Frugal Fridays: My Not So Frugal February

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Today is the last day of February. Whew, the year is already flying by. As I have mentioned before, one of my main goals this year is to build financial stability. Last post I talked a bit about my obsession with budgeting.

Well… I have a major confession. I totally blew up my February budget. Yikes! At first I was nervous, but then I realized these were all big purchases I was planning to make in 2014.

Let’s take a look at my extra expenses:

  1. Travel – I was originally debating taking my Africa trip over Thanksgiving break this year, but then one of my best friends whom I haven’t seen in 3 years (she lives in Montana) told me she booked a plane ticket to Belize in May, I knew I had to buy a ticket too. Luckily, I had been saving money in my vacation fund, thus I had the $730 in my bank account to cover the costs of that large semi-unplanned purchase.
  2. New Camera – I’ve wanted to purchase a new camera for upcoming travel and also for a few projects I have in line for Big Sky Multisport Coaching & Personal Training for awhile. I finally pulled the trigger due to my trip to Belize and the fact that I can write it off as a business expense. I did some research and found out that February is generally a good month to buy digital cameras; I did some scouting around for sales. I found the camera I wanted at Best Buy on sale, plus I was able to cash in some credit card points I’ve had for several years for a $75 gift card. Win, Win! I’m now a proud owner of a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR camera. Now, to figure out how to use it… anyone want to give me lessons? 🙂
  3. LL Bean Boots – I’ve been wanting a pair of LL Bean boots for a couple of years now, but just never pulled the trigger on buying a pair. I had been wearing my Uggs boots around forever, which are ugly and falling apart. I was up in Freeport a couple of weeks ago and decided to check out the Outlet store to see if they had any boots in my size. I lucked out and found the exact pair I wanted in my size. Clearly, I purchased them and have been living in them since due to this crazy winter weather. I found out last week that LL Bean currently has a 6+ week backorder on their boots so I lucked out with my find.
Yes, I'm from Maine. I proudly wear LL Bean!

Yes, I’m from Maine. I proudly wear LL Bean!

Other than those three expensive purchases that were semi-unplanned, I stayed well in my budget. Another thing that is worth mentioning is that I increased my monthly student loan payments. When my graduate student loans came out of their grace period, I would have had paid over $500 a month in combination with my undergraduate student loans. Which, at the time, was over a quarter of my monthly budget. I decided to apply for the graduated student loan payment plan to ensure that I could pay my student loans monthly without eating ramen noodles every day!

I did a bunch of calculations recently with various student loan payment plans and realized that I was only paying interest on my graduate student loans and a couple of them even were more than I originally took out! Yikes! I played around with my budget and decided to reallocate some money to increase my monthly payments back to the standard 10 year repayment plan. It will add an additional $100 to my monthly bills, but will pay off in the long run with less interest paid. Of course, I’m hoping to pay a majority (if not all) of my student loans off well before the 10 years is up!

I will fully admit that I am obsessed with budgeting and watching my bank account and net worth increase. However, sometimes you need to make big unplanned purchases. Even though my purchases weren’t completely unplanned, I was a bit reluctant to drop hundreds of dollars for a plane ticket and camera. I will say that I am completely excited to head to Belize and see one of my best friends and hopefully come back with some killer photos.

Until next time…. happy training and keep saving!

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