Saturday, November 29, 2008

Somebody Said The B-Word

Man that was hard!!!

The way we started budgeting was one pay period at a time. A day or two before we got paid I would sit down and figure out what needed to be paid, make a list and send it to Felicia to look at and review. She would tell me what she needed or wanted to buy and we would work it in. It has been working and it has allowed us to catch up on bills that we were behind on, but now it is time to move on to the monthly budget. Dave calls it the "Monthly Cash Flow Plan," I like that better.

I sat down and went through every category and filled in what we needed to pay and what I thought we should budget and tried really hard to make sure our budget reflected our goals. Filled in our amount for monthly savings, rent, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, medical, personal, recreation (not much of that will be going on for awhile), and debt. When I was done I added it all up and plugged in our income and realized, it was still more than we make. Looked at it and started trying to figure out how to bring it down. First thing off the list, Replace Furniture and then repairs and tires. We might be setting ourselves up for an emergency, but we are working on being able to put those categories back in shortly. We have a storage space that we are paying for, but have not used any of that stuff for two years. We are going to have garage sale and whatever does not sale give to charity and start saving that $82.00 a month.

The budget started to look good, but that was the easy part. The next step was the "Allocated-Spending Plan." We had to spend every dollar from every paycheck on paper. The form has 4 columns for every pay period, you fill in the date for the pay period and the dollar amount, then the rows have a budget category and you determine which paycheck that category is coming out of and it also keeps a running countdown to zero to make sure every dollar was spent. This was the hard part. I thought you budget and spend the money, but if you pay one bill too early then you may not have enough to buy groceries for that week. One mistake I made was I added an amount that I was supposed to deduct and threw the whole thing off and it took me an hour to figure out where the mistake was. Hopefully, it will get easier. It took me 3 hours and 2 tries to get it right, I know next time it won't take so long.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Glad She is on My Side!!!

For a long time, we have been hunters and gatherers. We lived in the moment and when we were hungry, we went out and fed ourselves no matter the cost. We would spend an outrageous amount of money at restaurants, or going to the movies. There we plenty of times when we did not bat an eye at a dinner bill that was around $60. As we are getting older our mentality has changed a little, we are trying to become farmers.

We are looking ahead and planning for the future. We have taken the seeds of our goals and planted them, now we have to continue to water it, and make sure to give it plenty of sunlight. We will get there, like farming it takes time and patience. Felicia is turning out to be a great farmer!!!!

I am so glad I am working on this with Felicia. She is really trying hard to stick to it, there are times when I am like let's buy something to eat and she reminds me that we cannot do that. She was telling the truth when she said that now the question for dinner is, what are we going to cook and now what are we going to pick up. Any relapse can probably set us back a few months on our goals and she is keeping me in line. Right now, we are trying to decide if we should see Dave Ramsey Live or not at the end of March.

She is Right!!!

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She is right!!! I am not sure what it is, but when I get really stressed out the first thing I want to do is hide and not deal with anything. When we were engaged and moved in together, we put our finances together and tried to run our household. I know when I was young my mom handled the money and I saw how it would stress her out a lot, so I guess I thought I would let Felicia deal with it. We split it up 50/50, her job was to pay the bills and my job was to complain about having no money.

Now, that is not working together. Since I did not where the money was going, I wanted to spend like we had all the money in the world. In the end, I realized it was not fair to Felicia. She had to keep track of all the bills, pay them on time, and when money was thin, deal with me complaining.

Now we sit down before each pay day and spend the money before it is in the bank. We look at what bills are coming up, what we are going to spend on household things, but the very first thing we do is pay ourselves. Felicia still goes online and pays most of the bills, but we both know what needs to paid and when.

I still remember those early days, we would fight and blame each other and then still not solve anything. We would take out payday loans, skip a utility bill to go out and have fun because we were stressed and needed a night out. Taking the night out, did not make us feel better about money the next day. I know we have only been doing better with money for a few months, but we can enjoy a conversation about money and our goals. We are on the same page!

Goals:
1. Debt Free
2. Buy a house
3. Retire comfortably
4. Send our kids to college
5. Open our dream business, Felicia's bookstore

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finally on the same page

We have been on somewhat of a budget lately, thanks to Andres' fascination with Dave Ramsey, a financial guru that he listens to on the radio. Even though I am slightly sick of hearing Dave Ramsey's name, I have to say that his principles are working for us. We have put close to $2500 away in savings for when I am out on FMLA and I have to admit that it feels good to not even miss the money that we are putting away every time we get paid. We always make sure to pay ourselves first and then focus on the important bills, and then we pay the not so important bills (cable and DSL). We've also been eating at home a lot more often lately, and I was telling Andres that my mindset has changed from a couple of months ago. Whenever we were ready to eat dinner, I would always think, what are we going to go out and buy for dinner? Now I think, what are we going to go home and cook for dinner? We still splurge a little bit whenever we have a little bit of extra money, but it hasn't been nearly as bad as what we were like a few months ago. I would always stress out about paying the bills and I think what stressed me out and angered me was that Andres didn't really take notice of what we were spending money on. I handled the bills, and he would complain about where the money was going. When I would tell him to check the bank account, he would get very stressed out and not want to deal with it which would make me not want to deal with it. It helps that we are on the same page now and working towards our financial goals together.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Call Me Normal



Just went shopping again using the envelope system, this time there was money left over. A couple of weeks ago, we had to get 47 cents from Felicia's purse to cover the bill and did not get enough milk for the week. What a difference this time because I got everything I needed and still had $4.97 left. That is a little over $5.00 difference.

This time I went to 3 stores to get the best prices. First was El Rio Grande Supermercado,$49.17, second was Tom Thumb, $10.49, and he last was Minyard Food Stores, $35.37. I am really excited because the total was under budget, $100.00 and I haven't even learned how to incorporate coupons into shopping yet.

I have to admit I felt a little weird because while shopping I wrote down the price of everything on the list and walked around using my calculator. Everyone else seemed to know what they wanted and threw it in the cart. I saw kids waiting until their parents turned their backs to throw what they wanted in the cart too. If being weird allows us to be debt free and better provide for our family, then don't call me normal.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Hit the ground running!!!

Thinking ahead, Felicia and I started to discuss Christmas gifts. We have both decided that we will buy presents for the kids and not adults besides our parents. We are not planning on buying anything for our friends, my brother, my sisters, and cousins. This will keep our Christmas bill down and allow us to continue to work toward our goals.

Felicia and I were talking money at lunch and we both realized that this topic is not a stressful conversation anymore. It does not end with me in a bad mood or her stressed out. We know we are still at the beginning stages of turning things around but we have hit the ground running. We pretty much have the two months of her income to cover expenses when she is out of work and we almost have the deductible for the hospital when the baby is born.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lesson Learned

We are going to try to implement the envelope system.
We are going to pull out cash for some of our budget categories and put those funds into their own envelope. We are using Gas, Grocery, Gift, and Blow$$$ categories so that we spend the cash instead of swiping our debit card. A lot of times, we don't realize how much we have spent until its gone and their is still stuff we wanted to buy with that money. This way when the money is being pulled out of the envelope and we see the Presidents leaving our hands, we can ask ourselves if this money is being spent wisely. I think it will come in handy for the groceries, because when I am at the store and I am heading for the checkout sometimes and I want to grab the Oreos or whatever my friend Little Debbie has just created. We will give it a try and see what happens. I know we will do good, because we feel bad when we mess up.

Thursday night, we messed up. Well, to be honest it wasn't Thursday night when we messed up, it was more like when we made the budget. Not looking ahead, we forgot to budget Halloween. We did not set aside money to finish my or Felicia's costumes and ended going over budget as a result. Felicia said it best when she that she felt bad and did not want to F*** up again. Lesson learned we need to think ahead, like Christmas is coming up and we have starting saving. We are going to budget a little from these next paychecks until Christmas comes.