May and June 2011 Financial Goals Update

I set new financial goals at the beginning of 2011, and I will be updating our progress every month. Here is our May/June wrap-up:

Husband starts a teaching and/or research job by September. He is working in a lab position full-time now that has the potential to turn into a post-doc.  He needs to make sure to defend his dissertation in the next few months, however, and progress on that front has been painfully slow due to other people on his committee. (I don’t have much control over this one, but I plan to help support him so he can do what he needs to do to finish his Ph.D. and find a job.)

I will bring in at least $6,000 to the family budget. I plan to do this through writing jobs, advertising across my three blogs and perhaps writing an e-book. I have now brought in $2,314.57 this year, which makes this goal 38.5% complete.  I am confident this goal will be met by the end of the year.

Sell $1,500 worth of “stuff” around the house. We plan to do this by continually decluttering. We will have a garage sale this spring, and I will be selling baby items and outgrown kids’ clothes on eBay and Craig’s List. We have now sold $526.99 worth of our stuff, making this goal 35% complete.  We are still trying to figure out when to have the garage sale.

Keep our emergency fund above $12,000. Our emergency fund is now at $12,442.09.  However, all is not well with our finances.  I will have some residual credit card debt after I finish liquidating my eBay business, and we have had a few personal expenses crop up and have used the credit card rather than dipping our emergency fund below $12,000.  My husband and I are planning a financial meeting to discuss how we will pay off these debts on our very limited income.  I’ll report back when I know what the plan is.

Spend no more than an average of $50 a week on groceries. I no longer think this one is possible.  With the rising price of groceries and our intolerances to dairy and my intolerance to soy, I am more typically spending $100 a week.

Spend no more than $25 a week going out to eat. This fall we started going out to eat too frequently. We are committing ourselves to only going out once a week and to spending no more than $25 a week on average. I will report our progress over at my Dining Out Challenge blog. This one has become easier because I am finding it very difficult to eat out with both a soy and dairy intolerance.

Spend less than $400 on all gifts this year. This amount will include my three kids’ birthdays, my mom’s birthday, Mother’s Day (for my mom), Father’s Day, and Christmas. My son had a birthday in June, and I spent $16.34.  You can see what I got at this post.  I have now spent $71.34 on gifts.  I still have $328.66 for the rest of the year.

Close my eBay business. Now that we have three kids, we no longer have room for mountains of tubs of clothes to sell on eBay. I am finding it difficult to split my time between my eBay store and my blogs. I enjoy writing and would like to continue with the blogs. It seems logical, then, to close the eBay store. This won’t be a quick process though; I have 2,000 eBay items to sell (down from a high of 3,000 before my daughter was born in April) and debt I have to pay off from my poor business planning.  Thankfully, this one is almost complete.  I officially shut down my store on June 30th, and I am selling all of my remaining inventory to Once Upon a Child.  I am not making alot from them, but I am just so grateful to have a place to get rid of all of my inventory.  I am about 75% done liquidating my business.  It will be complete by next month.


  1. It sounds like you have a good handle on all of your expenses. I think it’s great that you can make money online and through writing. Also, your gift budget is exactly where I need to be, but alas, that will probably never happen.

  2. If you have more expenses than income, why wouldn’t you use the emergency fund instead of a credit card. I think the point would be that if it is ‘painful’ or scary to have the emergency fund dip below that level, that it would help you determine if the expense is really necessary and build it back up asap. We kind of avoid that ‘pain’ when we use the credit card instead and it’s easier to use it. At least, that has been my experience and part of why we ended up with the debt we are working down right now. Best wishes!!

    • Melissa says:

      Excellent point, Tammy. We very likely will dip into the emergency fund to pay off our personal credit card debt, but I don’t want to do that to pay off the business debt. We will just make an action plan for getting rid of that.

    • I think what you are saying is good idea because taking money from a credit card is much of a gamble as you will be paying a lot of intrest monthlty. On the other hand dipping into the emergency fund is also much of a gamble as well, as you dont know what your finacial situation will be like in the next day.

  3. Dairy and soy? That sucks. Do you go for almond milk? I’ve tried Silk and it’s pretty good. Glad you are almost done getting rid of that eBay business. Good luck! — LaTisha

    • Melissa says:

      Yes, dairy was manageable, but soy is throwing me for a loop. It is in everything! I do drink the Almond milk. I really like it.

  4. How much are you getting for the clothes at Once Upon a Child? Would it be worth it to sell them at that garage sale and then take whatever is left over to Once Upon a Child if you are disappointed in what they are giving you?

    • Melissa says:

      I am not getting a lot, but I had over $25,000 in retail value to sell off. To prepare it all for a garage sale would be a nightmare. I am just glad they are taking it off my hands. Plus, they are taking almost everything I bring in.

  5. EBay can get to be a grind. That, and EBay has been steadily jacking up the prices more for the small store owners than for the bigger ones. They want fewer, and bigger, sellers.

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