Progress Report: Fiscal April ’13

Day 23 | $10,866.78 paid | $61,208.80 to freedom

It has been an exhilarating and exhausting start to this three and a half year journey.  While I keep telling myself that this is a marathon and that I cannot get caught up in the highs and lows, there were a few of each over the course of Fiscal April ’13.  This includes a harrowing, near-death experience (see below) and the “excitement” of coupon clipping.  While I did not meet all of my minor goals, I met the big one: I paid a total of $801.64 towards my student loans, of which $275.43 was applied to interest.  I have finally paid off all the interest that built up past my minimum payment.  The next month’s interest should come in at about $321, meaning my $800 monthly payments will start taking $480 chunks out of the principle. Furthermore, the spring/summer umpiring gig is underway.  To this point I have umped 11 slow-pitch softball games.  At $30 a game, that’s $330 of additional income prior to taxes.  The goal is to stash the summer income away until the end of summer and then make a decision regarding when to throw it at the loans.  But, with June and July’s big expenses on the horizon, that may change a bit.  Nevertheless, the ball is rolling.


As you can see above, some spending goals I missed, though slightly, and some spending goals I obliterated.  Added together, I was able to cut $207.27 in spending in April, which more than covered my increase in loan payment. One of the big ways I did this was spending only $64.89 in gasoline, down nearly $55 from the previous month!  This was mostly accomplished by commuting via bicycle.

On Commuting Via Bike
Time Rode: 11 hours, 53 minutes
Miles Rode: 145.9 miles
Amount Saved in Gasoline: ~$26.63
Bugs Swallowed: 4
Times Hit By Car: 1

Yes, I got hit by a car.  I don’t know why, but I’m pretty mad at myself even though I was totally not at fault. Why?  I saw it coming. I could have just stopped and avoided it, but I gambled, knowing that I had the right of way but also knowing there was a legit chance this driver would do something stupid.  Which she did.  I was coming up to the road my apartment was on – I could see my building – around 9:10pm after softball.  I was riding on the sidewalk with the cross-road on my left.  A red SUV was stopped – well into the crosswalk/sidewalk – and the driver was looking down at her phone.  I know this because I could see the light on her face.  Over the course of about 3 seconds I saw her look to her left, preparing to turn to her right – I slowed. She then looked back down as I was about to come to the intersection.  She looked back to her left and just as I was crossing in front of her she pulled out, never looking back to her right to see me coming.  Of course, I saw this all happening.  I anticipated well, was going slow enough and was able to swerve enough that I glanced off the front bumper and was able to jump off the bike.  As I dumped the bike, I was able to stay on my feet and yelled out something along the lines of “Are you frankly kidding me?!”

The car definitely hit my lower left leg, though I barely felt much. Again, I was able to see it coming and the bike took the hit.  Luckily, the only damage my body took was a bumped, red left ankle.  The only damage to my bike was a bent water bottle holder.  The car might have ended up with a few scratches – at least I hope.  The driver was freaked out and sorry enough that I couldn’t be that mad and actually started to feel bad for her.

Moral of the story: don’t text and drive, even if you’re stopped.

Entertainment: Way Under Budget, For Now…

Entertainment and Social Eating/Drinking under budget by a shocking amount.  This is bound to change as winter summer is coming, but I pretty much totally avoided eating out late at night. I was very economical in the times I did hit the bar and I was able to find some time with friends that did not involve dropping $20 on drinks.  The $125 towards my softball team was a one time expense, though the one-time expenses are going to come fast and large in May and June.

  1. Bachelor Weekend at the end of Fiscal June will be a major drain unless I’m savvy. I’m somewhat hosting the festivities since I am the sole member of the group that still lives in Ann Arbor, so my travel costs will be minimal and I’m sure I’ll have some drinks thrown my way since I am offering up every piece of furniture in my apartment as a sleeping vessel.  However, money will inevitably be spent, especially since we’re planning on taking in a Detroit Tigers game.  This will be a very interesting test of my new, lean spending and should make an interesting blog post.
  2. Paying Rent Twice is the big summer killer.  This will be right at the end of Fiscal May: I get the keys to my new apartment on June 15.  It will be costing me approximately $791.  This includes prorated rent for the second half of June, a $200 one-time pet fee, and $100 that remains of the security deposit.  This will really fall into the Fiscal June time period, but still it is something I’ll be dealing with in the next 30 days.  I don’t want to sacrifice my goal of $800 a month towards loans.  I also don’t want to dip so much into my already small amount of short term savings that I put myself in a bind if some emergency were to happen.  However, in order to avoid the latter, I would have to get pretty creative.  The most likely thing that happens is I put the money I’ve received from umping towards it and try to keep my budget in tact.  That hurts my plan for the end of the summer, but is the safest way to keep this going. Plus, I’ll get a few hundred dollars back from my current apartment’s security deposit sometime in July, so it isn’t quite as bad as it seems.
  3. Miscellaneous Costs will pop up more often.  As a teacher, the end of the school year means the end of typical, daily routines.  It also means added free time (though not as much as many believe) and it means end-of-the-year functions and nights out with colleagues.  It also means I’ll be buying some more things for classes to close out the year.  In Fiscal April I spent about $12 on ice cream treats for my seniors’ last day of high school.  There will be further last day treats to be bought for both students and departing colleagues.  All worthwhile expenses, but added expenses regardless.

I was able to just barely go over my groceries budget.  It was pretty difficult to do that and it involved a major coup in sales/coupon clipping.  I almost want to say $150.00 is not a feasible goal for a month of groceries, however, I was right there.  I still failed to cut out soda pop, so there’s room there to bring it down.  I’m sure I can find others, but I feel it’s pretty lean as it is.  I’ll still shoot for $150 there.

Take out spending was a fairly big accomplishment.  I was able to come in under my goal of $50, which was down from $95 the month before.  Very nice accomplishment there, but I still felt that I needlessly ordered food at times, usually the end of the work week when I was simply too exhausted to worry about cooking anything.  I’ll keep that goal at $50 as well and see if I can make another smaller dent in it.


The last week was tough.  While I was way under goals, the last weekend I saw my self give up what was a monumental victory to just simply a victory.  Commuting to work in the morning has been more exhausting than expected – though commuting to softball has been enjoyable.  I think I’m simply not a morning person and need that time in the morning to slowly mentally prepare for the day.  However, despite all the fatigue, I look at the cut in spending I made this month – $207 – and am pretty impressed.  I’m focused on keeping that up and am now turning an eye towards summer and how I will be able to pull off these $800 loan payments with all the summer activities that lie ahead.

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