July was what I would call a rollercoaster month. Lots of ups and downs related to our daughter’s mental illness. I’d like to say I’ve gotten used to it, but that would be a little too optimistic.
I had a birthday at the beginning of the month. The big 5-1. This year’s birthday was much better than last year’s (I won’t go into that now). Though everything didn’t turn out as planned, I still had fun hanging out with my family. I’m more and more grateful every time all of my kids are together.
Summer is always tight for us. My husband just doesn’t get as much work, so overtime pay is minimal. Which really sucks, because it’s the summer and my kids are are out of school, I’m not working, and he’s around more. It’s nice to all be together, we just don’t have any money to do anything.
In July he only got one week’s check with overtime, which is totally not sustainable for us. Thankfully we budget off of the previous month’s income and June’s paychecks should have been more than sufficient. And yet, we managed to go over budget in several categories and pulled from our bank’s reserve loan almost $600!
About half of that was a spontaneous tire purchase for my husband’s truck. A spare tire cost us close to $300, which wasn’t accounted for when I made the budget. Needless to say, it’s very difficult to stay on a budget when your partner isn’t on board.
Here is the good and bad rundown for July:
- GOOD: We had a medical bill that was only partially paid by the insurance company. The balance for us to pay was $1,100. However, it was the same company and service that had previously been paid in full for a different bill. So I called United Healthcare, they processed it again and paid it in full! I’m learning that when it comes to medical bills, you have to be your own advocate for making sure your insurance company is paying what they’re supposed to pay.
- GOOD: My husband bought a tire rim from a guy on Craigslist. It cost $30 (which was a great deal). A couple weeks later, we got a letter from the seller, who included the $30 we had given him, telling us he’d rather us have the money and go make memories with it. Despite what others may believe, there is still a lot of good in the world.
- GOOD: Some friends were visiting Denver and invited us to go visit a wildlife sanctuary with them. It was a lot of fun and we got to see all kinds of wildlife.
- BAD: We don’t get to see our friends very often, so we didn’t want to turn them down. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the $120 to pay the entrance fee, so we charged it.
- BAD: The spare tire for our truck was an unexpected expense and we ultimately used our bank account’s reserve loan to pay for it.
- BAD: Our cable bill increased by $20 a month. I need to find a cheaper way to pay for cable and internet.
- BAD: Our food bill (groceries and dining out) was still too high – actually the highest it’s been all year. Oi-vey. I’ve got to get this under control.
- BAD: We ended up borrowing almost $600 this month from our reserve loan. We haven’t done that in months, so it was really disappointing. And I know we won’t be able to pay that off until I go back to work.
Our Savings & Our Debt
This month we paid $345 toward our debt. We added $100 to college savings and $98 to our savings account.
On the flipside, we borrowed $600 from our bank account’s reserve loan and charged $120 to our credit card.
We run into this same situation every summer when my husband’s income decreases drastically. I need to start planning ahead so next summer we’re not running into the red and borrowing to pay for unexpected expenses.
I’m not freaking out too much though, because I plan on subbing as much as I can when school starts up again. My goal is to work at least 10 days a month and get my student loan paid off by next June. It’s totally doable, as long as we stay on track with everything else.
Despite the money fails, I’m thankful I’m another year older and still in good health. I’m thankful for health insurance, modern medicine, and good doctors. I’m thankful for the rare time with friends that live far away.
How’s your summer budget coming along? If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels (or even sliding backwards), don’t let it get you down. Keep your eyes on your goals, and remember that a bad month here and there isn’t going to keep you from them.
Maybe you need to make some adjustments to your budget, or pivot in your strategy, or change your timeline. Let the struggle motivate you to try harder and think smarter.
The most important thing is to not give up. Keep taking a step forward, no matter how small.