authentic Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Korean AND Soul food, good decision-making seems to get thrown out of the window! What can I say? Eel sushi rolls are my Kryptonite!

Another big expense was our grocery budget. The jury’s still out on this one because $160 a month for 2 people might be too low. I do think we need to plan our meals more instead of buying as needed. And we could totally utilize the crock pot more.

Fun money is supposed to be $100 a month. This is something we can do better in. Even though we love going out with friends, eating out at lunch and drinking beer on the weekends, all of this stuff is not important. If we want to get out of debt in a reasonable time frame, we MUST say NO to some extracurricular activities. And the great thing about living in LA is the weather, which allows us the opportunity to get outside for fun. A trip to the beach or a hike in the mountains is free!

If Wonder Woman can wear heels and save the day, so can I!!

Clothes- Totally unexpected expense. After noticing that my superhero costume was a little snug, I decided it was time to stop looking like a bum and get myself some new threads. As much as I hate to admit it, folks tend to judge you by your appearance. And my jeans were starting to develop holes that couldn’t be fixed, PLUS most of my shirts didn’t fit anymore. So even though the expense was unexpected, it was definitely worth it.

If Wonder Woman can wear heels and save the day, so can I!!

Side hustle– Like most 20 something year old Wonder Women, I’ve got a side hustle. I am a freelance writer and am starting to do a bit of consulting. The Hubs and I decided that if I was going to be serious about my biz, I would need to upgrade a few things. We got a new printer (the one we had been four years old and stuttered when we printed something), a new desk (so that I wasn’t typing in my lap) and got a domain name. I think it was worth the investment, but it wasn’t planned. Going forward, I’m going to keep add “Side Hustle” in our monthly budget.

Misc– I joined Weight Watchers this month (have lost four pounds!), checked my credit score (was $30 bucks for all three agencies) and had to get my maid of honor a gift. All of these things were not planned.

Debt repayment!! I really wanted to put at least $500 on my credit card, but it didn’t happen thanks to our spending.

So what now, Debt Girl???

As we say in my mama’s house, KEEP ON KEEPIN ON! I haven’t done a line by line budget in a long time, so it was good to confirm what our biggest money pits are. And I really do have high hopes for the month of April for adding some additional moo-lah on my credit card…

tbc

Advertisements

The Numbers

Now that you know where I’m coming from debt wise, here’s the current budget we’re working with:

expenses excel jpg

As you can see, we have over $1,000 a month that we can throw at debt. If we stick to our budget, we could be done with credit card debt within 14 months! Isn’t that crazy?

But just like anything that’s worth having, it’s not that easy. We’re having a hard time sticking to our budget. And by we, I mean “me”.

What can I say?? Superhero costumes ain’t cheap!

Seriously, though, I’m an emotional spender. And during the period where Hubs was unemployed, we couldn’t spend anything outside of the basics, which meant a whole year of eating cheap processed food (ramen anyone?), wearing clothes until the holes were too big to patch and being wary every time we wanted to go out and have some fun. “Fun Money” was $20 for the MONTH. For two people in LOS ANGELES. Not too fun at all.

So my hope is documenting my journey on Adventures will help me hone my moo-lah saving super powers and get to my zero credit debt goal by 2014.

Any emotional spenders out there in the peanut gallery? How do you cope?

The Back Story

In June 2011, my husband (then boyfriend) and I were living in the Midwest. I was miserable. I hated the cold, drab winters and the unbearable humid summers. And there was never enough sunshine to go around! But the worst was the people. Don’t get me wrong, Midwesterners are very nice. But where I lived folks my age were incredibly bored. Hubs and I used to go to ‘downtown’ and laugh at the crowd: a bunch of old folks dragging their grandchildren around. The name of the game for 20-something professionals was either sitting on the couch watching TV or getting knocked up.

Seriously.

I was a creative soul though! I needed sunshine and culture and to interact with people who were not just fulfilling some destiny to procreate! The hubs felt the same and after a quick visit to LA we decided to pack all of our things, the two cats and love to the big city without jobs or a place to stay.

You guys, hindsight is a b*tch but sometimes risk is necessary. Part of our massive debt is that move. We got out to LA, bummed off of a couple of friends for three weeks until we found full-time temp jobs. Jobs in hand, we took the first apartment we could find and promptly moved in. Our expenses included moving all of our things from the Midwest to LA, then driving across country and having my car break down as soon as we arrived, and finally living out of a suitcase for three weeks with two pets.

Fun stuff.

Once we picked an apartment (or should I say, they picked us on a limb of faith that our temp jobs would become permanent), we had to cough up a $2500 security deposit. Ouch.

We were swiping our credit cards everywhere we turned. But we were starting to increase our income–I got hired on permanently with a big salary increase. The hubs wasn’t so lucky with his job. They were mistreating him and paying him peanuts, so he decided to resign under the impression that the temp agency he went through would give him another assignment (that’s what they told him, not what he assumed).

The agency didn’t come through and suddenly we were up shit creek. Our bills started piling up fast despite us slashing everything extra and we were starting to have a hard time paying rent. Our families helped us out for a few months, but there’s always drama involved with family and money. So, when that well dried up we were desperate.

Our apartment lease hit month to month, so I began apartment searching like crazy. We finally found an apartment in the same city that was $300 cheaper! With the last bit of monetary help from family, we moved in and got busy finding Hubs a job. He finally found one in February 2013 after a year of being unemployed! With our income back to where it should be, we’re now focusing on paying off those blasted cards once and for all.

And that’s it! All of that backstory brings us up to present day. What about you? What’s your ‘backstory’ with debt?

Debt Girl’s Debt

 

Ok, let’s get down to numbers.

What is Debt Girl’s debt??

(takes deep breath)

As of January 1st, 2013, our credit card debt is as follows:

Wells Fargo Card 1- $9600.41
Wells Fargo Card 2- $3076.98
Furniture Store Card $868.93
Jewelry Store Card- $364.00

Total Amount: $13,910.32

And for my student loan debts, here we go:

Student Loan 1- $7,004.35
Student Loan 2- $49, 791.89 (currently in deferment, accruing interest)
Student Loan 3- $3,892.04 (currently in deferment, accruing interest)

Total Amount (for now): $60, 688.28

So we have a grand total of $74,598.60. Every time I see that number I hyperventilate a little bit. That’s a lot of money for someone my age!

My main goal is to get all of our credit card debt paid off by December 31, 2014. I think twenty-one months is plenty of time for us to make hefty payments on it if we can can keep to a budget and keep our jobs for another two years.

In all honesty, I’m not too worried about my student loan debt. I just can’t be at this point. It was an investment in myself and I knew what I signing into when I accepted the loan terms. It is what it is…I have a degree and now a butt load of debt to go along with it!

For those who also have credit card and student loan debt, do you view them as the same? Or is student loan debt considered ‘good debt’?

Who is Debt Girl?

I never know what to write on the “first post”. I’ve been a serial blogger since 2006 and it still stumps me.

Let’s start with who I am:

I’m a 25 year old admin assistant that lives in Los Angeles, CA with my new husband (only been married a month!) and two cats. I have a B.A. in most things creative (a.k.a Fine Arts) and in my spare time love, love, LOVE paranormal romance books (don’t judge me).

The reason I started this blog is because the hubs and I are in debt. And since we insist on living in the awesome Los Angeles county, we need to get our debt whittled down to zero so we can afford things like eating food and vaccinating the fur balls.

I’m a geek and adore all things superhero, hence the name “Debt Girl”. I’d like to think of myself as the Spider-Man of debt, one minute being an average geeky young person and then next? WHAM! I’m saving someone from the perils of swiping that credit card or ignoring that past due statement.

Of course, that’s not true. At least not right now. Like all superheroes, I myself must first go through trials and tribulations…in my case, it’s in the form of paying off over $14,000 of I.O.Us. But hopefully my journey will inspire someone out there who’s just like me to work on blasting away their debt too. 🙂