May Progress Report and $883 in Monthly Savings


Every couple of months I check up on my 2014 Goals to see how I’m doing.  My main goals where to reduce expenses and save to fund our 2015 emergency fund.

Reduce Expenses

So far we’ve been able to reduce our cell phone bill, car insurance, landscaping and groceries for a total reduction of $363/month.


The grocery bill was one of the goals I listed in January and so far it’s going well.  We’re getting closer to reducing the monthly bill by $150/month.  In March and April we saved a total of $221 which is a higher savings than the January and February total of $170.  

Car Insurance

The car insurance savings was something I originally was not looking for but I was happy to find it.  It never hurts to shop around especially when you can save $428 like I did.

Savings Challenge

In the beginning of the year I started a savings challenge which was a modified version of the 52 week savings challenge.  My intention was to save $102 every 2 weeks for the entire year to fund my emergency fund for a total of $2,652.  I’m happy to say that the emergency fund was fully funded in April due to our income tax refund.

I’m still saving the $102 every 2 weeks they are just going into another savings account which will cover the cost of our home projects this year.  The main project is a retaining wall that will cost approximately $6,200 to replace. We should be ready to complete that project in September.

Debt Repayment

So I realized that I did not clearly mention that we are also trying to pay off some credit card debt that we incurred after going over budget in our home renovations in 2012.  Our total credit card debt is now at $8,370.  We have that on a 0% credit card.  So part of our savings outlined above are going to pay off that debt.  The goal is to pay that off by early next year.

Big lesson learned here is that construction projects are never on budget.  Even though we had savings to cover the renovations it was still not enough.  Sometimes fixer uppers need a lot of work and then you discover things along the way that were not planned for.   In that case we had a choice, deal with the unexpected renovations now or later. The construction crew was here.  The walls were down, the mess was everywhere.  We said just get it done now.  On the flip side we bought the home at a low price so once this debt is paid off we will have a low mortgage payment. You have to take the good with the bad when it comes to buying a fixer upper.

It pays to take a Second Look at your Budget

The reason we started this whole reduction of expenses and savings goal was because of the debt I described above. We wanted to be able to get rid of it ASAP and also rebuild our emergency fund.   Last year we were able to reduce our expenses by $520 per month. This year we are at $883 per month! Wow, who knew we could find that much money in our budget.

I wrote about what we cut out of our budget last year but just to summarize here is the complete list of the areas where we reduced our expenses in 2013 and 2014:

  1. Eating Out
  2. Allowance
  3. Clothes
  4. Groceries
  5. Cell Phones
  6. Landscaping
  7. Car Insurance

I hope this inspires you to take a second look at your expenses.  Who knows how much money you will be able to find in your budget.



May Progress Report and $883 in Monthly Savings — 20 Comments

  1. You guys are really kicking it, Raquel!!! Love how you’ve cut expenses so thoroughly. We have a retaining wall that needs replacing too- yuck!!! We’re trying to put it off as long as possible, and luckily, Rick spent a summer landscaping for a company, so he can do it himself and that will help on costs too. Great job on your goals, Raquel!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Prepping 101: Be Prepared Not Merely to Survive, but to THRIVEMy Profile

    • Thanks Laurie. It’s always good those types of skills that can save you big money.

  2. Congrats on your progress Raquel!!! It really does make sense to constantly check your budget to find room for improve. Fixed costs like mortgage or rent are difficult to change; however, any non-fixed costs are all subject to change and actually offer the biggest boosts to your savings and debt reduction when you focus on them.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – She Works Hard for the MoneyMy Profile

    • I’m actually glad we started this whole process because we’re realizing we are living fine with less. We didn’t really cut anything completely off we are just spending less on those categories.

    • Yeah, it’s been a great lesson and excellent way to find extra money.

  3. Very happy to hear about your guy’s successes! the taxes I owed had the opposite effect for me, as I had to pay in so much money plus my first quarterly tax payment that it wiped out my small biz account, which was looking pretty nice after months and months of putting money in it and not taking anything out.

    I track our spending and income to make sure there is no areas that we can find some additional savings.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How to go to Vegas for Cheap – or even FreeMy Profile

    • I know it sucks to pay those taxes. Before we had the house we usually had to pay because we really didn’t have any deductions.

  4. That is awesome, you’ve saved so much! We have cut mostly everything we can; food is always a work in progress. It really does pay to analyze your budget every so often.
    E.M. recently posted…April Budget ReviewMy Profile

    • Yeah, our groceries are still a work in progress for us too but at least the bill is going down and not up. I’m pretty happy with the results so far so can’t complain.

  5. It really has helped a lot to track our spending and consistently stay within our budget. I also like looking back and compare our budgets to previous years.

  6. That’s some awesome savings! May I ask how much your grocery bill is and for how many people? I’m trying to figure out if our $800/3 people is reasonable or not. I think it’s high but find it hard to bring down since my husband seems to find going to grocery store a hobby!
    debt debs recently posted…Debt Update – The Bears are Beating the BunniesMy Profile

    • Sure, last year our grocery was $600 on average for 2 people. My goal for this year was to reduce it to $450/month. Right now I’m averaging $500/month. One tip I got from other readers is to go to the grocery store alone. It helps not to have another person picking up add-ons along the way. 😉

  7. Great job! It’s really a nice achievement to to be able to cut down your budget that much. So true about home renovation — I learned that from the beginning we have to loosely set our budget because some things we didn’t consider before *will* come up.
    Suburban Finance recently posted…Facebook as a Marketing ToolMy Profile

    • Yeah, we had to redo our budget because of the additional expenses of being homeowners so that and the additional debt started the whole thing. I’m actually happy that we this happened because now we are more focused and less wasteful.