Monday, August 31, 2009

Difficult Questions

I had a great craft show this past weekend. It was supposed to be both Saturday and Sunday, but Saturday was canceled because of the rain, so it was just on Sunday. And I managed to make $1,064 in sales! Yeay! I'm psyched about that.

I'm not so psyched about how much I spent on back to school clothes for the kids. I waited until the last minute and felt stressed - and just took them out and bought them what they wanted. I don't know the grand total, but it was definitely more than the $600 I budgeted.

Things have been very busy around here. I felt pressure getting ready for the craft show weekend, and the kids going back to school this week, and my parents are visiting from Florida and have been staying with me. My house is a mess - and things just basically feel out of control.

I REALLY need to de-clutter my house - especially the basement and the kid's clothes (that don't fit them anymore). I'm am struggling with the decision of whether to just give everything away or to save the stuff to try to sell it. My financial side obviously wants to sell the stuff. But I'm wondering if I will really get around to it. I basically have a craft show every Saturday between now and Christmas. I enjoy doing this and have made some good money at it - but I don't know if I'll have the time to do this and organize and sell all our junk.

The other decision I am struggling with is the kid's activities. My husband really wants all 3 of our kids to take piano lessons (and for our youngest to also take voice lessons). My middle daughter has an interest in theatre (she's been in several plays) and could possibly benefit from some voice lessons too.

My oldest enjoys playing piano and will happily take the lessons.
My middle daughter does not want piano or voice lessons at all.
My youngest daughter would like voice lessons, but not piano.

Piano lessons in my area are $23 for a half hour lesson.
A combo piano/voice lesson is $30 for a half hour lesson.

So, for 2 combo lessons and 1 piano lesson each week would be $83, or over $300 a month!

If I use the same teacher, I could possibly book a full hour and have each of the girls take 20 minutes of the lesson (not sure if this is possible, but it might be). This would cost me between $53 and $60 a week, or $240+ a month.

But I'm not even sure that $240 a month really fits into our budget. We still don't have our fully funded emergency fund (and it looks like it will take us almost to the end of 2010 to get it alll the way up to $30,000, at least on paper). And we haven't even begun saving for college - and my oldest is only 6 years away from starting college!

I dread discussing this with my husband. He is having a really bad time at work right now. Sales are down because of the economy - and pressure is high. I don't think he can really handle a realistic look at our finances right now. Even though I think we have been doing really well, he tends to look at the negatives - like how we will both need new cars soon, etc.

Yet I know he feels strongly about the girls having piano lessons.

I guess they don't have to start right at the beginning of September. I can wait a little till things settle down at his work - and then discuss it with him.

I hate to think that we can't afford this for our kids - but I bet Suze Orman would say "denied" if I called in to her "Can I Afford It" segment.

Oh - it's hard to know what to do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Off Budget

Well, I can't say that my cash envelopes for August have lasted. As of today I am officially out of cash and there is almost a week left in the month - and I need to buy stuff for the kids for back to school.

Let's just say that we have been less than gazelle intense lately.

I understand losing a little steam over time, but I wish we could get the Emergency Fund fully funded up to $30,000. Only around $22,000 right now.

I do have a ton of craft shows coming up, so hopefully I'll be able to use some of that cash to beef up the FFEF.

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know we're still here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

August 2009 Budget

AUTO-Excise Tax $0
AUTO-BR Gas $160
AUTO-Insurance $130
AUTO-Maint $0
CASH-Clothing $600
CASH-Dining Out $180
CASH-JR Gas $120
CASH-Gifts $0
CASH-Grocery $500
CASH-Kids Allowc $62
CASH-Parties $20
CASH-Schl Lunch $0
CASH-Spending $200
HOME-Cable/Ph $160
HOME-Electric $115
HOME-Mortgage $2,345
HOME-Oil $0
HOME-Water $0
HOME-Trash $0
KIDS-Bball $0
KIDS-Misc. $0
KIDS-Piano $264
MISC. $0
PERS-Cell Ph $0
PERS-Contacts $99
PERS-Life Ins. $59
PERS-Newspap $12
PERS-BR Rx1 $0
PERS-BR Rx2 $0
PERS-Cat Rx $0
PERS-Braces $200
PERS-BR Sports $0
PERS-Vacation $0
TRNSF-To Sav $2,300
TOTAL $7,526

1st Paycheck $2,261
1st Commission $3,090
15th Paycheck $2,261
Church Pay $100
Jewelry Pay $50
Other $0
Trnsf fr Savings $0
TOTAL $7,762

Beginning Balance $0
+ Income $7,762
Subtotal $7,762
- Expenses $7,526
Subtotal $236
Save Fr Nxt Mnth $236
Ending Balance $0

Beginning Balance $20,381
+ Trnsf to Savings $2,300
Subtotal $22,681
- Trnsf fr Savings $0
Subtotal $22,681
Ending Balance $22,681

New 2 Year Budget

Well, we bought a new computer and were able to upload everything from the old computer from an external hard drive - but not before I redid my 2 year budget spreadsheet. I was just too impatient and couldn't wait!

Turns out it was a good exercise to redo the budget from scratch. I feel a new sense of gazelle and calm at the same time. We are in pretty good shape and are moving forward every month. I also saved it to google docs so that it won't be lost again and I can access it from anywhere. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Motivating A Reluctant Spouse (with cash)

Over at there was a thread discussing motivating a reluctant spouse which is something I have been dealing with during our financial journey.

I started thinking about some of the things that we have purchased over the past couple of years, all for cash, and it made me feel kinda good. Some of these items were necessities and many were not. But the ones that were not were in a way, just to keep my DH on board with the plan.

Many of these things (or probably all) would have been purchased on credit in the past.

So, here's my list:

$500 - new laptop (old one broke)
$300 - video recorder (capture our children for memories)
$3,000 - Disney World vacation
$1,000 - new bedroom mattress
$500 - tear down overgrown shrubs and trees in yard
$400 - repair van air conditioner
$400 - replace rusted hood on van
$200 - gps for car
$1,000 - new dishwasher (old one broke)
$500 - hot water heater (old one broke)
$250 - mulch for yard

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm Lost . . .

. . . without my budget!

I had my 2 year budget spreadsheet on my computer - and my computer died two weeks ago. Ugh!

I have been lucky and have been able to use my husband's old work laptop (which we will probably have to give back, but until then I will use this), but I don't have a copy of my yearly budget. I don't even know what my August budget plan was. And here it is - August 4th. I know I should just get out a piece of paper and make a plan - but I don't want to. I like to see how this month will affect the whole year.

My only hope is that we did back up some files a while ago and hopefully my husband can help me look for my budget document.

Anyway, I know I'm whining . . . I'm just frustrated.

Not too much else to report. My Scrabble pendant website has been very slow. Haven't had a sale is about 2 weeks, but I guess that's not uncommon for on line sales in the summer. I should be making lots of stock for the 15 upcoming Craft Shows that I am doing.

Hubby's home - I'll post more later . . .

Saturday, August 1, 2009

June Earnings Update

Finally added up all my revenue for June 2009. I made $1,986 in extra income! Wow! I'm so psyched about that.

Updated my sidebar too.

Now if I can just get it up that high every month . . . :)

Keeping Up with My Sisters

Ugh! I just did a long post that didn't save or publish properly. . .

Anyway, July wasn't a great financial month for my family. My computer died. We haven't gotten a new one yet but probably will soon.

I definitely did not budget appropriately for the summer months. We went away for almost every weekend in July, and although we stayed for free with friends or family each time, we did spend a lot on groceries we brought as well as for outings and restaurants while we were there.

I also spent a lot of time with my well dressed sisters with fabulously decorated homes. Hence, I spent some unbudgeted money on home improvements (re-did family bathroom decor) and clothes for me.

In the final analysis, I had planned to put transfer an additional $2,000 into savings in the middle of the month. That didn't happen and by the end of the month there was only around $600 left in the checking account. Not good.

I sure hope (and PLAN) to make August a better month for us financially!