January was not my best month financially. That said, I still managed to put a good amount of effort toward these goals. I'd say I'm making good progress. Let's take a look:
Get my stafford loans under $9000
I paid a total of $719.50 toward my Stafford loans last month, which is just what I planned on. As of today, my total amount owed is down to $19,898.92. I'll need to up the ante on my payments to make this goal a reality, but for this month at least, staying on track felt like a major accomplishment.
I was also able to raise my automatic payment with Navient, so paying less than my planned amount of $719.33 is not an option anymore. To automate this even further, I set up a second checking account and scheduled half of my loan payment to come out of each paycheck and go into that dedicated account. Although I know the money is there, that account isn't linked to anything else, so getting to it would be a major pain, and it's highly unlikely that I'll be temped to use it for anything other than loans.
This month, I'll focus on throwing a bit of extra cash at my loans - I'm going to aim for $30 extra. Every little bit helps, right?
Find a way to earn from a creative side hustle
This was probably the least thought out of my goals. I haven't made any progress on this yet. While it seemed like a nice idea in theory, I don't really know what I had in mind. Open an etsy shop for knit goods? That's about all I can come up with.
This month, I'll try to spend some time brainstorming on this goal.
Learn a new skill
This is real! It's happening! Actually, a few times over. I may have been a bit over-zealous here. I'm working on the following:
- Learning some basic code at Code Academy
- Brushing up my French skills on Duolingo in preparation for my trip to Montreal this summer
- Taking a copyediting course
I've been somewhat consistent with the first two. The copyediting course is perhaps the most concrete of these. I receive tuition benefits from work, and decided to finally take advantage by enrolling in at least part of the copyediting certificate program we offer. Of course, the first classes were supposed to be last week, both postponed due to snow. So now the first class is supposed to be today, but we have yet another snow day. The class is bound to start eventually, right?
Take advantage of my employer 403(b) match
Well, I can't do anything much toward this except stay at my job until July. We'll call it a work in progress.
Don't spend beyond my travel budget
I'm continuing to save into my vacation account, and think I should be on track for this. In the next couple of months we'll begin actually booking travel, so that's when the real test begins.
Open a holiday/gift savings account
Done! And I set up a small automatic transfer from each paycheck. I think we can officially cross this one off the list.
Continue tracking expenses in Mint
So, things are moving along just as expected. I'll check back in next month with more updates!