Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! (if you’re American, of course.) Mine was spent the only way I know how: on a boat with a cold one. June was an interesting month for the debt progress saga. On one hand there were 3 pay periods this month. On the other, there were more expenses in the form of indulging.
There was a lot of traveling this month and a vacation. At the beginning of the month, me and my girlfriend went to surprise her mom, who she hasn’t seen in years and has only met once, at her wedding. This was in South Carolina. The first night, we drove 4 hours to Jacksonville and had some fun. The second day, we made the other 4 hour leg of the drive to South Carolina. After getting lost on the way to the wedding destination, we finally arrived just in time as her mom was taking pictures.
Needless to say, the surprise was a hit. Her family’s reactions made the whole trip worth it. We visited for the rest of the evening and then had to make the 8 hour drive home the next day. There’s something to be said about going off the beaten path because the ride home was nothing but beautiful country side.
Habits Come And Go
I had originally planned to keep tally of all my expenses and be super analytical about everything each month. Well, about mid-June I decided to change that. I’ve had 3 months of successful tracking, which in my opinion, garners enough data to understand my own spending.
It became cumbersome to constantly track every time I spent a dime. Not to say it’s not a good idea because it is. If you have a problem with spending, you should definitely track your spending. For how long is up to you. For me, 3 months was enough.
That being said, I’m still going to focus on areas where I know I’ve spent more money, but less on the actual figures. These updates may be the least entertaining part of my blog to readers out there (hopefully, they add some value), but I think looking back, it’ll be interesting to see where I was at, both mentally and financially.
Record Low Progress Update So Far
June is a record low for the progress towards my car loan since inception of the blog. I went into this month thinking, with 3 pay periods, I should make a substantial dent and was shooting for a record high. That didn’t happen. Honestly, I’m perfectly happy with it. The debt will go away regardless, but I won’t sacrifice great memories for the sake of it.
In May, I had paid down the debt to $7,958.40. This month, I paid only $300 towards the loan compared to the $1,400 I paid last month. This brings the total balance to $7,672.08. I’m hoping in July, I’ll get caught up back to the projected number I should be at to pay this off by the end of year.
Lessons In Indulging
Finding balance between being too frugal and indulging will always be a constant battle. Maybe some of you can relate to this in the personal finance world. Sometimes focusing so hard on a goal leaves you blind to everything else around you.
Well, I did the opposite of that this month and let myself indulge. Not excessively, but I’d say a healthy amount to allow oneself to do. Indulging in a productive way is great for mental fatigue.
I’ve had the idea in my head to start playing poker more. It’s a hobby, but one I enjoy immensely. There could be debate out there about how poker is gambling (I’ll gladly debate this), but the fact is plenty of people do it professionally and make a living. Now, that’s not the direction I’m wanting to go, but simply spending more time doing something I enjoy and learning more about it.
Proper money management is paramount in both personal finance and in poker. I’m setting aside a bankroll large enough to enjoy myself without distracting from the goal at hand.
Plus side, you can make money from poker*. This month, I had consistent wins between home games and going to my local card room to net a profit. I think all in all, I netted a few hundred dollars extra this month while expenses for this hobby were covered by the profit.
*I’m in no way promoting gambling here, plenty of people have lost everything due to gambling. If you’re unfamiliar with poker, I suggest learning about the theories behind the game, the strategy, variance, and how people reduce luck and rely more on skill.
Closing Thoughts On June
The biggest area where I spent money this month was on vacations and travel. That’s an area, I’ll always allow a little indulging in. As far as other areas of the budget go, everything else was pretty standard in comparison to previous months.
I’ve been utilizing the free food that’s left at the end of the day at work, so that cuts down my grocery budget.
Gas was higher than normal for the obvious travel reasons.
All said and done, June was still a good month. Allowing flexibility in your budget is something that allows you to get over any mental plateau. Much like a diet, you’ll experience some mental finance plateaus. So in order to break them, you’ve got to change it up. Within reason, of course.
I’m counting on July being a rather favorable month for the update and look forward to your thoughts on allowing yourself to indulge!