February was a really good month for a lot of reasons…
(I promise the budget post is coming after this one TODAY. I am working from home today and will actually have the time and space to crank it out. I could do it during my lunch break at work but I often eat at my desk and I worry about prying eyes…)
1) Stuck to my very tight budget – My food/personal/other budget is a bit tight. Like maybe ~$250.00 for the month. When I first did it, it seemed like a lot because I was working in a role at the university that had a dining plan which meant I just used the money for incidentals. But now that food also has to come out of that it’s extremely tight. In February, there were few surprises and the ones I did have I handled pretty well which allowed meant that in addition to my tax refund, I was able to make a $1000.00 on my student loans on March 1st because I didn’t have any extra spending in February I needed to cover.
2) Side Hustle (Work?) – I don’t know if this technically counts as a side hustle but I competed in an competitive activity in college that has allowed me to pick up work as a referee of sorts occasionally in the past and get paid for it. One such opportunity happened during the last week of February which allowed me to make an additional $100.00 payment on my private student loan this month.
3) Guest – I had a friend visit from out-of-state who stayed even longer than was originally planned. While in the past I would have just thrown the budget out because of my “guest” and lived it up (that’s what happened in December when the other guest visited. While she did stay for a lot longer, I went through lots of money on stuff I had no business spending money on like a trip to a Korean bath), I stuck to it. I explained that towards the end of the month I try to make meals using what is left in my pantry. We didn’t eat out once! It also helped that she didn’t make it in until after dinner time twice during her stay and I had to work during the day on most days. Overall, her visit only resulted in ~$15.00 extra dollars in unplanned food spending or otherwise.
4) Heavily Curtailed Binge Eating – This is really for another post but in the past, whenever I have a strong emotional response to something, it has resulted in me “eating” my feelings. This has been terrible for my budget and waistline. During February, I came up with new coping strategies which helped a lot with my food budget.
This change in mentality, where my priority was really sticking to my tiny budget and not creating excuses for my spending, allowed me to make a $1100.00 extra payment on my Private Student Loan 1 (PSL1) debt on March 1st. This was in addition to the $1000.00 tax refund which went straight to PSL1 as well.
So my current PSL1 balance, including the March 1st payment (which would be reflected in my regular April 1st debt update) is:
– Citi balance transfer (BT): $3,500.00 – Balance transfer expires 6/1
– Discover balance transfer (BT): $2,600.00 – Balance transfer expires 8/1
So because I didn’t make as much early progress on paying the balance transfer off, there will definitely be a savings financially even if it’s not much of a little more than $200.00. (You can see how I calculated this in my earlier post here.)
The big question is: Will I be able to pay off the balance transfers by their expiration dates? The answers is, I’m pretty sure. However, this does assume a few things break my way…more about a big thing that might break my way in a future post. The hustle will be making sure the Citi BT is paid off by June 1st. Early in my journey I started targeting the Discover BT because it was smaller, this was a mistake. I should have targeted the Citi BT because it ends sooner.