Without exaggeration, September was the hardest month of my life... But I'm ready for whatever October is going to bring.
September was not an easy one for us financially either. Originally I signed up for Carla's no/low spend challenge but had to drop out after we received Mom's diagnosis because I knew I would be going home. And the tickets weren't cheap but they were actually better than what I thought it would be. The total damage came to $963 for round trip. That's pretty good! For comparison, my husband went for an interview in TX (didn't get the job, unfortunately), and his tickets were $947 (paid by the company). I also took $1000 with me to give to my parents for Mom's medications but $500 of them was that gift from an anonymous friend. Thank you again, whoever you are!!:) Plus I spent about $180 on different things while I was there. I was actually surprised at how close the prices back home are to what we have here! When I moved to the US eight years ago, the difference was significant. It was kind of sobering to know that I would have to stretch every penny both here and there!
So our total "damage" for September on top of our regular expense was appr. $1643. Well, I'm wrong, it was actually less because my sweet husband, while he was still working, was secretly saving some money for me to go back home. He wanted it to be a very special Anniversary gift but then he lost his job. Still, he managed to save $400, so the total expense for this trip ended up being $1243. It's a lot of money for us right now but I don't have any regrets whatsoever because I could spend some time with my Mom...
Nonetheless, it's time to get back on track and tighten our belts. I've seen people over the web doing Financial Stoptober month, "How low can you go" challenges, eating-out-of-the pantry challenge, etc. etc. Obviously, I'm not the only one tightening my belt :) I kind of want to do it all. Both our fridge/freezer and pantry are still nicely stocked, so we will really try to spend very little this month.
Ideally, I want to stay within $200 in our grocery budget (my goal for the challenge that never happened. We'll see if I can succeed this time around). It usually includes food, personal care items, diapers (yes, we still need some of these...sigh), etc etc.
Also in September I only made $200 at my work because of all the things that were happening. I would love to, realistically, bring it to $500, and, optimistically, triple by the end of October. Again, it will not be easy but, I think, I can do it.
Next on my list is to start working on Christmas gifts. I'm planning on making a few handmade ones and we already picked up a couple on sale/clearance. But on top of that, between now and the end of the year we have 9 Birthdays in the family. Yes, our family is pretty big :) I already have 4 (actually 4.5) gifts but for the rest I want to make some extra money on top of the part-time job to cover the difference. We are majorly scaling back on gifts, so we won't need much. I hope to do it by selling some things, doing small extra tasks and so on. This goal is very doable too :)
And then we will try to give back, not necessarily with money but there are many other ways. We've been so blessed by so many people lately that we just want to do our best to pay back, help or serve...
And these are our goals for October.I have high expectations for this month, in many ways, and I'm trying to stay faithful, strong and hopeful. Life is a constant roller coaster right now but I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to get here..
And do you have financial goals for this month?