Happy New Year! 3 very exciting things for December’s update and to kick off the new year!
Firstly, KAPOW! Today’s updated Sallie Mae balance is $86,780.89.
Yes, if you look at the right of the screen or last month’s report, you will see that today’s balance is an entire $5,827.91 less than the previous month! WHOOP WHOOP! The Christmas bonus came through on the last day of the year, was much huger than I anticipated, and I immediately (within hours) put 75% of it into the student loans. In addition to the now standard $1000 extra payment and two smaller minimum payments, that was actually a ginormous $6,120 put towards student loan payments for December, and “only” $292.12 of it was interest.
Since starting this blog in September, I’ve paid off $8,245.98. That’s 8.7% of the starting amount in just 4 months! *patting myself on the back* This is also the first time my student loan balance has been under $90,000…since…EVER! Well, since graduating in 2006 anyway. And it’s significantly under $90k!
Secondly, I just had the first anniversary of my first day at work at my current job. To celebrate, I hassled my supervisor about the bosses’ promise to put me on their phone plan and give me a new iPhone. As it turns out, his response was “Oh yes! We usually make good on our promises, but sometimes we get lazy or forget.” A brand new gold iPhone 5S with my name on it is being shipped to our work and I’ll get it next week.
AND I will now get to save $94 a month by having my number and mobile phone account absorbed into the company’s plan. YAY! That was effective yesterday, and my monthly payment is due on the 9th so I already get to take that off the “fixed expenses” on the budget for January. (Starting in February though, our rent is going up $30. Which isn’t too bad, really.)
Thirdly, I GOT ENGAGED! It became official on New Year’s Day. Such a great way to start 2014! 😀 I’m not quite ready to dive into the wedding planning quite yet and not sure if the wedding will even be in 2014. Maybe early spring 2015? In the meantime, I’m totally going to research other PF bloggers’ stories like Jordann from My Alternate Life (How Much Does It Cost to Get Married? Parts 1 & 2–she did it for under $4500!) and follow how Anna from Are Ya Gonna Eat That is doing with her current wedding planning.
So how’d the December budgets go? I stuck under my $500 grocery budget ($454) and only took out $30 of my allotted $80-$120 cash. But I did go over in fast food ($99 out of $65) and just $4 over the $60 restaurant budget. The total food budget was still maintained though if you put groceries, fast food, and restaurants all together, so I was good! I also stayed within my Christmas gifts budget (by under $5!). 🙂
As I suspected, the auto stuff was tricky, and not just because of the car issues. The E-Z Pass (toll tag) got automatically replenished ($55), I spent about $100 in gas, and $20 for the Metro (public transit). This was $55 more than my usual auto budget, but then I got reimbursed from work for my travel expenses since October (+$252). But then there were the unexpected car expenses: ended up spending the $326 at the Honda dealership and then $139 for taking the train up before Christmas while the car was in the shop. It seems kind of difficult to predict or estimate how much I should budget for “unexpected car expenses” over the course of the year, so any suggestions on this would be helpful. Since replenishing the emergency fund back in September though, I do always make sure there’s at least $1,000 in there in the event of any car issues.
Moving forward to this month, I should be able to contribute $1400 as my extra payment now that I don’t have my phone bill and MORE IMPORTANTLY, if I stick to my updated budget. I’ll also work on wrangling up some financial lessons I’ve learned through 2013 to wrap it up!