July Progress Report – 2nd Quarter Results

Quaterly Report

Every couple of months I check up on my 2014 financial goals to see how I’m doing.  My main goals where to reduce expenses, save to fund our 2015 emergency fund and pay down our debt.  I’ve decided from now that I will complete my progress report on a quarterly basis.  It’s just easier to remember this way and it gives me a decent amount of months to compare my progress.  

Reduce Expenses

Groceries – My average grocery bill from April to June was $508.29.  This includes household items as well such as cleaning products so it’s not just the food we eat.  My original goal was to spend $450/month but then I realized that was a bit much and I should do the reduction more gradually from my $600/month last year.  So I decided to stick to $500/month.  I’m pretty happy with the results this quarter.  It did go up by $8 from last quarter but I can’t complain much.  I might try the $450/month next year.

Car Insurance – As I mentioned in a previous post I was able to reduce my car insurance by switching to Geico back in April. My total savings was $428 for my six month policy.  I was not planning on looking for new car insurance but I decided to research it because my insurance had gone up.  I’m so happy I did.

That definitely came in handy because I needed to replace the tires on my car.  I ended up going to Sam’s Club for my new tires and the cost came out to exactly $428.  Could not have planned it better plus I have to say I was thrilled with the service at Sam’s Club.

Utilities – One area I noticed that we were able to reduce was in our utility bills.  From April to June we saved $152.  I heard our local meteorologist explain that our spring was a bit cooler due to the harsh winter we had.  I’m assuming this resulted in the savings we saw but we also didn’t do too bad during the winter months compared to the same time last year.  This surprised me given the tough winter he had. I think it had to do with us getting to know our house better and how much heat and coolness we needed.  Either way I’m enjoying the reduction in our utility bills.

Savings 

The 2015 emergency fund was fully funded back in April after receiving an income tax refund. The goal was to save $2,652 so that goal has been met.

I’ve also been saving to replace a retaining wall in our back yard.  The total cost for that will be $6,000. This also includes replacing a large section of concrete in the back yard as well.  We’re planning to complete this project in September.  By then we should have all the money saved up.

This project became a priority for this year in part due to the harsh winter we had.  It really did a number on the wall plus it was not done properly to begin with so that did not help.  I’ll admit it’s a bit annoying to have to spend so much money on this kind of improvement but it has to be done. If you’re out house hunting take a read at my post uncommon things to consider while house hunting.  It might help you save some money.

Debt Repayment

Our consumer debt stems from our home renovations back in 2012 when we first bought our house. We started with a total debt of $18k we are now at $7,908.  That is currently on a 0% interest credit card until July 2015.  Once we are done saving for the retaining wall we will move that money to pay down this debt by then.

Thanks to the cutbacks made with our cell phones and other categories we’ve been able to fund our savings, home projects and pay down our debt.  I’m happy with our progress so far and even some friends and family have been asking me for some tips on how we’ve been able to cutback.  I’m always happy to help them out.

This concludes my 2nd quarter progress report.  Now to some link love.

Blog Link Love – My Favorite Reads

Finding a Balance Between Saving and Spending:  This post is by Laurie over at Frugal Rules.  She writes about finding a balance with saving and spending because it puts you in a position to worry less about the little extras.  So true,  I think it’s important to leave room in your budget for the fun stuff.

Berlin is Both Awesome and Beautiful!:  This post is from Kemkem over at Next Bite of Life.  She’s a fairly new blogger.  An expat living her next chapter in life over in Malta. She writes about her Finances, Life and Travel adventures in Malta and throughout Europe.  You should check her out.

 

How are you doing with your 2014 financial goals?

 

Photo by: www.seniorliving.org

Comments

July Progress Report – 2nd Quarter Results — 25 Comments

    • I know, it was pretty sweet. I was so happy to get a discount with my tires as well. Sam’s club was running a special on tires until the end of May so it all worked out perfectly.

  1. Between my new job and my wife’s new job our income has increased, so that helps with some of our financial goals. She’s starting grad school so that will offset some of it, but overall we should be ahead.

    As you know I’ve been looking into our retaining wall replacement and what I’m finding is the materials alone are quite expensive, even if you don’t use a bobcat or plate tamper, which I’m guessing professionals would use. I plan on extending ours from an 11 foot wall to 30 feet, and there will be a second tier as well. As you can imagine even by going the DIY route (assuming I get enough time off of work) I will still be at least probably $3k in the hole from the project.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How I Networked Into Almost Every Job I’ve Ever HadMy Profile

    • It’s always nice to get a bump in salary to help out with our financial goals.

      Tell me about it. I was visiting my contractor at one of his job sites. He was doing a retaining wall and it was pretty large. We discussed the price of the blocks and it was pretty expensive. He’s giving me a discount (because he’s family) and only charging me $3k for my wall and $3k to replace the concrete slab with pavers. So it sounds like I’m still doing pretty good by going with the pros on this one.

  2. I love how you are essentially a commercial for saving money on car insurance with Geico. 🙂 I know a number people who have saved money with them and I frequently think I should compare, but I have been a loyal USAA insurance client for 14 years, and I have a tough time “shopping them.” Congrats on your emergency fund but I feel for you on the retaining wall. Any time you have to move earth, it gets expensive. Good luck!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – BruisesMy Profile

    • The funny thing is I’ve been watching those Geico commercials for years and never once thought about calling them for a quote. I was so content with my insurance. So glad I finally called. I hear USAA is pretty good to. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to it because I’m not military neither is anyone in my immediate family.

  3. That’s really quite remarkable that you’ve been able to carry a nice blend of cost savings, planned spending savings and debt repayment ~ everything in moderation. I like it! Gotta love those low interest balance transfer cards. I’ve got one that’s coming due in August and I’ve got $4K on it – it’ll be gone by the deadline.

    The retaining wall work is kind of a drag, but gotta be done. I’ve always thought the 3% of your home value for annual maintenance was a bit high, but when you have things like this creep up, it doesn’t seem that high at all!
    debs@debtdebs recently posted…Migrate WordPress.com to Self Hosted – The Live VersionMy Profile

    • I know, I’m currently saving 1% of my home value for annual maintenance, hence, the $2,625. But it’s actually more than that this year because I’m also saving the $6k for the retaining wall.

  4. Great work on your goals Raquel, it looks like your going to knock them out of the park. We also switched insurance last year and saved ~$700 a year. We got lazy for a bit and didn’t shop around for a few years, so once we finally got around to it we were pleasantly surprised and a little sad we didn’t do it sooner. Keep up the good work!
    Thomas @ i need money ASAP! recently posted…Earn Money Online Fast With ClickworkerMy Profile

    • I felt the same way after calling Geico. Wish I would have called sooner. Lesson Learned.

    • Thanks. I can’t wait to be done with it. If it wasn’t for that retaining wall I would be done with it this year.

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  6. Doesn’t it seem like sometimes there is an invisible being watching your wallet? The tires costing the exact same amount you saved on insurance? I remember once buying a scratch off lotto thinks. I won $157. I was thrilled till l got home and my housemate said the sink was jammed..long story short, plumber came out and the bill was $157! I was just glad nothing came out of pocket.
    Thanks for the mention, very kind of you. As a new blogger, every mention is appreciated!!!
    Kemkem recently posted…Berlin Zoo and the Pergamon MuseumMy Profile

    • That is so true Kemkem. I think there was a Seinfeld episode about this, called even steven or something. Ha! I’m also happy no additional costs came out of my pocket.

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    • Yeah, it’s so funny how those things happen sometimes. Thanks we’re doing what we can to stay on track.

  8. Overall I think we are doing okay on our goals. We’ve increased our 401k savings and are really focused on getting rid of our student loan debt. I really hope the rest of the year goes smoothly and according to plan.
    Liz recently posted…My Top 4 Favorite GamesMy Profile

  9. Thanks for sharing my post, Raquel!! You guys are really kicking it on your debt, spending reduction, etc. I’ve been seriously thinking about switching to Geico ever since I read Will’s post on that. I might have to give it a try! So, did your homeowners insurance go up after you switched your car insurance? We got a bundle deal from the agent, and I”m afraid if we drop the car insurance the homeowners will skyrocket.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…7 More Ways to Save Money on GroceriesMy Profile

    • I received my new home insurance statement at the end of June and Yes it did go up by $300! I was really upset to see it go up so much. I immediately started researching for quotes from Geico and other agents but I was surprised to see that they did not really offer that much of a savings. Geico gave me the cheapest quote but it was only $78 less than with State Farm. So after calculating the difference from switching I’m still winning with Geico because I’m saving over $500/year just on my car insurance. Orginally was I saving over $800/year but now that the home insurance went up it’s down to $500. I heard home insurance went up in NJ because of Hurricane Sandy, before that hurricane Irene and the Polar Vortex this past winter. We’re even seeing tornados here which in the past we did not see.