Better late than never, right? I have been deeply entrenched in this 30 Days of Less Screens challenge, and, therefore, just realized that I had not posted a budget review for June yet! I have really had to focus on being intentional with my screen time which has led to a bit of a break from my computer all together. I wouldn’t say that the challenge has been successful so far. I’ll leave the details on this whole debacle to another post.
June was my family’s first entire month in our new home. After getting settled in, unpacked, and (somewhat) recovered from the seizure + sickness, we have spent a lot of time just enjoying this new space. I have so many moments each day when I just stop to think about how much our quality of life has improved since buying a house. Sunlight streams through the windows throughout the day making interior lights relatively unnecessary. Walking through my home and still being able to see the sky and feel the sun makes me feel connected with nature. The spacious kitchen has a multitude of workspaces, a large refrigerator (with the water in the door, like with the crushed ice), and a dishwasher that ACTUALLY cleans dirty dishes. Not having to pre-clean dishes before throwing them in the dishwasher = baller status. Having a garage is amazing for obvious reasons. No more treacherous walks to the car from the apartment having to fend off freezing winds and/or killer wasps. The fenced in yard not only provides ample space for the dogs, but for the babies plus guests. We tested our capacity with 12 kids + 8 adults during a playdate this morning. The mature oaks provide ample shade allowing everyone to stay cool in 90 degree+ heat. Our backyard is without a doubt, my favorite part of our home.
I could go on and on listing substantial improvements to our life due to this new home. I am completely assured that taking on a mortgage without a 20% down payment was the right choice for our family. Sometimes you want to do what’s financially responsible. (1) Because it’s the right way to live and (2) because deep down inside it makes you happy. It has been instilled in us that you don’t buy a home until you have a sizeable downpayment. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, like all things in life, there are grey areas when making smart financial choices. For us, the changes in our quality of life, outweigh taking on $167k in debt. And considering we’ve created a plan to pay it off in the next decade, I would have made the decision to buy this house over and over again.
One of the things that continues to keep us on track with debt repayment is an in-depth monthly analysis of our spending. A PUBLIC, in-depth monthly analysis of our spending. Having people outside of our small trust circle to share our progress with really keeps us accountable. It’s also wonderful knowing we are inspiring others to take a closer look at their finances. So even when shopping bans, social media bans, and other various 30 day challenges distract me, I promise to (eventually) make it back to share our financial story.
Without further ado, the June 2016 budget review:
Essentials (71% of income)
Looking at that percentage is seriously scary. Especially since a few short months ago we were in the 40-50% range on essential expenses. Oh, the joys of home maintenance. $571 was spent on home improvement items (mostly lawn & garden tools) and $335 on utilities for the new house, the old apartment, and various set up fees and deposits. Four new tires on the Jeep cost us a pretty penny at $1040. The dogs needed Trifexis so that was $250. And we continued to spend a boat load on food at $1372 in groceries.
Fun fact, I realized half way through the month that our water was not supplied by Huntsville Utilities. So I had to scramble to figure out who provided this service and drive down to their offices to set up an account. I was in major panic mode because we all still had HFM disease, and I did not want our water to get shut off. Apparently the old owners hadn’t bothered to close their water account so we had no lapse in service and free water for almost a month!
Lifestyle (7% of income)
With all the essential costs in June, it was easy to reign in our lifestyle expenses. $185 on restaurants/dining, some new barre socks, yoga pants, and new sheets for the guest room round out Lifestyle.
Goals (22% of income)
Savings goals met were basically all the long-term stuff: 401k, IRA, and the 529 plans.
July 2016 Budget Projections
We had initially planned to install a new garage door and garage door opener as well as complete some landscaping as the month of July’s projects. But with the cost of the garage door being pretty high and the need for landscaping minimal, we’re holding off on both projects. July’s updated projects include purchasing a pressure washer so we can clean up the gutters and tools/parts for truck repairs. Both projects will be less than $550 total allowing us to save a bit more towards the garage door project. Emma’s ER expenses hit in July as well so that’s a big junk of our essential costs. July will definitely be less expense than June, but I’m estimating we’ll only have $500 to put towards our current savings goal – the emergency fund. Our emergency fund is currently at $20,000, but with the added expenses of a new home, we’re saving to get it up to $32,000. This amount would allow us to live as usual for 9 months or in a more “bare bones” fashion for 12 months. We should be able to reach our emergency fund goal by the end of 2016; making 2017 the year we go all in on the mortgage!
So here’s another life lesson I’ve learned as a homeowner – if you’re happy with where you live and what you have, you are a lot less likely to emotionally spend. While all of our lifestyle expenses haven’t been essential to survival (hence – lifestyle), they are all justified. Nothing extravagant, just items or experiences that really improve our lives. Or the lives of our guests who no longer have to sleep on Ryan’s sheets from sophomore year or use my towels from senior year. And we’ll soon we getting new guest bed pillows! Get excited, overnight guests! 😉
As a former student housing professional, I always knew the quality of housing greatly affected the quality of life for our students. And now I’ve seen that correlation in action with my own family. Have you made some recent changes to your living situation for the better? Or worse (I hope not!)? I would love to hear what you’ve learned about changing your surroundings! Thanks for reading!