:::: MENU ::::

Ashley’s June Budget + 2016 Goals Update


As a reminder, we have 3 concrete financial goals that we’re working on in 2016:

  • Save $10,000 for a down payment
  • Save $5,000 for an emergency fund
  • Put $30,000 toward debt.

Even amidst some obstacles that have caused us to have to withdraw money from our EF (for expenses related to the death of our beloved dog and a plane ticket home for my Nana’s funeral), we’ve still managed to make some progress for each of our savings goals.

In total we have now saved up: $6,000 for a house down payment, and $2,100 in our emergency fund.  In May we weren’t able to contribute to any savings at all, but in June we were able to save a good chunk and July should be good in this regard (and for debt payments), too.

Originally, we were hoping to start house-hunting in mid-summer but we decided to push our timeframe back just a tad so we can save up more money. We’re now hoping to have both of these savings goals met by August or September, and plan to start the house-hunting process in early September. I’m itching hard on this!

What about the $30,000 debt goal?

After last month’s $3500 debt payment, we’re almost exactly half-way to our overall 2016 goal of paying $30,000 toward debt! In full transparency, it’s going to be tough to hit our goal since we’re still working on stocking our savings accounts, too (we’d hoped to be done with the savings goals by mid-year). Even so, we’re currently on track and making good progress. For reference, here’s the table I made of goal debt-payments compared to actual payments for 2016:

Month 2016 GOALS 2016
January Goal: $3500 $4013
February Goal: $1000 $1261
March Goal:  $1000 $2134
April Goal:  $2000 $1521
May Goal: $2000 $1325
June Goal:  $4000 $3500
July Goal: $4000
August Goal: $2500
September Goal: $2500
October Goal: $2500
November Goal: $2500
December Goal: $2500
Total Goal: $30,000 Actual: $15770.00


Currently, we’ve paid $15,770 toward debt out of the total $30,000 we have planned (though it’d be great to beat our goal, too!) Right on track!

And here’s how our household budget looked for June 2016:


Place Amount Spent
Rent 1200
Down Payment Savings 2000
Electricity 128
Water 65
Natural gas 36
Cell Phones (2 lines) 105
Cable/Internet 100
Trash 35
Preschool (babysitting) 880
Gift-Giving 9
Restaurants 334
Kids Activities 136
Groceries 505
Gasoline 159
Household Goods 41
Clothing 74
Work Expenses 105
Rainy Day Savings 2023 (minus deductions, see below)
Savings Goals 500
Debt Payments 3500



Electricity: Our electric bill from June was moderate, but I already received the July bill and it’s shooting sky-high. This is to be expected given that the temperatures are in the one-teens (as in 115 degrees!!!) and the girls have a babysitter at home all summer so we need to keep the A/C running since kids are at the house all day.

Restaurants + Groceries: I feel like you can’t consider one without knowledge of the other. Our overall food spending this month wasn’t too terrible when you consider that these figures include some of the food for the girls’ birthday party, along with the food we had to buy on our multiple trips this month (remember, I went to Austin for a funeral the first week of June + the whole family went to Utah the third week of June. Particularly during the Utah trip, we had to eat out basically the entire time since we were clearing out my Dad’s house and didn’t have the ability to cook).

Babysitting: The only perk about our travels is that we had less childcare. During the regular preschool year we have to pay a set price regardless of whether we travel or not (for instance, we still had to pay the full week of childcare when we were on cruise 2016). But with a babysitter, we don’t have to pay if we aren’t utilizing her services. So our childcare costs were pretty low in June.

Kids’ Activities ($136): I had cancelled swim lessons for about a month while we were busy traveling, but I started back up again in late June. I think I’ll carry it through the duration of summer and in early September I’ll probably cancel again and start them in a new activity. For new readers, swim lessons is the only paid activity we’ve ever done with the girls. But now that they’re 4 years old, I really want to let them start trying some new activities. We have lots in our area to choose from:  dance, soccer, martial arts, gymnastics, music lessons, etc. etc. etc. I’m committed to only having them in a single activity at a time (at least for the time being). They’ve made great progress in swim lessons so far and I’m really proud of how far they’ve come. But I also can’t wait to get to watch them in little tutus or soccer cleats or whatever the “uniform” is for the next activity we decide to do!

Clothing: This includes a mix of clothes for all 4 of us. I got a new cardigan for work, hubs got some new basketball shorts, and I got some darling outfits for the girls from my favorite app, Wish (side note: I’m still loving how cheap and easy it is to order through Wish, but I’ve seriously reduced the frequency of use. I can see how people could get addicted and overspend on crap).

Work Expenses:  This month I had several work-related expenses:  a new ink cartridge for our home printer, reordering checks and address labels, and $30 worth of gift cards for people who helped participate in a huge project I’m working on (that amounts to 3- $10 gift cards). Even though I had to pay for it personally (the department said “no”), I feel like it was warranted because these people have invested a HUGE amount of time into a project I’m spearheading.

Rainy Day Savings: I’d deposited $2023 into my various rainy day funds (though some money was also withdrawn from these accounts.) See below:

  • 3-6 Month EF: $1,000. The goal is to get to $5,000 and we currently have $2100 (note, this is down from my last budget update because we had to use emergency funds to cover my $$$ last-minute flight to Texas for my Nana’s funeral; we also had to withdraw some money for end-of-life expenses for our dog, who died last month. We withdrew money for an ultrasound, lab tests, and his final cremation and disposal. https://www.bloggingawaydebt.com/2015/12/2016-tentative-financial-goals/
  • Car Repairs: $50. I also withdrew $10 to wash it. Our overall account balance is at $113, but I know we need to add more because my breaks have been squeaky and there are a couple routine maintenance issues we need to get done soon. Why are car repairs always so $$$???
  • Birthdays: $523. I also withdrew the full $523 for kid birthday expenses. I lumped some expenses here that would otherwise have gone into different budget categories, but I included them here due to their nature. For instance, both of our moms came to town for the birthday, but we only have one guest bed. So this number includes money for a new air mattress. It also includes all of the food costs associated with the party AND a dinner out when we treated our moms to Italian food while they were in town. In addition to that, this covers the bounce house, a pop-up tent we got to shade the yard, and all kinds of party odds-and-ends (decorations, goody bag treats, piñata & candy, etc.). I’d guesstimated our party costs to be about $600, so I wasn’t too terribly far off.
  • Travel/Christmas: $100. The full account balance for this category is at $150. It always helps when Christmas time rolls around to have some of our travel and gift expenses subsidized a bit!
  • Health/Dental/Vision: $0. Generally, this gets auto-deducted from my paychecks so we can pay for healthcare out of pre-tax money (it sits in a flexible spending account earmarked for health-care related expenses.) However, I pre-pay healthcare expenses in the spring semester to cover the summer (this is normal at my university), so I didn’t add anything to the account this month since its summer time. Instead, I get a higher paycheck since this money isn’t withdrawn. : ) I did have to make a deduction this month, though. I deducted $25 from our FSA to pay for a prescription. Current account balance sits right at $2300.
  • Annual Fees: $300. Deducted $68 for vehicle registration. The total current balance is $482. I like to have it around $500ish, so we’re almost fully funded here.
  • Girls’ College Savings: $50. We save $25/each (x 2 girls) for college that’s automatically transferred monthly to designated 529 accounts.

Savings Goals ($500): This is all money that was saved for our 2016 Roth IRA. As a reminder, I have 10% of my paycheck auto-deposited into pre-tax retirement accounts, but I also like to put a little bit of post-tax money into a Roth each year. It’s never a big priority (especially since I’m already saving 10% of my income), but every little bit helps.


Debt:  I gave a full debt update here.


Overall, June was a good month! Here’s hoping July is just as fruitful!



  • Reply Holly |

    I was wondering if you could share your thoughts with me I have been following you for a couple years. My husband and I have about 60,000 in debt we would like to pay off by july 2018 hard but possible. Its between CC and a car payment we still have 4 years/ I have been thinking of ways to bring in extra money ( I have tried direct sales and stuff nothing seems to work.) I need about 800 a month additional to be able to hit my goal with wha we have left at the end of the month so I need to come up with a way to cut back and make extra to get that 800.. whats ur thoughts can you give me some suggestions?? thank you

    • Reply Ashley |

      Hi Holly! Thanks for reading! When we first started trying to get out of debt we were extremely hard core. We eliminated paper towels, started making our own baby wipes, made our own weed killer, buy bulk things of soap to refill smaller soap dispensers, cut lotion bottles in half to get every last drop out before buying more, etc etc etc. Youd be surprised how much you can save just by really trying hard. Then if you still find you’re short I might suggest a part-time job. I took random online-based jobs that I was afforded thanks to my advanced degrees and some connections I had, but not everyone is as lucky. If you have to do an in-person part-time, I’d suggest something where you can earn tips: waiting tables, food delivery, or barista. I’ve also known people who make decent money driving for uber or lyft. Ultimately, try to cut your lifestyle as much as possible and if you’re still left short, you’ll have to find ways to earn additional income. Good luck!

  • Reply spiffi |

    I have to say that everytime I read your goal of saving up $10k for a down payment on a house, I am certain that it’s a typo 🙂 That just seems like such a tiny amount!

    Of course, I live in California, where “starter” homes are half a million dollars, too!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Wow! Yeah, big difference in real estate prices! We’re looking at homes in the mid-100s.

  • Reply Shauna |

    I, too, would like some further info on the 10k down payment. Just closing costs here in California are more than that, much less the down payment added on. Even with the modest home price you have mentioned at 20% down plus costs I would think you would want $30k saved to purchase/pay closing and another $10k for moving incidentals/new home expenses for a total of $40k needed. You are a dynamo at reaching goals so you would be there pretty quickly!

    • Reply Maureen |

      Ashley has addressed this in previous posts. There is money from other sources.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Maureen is right. In addition to the money we are currently saving, we already have an ADDITIONAL $10k from a money market account we’ve got that predates blogging (meaning, it’s old savings. Not new money that’s been saved recently). So that’s $20k with those monies combined. In addition to that we’re being gifted some money from my mom. And we’re going to be looking at homes in the mid-100s (Tucson is inherently significantly cheaper for real estate than CA).

  • Reply Meg |

    My daughter recently bought a house with a 5% downpayment and no PMI with a 3.5% interest rate. This was a special program through her credit union for first time buyers. Her total payment for $175k house, including taxes and insurance, is the same as her apartment rent was. Rents are high in our area in relation to housing prices. She was initially looking for less expensive house ($100k+)but they were either in poor condition or there were multiple contracts and sellers accepted cash offers for faster closing.

    Anyone in the market for a house should keep an eye out for all possible loan opportunities. There were many loans and programs that just were a bad deal though. She checked 1st time buyer state assistance programs, FHA and first responder or civil servant (police, fire, teachers) and none were near as good. If they gave downpayment assistance the interest rates were way higher and still had PMI for less than 20% downpayment.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I definitely agree it’s worth shopping around for competitive lending rates. Sounds like your daughter got a killer deal!!!

      • Reply Walnut |

        Interest rate are crazy low right now. I just locked my refinance in at 2.375% for 15 years (will pay one point to get that low, but no crazy behind the scenes fees otherwise to get that low.)

  • Reply Kiki |

    Great job! You and your husband are so focused on your goals. For all tightwads out there, if you live close to a Costco, they will refill your ink cartridge at the photo counter. I spent $10 last month to have mine refilled by Costco compared to almost $30 I have been spending elsewhere to buy a new cartridge. Works for me!

    • Reply Ashley |

      I need to do this! When my MIL came to town for our girls’ birthday last month she brought us a fancy new-to-us printer (she inherited a super-fancy one from her Dad, so she’s passed along her mid-grade/fancier-than-our-last-printer to us). Our old printer was archaic and no one did cartridge refills but our new printer has a “normal” ink cartridge so it surely must be re-fillable (fingers crossed)!

So, what do you think ?