Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fearing Tough Economic Times

I really have to stop watching the news. (Hard to do right now as my parents are still staying with us and have it on every morning.)

I have so much anxiety over the US Financial Crisis. The fact that the bailout didn't pass Congress yesterday has my stomach in knots.

I'm not even sure exactly what the effects of all this will be, but it all has me soooo nervous!

I so wish that we had all our debts paid off and had our 6 month Fully Funded Emergency Fund.

Oh well . . . coulda, woulda, shouda . . . - doesn't really help now.

I know that my family is in a much better financial position than we were a year and a half ago. But we still have a long way to go. We still owe $22,000 - and that is a lot of money.

We do have a lot in savings right now - $8,000 - but it is all earmarked for things. New heating system or windows ($5,000), DD's braces ($1,200), Sister's wedding ($4,000), plus low commission months. The way I have the yearly budget worked out right now, we will end the year (Dec. 2009) with $2,700 in savings. This would be for $1,000 emergency fund, and $1,700 (I prefer to always have $2,000) to cover for future low commission months.

So, on paper, this all works out.

What has me in a panic is the financial crisis. It could have a very real affect on my husband's commissions. They could possibly be 30-50% less than what we have budgeted. What will we do then?

I think that for my own peace of mind I need to do up a PLAN B BUDGET to plot out the worst case senario. I do have us snowballing a lot of money most months (though several months I had to go lower than the $1,100 that I would like to snowball, just to get the budget to "work").

Here is what I have planned to snowball each month:

Sep -$700
Oct - $1,100
Nov - $500
Dec - $500
Jan - $100
Feb - $100
Mar - $100
Apr - $1,100
May -$1,100
Jun - $500
Jul - $4,100
Aug - $1,100
Sep - $1,100
Oct - $1,100
Nov - $1,100
Dec - $1,100
TOTAL = $15,400

Now that I am looking at it, it's actually making me feel a little bit better. Originally I was very upset because we still owe $22,000 on our Home Equity Loan, and even with this payment schedule, we still won't have it paid off at the end of next year.

Now I am thinking that there may be some Storm Clouds coming - and maybe we need to stop our giant Debt Snowball temporarily, to see what happens with the economy and my husbands commissions (pay).

Our minimum payment on our HELOC is only about $100 a month. So, if we only paid that, we could put the rest into savings. That would be close to $14,000. That would make me feel A LOT better.

I hate to stop the debt payments, but I need to be able to sleep at night. If the storm clouds don't come, we can just take the large sum from savings and pay it directly to the HELOC. And if they come, at least we'll have an umbrella.

And there is also my jewelry business to consider. It has really been going quite well. I have been making close to $500 a month, getting busier each month. I have only budgeted $50 a month from my jewelry towards our family budget, but the fact is that I may be able to contribute more on that front.

Now that I think about it, maybe I can just use any "extra" jewelry money for the debt snowball. So, I would just pay the minimum payment, plus any extra jewelry money I can towards the debt. That way at least we would be paying something extra to the debts.

Well, I feel a little bit better now. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm Still Here

Wow. It's been over a week. The busy excuse just doesn't cut it.

A lot has been going on. Our current major decision is about heating our home this winter. We did set aside money to replace our heating system. We ear marked $5,000 for this and it was supposed to get done over the summer. We did some research and couldn't decide if we should replace with a new Oil system (forced hot water) like we have now - or with the outrageous price of oil, if we should do a Propane or Electric (new type) system to try to save on heating costs.

Then my husband started thinking that maybe we should replace our very old windows this year, and replace the heating system next year.

I just don't know.

With the economy the way it is, I am feeling very unsettled and am reluctant to spend the money we have set aside. I feel like we may need that money for food and the mortgage.

The financial institutions crisis may have a very real effect on my husband's commission. About 50% of his account base is made up of financial institutions (including AIG and Meryl Lynch). This could mean a very real drop in our income this year. My security gland is nervous!

Then there is my sisters wedding to consider. The plan is for her to have her wedding in Florida in April. This will require my family of 5 to fly down to Florida. This will be expensive. I am thinking around $4,000.

The way I have everything laid out in the budget, it might all work, assuming my husband's commission at a certain level.

So, we have a lot of decisions to make right now and it is causing some stress and arguing in my marriage. It doesn't help that my parents have been staying with us for over a month and my husband is tired of having company here.

So, even though I haven't been posting - finances have definitely been on my mind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hi Everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been very busy with the jewelry business!

Check out my guest post on Craft Tutorials for a chance to win a free pendant!

(I start my Financial Peace University class tonight, so I'll keep you posted!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Progress Report

Checking Account Balance: $2,808
Savings Account Balance: $8,294
Cash Envelopes (what's left for the Month):
- Grocery: $350
- Spending $: $178
- Parties: $50
- Dining Out: $20
- Auto Gas: $51
- Kid's Allowance: $40
- School Lunch: $40

So, one week into the month this is how things are looking. The balances in the cash envelopes seem pretty good. $350 left for groceries should work. Dining Out is the only category that is really low, but we need to cut back in this area. If we want to eat out we will need to use our weekly spending money.

The checking account balance looks okay. The savings account balance is the one I am worried about because of several large upcoming expenses on the horizon. I spent some time fiddling with the yearly budget - I actually finished a draft of our 2009 yearly budget. We are definitely going to have some tight months unless some commissions come in much higher than my husband anticipates. It looks like I will even have to lower our Debt Snowball payment on some of the months just to avoid dipping into our Baby Emergency Fund (I refuse to let that go below $1,000 - and really don't feel comfortable when it is below $3,000 - as I like a $2,000 cushion for low commission months). Anyway, our regular Debt Snowball payment is $1,100 per month. I really hate to pay less than that amount, but we may have to.

Of course, I could always bring in some extra money, which I certainly hope to, to augment the Debt Snowball. But I did actually put a $50 a month income from my jewelry sales into the budget just to make it work. I would rather it be "extra" for the Debt Snowball, but I'll have to make anything above $s50 be the "extra".

It is hard to figure out how much to take from my jewelry earnings account because I always need to have enough in there to run the business - purchase supplies, advertising, etc. So, I'll have to see how this goes.

I am really hoping that I make a lot of money at the Craft Fair I am going to on October 5th. I have been working really hard to prepare for it and I paid a lot for the booth ($145), and for the tent ($200) - so right off the bat, the first $345 will only begin to cover my expenses. So, I certainly hope I make at least that much! I am optimistic though.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Daily Progress Report


Checking Account Balance = $558
Savings Account Balance = $11,294

On Line Savings Account:
July 2008 Interest: $29.15
2008 YTD Interest: $141.65 (not bad!)
2007 Total Interest: $177.44

Well, it's nice to see that we are earning a little bit of interest. That makes me happy.

Our checking account balance is a bit low right now. This is a low (actually NO) commission month. I have transferred $3,000 from savings to checking (which is not yet reflected in the above numbers because it hasn't gone through yet) just to cover our regular monthly expenses. Yikes. At least we have finally learned to save from the high commission months so we have something for the low commission months.

I am getting a little worried though because we need to replace our heating system asap. Some of the quotes have been over $6,000. That will make our savings account dangerously low (around $2,000). With a $1,000 BEF that only leaves another $1,000 for upcoming low commission months and my daughter's braces.

More news is that my sister just got engaged! While I'm very excited for her, it looks like the wedding will be in Florida in March 2009. That will be expensive for the 5 of us to fly down and stay, and that's not a lot of time to save up.

I'm so happy that I've signed up for Financial Peace University again. It starts on 9/13. It will be great to have to spend 2 hours each week focusing on finances!