During our April budget meeting Brian and I decided to make a slight change to our financial savings and debt snowball plan. We feel comfortable with a $10,000 emergency fund at this point and we are going to resume our debt snowball.
The factors that weighed into this decision were the following:
- Given my union contract my job should be safe for at least one more year–layoffs in our union were already announced for this academic year and I was safe (whew)
- $10,000 would cover my entire salary for several months, assuming I bring in no income (side jobs, unemployment, etc) which would be unlikely
- The amount of interest we are paying on that pesky law school loan is nearly $200 a month.
If you have a partner, it is important that you talk about your budget.
Have budget meetings so you are on the same page with your finances. I enjoy budgeting and making projections on when we’ll be out of debt and updating spreadsheets—Brian does not.
The way that I get Brian’s full attention is to give him notice that we need to have a meeting and give him a time limit for how long it will last. We can usually get it all done in 10 minutes and I know that in those 10 minutes I have his undivided attention to discuss, make decisions, and show off my pretty spreadsheets.
This month we also had a major planned expense—the siding on our garage. We have known for some time that we needed to repair our garage because the wood siding was chipping paint and the wood underneath rotting in spots. It was becoming a necessity to fix and not a luxury. Brian’s colleague, our resident police officer, would make funny comments to him monthly about how our garage was bringing down home values in the neighborhood. Since we knew this expense was coming we knew we would need extra money for it. We got our bids back in the fall and started planning how we would pay for it in the spring.
This month I got the rest of the money for teaching an overload course and our Federal tax refund. Our tax refund is fairly large, which I do not recommend. If your tax refund is high you should change your deductions. Don’t let the government borrow your money interest free.
We did cut back on some of our spending this month in other categories to come up with the full amount towards the garage. This means that next month we are back on track towards paying off those student loans.
Here is our monthly progress through our debt snowball. If you want to see where we started check our first month here.
So here’s the update for April:
Extra income report from April
Extra money from regular paychecks $2,469
(this included extra pay for an overload
class I am teaching this semester)
Money from Varage Sale sales $ 161
Tax refund $ 2,257
Total extra income towards savings $4,887
Garage Siding Cost $4,887