A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

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September 2018 Budget: Sports Fees and Credit Card Gripes

It's been a while since I've written a budget postI didn't share our August budget because it was so outside the norm for us, what with yearly bonuses and shuffling money into savings. Much of this summer was not a reflection of our day-to-day financial reality.

But now we're back to business as usual, so I figured I'd share our plans for September. The trick this month will be to rein it in: we won't have much extra cash to play with. I've tried to be realistic, though, knowing that we tend to overspend when we feel too restricted.

A few highlights and items of note:

(1) Southwest credit card annual fee: AAAARGH. GRRRRR. Note to all: the Southwest credit card is NOT worth the $99 annual fee. It just isn't. Aside from the 6,000 anniversary points, this card has little to offer, and 2019 will be my last year as a cardholder. New plan: use up my miles by middle of next summer and then cancel. I've even set up a reminder on my phone.

(2) Running gear: For months, I've put off buying some much-needed running gear. I'm reluctant to spend the money, but in a few weeks I'm running a long leg in a 100-mile relay - at night. I'm nervous (petrified is more like it) about trying to find my way along a single-track trail in the cold and dark. So today I finally made some purchases that will hopefully keep me comfortable and put my mind more at ease (links so that other runners can check these out and tell me what they think): a Petzl Tikkina headlamp, an UltrAspire clip-on light for my running vest, two flexible HydraPak UltraFlask water bottles that I can fold up when not in use, a 2-liter Platypus, and a hat. I bought them from REI because I like the membership dividend and the excellent customer service.

(3) Soccer fee: While playing for the city soccer league this summer, the Kiddo developed a passion for the sport and now wants to join his school club this fall. I've never seen him this invested in something other than video games. He bought a new soccer ball and some cones with a gift card he received from the grandparents, and recently he's at the park almost every day doing wind sprints and practicing drills. The school club is a bit expensive, but if he's willing to invest his time and energy into this hobby, we're willing to invest some money and give him all the support we can provide.

(4) Savings OR loans: We've allocated $1300 for one or the other. We're still trying to decide if we want to save a little more or start demolishing my student loan, which could be gone by February if we're willing to throw most of our disposable income at it. *At the moment* I'm feeling very anti-loan and would like to burn it to the ground, but that could change tomorrow. So we'll just wait until the middle-of-the-month paycheck shows up and make our final decision then.

September 2018 Budget:

Rent (including water, sewer, trash)
Student Loan #1
Student Loan #2
Thousand Trails
Very Expensive Feline
School Supplies
SW Card Fee
Running Gear
Soccer Fee
Savings OR Loans
Total Planned Expenses



  1. Would SW be worth it if you earned the companion pass?? As for REI, I’ve always enjoyed the quality of product and their awesome return policy. It’s come in handy when a trail shoe just didn’t work out. Only to find my perfect shoe and but it 10x over or until it’s discontinued. Aolid budget.
    Loans or savings. That’s a tough one. But so close to being done with the SL... My vote is to o literate them.

    1. SW companion pass would absolutely make it more worthwhile, but I don't fly or spend enough to even come close to earning the CP. Le sigh.

  2. Great work last month and a good plan for this month! We spend tons on soccer(it gets more expensive the better they get) but its a great sport and a good spend we think. So much better than the alternative of having them sit in front of devices constantly. Builds relationships, teamwork, cardio, etc etc.