I’m going to walk on a the wild side right now and discuss our monthly progress before my check comes.
Normally, I get my check around the 10th, then it takes two to three days for everything to clear, then I can start sorting out finances. Meaning that I usually can’t make exact proclamations until at least the 13th.
Why it’s (probably) OK
But we only have about a week to go before my check has arrived and cleared. Since we have a set spending limit per week, I have relative confidence in the numbers I’m citing.
So I feel pretty comfortable declaring that this month is, to use the technical term, financially awesome.
Most months we have an account surplus of about $150 to $200. This is on purpose, since sometimes my checks arrives on the 9th and sometimes on the 13th. I have to make sure there’s a little padding so that our account is tumbleweed-free while we wait for everything to clear.
But this month is different. This month we’re ending with about $650 in the account.
A misleading balance?
In the interest of full disclosure, there’s a fair chance that the balance should be a bit lower.
During the recent depression nadir, I couldn’t handle dealing with our bank/credit card balances for nearly two weeks. That’s a big problem when you charge everything for the rewards points, then make weekly payments.
But I was paralyzed at the mere thought of dealing with it. I just wanted to curl up in my chair and watch TV (and eat junk food — so much junk food).
I finally managed to log in, but there were too many transactions in the previous 12 days to wade through. If I’d even attempted it, I probably would’ve logged out and stayed away even longer0.
So I took the coward’s/survivor’s way out: I chose a sum based on average weekly spending, then threw that money against the card. On paper, it makes sense; but we were eating a lot of convenience food. So I’m guessing the payment was a little low.
On the other hand, those charges are on the current statement. One way or another, this month’s funds are taking care of the expenses. So in the end, the fact that I (probably) underpaid a bit doesn’t really make a difference.
Pure rationalization, but it makes me feel better.
Even more for the savings account
The account surplus isn’t the only money going into savings, though. There are a few charges coming out of our fun money accounts (like the yearly HBO Now compromise) and a few expenses to be covered by the Date Night fund.*
Those amount to about $100 more going into savings this month. And that doesn’t count the other money that went into savings in July.
Now, $179 isn’t quite as impressive when you remember that the account always has at least $140 in it. Those are the savings from cutting the cord, getting Ooma and a few other frugal measures. But I’m pretty proud of that extra $39 this month because it all came from my newest initiative: savings from discounted GCs.
As you guys probably remember, we pretty much always have drugstore gift cards around, but we also recently stocked up on some restaurants, including a pricey fast food restaurant we intermittently become obsessed with.
I scored some great deals thanks to a sitewide discount at CardCash. (Seriously, if you’re not signed up for the site’s emails, you’re missing some great deals.) So money goes into saved savings each time:
- We go to Walgreens or CVS (15% of purchase price)
- We fill up at Quick Trip (9.1%)
- We eat at Smashburger (26.97%)
- Netflix charges the gift card in our account ($0.99 saved)
Sometimes I transfer over as little as $0.45, so I think the cumulative savings is pretty impressive.
All of this is (very) long way to report that our savings account will be back up to about $2,850 in around 10 days. It’s not exactly the $5,000 balance that would help me breathe easier, but it’s a heck of a lot better than I expected so soon after replacing the windows.
How was your guys’ month? Are you making any progress (either toward lowering debt or increasing savings)?
*Yep, we now have a 13th Capital One 360 subaccount. I’d say it’s becoming a sickness, but it’s just such a durn good way to save for multiple goals at the same time.