Learning to budget


If you are needing to cut back on spending then learning to budget is a great thing to consider. The first thing you will want to do is grab a seat, paper, pencil and a calculator and write down all the bills that you pay out in a month’s time including groceries, gas and eating out. When you are finished with that you will have a better idea where you stand with your money and where it is going.

Next figure out how much money you have coming in on a monthly basis and compare it to what you are paying out. If you are spending more than you have coming in than there is a problem.

Next look at all your bills individually and see what can be cut back. Maybe you have the biggest cable package that is offered and you can cut that back by dropping down to a smaller package, that may save you between $5 and $20 per month. Maybe you have unlimited long distance on your telephone bill but yet you have a cell phone that you can make long distance calls on andit is part of your package with it, so by dropping the unlimited long distance you may save between $10 and $20 per month. A big expense for people these days is eating out, so look at how much you eat out in a month’s time. If you eat out for lunch five times per week at $5 each day that is $25 per week and $100 per month. Try eating out only three days and that would save you $10 per week and $40 per month. The other two days you can take your lunch to work but you will need to adjust that in your groceries by a few dollars per month. By evaluating these three things you could save almost $100 per month and that is money that could be spend elsewhere.

With evaluating where your money goes and putting a tighter grip on it you will soon see that learning to budget is not a hard task.

It times like these


when I look around and get the itch to charge charge charge… you know, everything in the house looks shabby, you need a vacation cause the weather is so bad, a new wardrobe to perk yourself up… LOL… good thing we don’t have any credit cards!!!! DH was saying that this morning, if it weren’t for the extras we would ahve a bunch of extra money this month LOL
Thanks for the cheering!

But….you covered the dental


the new tires and the college expenses all with cash, and, you’ve prepared by having food storage on hand, and, there is still some funds in the EF. It’s not a lot, but you still have funds in you EF. I’d say you’re still doing extremely well, Lea. Cut yourself some slack! You could have said “what the heck” and charged everything, right? I’d say you’re doing all you can, and so far, so good. You just need to get that extra $350. You’ll do it.

This has NOT been our month…


mouth and added college expense = 1250
We managed to scrounge and scrimp to make the extra ( did I mention the car needed new tires to pass inspection), and we paid all the bills except the land payment for the extra land ( 325.00)….
so… we thought, no problem… we can make it up this weekend … uh no… the mall is closed down where our shoppe is because the parking lot is a sheet of ice… sooo…. hopefully we can make up the money tomorrow, tues & wed…. 200.00 left in the EF.. and we can eat off food storage….
grrr….. not feeling very upbeat at the moment as I sit here looking at the ice… guess I need a couple Pollyanna pills

I so should have taken before pics


(we never remember to!) but right now we’re moving the playroom stuff to another room and trying to figure out how to make the best use of the space we have.
We have 3 bigger boys who use to share a room…our middle kiddo has PTSD pretty bad and needs his own space for the safety of the other 2. So we moved our 9 yr old and 6 yr old to the playroom, which was renovated last year into a legal bedroom. So we are moving the playroom stuff into an unused room. My office/sewing stuff is still in the new bedroom and will stay…also, we have a small t.v./game systems/movies in there but its used maybe 2x a year!
Fitting 7 children and 2 adults into a 4 bedroom house and all our stuff takes creativity! I will work on it this week, take pics of where I am at with it now, the progress and the results. I will be purging and all that fun stuff as I go!
Pray that my children will willingly thin their herd of toys and that I can get this done quickly! Tomorrow is my China blessings birthday! His party is this weekend and we’re pairing it with our homegrown daughter who is turning 3 next month…

I don’t do mine this way


but I do tend to “round up” individual categories plus I have a savings account/sinking fund that I use for
extra expenses. But when I first started doing a budget many years ago, and was making about $500/mo, I used to put an extra $50 line
item into my budget for “other”. There always was something. New glasses or a vet bill or whatever.

I spent the weekend


compiling a list of lists and spreadsheets I need to create then working on creating them. This warm weather has brought home sharply that we need to move the geese and ducks out of the garden soon and I need to look seriously at doing the germination testing of the seeds on hand and get my “need to purchase” seeds ordered. This along with repairs needing done, cheap getaways needing planned, business work and planning schedules made me realize I needed to organize my thoughts on paper (computer) and as with everything around here I needed a list.
Speaking of lists, since my Ipod is a hand-me-down one the battery tends to go dead quickly, so I’ve been using my android phone more and more for my portable electronic source of lists and such. This meant I was not using my ishopare price comparison program on my ipod near as often. It seemed like anytime I wanted to use it the stupid thing was dead. I mentioned this to dh and that I would really like an ap that is all inclusive for comparing costs, grocery lists, menu planning etc. for my phone since it is always with me and charged. Sunday he showed me two different aps he had narrowed my request down to: Out of Milk and Grocery Tracker. Of the two I chose Grocery Tracker. It looks like it is going to be my best option for tracking prices and such.
I’ll be writing a blog post soon about the ins and outs of the ap as I set it up for our personal use. I particularly like the fact it has a pantry inventory on it and you can actually scan the barcodes as you are doing the inventory and it will do all the entry for you.
Dh says he does feel like he got suckered a little bit on finding this free ap for me though. You see I’ve been wanting pantry shelf organizers for a long time. The style I particularly like (at this time can be seen at: http://www.canracks.com/ dh says they’d be easy to build if he could get to his table saw—don’t get me started on the condition of the garage right now. So when he came up with the ap I said “well it looks like it does everything I need except build my can racks.” The look I got…LOL!I pointed out to him that the pantry is currently hazardous to my health and well being (I have bruises on my feet right now from where several cans fell out of the pantry on my feet one day this last week) and that since I would be wanting to inventory to use this Ap (remember he is an electronics/program/aps nerd/junkie that wants everything used to the max) it would be the PERFECT time to set up such organizers and we did after all have that $60 Lowes gift card from the payout on the non-seedless/seedless grape problem… He nodded I was right so now will he build them? He did tell me to decide how many of what sizes I needed. Our 40th wedding anniversary is coming up before long and it would be a great gift for me. LOL! We’ll see.
He and ds are both really getting into this culling out and organizing thing, so I just might get them this go around. He also announced this weekend that we needed a “better way” of dealing with the tools because they spent a long time looking for a misplaced set of drill bits—still haven’t found them, because they don’t have a designated set in stone storage area. I’ll look for them later today once I get back from town.

I accepted one merchandising job last week to do today


It’s only 3 miles from my home and I need to go to that little town anyway to mail some packages, so basically I’ll have almost no gas involved and it will be enough to cover the postage. It is also close enough I will not be tempted to grab a bite to eat, which has been my downfall of late on doing mystery shopping and merchandising.
I spent part of this last week getting geared up for our annual tax hassle. One of the things dh and I discussed is the fact that my “job” is considered self-employment. With OK charging a self-employment surcharge each year and the return of the higher social security tax rate, meaning I’d be required to pay double as self employed, we decided that our decision to cut back or eliminate mystery shopping entirely is a wise one. While I might not be a multi-millionaire that is bailing out of a state or country because of taxes the hikes have definitely made us rethink a lot of what we are doing or plan to do.At this point we are still going to go heavily forward on Webfoot Tub Designs, but if we find that it is not cost effective to do so in the future it too will fall to the wayside. At this point we are going to give it a few years to turn a profit, but if taxes and such keep on that time frame might get cut way down.

We made little progress on the office this weekend because the guys both worked most of the weekend and what time they were home was spent working on an easel to support ds’ drafting/art board and updating programs on the various computers.

While much of the nation is cloaked in a sheet of ice


here in OK we are having record high temperatures this week. It is currently 8:20 am and 65 degrees, the expected high is to be in the 70-80 degree range today. This makes me very NERVOUS about the possibility of tornadoes.
Last week saw me being “real friendly” with the budget AGAIN, still tweaking the budget flip flop and trying to streamline it a bit. One of the things I’ve done is instead of trying to have a set sinking fund for every single little thing I calculated how much could be comfortably put back into a general sinking fund account. It’s basically the same amount going in each month as when we kept them separate, but instead of spending a lot of bookkeeping time designating that it is for this sinking fund or that it is now just a general fund that I will put a cap on for total to be in there. I’m still working on deciding how high that cap should be because as we all know more than one sinking fund might need to be tapped in a single month. Once that cap is reached I plan on replenishing that fund with any monies that are available asap when some of the money is used just like I do the emergency fund. I may change my mind about doing it this way in the future, but for right now it’s a way to streamline the bookkeeping system and make it easier for dh and ds to handle should I be unavailable.On the subject of replenishing the bef, we should be able to do that part of the “pay back” this next pay day because dh worked 17.5 overtime hours over the weekend and may be working more this week. How they will handle this and which check it will be on for certain is still up in the air. If it’s like other employers have been it should all work out just fine. Because the number of hours on each paycheck can fluctuate wildly I have started a spreadsheet to keep track of what paychecks of various hours are to help me budget more efficiently in the future.

Well I’ll ask a tough question


or two just trying to get greater understanding. First, I’m going to assume that you don’t live in a community property state. Otherwise it really doesn’t matter whose name is on what.The next question is does he do legal gambling (Professional) or is this more of the seedy side where I can imagine he has debts.Legal gambling, those losses are covered immediately and winnings are paid just as quickly.I ask all of that to say that you might have to put his gambling debts in the budget to provide peace of mind going forward.

I want to thank everyone for the words of advice so far


It will take me a minute to get all my debts together but I will post those as soon as I can. I do want to answer Jan’s question in regards to DH.My dh is a lifelong gambler. He started at 18 and never stopped. I didn’t realize just how bad it was until after we were married. It has taken several years and lots of heartache. We have finally found a system that works for us. Nothing is in my husband’s name and we share no accounts. When he works which is rare, we do direct deposit directly into to my account. I don’t carry cash and I don’t give him access to my debit cards. We stopped using credit along time ago. The one vehicle we have is only in my name. DH realizes that cash in hand is a major issue but I can not get him to go to outside professional help. Currently he is serving the role as stay at home Dad. I am still conflicted about what decision I will ultimately make but right now I need to get things straight financially so I can make some clear headed decisions. When I say he doesn’t seem to be on board, I don’t mean he is spending cash per se.. for instance I shop with a very tight food budget and shop for specific meals. I know it sounds crazy but I will plan out meals for two weeks etc. Hubby seems to disregard this and will jus make some hamburgers for his friends one day and that can throw us off track. Sometimes I feel like the worst person by locking down the food, and gas supply. Dh doesn’t get that 5 dollars here or there adds up. I know this part of the issue and me not saying no in the past that I am thinking of including a line item in our budget that accounts for his costs per month. I read TMMO and know that both spouses need to be on the plan for this to work . I am at least trying to get in a position to move on if that’s what I chose.

Long winded I know but I hope that explains some things.

When you are listing things for either figuring your budget


When you are listing things for either figuring your budget on your own or with our help you need to include EVERYTHING, haircuts, gym shoes, scout fees, and blow money—yes blow money. Everyone gets some. The Total Money Maker Over is the best place to start if you are not in Financial Peace University (FPU) You can get it for free from your local library. Read it make notes, copy the forms in the back of the book and ask questions here. There is no such thing as a bad or stupid question, except the one you don’t ask. So ask away.You will notice the mention of homework here. It is a voluntary thing we do every Monday. We report to each other the advances and back steps we each take. It helps us see where we’ve made mistakes or had great success and the group will encourage you along the way. Also once a month there is a voluntary reporting to Sharon (if she is still up for doing it for 2013) our individual monthly debt payoff. Then at the end of the year Sharon tells us how the group did as a whole. It’s a pretty impressive amount!Oh, another thing you will see mention of is Pollyanna Pills. It’s an inside joke here. I got the reputation of being a Pollyanna (as in the Disney film with Pollyanna who always found the bright side in everything) when I announced the day that my guys lost their jobs that it was the best thing that ever happened to us. You know what I was right. Anyway, if someone is having a down day/week/month we issue an rx for Pollyanna pills.We are like a big old family, and just like a big old family we will ask you the tough questions. I’ll ask the first ones, because I foresee a possible stumbling block in your path to financial freedom. Is your husband getting help with his gambling problem? How are you dealing with it? Are you enabling him? Please don’t feel upset that I/we ask such questions. We all have some problem that we must deal with. It might not be gambling, it might be being able to say no to a family member/friend over and over again(our biggest problem in this household—it took us a long time to grow a backbone and learn to say no with conviction and stick to it), a collection habit, a hobby habit, a shoe habit, or the general “I WANT IT NOW” (envision Violet in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory-oompah, oompah –sorry seeing little orange men). we have all had a stumbling block. We’ve all had to deal with it in some way or another. It’s what you do to deal with it that can make all the difference in your gazelle speed on getting debt free. Everyone here is good at offering suggestions. If our suggestions don’t work for you then that is fine. No too families are identical.