June Review/July Goals

My new Ukulele

My new Uke “Coco”

Happy Sizzlin’ Summer! I hope you are all having a relaxing, fun, productive, frugal summer so far. I feel like now we are in the thick of things, where I’ll be reading a lot of posts on summer vacations and how the heat is getting to everyone. :)

June was a fairly good month for me. I only made $349 over my projected budget, but I also stayed in budget in most categories, including groceries and life expenses, which have always been problem categories for me. The only one I went over on is my phone (by $33), because my rate decrease hadn’t quite kicked in yet. My side income (which is included in my overall total) was $632. So essentially without my side income, I would have never made my projected budget.

I did save $850 towards retirement, emergency fund, and vacation. That gives me a grand total of:

  • $6,794 for my emergency fund.
  • $1,361 for retirement.
  • $255 for health care.
  • $790 for vacation.
  • $2,272 for my car.

My overall net worth, which I rarely share, is $172,618. The only current debt I have is my car loan, which is $9,576.

You might be asking why I don’t use the money on my car fund to pay down some of that debt. The reason is because my interest rate is so low, so being a freelancer, it gives me more peace of mind to have money that is easily accessible in case something happens, rather than leaving myself cash poor. At the end of the year I will assess if I want to throw a huge chunk of money at my car loan or not…kind of depends on how the rest of the year goes work-wise, and if I can build up my emergency fund more.

In June I had a 21-day challenge to do daily stretching. I would say things went so-so. I did add yoga back into my routine once per week, but I slipped on this goal quite a bit. But overall I’m doing it a lot more than I used to.

What’s happening this month?

This month is all about continuing my stress-free practice, learning ukulele, and just having fun…well of course working too. :)

Next Monday I start a six-week ukulele class. I was going to borrow my producer’s ukulele, but I ended up getting a much better one as an early birthday present from my Mom (she insisted). I have already been practicing every day with online tutorials, and each day I get just a little better. This is a good exercise in being patient with myself.

I can already play a couple songs (and by play I mean strum, spend five minutes doing a chord change, strumming again, etc.), albeit terribly, but hey a little instant gratification! By the end of July I want to post a video of me playing a song for you guys.

I’m also on a small co-ed beach volleyball league, and I may or may not be running an obstacle course race on July 19th. It’s $80 and I’m trying to get a free entry in exchange for a review, but I haven’t heard anything yet. Keep your fingers crossed.

I’ve also spent a little money (but not much) on trying to spruce up the shared backyard. I had mentioned before that my neighbor is moving out, and she had built a beautiful canopy deck thing, but had it all taken down, minus the deck. It’s been challenging trying to make it nice looking again on a small budget. The only thing I’m looking into getting is an umbrella, because the deck gets no shade in the middle of the day. Right now I’m not willing to pay full price, so I’m keeping my eyes open on Craigslist.


So hear are my goals for July:

1. Practice ukulele every day. 

2. Stay in budget (work is starting off a little slow this month).

That’s it! It’s summer after all!

What do you hope to accomplish in July? 


Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

Latest posts by Tonya (see all)

  • E.M.

    Aw, that was sweet of your mom! I was going to say, you should totally take a video of you playing when you’ve completed your lessons. So neat! It’s great you stayed within your budget. I saw a free 30-day yoga challenge shared the other day, and it looks promising (they send you videos every day). I need to get back into it!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Good luck with the challenge. And yea that was pretty awesome of her. I’m bringing my uke home in Oct, so I’m excited to be able to play with her. She also loves to sing so that would be fun.

  • http://www.debtbustingchick.com/ Debt Busting Chick

    Awesome! Your emergency fund is looking sweet. Glad you’re saving towards your retirement too! I hope to have a positive net worth at some point but right now I’m in the red.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Hang in there! I’m also 43 and for a long time had a steady job so that’ the only reason my net worth is where it’s at. I’d like to be way further along than I am!

  • Charles@Gettingarichlife

    I agree that you don’t want to be asset rich and cash poor. Cash is always king. When you play the ukulele do you also sing along

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Well I kind of try. A couple songs I can do, like easy ones…but it’s hard so far trying to coordinate everything. Ultimately I’d like to be able to sing and play. I’m not the best singer, but I’m OK enough.

  • Arman @ thebigmansworld

    Ukulele….love it.

    I love your reasoning for not forking out a lump sum for the car- I never really considered that notion. I think you need to make vlog for the ukulele!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      yeah it was my friend who talked that sense into me. I’m hoping my friend Amy will do it with me because she is way more advanced and can sing beautiful harmony. Anything to make me look better. :)

  • http://www.makemoneyyourway.com/ Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    My daughter is having her violin class every weekend and learning a Ukulele is a fun thing to do too! :) I’m happy that I just started going back to the gym again after a year, I hope I would be more consistent this time.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      That’s awesome! Good for you!

  • http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/ Michelle

    I would do the same thing when it comes to your car loan. Peace of mind is always better :)
    I think your backyard looks great!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Thanks Michelle! Yeah it’s better than nothing. Hopefully I can find a cheap umbrella, but more importantly, I hope I get some nice, quiet neighbors.

  • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

    Building that emergency fund sure has to feel good. I know when ours got to 3-6 months of expenses it sure helped me sleep better at night knowing I had that cushion.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Ultimately I’d like the e-fund to be 15k. Big number but that would really make me sleep better at night as a freelancer!

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    I just love that you’re learning the ukelele! What a different and fun instrument, and the name Coco is so cool. :-) You’re doing awesome, Tonya – keep up the good work. :-)

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I do love the sound Laurie. It’s such a happy little sound. :)

      • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

        That’s the perfect way to describe it. :-)

  • Heather @ Run Like a G!

    I loved this little recap of your month! Awesome. I think you are so inspiring for sharing your accounts on your blog. It is very inspiring for someone like me who is trying to save up! Thank you!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Thanks Heather! It’s great to hear that and its nice to know other people may be learning a thing or two!

  • Natalie @ Financegirl

    Love this recap!! I cannot believe your only debt is the car loan. Add a zero to that and it’s still not even close to my student loan debt. Congrats on your success so far – keep it up!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Thanks Natalie. The only thing I’d say is I’m 43 and not really where I would like to be with my retirement savings. That being said, I’d rather not have any debt, but my old car died unexpectedly this year and I had planned on driving that thing a couple more years. Boooo!

  • http://recreatingcarly.wordpress.com/ Carly

    Happy Summer, Tonya! Your numbers are looking pretty sweet! Thanks for sharing. :) Do you keep separate accounts for the different categories or do you just keep it separated on a spreadsheet or something? I am FINALLY going from debt repayment mode to savings mode and am trying to come up with an easy way to organize everything.

    I love that you chose the ukulele! I bought a guitar a couple of years ago and so far can play a few White Stripes songs, but that’s it. I hope to spend more time with it in August. It’s so relaxing.

    My goals for July — write, write, and write some more! Wish me luck! xo

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      It’s in sub account is my capitol one (formerly ING account). That way it creates a nice dividing line. Congrats on your debt repayment btw! I tried guitar before but found it very difficult to pick up. So far the uke is a lot easier.

  • Holly Johnson

    Hi Tonya! My goals are similar to yours. I just want to stay on budget this month and have some fun. I’m probably going to take a pay cut since I am taking this whole week off (my daycare is closed) and the last Monday and Friday (we are visiting Greg’s parents), so I want to keep our spending in check.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I think it is important from time to time to just enjoy life. It’s doesn’t always have to be goals productivity goals productivity repeat. As I get older, the less guilty I feel about not being always on and productive.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Looks like a great month overall Tonya! I would do the same exact thing with the car. You never know what next month will bring and will help you sleep better at night. My July is going to be busy with planning ahead for our trip out to San Diego in August. We’re going to be gone for three weeks so I need to get all that work prior to leaving so I can actually enjoy some of our time there. :)

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      That’s a nice long trip! Good for you!

  • http://thebrokeandbeautifullife.com/ Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    Committing to doing anything every day- ukelele, stretching, whatever, is pretty major. I’ve been trying to incorporate more stretching myself, but I always seem to rush to the shower right after my runs :/

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I do the same thing after I run too. I’m like, “OK moving on to next task.” It’s like I get impatient with stretching.

  • leslie beslie

    Good luck! I’ve started being more specific in my monthly goals. I still want to create habits but also don’t want to get burned out. Instead of “Do this every day.” I will say “Do this at least 5 xs a week”. That way I won’t feel guilty if I miss a day. That way I won’t get sick of it. That way I give myself some cushion for the busy or bad days.Yet, it’s still enough to hopefully form a habit by the end of the month.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I can totally see that. I think for me I just need to build up some inertia so it becomes something like exercise…just something I do regularly. So right now Im trying to “streak” thing and just committing just a little bit of time each day. Even if that means strum strum strum, ok I’m done. :)

  • http://www.newlywedsonabudget.com/ Erika Newlyweds

    you are totally hitting those goals and sticking within your budget! way to go!
    we scored our patio furniture for $75 due to a neighbor’s divorce. So keep searching craigslist, hopefully something good will pop up!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Nice! Well, I mean sorry your neighbor got divorced. :)

  • Shannon

    I can’t wait to follow your ukulele playing journey! I have never thought about playing an instrument since I was so bad at the clarinet in middle school, but I envy people who can or try to pick up something new. I am working on launching a few new side hustles and projects in July so I will be working on stress reduction as well. :-) I hope we both accomplish it!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I played clarinet too! I really wish I would have stuck with it because I still can’t believe there was a time I could read music. Playing an instrument has always been something on my bucket list. My short stint as a clarinet player in Jr. high doesn’t count. :) Good luck with your stress reduction. It’s paying off for me. I had sorta high-ish blood pressure but when I went to the doctor this past week it was 106/70!! This is after it’s been around 139/80 for a long time. I hope the stress reduction had something to do with it!

  • Kim

    My neighbor sold a really big umbrella at our yard sale for like $10. I wish I could have beamed it over to you. Can’t wait until you play us a song. I don’t know anyone who plays ukulele.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Awe bummer. It’s OK. I’m probably going to hold off spending on the patio this month because work feels slow right now. Plus I can sit out there without one in the early eve and morning.

  • Tre

    Good luck with your ukele lessons. Can’t wait to see the video!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Thanks Tre!

  • the expat investor

    Congrats on getting a “Uke”, I got some upcoming travel
    coming up in October and most of my expense will be buying airplane ticket. So
    most of my expense will be for traveling, since I work oversea the price is ridiculous
    and I don’t have many option trying to look for different airline.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Thank you! Yeah airline tickets are not cheap. Do you get reimbursed?

      • the expat investor

        I did in the past if i take training for work related, I would work it into my vacation time and have my employer pay for my trip and training. It does require a 2 year commitment, but this time @ I am not doing that no more.

  • http://prairieecothrifter.com/ Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter

    I think I probably missed it on another post, but what made you choose the ukelele? That would be a fun instrument to learn. Well, I guess any instrument would be fun – I’ve never played any. That’s some great side income and you put a lot toward your savings, which is great.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      That’s a good question and I never really explained it here! I chose uke because it’s on my bucket list to learn a musical instrument. I tried guitar several times but it didn’t stick. But I still love the idea of sing-a-longs, and someone told me that Ukulele is a little bit easier to handle. I already liked the Uke because I love all things Hawaii and singer songwriters like Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz, and it has a happy sound which I like too. And then my good friend picked it up earlier this year so that was my final motivation.

  • Brad @ How To Save Money

    My goal for July is to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. A small goal I know. What I have done for the last 20 years has come to an end and I have to do something to replace the income that I am losing. I’ve been a photographer, by the way. Worked on my own and lived my dream job. Oh well. Moving on now …………..

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I’m sorry to hear that. How come it came to an end if it was your dream job and you were working for yourself? It’s tough when you have to make those big life decisions…best of luck!

  • Done by Forty

    I hope you get to run that obstacle course! I think your offer to them is a pretty good one, considering the reach of your blog. And good on you for sticking with your ukulele goal. I’m looking forward to that video!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      I never heard back from them so it’s probably not happening. :( If not that one I might try to do one in nov. They are really expensive compared to like normal 5k runs. :(

  • http://morethanjustmoney.com/ Kassandra

    I’ll be in Montreal in July visiting with family, friends and working as well. So my main goal is to not spend too much on social gatherings and activities because that is usually what happens lol. Also I joined a new gym close to my place that will open in the next few days. I’m looking forward to taking some of my fave classes and weight training in order to get back to a level of fitness that has been sorely lacking these past few months. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve learned on the Uke so far!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      That sounds really nice! Thanks, I hope I can get to chord changes easier by the end of the month!

  • Liz

    How nice of your mom! Looks like a very fun little instrument : ) I haven’t thought a ton about July goals. I guess they would probably be to have fun, meetup with my high school girlfriends and soak up summer while it lasts. We splurged and signed up for a cooking class in two weeks. I am really looking forward to it!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      that’s awesome about the cooking class. I really need one! :) So far uke has been really fun. I can follow along with some uke tabs, online, but pretty terribly. I was playing Hallelujah yesterday because I love that song and hope I can make it sound a lot better eventually. :)

  • alwayshungry4

    I love your nickname for your ukelele. :) That’s great about your net worth, especially with the liability only being your car! That’s awesome, too, about the obstacle course – which one are you thinking about? Hopefully we’ll run another race together next year or so – I hope you have a great July, girl! :)

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Thanks Anna! I’m trying! I was going to do foam fest but I never heard back from anyone and don’t want to pay 80 right now. I might try to do the dirty girl mud run in nov now.

  • Megan Michael

    How does one calculate their net worth? $$$ in the bank minus debts??? I think mine would be a negative number because I have a mortgage. :( And students loans….

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

      Yes, all of your assets minus your liabilities. You can use a program like mint.com to enter all of your financial info in and it keeps track of everything for you. You bank accounts, loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc. Being 43, I’m glad I’m well into the black, but I really need to be further ahead with that number than I am. When I started freelancing my savings rate dropped big time.

      • Megan Michael

        Well I think you are doing AWESOME! We refinanced about two years ago so it’s looking like my home will be paid off by the time I am around your age!

  • http://www.LisaVsTheLoans.com/ Lisa vs. the Loans

    Learning the ukulele is definitely on my bucket list. Can’t wait to hear a song from you! :)

  • Green Money Stream

    The ukulele sounds fun! Good luck with that! Looks like you have a nice emergency fund going there. That should help provide some peace of mind.

    My goals for July are to start posting again and enjoy some nice weather with my son and family!

  • http://www.debtandthegirl.com/ Debt and the Girl

    Yeah on saving money!! That is awesome sauce. Thats great that you were able to start a car fund. I really need to do that. My car is over 10 years old and its about to be that time where I need to get another one soon.

  • http://suburbanfinance.com/ Daisy F

    Good luck with your goals this July! It’s really nice that your mom gave you one to practice with. I don’t really have anything exciting to share, I just hope that I’ll be able to enjoy the summer and stay within my budget :)