October 2013 Recap
Well, we’ve just finished month ten of our road to debt free, and things are changing up again. If you read my post last week, you know that we’re switching up our grocery buying again and purchasing more things in bulk, to increase our money savings. This led to higher grocery expenses in October, but in the long run it should work out that we save much more money. On the list of “big buys” this month? 4 25 lb. bags of flour, a 50-lb. bag of rice, LOTS of pasta, and a giant container of garlic powder. 🙂 We make most of our breads and baked goods from scratch, so all will be put to good use. Entertainment funds were on the high side this month too, as we had some Halloween/Harvest Fest expenses. We don’t celebrate Halloween in the traditional way (there’s no trick-or-treaters out in the boonies either), but instead, we let the kids dress up in non-scary costumes (made from stuff at home, of course), buy them each a bag of their fave candy to go in a big bowl, and purchase a new movie for us to watch together as a family (this year it was Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc. Super cute movie, by the way!).
Here are our October expenditure numbers:
Grocery: $617.24 (remember, this is high due to our bulk shopping this month)
Gas for me: $180.55. Higher than I want it to be. 🙁 One of the reasons for this is that we
had to wanted to make an extra trip to the cities to visit my dad in the hospital – he had hip replacement surgery. Will do better for November.
Entertainment: $113.62. Again, this was high, largely due to Halloween expenditures, but will be lower in November.
Electricity bill: $129.37. Not terrible, given how cold it’s been.
Pet/Personal costs: $528.52 Much higher than our goal of $200. Got the barn kitties neutered and vaccinated.
Medical: $130.62 . Payments for our oldest daughter’s emergency surgery and concurring healing supplies.
Gifts: $212.36 Mom and stepdad’s 25th anniversary party, a new baby for our BFFs, a couple of birthdays, and a sympathy gift for a friend who lost her husband. 🙁
Clothing: $230.21 Yes, we bought clothes this month. After putting away summer stuff and getting out winter stuff, we found that 3 of our 4 kids had outgrown all of their long pants, one outgrew his snow pants, and I also bought a couple of new things. These were all necessity purchases – no “just for fun stuff here”. We found super deals on almost everything. For this amount of cash, I got: 5 pairs of jeans, 5 pairs of sweatpants for the kids, 2 pairs of snow pants, four pairs of pants for me (my current ones were literally falling apart), a t-shirt for me, a jacket for me. So, a lot for the money.
Cell phone expenses: $52.32. My pay-as-you-go phone died, so I got a new one. We use this primarily for emergencies, or so that the kids have the ability to contact me when I’m out and Rick isn’t home. Our total cell phone expenses for the year should still be under $200.
Car maintenance/repair: $727.29. Rick’s truck needed new tires, and he did a radiator flush on his truck too.
Some of these expense areas were higher than I wanted them to be, but they were mostly good spending choices.
Now, onto the debt numbers.
We paid on the principal:
Total paid on debt principal: $849.08
We paid an extra $42 toward our credit card debt this month, and we hit another milestone: we passed the $2k mark on whittling away at our CC debt! As of the end of October, we’ve paid down $2085.19 on our credit card debt. It took us till May 1st to reach our first $1k, (we have a SUPER high DTI), then we fell backwards this summer, but kicked it the last couple of months and now are up to 2k. Doesn’t seem like a lot to many of you, I’m sure, but for us it’s a huge victory. Things are starting to snowball now, it seems, so I’m hoping that November and December will see bigger changes in that number too. Then again, with the addition for November of a new fridge purchase, maybe not. We’ll see. We’ve still got to get the wood stove installed as well.
I just have to reiterate to our debt-paying-off readers here that it’s crucial to remember to focus on and congratulate yourself for every step toward victory, no matter how small. We could easily get discouraged over the fact that after ten months of hard work, we’ve only dumped 2k of our credit card debt, but we’re choosing instead to focus on the fact that we are indeed moving closer toward financial freedom. Each person/family’s own personal finance situation requires its own individual plan, and you need to do what’s right for you. But the key is that you’re doing something, as opposed to nothing, to improve your financial life.