Sunday, December 28, 2008

Vacation Fund!!!

Felicia and I decided that when we become debt free and have a fully funded emergency fund, we are going on a debt free vacation to celebrate. A lot of listeners to Dave Ramsey call in to yell about being debt free and a lot of them talk about celebrating by going to Disneyland. We have never been and think it would be nice to take the kids when they are a little older. Right now, vacation is not in the budget, but we are getting started by adding in change that we get into a piggy bank that I made. All it is an old diaper wipes box that I painted green and wrote "Vacation Fund" on. I am thinking about updating the amount of the Vacation Fund once a month. We will see.

Christmas was good for us. We did not buy any presents for any adults and stayed in our budget. My son got lots of presents from his grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Felicia and I got the best present, not having to worry about how we are going to survive on December 26th.

I do have to admit I was a little slow in doing the budget for this next month, but I got it done. Felicia and I both looked over it and agreed to it. We added more cash envelopes and maybe that will help us even more.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spending is a Hard Habit to Quit!!!

Spending is a Hard Habit to Quit!!!

Felicia just asked me what we were going to eat for lunch, and I am trying to think about what I can go out and buy, because I just did the dishes and they are not even dry yet. I don't want to dirty them again. But a voice told me to cook the pizza we had in the freezer, I yelled out to her I can make pizza and she said she could make the salad. We sat down next to each other and I told her what my first thought was for lunch, but for some reason this lunch tasted really good. I think because it was a tasty, healthy, and guilt free lunch.

I think we count this as a small victory, we did not buy lunch and we ate food that was in the house already paid for. I don't know how many times before, we would buy groceries and then throw most of it out.

Spending is a Hard Habit to Quit!!!

The Magical Dresser

Babe,

I know I complain a lot about the budget and your new leader, Dave Ramsey, but I wanted you to know that I really do want to learn how to live on a budget and get better with our finances. Being able to take a vacation and not having to worry about paying the bills would be really nice, and I know we can do it. Just give me a little time. It's hard to adjust to not getting the kind of food I want all the time, especially when I am pregnant and craving things all the time! Maybe after Maya arrives, I'll be better :) I love you!!!
Email written to Andres a few days ago


I had a wonderful dream last night. We lived in a big, beautiful house and had a few friends over for a party. One of our friends mentioned something about being strapped for money and was worried about losing his house. Andres and I took him into a room that only had one piece of furniture in it, a dresser. We opened one of the drawers and there was bundles of money in it, and when we took some out, more of it magically appeared. We gave him all the money in the top drawer and told him we didn't need it back. We just wanted him to use it wisely. Imagine if we all had a magical dresser that just handed us out money whenever we needed it?

When I woke up, I thought about how we have been trying to budget, and maybe on some level, we are trying to create that magical dresser, something that we can always fall back on. I started thinking of Dave Ramsey's baby steps and especially, the Envelope System which we have been trying to put into effect. So far, we only have two envelopes: one for gas, and one for weekly groceries. I was thinking that we probably need to take that next step and start adding more envelopes to this system and like Dave says, "When it's gone, it's gone." This is something that we're bad at. If the money is gone, we'll still try to find a way to come up with more of it and end up spending money that we really didn't have to begin with.

I have to admit that I've had a little resistance with this whole budget thing. But Andres said the other day that one of the things he would really like to do when we're finished clearing our debt is to take a vacation (and pay for it all in cash). I keep thinking about how we have never really had a stress-free vacation in which we weren't worried about paying bills once we got back home. Even on our Honeymoon, we were worried about how to make ends meet once we arrived back in Dallas. I want to try to put more of an effort into the budget, and really work together to get something that we want. Maybe all it takes is a dream to change your mindset, because that magical dresser sure does sound nice at this point.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

OOPS!!!

Felicia looked at the bank account today and discovered we have not been sticking to the agreed budget. I know it was both of us. We both have been buying lunch, which is not in the budget. I think that was the big killer. We both feel really bad about it. We have been taking so many steps forward that I hate that we jumped back a little. These next two weeks we are going to try to keep a close eye on it. Knowing the problem now, we have to find a solution. For my part, I am going to ask around for ideas for easy brown bag lunches to take to work. We can't do a lot of lunch meat, because Felicia is pregnant and she can't have too much of it. I need to email mom, my aunt, and my cousin the chef to get ideas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take that First Step

Lately, I have been trying to read different blogs and articles about personal finance. Looking at different programs, so far I like the Dave Ramsey approach. Some people write about how simplistic it is and if it is the right approach for these tough economic times. I am not a personal finance expert but I like the program. I like how you are able to accomplish little goals and that encourages you to keep going. When we finished Step 1, we were so excited and we even cheered out loud as we saw $1000.00 in our savings account.

I have been wondering about others I know and if the program will work for them and some of them were interested but have not taken the first step. My mom, two sisters, and cousin and his girlfriend bought the book, but they haven't yet finished step one. I know my cousin and his girlfriend are now working towards it, they have sat down together and figured out what they want to accomplish. One of my sisters is tying to get it together now after she was faced with not having any money for gas to get to work a whole week before her next paycheck. I tried to counsel and share our experiences with them, but I don't want to come off as lecturing or judging them. When they finish step one, I am going to ask them how they feel and post it here for them, so they can track their progress too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can you do something that you love for a living?

For the past couple of months, I've been learning to sew. I found a book at Barnes N Noble about making sock dolls and I was inspired. I didn't start sewing with the intention of selling my creations. I started out wanting to feel closer to my mother and grandmother (they both make beautiful blankets and quilts) and I also needed the creative release of doing something with my hands. But today I actually made my first sell, a green monkey by the name of Neon. It happened because I made a sock monkey for my best friend and she started getting all kinds requests from people and asking where she got it from. A friend of hers said that she wanted a green monkey for her baby daughter so I said that I would see what I could come up with. Today, she went by to pick him up and my friend said that the woman fell in love with him and her whole face lit up when she saw him. I have to say that I'm a little sad to see him go but knowing that somebody appreciated him so much makes me feel so proud. Now that I'm learning more and people are interested in what I'm making, the thought of opening up an Etsy shop enters my mind more and more. It feels so nice and refreshing to make some money doing something that I love as opposed to working at my dead end job. Maybe I can take a cue from Andres and find out something that I actually want to do for a living that pushes me to use my creativity, as well as brings in a steady paycheck. Is that too much to ask for?