Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Well, things have improved dramatically over the past few months.

Hubby got a new job with a 25% raise in his base salary, and the potential to earn very significant commissions (though I'm no longer counting on commissions!).

Our Emergency Fund is back to where it should be ($30,000) and we have even started putting money aside for the kids for college.

My pendant business is going great! Two weeks ago I had my best craft show ever, and I made $2,700 on that one day! Other shows have been good too, and the last two months my income was actually higher than my hubby's!

I have to say that it feels good to have a plan, and even when we get off track, we can recognize that we are off track and have a blue print for how to get back on track. (I'm referring to Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Financial Trouble

Well, things aren't going all that great. DH's new job isn't what we had hoped. He hasn't made a commission since he started 7 months ago. So, we have been living on just over 60% of what he used to make. Luckily I have been making some good money selling my pendants at craft shows, but our income is still seriously low, barely covering our monthly expesnes.

To make matters worse, we just got back from taking our family on a week long cruise. We had this cruise planned for months ago, and, in theory, we paid cash for it. That means, we paid cash when we initially paid for the cruise . . . BUT, there were lots of additional costs that I did not take into consideration.

Between everything, the bottom line is that our Emergency Fund is now down by $4,000 ($26,000 instead of $30,000). And what's worse is that it doesn't look like we'll be able to build it back up for several months - like probably not until next May! UGH!

DH is interviewing for a new job that would bring a substantial pay increase, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed - but still feeling very nervous in the meantime.

The road to Financial Peace certainly is a long one!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Baby Step 3 - CHECK!

Well, it's official - we have completed Baby Step 3! 6 months of emergency funds ($30,000) saved. It feels great!!

The money is definitely tempting to my husband (who wants new windows, new patio furniture, to remodel and expand the house . . .) but there is no way I'm giving up this security! Luckily our short term savings is starting to grow now too - up to $5,000 already. So, we should be able to get him some of the things he wants soon.

I have to admit that this whole process has turned me from a spender into somewhat of a saver. I actually feel a little reluctant to even dip into the $5,000. It is so hard to prioritize what to spend the money on. I just want to be conservative and spend our funds wisely.

Now we can finally begin (much too late!) to focus on saving for college for our 3 daughters. Our oldest is already 13 and will be going to college in just 5 short years. Not a lot of time to save the hundreds of thousands that will be needed.

Isn't it crazy - just as soon as something is crossed off the list, it's time to work on the next step! It's like the finish line is always moving!

But, I have to admit, when we began this process 3 years ago - being where we are today seemed almost impossible. I am so grateful to Dave Ramsey and all my PF Blogger friends for showing me the way and encouraging me to stay on track!

I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Looking Good

Well, things are looking up a bit. May will be a big income month for us. My husband will get an extra paycheck (being paid every other Friday, with an extra Friday in the month); we are expecting a large tax refund of $7,500; I have several craft shows booked and am budgeting $500 (as most the money I keep in the business); we are getting a check from FEMA for $500 our flooded basement, and I have several babysitting days lined up accounting for another $200.

So, looks like we will be able to finish the Emergency Fund of $30,000 and put another $8,000 into short term savings!! I really can't believe it!

We will finally be able to start saving for college and do some much needed home repairs. The Dave Ramsey Plan really works!!! :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Well, I'm embarrassed to say that I have not been paying attention to our finances lately. I have definitely sort of reverted to the old ways. We have a good amount of money in our checking account and I have just been using my debit card willy nilly. This does not feel good.

Our Emergency Fund is substantial, but not complete. I have not looked at our budget in weeks (maybe months?).

I could make excuses and say that life has been busy - and it hasbeen, but when is it not? I have spent a lot of time applying to Craft Shows and focusing on my pendant business (which is going well), but a lot of people work full time and manage to handle their finances. I need to get back on track.

I remember someone saying that Baby Step 3 (Finishing the Emergency Fund) is even harder than Baby Step 2 (Getting Out of Debt) - and when I was in BS2 I found that hard to believe, but now that I'm here in BS3 I think they might have been right.

Looking forward to re-focusing and catching up on my PF Blogger friend's blogs for some inspiration!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can We Really Live Without A Credit Card?

Well, we paid off all of our credit cards months ago. And we closed all accounts except one. Now the one we kept open is trying to charge us the annual fee.

I have no desire to ever use a credit card again, but I'm not sure I feel safe closing this last account. I know Dave Ramsey would advocate strongly to close the account. But something about having it does make me feel just a little more secure.

What do you think? Has anyone else closed all their credit card accounts?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

February 2010 Budget

Here is our budget for February.

My husband will actually be starting a new job on February 1st. His base salary will remain the same ($75,000) but his commission potential (on target earnings) will go up (to $150,000), so we will hope for the best but plan for the worst. In other words, to start out I will plan our budget without planning for any commission at all.

(On the other hand, he will probably be getting some extra money from his old job for vacation days he didn't take, etc. And, we are waiting to see how much his last big commission check will be - maybe as much as $10,000, which will finish our Emergency Fund with a little left over. So, we'll see how it all pans out.)

I have also budgeted low ($100) for my Jewelry Income. I am only doing one craft show in February (there aren't that many around) and I can't allocate too much of my earnings for income because I need a lot of money up front to sign up for the many craft shows throughout th year.

So, basically, I am planning our budget very conservatively.

The Misc. of $250 is for the bridesmaid dress I will be getting to be in my sister's wedding. The Kid's Misc. of $52 is for my daughter's dance lessons.

AUTO-Excise Tax $0
AUTO-BR Gas $160
AUTO-Insurance $119
AUTO-Maintenance $0
CASH-Clothing $0
CASH-Dining Out $120
CASH-JR Gas $120
CASH-Gifts $160
CASH-Grocery $450
CASH-Kids Allowanc $48
CASH-Parties $0
CASH-School Lunch $36
CASH-Spending $160
HOME-Cable/Phone $160
HOME-Electric $140
HOME-Mortgage $2,345
HOME-Oil $350
HOME-Water $0
HOME-Trash $0
HOME-Snow Plow $40
KIDS-Bball $0
KIDS-Misc. $52
KIDS-Piano $0
MISC. $250
PERS-Cell Phone $0
PERS-Contacts $99
PERS-Life Ins. $0
PERS-Newspap $12
PERS-BR Nasacort $0
PERS-BR Prilosc $0
PERS-Cat Enalapril $0
PERS-Braces $100
PERS-BR Sports $0
PERS-Vacation $0
TRNSF-to Savings $0

TOTAL $4,921

1st Paycheck $2,261
1st Commission $0
15th Paycheck $2,261
Church Pay $0
Jewelry Pay $100
Babysitting $100
Other $0
TOTAL $4,722

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still Working The Plan

Well, I got a nice comment on an old post from a new reader. He asked me a little about my story and how we got out of debt. I told him a bit and suggested he look back through my blog by category (such as "debt", "earn money", etc.) - so I actually did this myself.

It was actually really fun and inspiring to read many of my old posts and to see how far we really have come.

We started on our journey in February 2008. We became debt free (except for the house) in April 2009. As of today, we are a little more than 2/3 of the way in saving our Fully Funded Emergency Fund of $30,000 (we have $22,500 so far).

My husband is expecting a very large commission at the end of the month, maybe close to $10,000 - so there is a chance we could finish the FFEF then! (This will only be the second commission check my husband has received in the last 6 months, and the last one was much much smaller.) So, I'm hopeful but trying not to count my chickens before they hatch.

The other problem I will be facing is - my husband.

Every week he talks about something else that we need to do around the house. He wants new windows, a new heating system, finish the basement, we'll both need new cars soon, etc. The list goes on and on.

I fear that when the big commission check comes in he'll want to spend it instead of save it.

In some ways this has been an ongoing problem. He isn't completely on board with the whole "get/stay out of debt" thing. He is happy that we are out of debt but I think he is skeptical about weather or not we'll be able to stay out of debt. (I am determined!)

Most likely, I will need to give in a little and spend a bit on some household upgrades that we do need (want) and are important to him. I'm just hoping that there will be enough money to finish the FFEF and do something he wants. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Simplifying Life

. . . . aaaaahhh . . . . this is always one of my goals for the New Year - to simplify my life. Well, this year is no different. In fact, I think I need it more than ever!

I feel like my head has been spinning for the past several months. Trying to keep up with the schedules and activities of my three daughters, run the household and the budget, and keep my Scrabble Pendant business going - it has been busy, busy, busy.

I often feel an underlying stress pulsing through my body, when what I really crave is peace.

I don't have a set of goals outlined yet, to achieve this simplified life. But I know that I will begin by reading up on the subject.

Here are some of my thoughts in no particular order:

1. I need to improve my Calendar system. I am not prompt in recording things on the calendar and this results in things slipping through the cracks. (And causes much stress!)
2. I am not proactive enough. I leave too much for the last minute. I am overly confident about how much I can accomplish in a certain amount of time, usually resulting in frustration.
3. Frustrated and stressed is probably how my family would describe me a lot of the time - and this is NOT what I want. I want to be a source of peace for my family.
4. My Scrabble Pendant business has been a great source of pleasure and income for me, but I must put limits on the amount of time I spend on it and be sure the needs of my family are met.
5. I must plan carefully which craft shows I will attend, and more importantly, how many craft shows I will attend. Balance is essential.
6. I spend far too much time returning items, or organizing things to be returned. It is fiscally prudent to return items you don't want or need, but this is a time consuming and stressful process that needs to be weighed in terms of costs and benefits. Many returns result from things given to us by others (gifts, etc.) but many are self induced - and I must refrain from making purchases if I am unsure. I want to change my habit from "I'll buy it and return it if I decide I don't need it" to "I'll think about it and come back if I decide that I want it".
7. More attention needs to be paid to planning and reviewing the Budget!
8. Planning meals and grocery shopping regularly will help relieve Dinner Time Stress!
9. A clean (and organized) house goes a long way toward putting me in a peaceful mood. I need to make the time to clean (and organize)!
10. Less stuff means less clutter, less cleaning, less stress!

Well, that's a list that should keep me busy for most of 2010!

What are your goals for the new year?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hello Blogging World

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. I really can't believe that it's been since November!

Things have been going pretty well. 2009 was a really good year for my Pendant Business. It was very enjoyable and profitable. I am looking forward to growing the business even more in 2010.

My record keeping hasn't been the best during this busy time of year, but I'll post the details when I get all my financial records in order for taxes.

I'd like to keep blogging and hope that I'll find (make) the time to do it. My finances will most likely revolve around my business, so I hope I'll have interesting things to share.

Many of you know that we became debt free in 2009. We are now working on building our Fully Funded Emergency Fund. Our goal is $30,000 and right now we are at $22,500. There is a chance my husband will be getting a very large commission soon that could boost us right up to our goal - but I'm trying not to count my chickens before they hatch.

With all the money I made selling at craft shows over the holiday season you would think that we could have contributed more to our FFEF, but my husband received very little in commission over the past 9 months - so my extra income largely just replaced the commission we had thought he would make.

I think 2010 is going to be a great year! Look forward to sharing it with you all and catching up on what you have been doing.