And just like that, another one bites the dust!
Another month, that is. Sadly I can’t say we dropped another loan in February. Rather, we gained one.
At the end of January and beginning of February, Mr. E finally found a new (to us) car that was in our budget and checked all of our boxes (all wheel drive, under 50k miles, etc.). We put 25% down and are financing the rest at a very good interest rate (it’s better than mine! We’re looking to switch my car over very soon). The first payment is due this month, and I’ve loaded the loan into our Mint account, where it stares me down every time I log in, which is every day.
I had wanted to add a graph to this post to illustrate the changes to our debt this month (since we did pay down a bit) but I realized as I was editing that I also added Mr. E’s student loan to our Mint account this month, which caused my nice, descending columns to spike up…way up. Maybe I’ll add a graph next month when things even out a bit more 🙂
Budget wise, here’s how we did for February:
Once again, our landlord has not cashed our rent check yet, but we did pay it! We were slightly over on eating out, and I broke down and purchased a few items I needed for work that I couldn’t put off any longer. I increased the budget for gas and we still went over, so I’ll have to allocate more money to that area for March. I was banking on not needing as much since I was off of work for the February break, and not driving as much as I usually do during the week. I am very pleased to announce that I came in under budget for groceries!! That was definitely something I worked at over the course of February, because I was determined to make it happen. Now I just need to continue this into March.
You’ll notice it looks like we spent a ton on travel this month (37% of our monthly spending). That right there is my girls’ weekend in Boston. Before everyone panics that I dropped that much money on a five day vacation, I should explain that more than half of that is the cost of our hotel rooms. I made the reservations with a friends and family rate and put it on my travel rewards card to get double points. Everyone reimbursed me in Boston, but of course Mint doesn’t know that.
I did remove Mr. E’s car purchase from our Mint budgets and trends, as it was making it difficult to see how February’s spending compares to January’s spending. We put a significant amount of money down on the car and financed the rest, but to get more points we charged it to our travel rewards card and then Mr. E paid it off right away with the cash we had on hand.
Everything else in the budget looks good. I had some impulse shopping a week before my vacation, but since I barely wore any of it in Boston it all went back to the store when I got home. It’s nice to see that even though I struggled with my spending freeze I still managed to stay close to where we should be. I did take the first weekend (okay, 2/28-3/6) to spend and purchase some items that I’ve been wanting or had run out of during the freeze, and I should be set now that I’m restarting it for the rest of March. I do have a few beauty items I need to replenish (dry shampoo immediately comes to mind…) but I have the cash to pay for it already. I’ve stopped using the rewards card for my personal purchases; I stopped after Boston. I was getting too used to the weight of that card in my hands (it is quite solid) and old feelings of living beyond my means were creeping back in. Since March is a three paycheck month for me, it seemed like the perfect time to reset my spending habits knowing that I’ll have a little wiggle room this month in case things don’t go to plan. I paid cash for my hair at the salon last week and still have money for the gas I’ll need for this next week, and then I get paid again on Friday. We will still put most joint purchases on the rewards card, as we pay out of our joint account for those items and we generally (with the exception of Christmastime, which was a spectacular fail) pay that off each month. I’m hopeful that my budget update at the end of March is a bit more positive!