Despite my reservations heading into this month we managed to fare rather well. It took a little jostling and creativity but we did it and for that I am truly grateful.
Thankfully we had our lowest power bill to date. I was able to pay on all of our utilities before they were due. I paid the mortgage two weeks early and I am seeing results in the interest I'm saving by doing this each month. I only bought one tank of gas and used it sparingly.
I added funds to my financial goals and to my savings account. I also made two payments on my no interest PayPal account. My bed is officially paid for and now I just have the new sewing table and dresser to work on.
Both girls got started at the orthodontist this month and I was able to pay for this first visit in cash. We just tightened up our belts a bit to make that happen. Next month will be a bit different as the oldest will be getting her braces put on and that visit will be the most expensive one. I'll probably take money from savings to handle that payment. After that it will be a flat amount every month until we are done. Fortunately our dentist provides in house financing and does not charge interest. Because both girls are going to be doing this at the same time he has also been very generous with the discounts.
In the last two months I've really focused on filling our pantry and freezer with plenty of basics to keep us going through the summer and well into winter. I've also been stocking up on household and toiletry items as I find them on sale for really good prices. I've been able to do this each month while staying within our budget. Now that I have this new orthodontic expense every month I'm trying to prepare for the leaner months ahead, especially this winter when electric bills are highest.
As you already know I was extremely blessed and fortunate to come across a clearance sale at JC Penney which allowed me to get all of the girl's school clothes purchased for just $88.10. I used my JC Penney credit card and will pay it off in July. This month I paid it off in full for my work shoes I bought on sale and with a coupon in May. Paying it off in full saves me from being charged any interest so I make sure before I use that card that I already have the funds to do exactly that. If for some reason I can't incorporate that payment into my regular monthly budget I can pull it from savings. The goal, however, is not to ever need to do that.
I started preparing for Christmas gift giving. (Can you believe we have less than 6 months until Christmas?!) My goal is to make or purchase at least two gifts each month during the summer as well as to acquire stocking stuffer items as I find them on sale. I was able to do this in June and have a plan for what I'm doing in July as well. Fortunately I already have my Christmas budget funds set aside.
Now to make July an uber thrifty month as well and to meet all of my financial goals. The idea is to be debt free (except my mortgage) in 2016 and to have an emergency fun as well as savings set aside for big expenses and retirement funding. It's been tough but so far, so good.