I set new financial goals at the beginning of 2011, and I will be updating our progress every month. Here is our March wrap-up:
–Husband starts a teaching and/or research job by September. He is in negotiations for a full-time summer job that could turn into a post-doc position in the fall, assuming his Ph.D. is completed, so we are finally making some progress here. (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 March I brought in $100.00 from writing/advertising, which brings my total this year to $512.45, so I have accomplished 8.54% 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 March we sold $84.89, brining our total to $223.72, so we have accomplished 14.9% of the goal.
–Keep our emergency fund above $12,000. (I will be posting our plan for this on Friday as part of The Saved Quarter Challenge.) Our savings was at $14,175. It is now at $12,741. Where did all of the money go? To cover shortages in income for April’s budget, our 1/4 side of beef purchase and a new vacuum (more on that later) .
–Spend no more than an average of $50 a week on groceries. In recent weeks we have fallen off track with this thanks to my nearly one year old daughter increasing her food intake and the skyrocketing prices at the supermarket. I plan to implement some reader suggestions to try to lower this again.
–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. We are also on target with this one, and have actually learned several new strategies to dine out for less.
–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. We have only spent $15 for gifts thus far.
–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 a little less than 1,650 items in my store on March 1st, and that is now down to 1,513, so I sold nearly 140 items last month (or they were written off as part of my inventory purge). I have paid off 27% of my remaining business debt (since October when I decided I would close my store.)