Stay-in-Budget January: The Results

I love a clean slate. New year, new week, new month, even a new day...the chance to continue success or try again if you weren't previously successful. I just love it! So when January rolled around and Erin posted about a spending freeze for the month, I was on board. The last 3 months of the year are usually pretty rough for us financially, with both our birthdays in October and then of course Christmas, but January is usually a time when we are able to get back on track.

Unfortunately, I didn't factor in that this January would be pretty different from Januarys past. It started out badly and just got worse and worse.

For one, I'm not working anymore and instead I'm in school full-time. That alone makes January a super expensive month, with tuition to pay and hundreds of dollars of books to buy. We pay for this out of savings so I don't really count it in our normal spending for the month, but it's still sad watching all that money leave our savings account! Looking on the bright side...even though school is expensive, I'm fortunate to be able to pay for it without taking out loans (at least for now - this is the plan for as long as we can continue to afford it). Plus, I will make more when I'm finished than I ever would as a teacher, so it's a sound investment in the long run.

The second big thing I didn't think about ahead of time was our 3-day trip to Charleston for the marathon. We had a free place to stay so it's not like it was super expensive, but the cost of food and gas on a trip still adds up. 

And then there were the unexpected our microwave breaking (luckily my husbamd is super handy and was able to fix it for 1/4 the cost of a new one), and the fact that we went through some personal issues that made several date nights necessary. I have no regrets about spending money on the date nights, but it wasn't part of the plan. 

Another unplanned expense was paying off my LASIK eye surgery from November 2012. I set up a 2 year, no interest payment plan and it has been auto-paying out of our account since the surgery. Well, for some reason I got the bright idea to check the balance on my account this month and realized the autopay has only been taking out the minimum payments. I guess I thought that meant it had divided up the payments over the 2 years, but it hadn't, and my monthly payments were severely under the amount they needed to be for it to be paid off in 2 years (November of this year). Instead of doubling my monthly payments, I decided to just go ahead and pay off my whole balance. So that was another $2500 out of savings, but now that payment is totally GONE from my spreadsheet, and that's a good feeling!

I'm gonna be honest, I stopped keeping track of our spending after a while because it got too depressing! So I don't even have a total to report, but I know it would be crazy scary if I did.

Even though January didn't go well, I learned from it and I'm planning on a great February!


  1. That's amazing that you don't have to use loans for school! I did for my undergraduate degree, and I'm also having to use it for my master's degree. BOO HOO!

  2. It's important to know what to spend on and what not to - it sounds like you stuck to the necessities to me!

    Thanks for linking up!

  3. You definitely got slammed this month! I didn't do that awesome in January, but taking a chill in February and grounding myself for March!

  4. No student loan debt is amazing!!! I'm going to give the freeze a go again in March and see how I do. D and I celebrate our 9 year anniversary in April and it would be great to save some $$$ to buy him something extra special. This freeze was definitely insightful.

  5. Way to go on not taking out loans (thus far) to pay for school! It's something I wish I would have been better about when I was in law school, instead of living the high life :)

  6. You had some really big chunks of money going to items but it is very good you had savings to cover it. Also paying off the lasik means in the future months that money can go towards savings or another bill so that is a good thing.

  7. I think you're still doing great even with those big chunks. To have no loans, and pay off that eye surgery is a big deal. Go you!


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