Financial Update: April 2016

Get ready for it. This month's update is bittersweet, and heavy on the bitter. I'm pretty bummed to share the details, but I am simultaneously excited and hopeful.

At the end of March, we saw, for the first time, a balance on my Chase card below $1000. I thought that, surely, somehow, we would find a way to kick things into high gear and pay off that mere $813.96 in April.

Sadly, we did not.

And since I'm already being so painfully honest here, allow me to admit that this was due entirely to our not-so-great decisions.

I've been praying that God would increase our income for the sole purpose of eradicating this debt as quickly as possible. And during the month of April, I believe He answered this prayer. My Beachbody income doubled, and Matt brought in an extra $300 from an unexpected sale his dad made back home on an old boat they had. Along with our regular snowball money, this extra income would have allowed us to pay the Chase balance in full.

I should have prayed for some wisdom to accompany the financial increase. Because we messed up.

We ended up going WAY over budget. We blew through our cash envelopes and started swiping the debit card (which, even though it's not a credit card, is a huge no-no on the Dave Ramsey method because you lose track of your spending quickly and it's, well, not in the budget). Before we knew it, we had spent over $178 extra on dining out alone!

We also bought more vegetable transplants to put in our garden, which was a justifiable investment, but we didn't budget for it. We just got all the plants we wanted and pulled out the debit card at the checkout. Again, at least we didn't use the credit card for this, but we still broke the rules. And we suffered because of it.

When we flipped through the checkbook and totaled up all our dining out purchases (everything from a pricey sushi dinner we instantly regretted to splurge-y, special-treat trips to Starbucks), I got so angry. Why, after all this time, do we still fall into the trap of dining out? I mean, finances aside, what about our health and fitness goals? Do we not care about anything anymore? Our poor decisions are sabotaging all of our goals.

This has to stop!

Why even bother writing out a budget if we're not going to stick to it?


So, yeah. I was pretty bummed when I sat down to update our progress board. I wanted to write a big "$0.00!" by Chase. But hey. You know what? The number I did write is so tiny, I can pay it off effortlessly with my first paycheck in May: $269.66.

Yeah! Totally doable, right?

And it gets better.

See that big, scary, gut-wrenching total at the bottom there? $64,973.09? That is a noteworthy number when you compare it to our starting balance in September 2015.

Our crappy month turned out to be a milestone! Since September 2015, we have now paid off over $10,000 in debt! $10,438.64, to be exact. WOOOOOHOOOO!

I think this happened at just the right moment. I was feeling so aggravated and discouraged about not paying off that last credit card, but I was reinvigorated when I added it all up and saw that, despite some of our bad decisions, we still made some really great ones. We still managed to throw $500+ at the Chase card. And look at all those other numbers (except the student loans, because that's just depressing); they're all dwindling noticeably too!

We're still making progress. And I'm thankful that our cheap little dry-erase board can be a constant reminder of this.

Now, May is going to be a challenging month for a few reasons. First, it's a longer month, with more weeks to make the same money stretch. Always a bummer. Secondly, we're celebrating our first wedding anniversary this month! YAY! We've planned a brief weekend getaway (which we've been saving for so we can make it cash-only!), but you know how trips go. Plus there's the rest of the month to worry about. But I've stepped up my meal-planning and grocery-buying game quite a bit (and I can't wait to share more about it!), so I'm hopeful that we'll do better.

Let's make May amazing!


Regine Karpel said...

Great job.

Anna Marie Schaefer said...

I've noticed that sometimes my bigger failures actually increase my motivation to do better. It sounds like that's what happened to you guys this month. On the other hand, $10,000 of debt since September? That is absolutely incredible. Congratulations!