Finances Update

I dislike today's challenge, so instead I'm going to do a finance update! Woo!

This past month (Aug 15 - Sep 15) has really involved a learning curve as we figured out how to use credit cards to earn mileage without overstepping our budget. Unfortunately with some big unexpected yet necessary expenses last month, it would seem we did go over budget enough to make us fidget.

Don't feel too badly for us though. While we had enough money in savings to cover our over budget spending, Justin and I agreed that some of his paycheck would cover those enormous unfortunate expenses so that we could continue building our savings account up.

So here is the graph of our debt:

Definitely not where we want it, but it could be much worse.

And since you got to see our debt, here are our assets:

They also aren't exactly where we want them, but a little bit of growth is far better than no growth at all.

According to Mint, Justin and I are expecting to pay off our credit card debt by Aug '14 and have our savings account built up to where we want it by May '14. I'm not entirely sure if those will happen due to our upcoming vacation, but it's a good goal at least.

A Look Back:

If you recall, I started my budget challenge in January. As it turns out, it wasn't suppose to last this long! I was going to get us on budget and keep us on budget and that was it!

So what have I learned in 8 months?

Budgeting is hard. Especially when you get back from vacations and around birthday/holiday season or when you change your method of payment. I think I'm discovering that consistency is the easiest way to approach budgeting, but it is also one of the hardest. After all, you can't eat the same thing every day for months and months on end. You eventually need new clothes or cleaning supplies… Gas doesn't exactly stay at the same price for very long. Oh – and there is always an excuse for going over budget.

A Look Forward:

While we can't always prepare for problems or things that *pop* up, I think Justin and I are doing pretty good at budgeting comparatively.

- We've researched a lot about our upcoming trip to Germany and all of the travel expenses that will come with it. Passports have been obtained and a Goes interview date has been set. I even found this awesome list of suggestions for saving money while traveling!

- By obtaining a few credit cards to start collecting points, Justin has increased his credit score substantially making it easier for him to get credit in the long run. (It also helped him by choosing a no interest, free credit transfer card to pay down the debt he/we currently has/have.)

- Lowering a few of our monthly bills during the summer and not including Justin's raise in our budget will hopefully lead to more money in the future… right?

- With three separate savings accounts, we are able to know exactly what we are saving for and how far we are from our goal… plus maximize interest, which is generally a good thing.

To You, My Dear Readers: 

I welcome any suggestions or recommendations for saving money and lowering debt… or especially traveling overseas without a lot of money. I share what I find, but I can't possibly find everything. :)

Also, there will be a giveaway coming up soon, so keep an eye on the blog!! :)

Have a great Thursday!

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