I [Rachel] am motivated by psychological rewards much more than raw data. I got to push the button to pay Sallie Mae this month, and the simple act of clicking a button and typing in some numbers had a disproportionately high reward factor for me. Sometimes the littlest things can have the biggest impact.
We’re trying to pay off a little more than what’s written in the plan every month, putting extra into the monthly payoff and hopefully kicking this rhino out of our house before the end of the year. This month, we dealt with tax payments and still managed to pay ol’ Sallie an additional $250 from my photography business earnings for April. I’m hoping photography income will continue to supplement our payments as I become better known here in Portland. It’s no easy task to relocate a small business to an entirely different side of the country!
This month since I’m writing the Spencer Update, I’m giving more information than our usual report. I struck a deal with Ali to share some percentages to you. Here’s the breakdown of the money we spent this month:
Expenses for April 2011
- Rent/Utility: 30%
- Food: 11%
- Shopping: 11%
- Transportation (gas & train): 10%
- Entertainment: 6%
- Other: 32%
Percentages above are based on the proportion of what we SPENT, not our total income. So it’s all relative. We’re using the information as a tool to illustrate to ourselves where we are overspending according to our budget.
The entertainment category is up this month because I decided to get season tickets to the Oregon Symphony after they ran a really amazing promotion. I also took my mom to see a play when she was in town. Normally we have budgeted 2% of our spendable income toward entertainment.
I’m amazed at how much I still spend on shopping despite watching our pennies and resisting most purchases. Honestly, I’m a little concerned for myself in coming months as I get fatigued from resisting the allures of all these wonderful local things here in the Pacific Northwest. Normally we have budgeted 7% of our spendable income toward shopping, so we’re up a couple of points.
The food category came in a little under our budget expectations in April, but we suspect some money got miscategorized since I’m not great with my cash envelopes and often pull from whatever envelope has the most cash at the moment.
Also to note: ‘other’ is ridiculously vague as we intentionally omit a few categories.
Here’s our updated chart. It seems like we are making so much progress, but we still have a way to go.
Minimum monthly Sallie Mae payment: $280.09
May 2011 payment: $6250
We paid $5969.91 over our minimum monthly payment. GO US!
STARTING TOTAL (12/1/10): $69,176.76
PAID SO FAR: $46,750.00
LEFT TO GO BEFORE 12/31/2011: $22,426.76 (plus accrued interest)