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.
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.
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.
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