My youngest started his freshman year of high school in August. I can’t believe I only have one kid left in high school! Four years and it’s possible we’ll be empty nesters! Of course, I’m not counting on that. I’ve learned not to expect the typical trajectory of raising kids. I’ve had too many curveballs thrown at me. But, I can dream.
My daughter turned 18 and the milestone has turned out to be bittersweet. She’s now an adult and wants to be more independent – dare I say too independent – and there’s been some growing pains. I’m learning to step back and let go, and it’s been a difficult process. I’m expecting the worst but hoping for the best.
With letting go comes more space that I haven’t had in a very long time. I’m not used to it and haven’t quite accepted that my role is changing. But it is, at least for now. And I need to just go with it.
So I’m trying to write more, read more, and fill my mind with other things. I don’t know how long this will last. My daughter may have a relapse tomorrow. But today, I can focus a little more on me.
Budgeting off of July’s income was challenging. It was our lowest income month of the year, with only one paycheck including overtime hours. Basically, we were about $2K short of what we usually have to cover our budget.
So, because August had 5 Friday paydays, I decided to add August’s largest paycheck to the 4 checks from July to make up the month’s budget. It worked out pretty well. We still had to use some of our savings, but not nearly what I was expecting.
Here is the good and bad for August:
GOOD: Even though our July income was very low, we were able to supplement it with one of August’s paychecks and still have enough from August to budget for September. Thank the Lord for 5-Friday months!
GOOD: I was able to put a deferment on my student loan for a couple months to give us a little breathing room. I also skipped our college fund contribution, and these two changes freed up almost $250 for our budget.
GOOD: August was so tight that I was trying to cut corners everywhere. Thankfully David’s basketball coach was gracious enough to give me an extension on the balance of his tuition. I hope to pay it off next month.
GOOD: The school year started August 12th and I can finally start bringing in some income with substitution teaching. Due to circumstances, I could only take one job in August, but I have over ten lined up for September!
GOOD: We celebrated our daughter’s 18th birthday by giving her an Instax Mini camera she’s wanted for a while, and then taking her out for her favorite dinner: sushi!
BAD: July’s income was about $2,000 less then the average month, and even with the extra check from August things were pretty tight.
BAD: We had to take out $200 from our savings and borrow $85 from our reserve loan to help cover our expenses for the month.
BAD: Even though I’m trying to practice more faith in our tithing, I ended up not tithing the full 10% of our budgeted income. I know this shouldn’t make me feel guilty, but I do. A little.
BAD: We didn’t have enough to cover our electricity bill. I called to set up a payment plan, but the rep said we actually had to be late on the bill – and then receive a disconnect notice – before I could request a payment plan. Well … okay then. I paid $50 of the $300 bill and hope it will all work in next month’s budget.
BAD: What an inconvenient month to be short on income. Back to school supplies, clothes, shoes, school fees, and yearbook added up to more than I was expecting. In fact, I charged the clothes (but we did find some awesome deals on the clearance rack at Kohls!). I’m just counting on the income I’ll bring in during September to get it all paid off by October.
Our Savings & Our Debt
I skipped our 529 college fund contribution and deferred my student loan payment, but I did pay $115 toward our credit card bill. I hate that hanging over our heads, but I really can’t do much more until I start getting paychecks for subbing.
We transferred $97 into savings, but also had to take $200 out of savings. This is what I’ve been trying to avoid since budgeting off of last month’s income, but actually the amount we’ve taken out of savings every month since then has decreased drastically.
My goal for September is to work enough days to pay off the small balances on our credit cards and start applying more toward my student loan. My main goal is to get that paid off by the end of the school year.
At this point, I’m only considering the income I make from substitute teaching. But I’ve also been thinking of other ways to bring in extra money, like writing for websites or monetizing this blog.
Right now we’ve got three large balances – student debt, a 0% interest credit card, and our medical bills. If I only count on my subbing income to pay these off, it might take more than 3 years.
My goal is to create other income streams that will speed up this timeline and get me to a place where we can start paying down our mortgage faster and increasing the 401K contributions.
Someone once said that there’s only so many expenses you can cut out or cut down – but the amount of money you can make is limitless. I have to start doing more than staying within the budget and reducing expenses where I can. I need to generate more income.
If you’re the one that handles the finances for your family, you may get a little stressed out every time you look at your bills. I’ve found that a great way to change your mindset is to think about what you’re grateful for.
When I start to feel like financial freedom is so far away and I may never reach it, I think about all the things in my life that I’m blessed with.
- We got to celebrate our daughter’s 18th birthday together as a family.
- My youngest son started high school and so far is doing really well.
- My husband’s work schedule is picking up and our income will be back to normal soon.
- I have the opportunity to bring in a substantial supplemental income with a job that allows me to make my own schedule.
- My mother gifted our kids with enough money to buy their own cars, so our two teen drivers have vehicles that are safe and reliable.
- We have a comfortable home that is big enough to give each of us our own space as well as room for guests, and keeps us warm and sheltered.
Yes, I wish we were farther ahead with paying down debt and building our savings. But I have so much to be grateful for and I know that the little steps I’m taking today all help to get me closer to our financial goals.
How did you do with your August budget? Did you crush it or get crushed? Either way, don’t stop moving forward.
Your dreams are worth the struggle.