I set new financial goals at the beginning of 2011, and I will be updating our progress every month. Here is our April wrap-up:
–Husband starts a teaching and/or research job by September. He has signed a contract and will be working full-time this summer. This position has the potential to develop into a post-doc position; he is working on applying for a grant for the post-doc right now. (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. In April I brought in $289.10 from writing/advertising, which brings my total this year to $801.55, so I have accomplished 13.35% of this goal.
–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. In April we sold $98.00, bringing our total to $321.72, so we have accomplished 21.44% of the goal.
–Keep our emergency fund above $12,000. Our savings was at $12.741, which is unchanged from last month. Thanks to our tax refund, we actually have more than that in savings currently, but I am not counting that because the money is set aside for my son’s summer school program.
–Spend no more than an average of $50 a week on groceries. I am beginning to think this one is not possible. In recent weeks, I have been spending $70 to $100 a week to feed our family of 5.
–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. We have used some new strategies and have had great success; recently we fed our family of 5 at Qdoba for $8 and change.
–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. In April we spent $20 for the three kids’ Easter baskets which contained two Go Max Go bars per child and DVDs from the Mamapedia deal a while back. We also spent another $20 on my daughter’s birthday presents for a total of $55 so far this 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. I had 1,513 items in my store as of April 1st, and and now it is down to 1,471 so I sold nearly 42 items last month. I have paid off 29% of my remaining business debt (since October when I decided I would close my store.) In addition, I have marked hundreds of items 50% off to try to clear out the inventory.