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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Eating Out
- Cell Phones
- 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.