February has come to an end and it is time to assess how we did for our monthly goals. It was an odd month for us with me being home. The challenge for me has been keeping somewhat productive without the daily routine I have become used to working for decades. Jen has also had some challenges with me being home, I have disrupted her routines as well. Some good has come out of this time at home though. Jen and I have been working together to purge our house of excess “stuff” that we no longer use or enjoy. It is amazing how much we have accumulated over the years. We sold what we could and donated much more. The money raised by selling unwanted belongings was spent to fix Jens laptop and paint our bedroom. A couple things we had been wanting to get done but failed to budget for in February. We still have some work to do on the purging front but making some really good progress.
During my time off work I have also been actively seeking employment and connecting with many of my contacts. While I was working I had a company paid cell phone. When we parted company on January 31st my phone was taken as well. All of my contacts information was on that phone and it has been a challenge getting this information for some people. If I learned anything, it is to always back up the information on phones and other portable devices. Unfortunately, this has been a hard-learned lesson.
At the beginning of the month Jen and I made some financial goals that we wanted to achieve. The original post of our February goals can be found here:
Here is the break down of how we did.
- Keep the bills up to date. No more late fees and notices. We budgeted for all the bills throughout the month and tracked due dates so there would be no late fees. Check! All bills paid on time without exception.
- Finish paying off our overdrafts and cancel them. Between our 2 accounts we had $900 in overdraft protection. We had not been using it as intended and were perpetually in overdraft. These have both been paid off and we no longer have the monthly fees associated with this credit. Check!
- Put at least $500 in an emergency fund. We didn’t quite achieve this goal for February. We overspent versus our budget on gas for the truck by $30 due to traveling to several interviews. We also failed to budget enough for our youngest child 10th After all is said and done, we ended up with $420 for our emergency fund. Maybe we have more stuff to sell in March to offset the shortfall.
- Ike back to work by end of the month. This one didn’t happen, not for lack of trying though. I have been to several interviews and was made an offer of employment starting March 6th. After some tough soul searching, I decided that the offer was not what I was looking for so I turned it down. Although it would be ideal for our finances to be back to work as quickly as possible, I want to make sure it is the right fit for our family life and my ongoing career development. The search continues.
Although we missed on a couple of our goals, we are taking steps in the right direction. We are building new habits around our finances and the first of many debts (overdraft) has been paid in full. It’s a good feeling to see the progress and we will continue to build on that over the coming months.
Our financial success, paying off debt, making regular goals to strive for and hopefully helping others achieve similar goals is what this blog is all about. Helping others can only be achieved if people can find us, so we also made some goals for February related to enhancing our blog.
The original post about our blogging goals can be found here.
How did we do on this set of goals?
- Change from Blogger to WordPress. This was a bit of a challenge due to independenceendeavor.com was a name I registered in 2013 and sat dormant for many years. Through the transition of getting access and changing hosting service, the site was actually down for a few days. If I had known all the hoops I would have to jump through to get this done, I would have just registered a new domain name on BlueHost and started from scratch. It is done now though and we are pleased with the initial result, look and feel of the blog. Glad we did this.
- Make a new page to document learnings around upgrading our blog and SEO improvements. I have been doing a ton of research into SEO over the past month. Working on a few things but do not want to lead anyone down a rabbit hole. This will be done but only after I know for sure what works and what is just a “Guru” trying to take some of your hard-earned money. This one is on hold for a bit until we can provide some really good, tested and true strategies for our readers.
- Build a helpful resource page for our readers around personal finances. This one is tough as well due to the broad audience that the internet brings. We are 2 months into the creation of our Blog and paying off our debt and still working through what resources are helpful to us. This goal has changed to building a page of websites and blogs we follow. Look for that in the coming weeks and let us know if any helpful resources are missing that you follow.
So really only completed one of these goals but again, we continue to step in the right direction. Jen and I are working through our March budget now and will be publishing our goals in the next couple days. We have learned a few things through February that will help us through March and coming months.
- Build a realistic budget. I am terrible for under estimating the cost of certain budget lines. Don’t fall in this trap. Make sure not to purposely over budget either, you will be doing yourself an injustice. Be realistic and fact based when building your monthly budget so you have a chance of achieving your goals.
- Make sure every expense is accounted for. We didn’t budget painting our bedroom or fixing Jens computer so these would have been put off if we had not cleared out some unused items. Assess need to haves versus want to haves when budgeting. Just because we are now taking our finances more seriously, doesn’t mean that everything has to be put off indefinitely.
- Budget something for entertainment. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We didn’t budget any entertainment in February. We did find ways to keep busy but it certainly would have been helpful for us to get out and do something different. No need for extravagance but we believe a little is warranted moving forward.
Overall it was a fairly good month. We succeeded in some areas, learned in others. That’s what this is all about for us. Figuring out what works for us so we can continue to build momentum.
Thanks for reading. Please share and comment if you have anything to add.
Ike & Jen