July was a tough month for us as it seemed our money didn't go as far as we would have like it to. We all feel that way from time to time, I'm sure. This is the first month since we moved back into the house where we really felt it, however.
I was blessed and grateful that all of our monthly bills were paid well before their due dates. I really like it that way and hate to be late paying any bill. I also paid the mortgage as usual, two weeks ahead. It is truly making an impact on my principal balance doing it this way and I am seeing results.
Instead of waiting until my gas tank was empty I refilled it while I still had nearly a quarter of a tank so it was less money to fill up this time. I also used my rewards card and saved 10¢ a gallon. I read an article in the news that gas prices should be going back down this fall and here they have dropped 2¢. Lower gas prices will be nice.
On the 1st my oldest got her braces put on and I used funds, as planned, from my savings account to pay for that visit. Unfortunately I wasn't able to put any money back into savings this month and I never like that. I always want to put something into that account, even if it is only $10. I am hoping to do better in August.
I did contribute funds to my retirement fund and received my quarterly statement in the mail showing my progress so far. Looking good!
I also took some funds from savings to pay off another bill I've been working on all year. I was so close to having it paid off so I went ahead and decided to take care of it. One big check mark on my debt elimination checklist. One down, two to go. I'm smiling about that!
To save some extra money I did not renew anyone's phone service in June or July. We are being very sparing and using our rollover minutes in hopes of making it until the middle of August so we can renew for school starting up again. Our phone service isn't too terribly expensive but it has saved me $75 so far.
With my oldest daughter's help I listed some items on eBay to try and generate a little more income. We took some old eyewear inventory from our shop and listed it using free listings I was offered. I was able to sell everything I listed and used all of that money to pay on my interest free PayPal account. In fact, I was able to make two payments on that account this month.
I re-opened my Etsy store and listed several handmade items for sale. Mostly crocheted crib size baby afghans and some handmade embroidered tea towels. Each item cost me 20¢ to list and I will pay for these listings using money from my eBay sales. I plan to continue to make items and add them to my store each month through Christmas. Hopefully I'll be able to sell some of those items and use the money for my debt elimination goals or the orthodontist.
We did not dine out this month. In fact, we didn't spend any extra money at all for entertainment. We did manage a few fun family outings, however. We attended our friends annual 4th of July barbecue complete with water balloon fight and fireworks. It was a ton of fun (albeit wet fun) and we had a blast. We invited friends over for dinner and then played a game of dominoes afterward. One day I packed a homemade poor boy sandwich and some water bottles and we ate our lunch at the park and enjoyed the MK Nature Center on a Sunday afternoon for free.
We watched TV shows on Amazon and YouTube. We also borrowed a lot of books from the library and read quite a bit. I read two books I already had from a great sale I came upon at a thrift store well over a year ago. I spent around $3.00 for a grocery bag full of paperback and hardback mystery novels I had selected. As I finish them I have been passing them off to my next door neighbor to read. When she is done her son takes them to the thrift store to be donated again.
I sewed and crocheted a lot. I was able to finish a Christmas gift, two birthday presents, a wedding present, make my youngest a set of bedroom curtains (finally) and two skirts for my oldest out of recycled clothing items. I really tested my creativity on those skirts and it was a lot of fun. I also managed to stitch a few items for my Etsy store as I had hoped I might.
I took advantage of back-to-school sales and bought the last items we needed off the supply list. Fortunately they were loss leader sales items and I spent less than $3.00. I also used my credit card to purchase a tent on sale and with a coupon as well as a set of drawers for my sewing supplies that was on sale for half price. I will pay that off next month so I do not accumulate any interest.
So while it felt that funds were extremely limited I do feel I managed to be fairly resourceful and productive and also still managed a few fun things for us to do as a family. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money to have a good time and in our case, this month, it didn’t take any. We made it just fine.