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June held one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
My husband and I traveled from our tiny town of Kingston, TN, to Nashville, to Toronto, to Istanbul, finally landing in Moscow.
We spent two weeks traveling between four different Russian cities of populations from 300,000 to 12 million. Six nights were spent on trains, meeting people from different countries and cultures and having intriguing conversations before falling asleep just a few feet from one another.
We saw things done differently than we’re used to, things we’ve never seen before, things we’ll never see again, as well as things we’d love to see more of and things we wouldn’t care to ever see again.
No budget was made for the trip. We never even talked about putting one together or coming up with a spending limit. We knew there was no way we would blow our savings and our emergency fund, so the subject never even came up. After paying off the credit card we used during our trip, we have a little more than $700 in our savings account. We’re not emergency fund crazy since we only live on one of our two incomes and have no debt, so we would have even been okay with dipping into it. After all, how many times does one get to attend the FIFA World Cup in Russia?!
I will share all the details about our incredible trip soon, but for now, let’s look at the numbers.
If you’re a steady reader of my blog, you know that we’re living on my husband’s base income of $2400 per month while saving his overtime and my salary. This month, we saved my four paychecks of $855.17 each, plus a total of $590.38 of Ron’s overtime earnings, for a total of $4,011.06.
Between this month’s home updates and the trip, we spent all of that and more, bringing our actual savings in June to -$1,955.11. This is our second and largest negative amount since becoming debt free five months ago. June started with $7,704.25 in Savings and ended with $5,749.14.
Totally worth it.
Let’s change speed a little bit. Now that the first half of the year is over, I took a look back at an Instagram post I made in December listing my goals for 2018:
- Pay off our house
- Learn basic Russian travel phrases
- Purchase first rental property
- Home improvements
- Increase retirement contributions
Let’s see how we’ve done.
1. Pay Off Our House
You already know.
January 29, 2018 is a date I’ll never forget. It’s the day we earned our freedom, the day the roof over our head became ours. No matter what happens – as long as we can swing our low property taxes every year – the roof over our head is ours.
2. Learn Basic Russian Travel Phrases
Guys, I was really proud of myself for this one. My face turned red as I struggled to ask, “Вы говорите по-английски? (Do you speak English?)” after landing in Moscow, and I soon found that hardly anyone did speak English. By the end of the trip, the simple Russian phrases I had learned were second nature, and I was having so much fun with my progression in my ability to read the Cyrillic letters surrounding me.
3. Purchase Our First Rental Property
We had no plans for saving for this goal during the first half of the year, so we’re not behind in that respect. However, after numerous discussions about putting down a large down payment and taking out a mortgage (my argument) versus paying cash (my husband’s argument), we are leaning more toward playing it safe for the first one and saving up to pay cash. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that we will accomplish this goal in 2018.
4. Home Improvements
I am obsessed with the improvements that have been made to our house. I am so happy with my living room/sunroom now that it is finished, and coming home from Russia to white shiplap on the ceiling of our kitchen and dining room, fresh paint and new lighting sent me jumping into my husband’s arms with joy. There is still so much we want to do, but we need to find a stopping place soon so that we can focus on the much more important aforementioned goal.
5. Increase Retirement Contributions
Another nope. And I don’t think we will now. We’re going to go all in on saving for the rental property instead.
Overall, I’m very happy with our year so far. I sometimes feel a little antsy that we’ve gone several months without working on a goal that contributes to my ultimate goal of early retirement, but it was all in the plan. These five months of focusing on small, fun goals have brought a necessary balance to our lives and will not derail us from our dreams.
I’m excited for this second half of the year!
How are you doing on goals you set for 2018?