September 2018 Recap

September ended up being a pretty busy month, which actually resulted in extra income for me and fewer expenditures for groceries and going out to eat.  Because I wasn’t home much at all, my grocery expenses were minimal, and most of the meals I ate away from home were either provided for me or were reimbursed with per diem through my job.

I spent an extended weekend (four nights) at the beginning of September in Minneapolis visiting my uncle.  We shopped and went out to eat quite a bit.  Fortunately, I was able to resist most of the shopping temptations, with the exception of a few good deals I found at Target and CVS (I live 3 hours from the nearest Target and there are no CVS stores in South Dakota, so I like to frequent them when I’m away from home, and I pride myself on being a savvy shopper at these stores).  From Minneapolis, I traveled to Sioux Falls for a work conference.  Lunch was provided but supper was on our own for two of the three nights.  I was back in the office for one day before heading to Denver for a meeting with FEMA.  On this day, I found out I was going to be deployed to Raleigh, North Carolina the following week to assist with the response to and recovery from Hurricane Florence.  On Monday the 17th I flew to Denver, attended my FEMA meeting on the 18th, and flew to Raleigh on the 19th, beginning my assignment on the 20th.  I just returned home on Friday the 28th.  Both the lunch and dinner meals were served to us in Raleigh, so we were only responsible for breakfast (which most days I didn’t eat because there were plenty of snacks available to us).  I was able to claim per diem on my work trips for any meals that were not provided, so I will be reimbursed for most of my expenses on these trips.  Our per diem rates are pretty low so oftentimes the meal costs more than the per diem amount, but this month it worked in my favor.  Of course all of my travel expenses such as airfare, hotel, and rental car were covered as well.

I only ended up being in the office for a total of four and a half days this month, which was nice.  I like switching up my work a little bit with travel, training, and conferences.  I don’t think I would want to do it every month, but every now and then is great.  My assignment in Raleigh involved long shifts, which meant quite a bit extra in overtime.  I appreciated the unexpected income, but I hate that it meant a natural disaster struck and people were hurting.  The deployment was a great experience, however, and I met some truly wonderful people working there who are doing good things for North Carolina.

As I’ve mentioned before, I track every penny I spend and earn, and every penny has a job to do.  Whatever is left over at the end of the month is split between my priorities at the time.  This month, those priorities are funding my wisdom teeth removal (yayyyy), paying off my auto loan early, and beefing up my emergency savings fund.  After all of my other expenditures, here’s how I divided up my leftover income:

  • Wisdom Teeth Removal Sinking Fund (50% of leftover income, minus the $1,000 flat amount I planned to transfer to my emergency savings fund): $842.84 – This was my first allocation towards this procedure, and I am expecting to spend about $2,500 total.  If I can contribute roughly the same amount over the next two months, my sinking fund should be complete by December.  The procedure could cost less depending on how much my insurance kicks in, but because the only oral surgeon in my town is considered out-of-network by my insurance company, I don’t have high hopes for it and decided to plan for the worst case scenario of $2,500.
  • To Auto Loan (50% of leftover income, minus the $1,000 flat amount I planned to transfer to my emergency savings fund): $842.84 – I now owe $11,542.92 on my vehicle!  I bought my vehicle brand new in 2015 with a five year loan.  Ouch.  We live and learn, but I’ll be happy to have this paid off early and plan to keep this vehicle for several years to come.  More on this in a future blog post.
  • To Emergency Savings Fund (flat amount): $1,000 – To truly be comfortable with my emergency savings fund, I would like to have about $20,000 saved up, which equates to about 5-6 months of living expenses for me.  So far, I have $2,518 (I also have $3,500 in another account that I’m continually adding to and saving specifically for home ownership projects and repairs).

Overall, I’m happy with my progress this month and look forward to what October will bring.  I don’t really have much travel planned so I should be able to save money on going out to eat, plus I’m nannying for a week which will significantly increase my income.

Talk to you next week!

~Autumn

4 thoughts on “September 2018 Recap

  1. Sounds a lot like my September last year. Due to Hurricane Irma, I spent 8 days in a county EOC, including 3 consecutive 24 hour days. That meant sleeping on the carpeted concrete floor 3 nights. But my timesheet had 133 hours for those 8 days, and everything over 40 hours was 1.5x overtime pay. I used the unexpected windfall to pay off my car.
    Does your per diem amount change depending on where you travel? I had a conference in San Diego this summer that netted me quite a bit more than my usual in-state travel due to the higher costs there.

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    1. That sounds like a rough activation! Fortunately I had a hotel room, so I’m thankful for that much. I also heard from some of my colleagues who deployed to Puerto Rico last year, and their accommodations were less than stellar.

      My per diem amount only changes for in-state v. out-of-state travel. It is a blanket rate for all states/territories. During my deployment to Honolulu, all of my colleagues were earning a ton of per diem due to the higher costs, but mine stayed the flat rate of $45/day. Needless to say, it’s virtually impossible to eat in Honolulu for $45/day, so I lost money on that trip.

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