Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I will also post our May budget.
Tomorrow is the first of May. My main goal for May is to get back to the basics. I plan to make a trip to the bank to withdraw the cash we will need to fund our envelopes. The envelope system has been a great help to us in sticking to the budget, so I want to be sure to start next month out on the right track.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I tend to be a little bit obsessive. Currently I feel like my obsession has moved from debt to jewelry. I have launched a new website for my jewelry business and it has been going pretty well. I have been earning a little money, which will help with the debt snowball. It's just that it feels a little weird that I'm now staying up late at night reading jewelry blogs instead of personal finance blogs. (Don't worry, I still check all my favorites regularly!)
Anyway, as I mentioned in a recent post, we won't be able to throw our usual $1,100 debt snowball at our debts this month because we will be buying a used riding lawn mower for $1,000 (our mower died). I feel a little sad about this. It is actually the first time since we started following this plan in Feb. 2007 that we won't be able to put the amount we have budgeted towards our debt. I know that it is inevitable that Murphy will visit, but it still makes me a little sad. Almost seems like a mark on a perfect record. Like when you have been following your diet perfectly and then you cheat. It sort of feels like we cheated.
The important thing is for us not to let this setback throw us off course.
And I need to make the time to focus on our finances!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Riding Lawn Mower - I did a little research on Craig'slist and found some used ones that looked pretty good. I had my husband look at them and he found one he thought looked really good. He went to look at it yesterday and decided to buy it. It will cost us $1,000, but it is a much better model than we could get new for $1,500, plus it comes with a lot of parts and attachments. So, I'm happy and my hubby's happy. I transferred $1,000 from our on line savings account so we will be able to pay for it with cash. I will put the $1,000 back into savings when my husband gets paid on the 5/1. What this means for our budget is that we will only be able to pay $200 towards our debt snowball instead of the $1,200 I had planned. At least we won't need to actually use up our emergency fund. I guess we just added another month before we will become debt free.
I should have an update on how we did actual vs. budget for April in a few days.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
My husband wants to get a new one. I want to get a used one.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I've been thinking about our grocery budget and how I seem to be slipping a little in this area, so I thought I would write a post to share with others and to remind myself of how to make the most of your grocery budget.
1. Plan Menus For The Week Using Calendasr (keeping it flexible enough to change)
First I get out my calendar and see what we have scheduled for the upcoming week. Using those plans as a guide, I plan a dinner menu for each night of the upcoming week. If we have a busy evening I will plan a less complicated meal that requires very little prep. I will also keep in mind some meals that may allow for leftovers that can be reheated the next night or used to make a slight variation of a meal the next night (like leftover chicken used for chicken soup, etc.).
2. Go Through The Local Grocery Store Sale Flyers
Next I go through each grocery flyer. I use a small notebook to write a small list of sales that I would consider for each store. I indicate the item and the price. I do this for each of 4 grocery stores and 3 pharmacy type stores. (This sounds tedious but really only takes about 10 minutes.)
3. Go Through Coupons
First I go through my stash of coupons tossing any that have expired and pulling any aside for items I will need to buy this week or for items that are on sale somewhere this week. Next I clip the coupons from the Sunday paper. I put aside any for items I will need to buy this week or for items that are on sale somewhere this week. When I find a coupon that matches up with a sale, I indicate the price after coupon on my grocery stores price list. The rest I save for a possible future grocery trip. This process takes about another 10 minutes.
4. Evaluate Sales/Coupons/Stores
Next, armed with all the informatio I need (what I need to buy, what is on sale, what I have a coupon for), I decide which store or stores I will be shopping at. (I usually pick the top 3.)
5. Go Shopping
I usually do my main grocery shopping on one day, and stop at two other stores just to pick up great sale items on another day.
I think I'll go get my calendar, grocery flyers, and coupons and get started now!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I am also falling behind in managing our finances. Things are a lot harder when I can't check our balance on line everyday and record our spending on Pear Budget everyday. And I miss listening to the Dave Ramsey show.
This has all made me realize how much financial support the computer affords me!
So, I will hopefully be back to blogging every day very soon!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Well, the good news is that I guess the computer will be okay and a friend was able to recover about 80% of our data. We will probably give the friend a $100 gift certificate for helping us out (it was a lot of work) - ouch!
The lawn mower/tractor is a quite a bit worse. I guess the motor is completely dead and a new one will cost about the same as a new mower/tractor. So, looks like we will probably be getting a new mower/tractor (one acre of lawn to mow) - this will probably set us back about $1,000 - double ouch!
Anyway, I will hopefully have my computer back by the end of the week and will be able to post more regularly again!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
- My husband purchased tickets for a concert that he really wants to go to. This set us back $150, but we should get $75 from his friend who will be going to the concert with him.
- My husband decided to join another fantasy football league with my sister's boyfriend. This set us back $110 (but my husband assures me he will come in at least third place, if not higher, so we will win back between $300 - $800! lol!)
- A friend of ours has a son with autism and they have asked us to come to an Autism Benefit. We feel we should support them so we will be getting tickets for $70, plus costing us more for the cash bar and auction, etc.
Hopefully we can earn enough extra income this month to cover these unexpected expenses.
Monday, April 7, 2008
The good news is that we will be getting a tax refund of $10,000. This will help with our debt payoff progress obviously. And my husband will be changing our tax withholding so that we won't be lending the government our money tax free again this year. This will put another $800 or so more in our monthly paycheck, which will also help with our debt payoff progress.
But, even with these two great developments, no matter how much I play with the numbers it looks like we will still owe about $9,000 at the end of the year.
I know that it will only take us a few months longer, but it is still disappointing.
But I guess you never know what could happen between now and then. I was able to earn an extra $1,000 a month during some months last year - so, you never know . . .
Sunday, April 6, 2008
1. I met my husband in high school. We dated for six years and got married when we were 23, and we'll celebrate our 17th anniversary this year.
2. I spent my Junior year of college in Paris. It was a great experience but I missed by boyfriend (now husband) a lot. He came to visit twice. And we wrote to each other every single day. (This was before e-mail!)
3. I was President of our local MOMS Club for two years and then was the State Coordinator for the International MOMS Club. I found this group to be a great support to me when I first quit my career to be a stay-at-home Mom (best decision I ever made!).
4. I am terribly out of shape now but used to be on the track team in high school. I would run 7 miles a day. (Seems like a long time ago!)
5. I enjoy learning foreign languages. I am fluent in French and Spanish. I have studied American Sign Language. I would love to learn more.
6. I love to play my Kenny G cd's at home and relax by the fire. (My husband usually enters the room and tells me "the doctor will see you now" with a laugh! He prefers classic rock.)
7. I love to watch Law and Order. I've probably seen every episode which is quite a feat given that it is on just about 24 hours a day!
Sharon at Paid It Down And Moving Forward
Nine Circles at Nine Circles of Debt
Jackie at Our Debt Free Mission
Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog. Some random, some weird.
3. Tag up to 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
AUTO-Excise Tax - $0
AUTO-Gas - $350
AUTO-Insurance - $138
AUTO-Maintenance - $25
CASH-Clothing - $300
CASH-Dining Out - $120
CASH-Gifts - $0
CASH-Grocery - $400
CASH-Kids Allowance - $50
CASH-Parties - $0
CASH-School Lunch - $36
CASH-Spending - $160
DEBT-Equity Loan - $200
DEBT-Visa - $1,889
HOME-Cable/Phone - $181
HOME-Electric - $162
HOME-Furnace - 0
HOME-Mortgage - $2,355
HOME-Oil - $350
HOME-Trash - $0
KIDS-Bball - $0
KIDS-Misc. - $100
KIDS-Piano - $0
KIDS-Preschool - $175
MISC. - $25
PERSONAL-Cell Phone - $0
PERSONAL-Contacts - $0
PERSONAL-Life Ins. - $0
PERSONAL-Newspap - $8
PERSONAL-Rx - $20
PERSONAL-Braces - $600
PERSONAL-BR Sports - $0
PERSONAL-Vacation - $0
TRANSFER-To Savings - $2,000
TOTAL = $9,644
1st Paycheck - $2,188
1st Commission - $3,126
15th Paycheck - $2,188
Church Pay - $100
Babysitting Pay - $160
Other - $0
Transfer from Savings - 2000
TOTAL - $9,762
APRIL CASH FLOW
Beginning Balance - $315
'+ Income - $9,762
Subtotal - $10,077
'- Expenses - $9,644
Subtotal - $433
Save For Next Month - $433
Ending Balance - $0
Actual Income for March
category/planned income/actual income/difference
Actual Expenses for March
AUTO-excise taxes /115.00/115.00/0.00
CASH-dining out /0.00/132.53/− 132.53
CASH-groceries /300.00/333.66/− 33.66
CASH-kids allowance /0.00/0.00/0.00
CASH-school lunch /50.00/0.00/50.00
CASH-spending /200.00/914.84/− 714.84
DEBT-HELOQ /1100.00/1372.51/− 272.51
HOME-oil /350.00/370.02/− 20.02
MISC-other /90.00/310.80/− 220.80
PERS-BR sports /0.00/0.00/0.00
PERS-cell phone /0.00/0.00/0.00
PERS-Kids misc. /0.00/16.00/− 16.00
PERS-Kids piano /0.00/264.00/− 264.00
PERS-Kids sports /0.00/0.00/0.00
PERS-life insurance /256.00/256.00/0.00
PERS-preschool /175.00/350.00/− 175.00
PERS-prescriptions /0.00/9.01/− 9.01
SAV-future expenses /4000.00/4000.00/0.00
SAV-heating system /0.00/0.00/0.00
Total Monthly Expenses/$10,370.00/$11,594.69/− $1,224.69
Summary for March (Review)
actual expenses /$11,594.69
Monthly Details: In summary, our expenses exceeded our income by $74.99.
Income: Our income was $1,108.70 greater than we had expected. This was primarily because we received a check for $460 from our Flexible Spending Account (health expenses reimbursed from pre tax money), we received two reimbursement checks from my husband's company for (work related expenses he had incurred) $112 and $44, and some income from some items I had sold on ebay.
Expenses: Our expenses were $1,224.69 greater than we had expected. Some reasons for this were - we paid $272.51 more than we had planned on our debts (yeay snowflakes!), we spent $220.80 more than we had planned in misc. (mostly jewelry supplies for my jewelry business which needs to be separated from our personal expenses, plus a $15 stupid tax for a check that bounced), $264 more than planned for the kids piano lessons (was budgeted for last month but not paid until this month), and $175 more than we had planned for preschool (also budgeted for last month but not paid until this month).