As you may recall, my wife and I have declared this the year of getting out of debt. January has come and gone, and it has been an interesting ride thus far.
I cannot say we made significant progress in decreasing our liabilities. This is mainly due to the fact that our businesses are extremely seasonal (winter being our low season). And, while our income is at a minimum, our bills and expenses continue to be the same. Add to this some advertising opportunities we wanted to take advantage of.
Therefore, this month's focus was on monitoring our spending. We only spent money on that which was necessary. We kept a very close eye on our grocery budget and only ate out (fast food) when we had no other choice.
This month we said "No" to:
A Friday fish fry (and going out to eat in general) x10
New cell phones
The Wynn's $109/night deal (not really!)
Drumstick ice cream bars
Going to the movies
A Juicy Couture swimsuit (for Monica)
Using a really good coupon to Express for Men
Bath & Body Works hand soap
A couple books
We've found that staying out of the malls and stores has helped a lot. Even staying out of the grocery store has kept us from buying unnecessary food, thanks to Peapod.
I have been working a part-time job and am also working on a new business idea that should help us make significant strides.
This month has taught me the importance of discipline. In order to balance everything I have going on in my life while keeping a close eye on our spending, I need to keep a thorough calendar of each day's events. I'm trying the block schedule approach suggested by Liene from The Smart Planner.
It's hard to say what February's focus will be. My income will go up this next month compared to January. With this extra income, I think the trick will be deciding how much should go toward our debt and how much should be saved for future expenses.
How has your year started financially? Have you been monitoring your spending more closely?