Our main financial goal for the first half of the year was to save $5250 ($750 a month) in a temporary extra emergency fund between January and July. The idea was to have money set aside just in case anything happened and once the baby comes and all is well, we will send that full amount to Dave’s student loans. We reached $5250 in June. Woohoo!
At the same time, we’ve been saving for a replacement car. That wasn’t one of our goals at the beginning of the year, but we realized in February that we would need to replace both of our cars within the next 1-2 years rather than one at a time like we’d been planning. What that really means is that Dave’s car has lasted a lot longer than we thought it would, which is great! We were joking recently that his 18 year old car is legally an adult and that my 15 year old car is almost old enough to get a driver’s license! We already had about $4500 set aside to replace one car so we just needed to save for a second car. I’d love to be a one car family, but given Dave’s hours and where we live, it’s not very realistic for us. I wanted at least $2500 in the car fund as soon as possible, since that would get us something decent, but ideally I wanted $4000. With that, we can get something that should last at least until the loans are all paid off (5-6 years from now). We saved the $2500 and then focused on the emergency/student loan fund. Once we hit $5250, we came back to the car and we now have just over $4000 in our second car fund. Hurray! Now we can back to throwing money at the loans.
We’ve done more buying than selling on ebay and Craig’s List, but we got several things we needed (a wardrobe, new freezer, printer ink) and we did sell some things at a yard sale with our FPU group in June.
We’ve done a good job of sticking with our budget. The week before last, I used most of the grocery money stocking up on some things I knew we’d need with the baby coming any time, but that meant I didn’t have much left to spend this past week. There were several things that I felt like I “needed,” but I had less than a dollar left, so I didn’t get them. We also put $4.14 worth of gas in my car on Monday because that’s how much gas money we had left. In the past, I think I would have justified it with the baby coming and spent a little more on both, saying we’d make it up with the next paycheck. But I knew that the rest of our dollars had another name on them and that we’d make it. I was really proud of myself for that self-discipline. Dave gets paid today, so now I can go fill up my gas tank and buy my kidney beans and cilantro! It’s not that we don’t have any money – that’s not what I’m trying to say – it’s just that we didn’t quite plan right and it was a good challenge to just make do. And maybe the baby’s waiting for a full tank of gas to decide it’s time to come!