Sunday, November 28, 2010

Here we go again

I can;'t believe how long it has been since I have stepped foot on this blog.

Although much of life hasn't changed there have been changes that have changed our lives and the path we are on.

Finally we are using financial software to track our spending and have been saving regularly for the last few months. We have been giving more and more money to charity and it feels great to give.

In January I will post our 2011 ANNUAL BUDGET that I will base on last years numbers and a few assumptions I will make for the year. I am looking forward to 2011 and the greatness our family will accomplish!

I am starting to decide on family financial goals for 2011 and they look great. I think it will take more than a couple of family meetings to get the rest of the crew on board but it will be SO WORTH IT!

There will be much more giving and saving in our budget and I look forward to watching the amounts increase every month.  Here's to 2011

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I need to start a new blog

I wonder if sometimes this isn't more 'family' than 'finance' and maybe should start one of each...I'll definitely think about this today.

#3 is reading over my shoulder as I type...hi honey, I can see you!!

She's eating breakfast (must be nice at 11:41 AM)...I should make #'s 4&5 and dgd lunch...hmmm, where's Hubby?? Leftover beef stroganoff isn't hard to make!He's getting a bottle for dgd to have a nap, I'll do lunch, I could use some of that stroganoff myself!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

May was good

I guess that's the best way to put it. I have not done an official financial autopsy and I just can't find the gumption to do one!

It's been a busy time in our house. Hubby has been working much more than regular and #1's daughter is living here (she's 14 months, just over a year younger than #5)...she is dgd. So we have added to our family for the time being and are enjoying the rewards of our involvement.

I started following FLYlady again. I had found her a few years ago and although I enjoyed the slow and steady pace she sets for people who are trying to find peace in their homes and lives, I couldn't "shine my sink" everyday or "get dressed to lace up shoes." There were also what seemed like a million e-mails cluttering up my in-box so I quit her.

This time I have come to learn that everybody has different needs when it comes to buildign their sactuary at home. My sink is clean 80% of the time when I go to bed because I unload it in the morning as part of my MR (morning routine) and load the dirty dishes into it as the day goes on.

The rest of my MR is showering, getting dressed, applying foundation (sometimes color), and making my bed.
I do not get dressed "to the shoes." I've tried it, it doesn't work for me. I can't wear shoes in my house. Others who follow her swear by their shoes, for me it becomes an easy excuse to do none of it (miss one step I might as well not do any was my old thinking). Now, if I can't be a FLYbaby because I don't wear shoes, then I'll just be thankful for the lessons I have learned and enjoy the rewards!

She encourages 15 minute sessions of decluttering and cleaning. IT WORKS! I started small, only five minute intervals and worked my way up. Adding a routine to these sessions has made a world of difference in our house and in my life! I could clean all day and never feel like I did anything; now if I set the timer for 15 minutes I know I accomplished something! I give myself the right to take a break.

I have set up a folder in my email to catch all the emails from her so it doesn't distract me from the chore at hand. Everyday there is a 'mission' to do in which ever 'zone' is the focus of the week (bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, etc). It is a short mission and makes it so easy to move through each of the zones with some semblance of organization. It is made clear that "You are not behind! I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?" This is nice to read because after missing a day here or there or 'falling off the wagon' for whatever reason that I don't feel like I have to go back and catch up...that's an overwhelming thought, never mind the TASK!

My house is becoming the place I have always wanted to live. More and more each day it feels welcoming and peaceful. I want my house to hug me as I walk through the door, and Hubby says it has already made a huge impact on his stress level and the 'never finished cleaning' feeling we have lived with for so many years.

We actually sat down yesterday and discussed the spending plan for June with great conversation. We talked about several things we want and need and began a dialogue on what we are going to spend our money on. With his extra hours we are bringing home almost double what we are used to so it's been great to not worry for once. I know I have to keep my head though because it's so easy to just 'spend until it's gone' without regard to the fact that it won't be like this for long! I need to return to the focus of paying off the credit cards and getting ahead so that times like this will bring blessings to others as opposed to just 'blowing' it...time to re-vamp the plan so I can take it to him tomorrow I guess!!
Maybe I'll do the Autopsy tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lead, Follow, or Get Outta My Way!!

Well, I have a follower now so I guess I better "man up" and start writing more regularly!! I am almost finished the May Autopsy and will have to report to you by the end of the week.

I've been struggling a lot lately with our budget and just not having Hubby on board. I have so many thoughts that it should be easy to keep a blog...and I could write about IS my blog after all!! So why don't I?? Good question. One thing I have come to learn about myself is that I am terrified of strange is that...scared of success, who is scared of success...and why?? I haven't figured it all out yet, but as I do, maybe I could get your help!

Thanks for the feedback.

I look forward to sharing many successes with you as we make this journey TOGETHER!!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Weak Tweaks

I am frustrated and seem to be running on a treadmill...maybe a hamster wheel is a better description because I feel like people watch me run my ass off for NOTHING.

March was an okay month as far as the budget goes. I just can't get Hubby to follow the written budget when he makes more than the 'required' amount ($1900). To him it is free money and therefor not real somehow. Like a credit card is invisible spending to so many, as is his above the line income.

His last paycheck was over $'s a week until his next paycheck and we are BROKE. There is nothing left in the bank account...ugh. Knowing his check was going to be larger than normal, he pre-spent most of it, causing us to incur $112 in overdraft fees before the damn check even got here!!!

So now, I'm just angry and that is unproductive. Can I knock it in to him? Probably not a good idea...Maybe May will be better!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Tweak...

Well, our spending was a little out of control for March. I did a few budget tweaks on paper and decided that as long as $950 of each paycheck was deposited in to the checking account there would be no reason to not have enough to cover the entire spending plan. So today that's exactly what I did, I deposited $950 and kept the extra $11.23...well I kept $11.00, #3 asked for the $0.23 to add to her March for Babies fundraiser for next year that she has decided to make an ongoing project.

This year our team placed second overall at the Grand Forks, ND event with one of our youngest members being awarded with the Top Youth Award. As it was my #4 who received this honor, #3 has decided next year it's all hers!! Should be an interesting season of raising funds next year with the three of us! It's pretty hard for people to say no to a five year old asking for money "For the March of Dimes and Babies because they helped #5 be healthy."

Anyway...back to my original reason for this post; changing how much money is deposited each pay day. We have not yet figured out the discipline part of sticking exactly to the budget, even if we have a few extra dollars. The extra money is supposed to go to the baby emergency fund and then when that reaches $1000 (again) then the excess should be gong to the debt snowball. So now, the money is going to be put in to an envelope and put in a drawer for now until it reaches a significant sum (whatever I decide significant means).

Hubby has what is considered an irregular income because he's paid per mile plus a fixed dollar amount for every stop he makes to load or unload freight. At $1900/month we have everything covered except for placing money in an account for annual expenses such as property taxes and insurance. Fortunately our insurance is less than $600/year and is due in July. He has three paychecks in July so that will cover that expense. For property taxes my plan for right now is to focus on the baby emergency fund and that should be built enough by May to pay the first half of our taxes and to repeat the process for the second half due in October. Eventually I would like to pay our auto insurance annually as well. One less payment every month is fine by me!

Our student loans are another cause of concern for me. We owe crazy amounts to student loan companies. I don't even have them listed in our debt snowball yet because they cause me to lose all hope of ever getting things paid off! We probably owe as much on student loan debt as we do on our home! They are all in deferment currently but that can't last forever...can it??

Monday, March 22, 2010

Starting to see some progress

I had trouble knowing I have $1000 sitting in a bank account knowing we are paying almost 30% interest on one of Hubby's credit cards. I know I whined and cried about the security of the cash, but the number did me in. I paid off two credit cards with the mini emergency fund. I've heard that money management is 20% brain and 80% emotion...well my emotions are well withing the normal limits on this one!

Now I feel like I've made progress. I actually have two less payments to worry about every month. They weren't big payments, and with the snowball method our monthly expenses do not change, the minimum payments that were being paid to the cards I paid off will now to go the next debt in line.  The longest it will take to be finished our debt snowball is next February and I can't wait...patience has never been a strong suit of mine!

The budget is working as good as can be expected. I still have trouble taking out a personal allowance. For some reason I just can't justify it! Hubby gets his allotment, the kids get what's the problem? Maybe if I saw the money piling up I would spend it, but I doubt it. I told Hubby yesterday that things like paying off debt were more important than taking personal spending cash. There is always somewhere else in the budget that could use the $50/bi-weekly more than I need it (or want) it!

The options with $1300 each year are nearly endless in my mind!
  • Pay down debt
  • Give to our church
  • Donate to charity
  • Quarterly weekend family getaways
  • Save for a real vacation
Maybe endless isn't the right word, but the ideas are raging just thinking about it!

I've been giving serious thought and prayer towards tithing to our church. Another quote I've heard, though I don't know who to give the credit is, if 10% can break you, your problems are deeper than you think. I know there have been months that we could be drowned by 10%, it has become obvious to me that God has given us more than 10% could ever make up for.

There is no price on salvation, God forgives all our sins and teaches us to forgive those who have sinned against us. When my days are done, it will not matter if I gave 10% or $0.10. What will matter is my willingness to learn His word and to live my life as God has planned.

There are some days where it is harder to forgive myself than it is to forgive those who have sinned against me. I have come to a point in my life where I believe God's plan for me is already in place and I am just 'along for the ride.'

This Sunday after Church #4 came and told me he wanted to go see Faith. We walked over to where she sleeps eternal and he talked to her as if she was sitting with us! How very touching to see a five year old believe in life everlasting.

While we visited and he 'decorated' (picking rocks off the road to place on her grave) I began to put more thought into the memorial stone I want placed. The ones I've seen with an angel standing in a hugging motion against the stone is the one that I like best. It's probably close to a $1000 saying it out loud makes it seem almost not a good idea! Think of the difference we could make with $1000. We could give a sizable donation to our church or the March of Dimes that would mean so much to Hubby and I. Guess I'll have to put some serious thought and prayer into this one!

Hugs and Love,