This month, our total debt remaining came in at $81,274.78. Part of this came from just paying our regular car payment, but I also wanted to take a moment to explain a mistake I think I may have made earlier in calculating our total debt in previous reports. I have been using the total payoff amount for our student loans, but for our car loans, I had been estimating the remaining payoff based upon our remaining payments, and calculating them based on the assumption that we had a 60-month loan.
WRONG! :( Once I was finally able to log into our finance account, I realized that we had a 66-month loan, and that our remaining balance was actually higher than I had previously thought. So from here on out, I will be reporting the remaining loan debt in terms of the payoff amount stated.
We only put $50 toward our student loans this month because of our need to pay for the French drain we installed in July. That was kind of disappointing, but it was a necessary expense. Then toward the end of the month, we found out that we had a nail in our tire. We were actually grateful that God watched over us given that we had made an 80-mile trip to and from the airport when we had to fly to California, and even then, the van sat in a parking lot for 9 days with no significant leaks! Still, we have to pay to have it repaired today.
In September, we have two birthdays and a wedding coming up, as well as dues for our boys' Awanas memberships. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is one area that I need to get better at planning for and then figure out how to pay for it. In the past, we've always tried to cut costs, but we are hitting the lower end of what we can spend on basics, so while I will continue to find ways to cut costs, I also want to estimate our projected kid expenses for the year and then look into a way to pay for them outside of our typical budget. Maybe it would be a garage sale every year, or selling a couple of items a month on eBay.
Other than that, I was happy with how August went. My husband and I are trying to track our expenses, especially our grocery expenses, much more carefully and live within the budget we set for ourselves. We also tried to delay certain "necessary" purchases until we could afford them - for example, we set aside $20 per month for subscriptions and memberships like Sam's Club and Amazon Prime. We only had $20 in our account this month and our Sam's Club membership expired, so we decided to not shop there until September when we had the second $20 to put toward the membership fee.
The other encouraging thing about August was that our utilities went down. I always discounted people who said that turning off their tv's/printers/etc. at night entirely made a difference until I tried it this month. It really did. I showed my husband how our monthly utilities average has dropped over $35 over the past year, and in addition to the monthly cell phone savings we have, we are spending about $75 less per month while getting the same type of service and comfort - that's $900 a year we have to put toward debt or spend on something else that we need. And the beautiful thing about savings is that they aren't taxed. If my husband got a raise of $900 a year, we would pay taxes on that, but this stays straight in our pockets.