Thursday, June 9, 2011

One Week Down

Ok it's been one week of budgeting and our debt snowball. I'm exhausted. No, not because of this, but because of a long week at work and my day off filled with things to do. On the up-side I had 12 people in my SMART card class (which is $150!!), I had to take some tables at work the other day and made $27, and we just found out our insurance rates have gone DOWN (coverage has stayed the same) so we'll be saving an additional $46 a month! And by saving, I mean throwing another $46 a month at our debt!

Ok let's start with the budget. Right now we have it planned that we're spending $14 more than we have coming in. AND I had to make copies of the test for the SMART class which was around $6 and I didn't put anywhere in the budget yet....hold on. Doing that now. Depending on how the rest of the month goes, we may be able to tweek our gas budget a little, but I'm not sure. My husband's truck eats gas and it costs a ton to fill up! But his bonus at the beginning of the month was $40 more than we expected so it could come out of there. I'm finding a lot of little things that we'd forgot about that we have to put in the budget. There's medicine for the dog that makes our lawn stay green ($20 a month or so), my newspaper subscription (for all my couponing) and then formula. I'm done nursing so we have to add the cost of formula. I'm not a brand-name snob, so we're going with Kroger brand and it's been working just fine. And there's $2 off coupons on the top of the little puffs baby food snacks so that makes it around $10 for a canister. And we have to see what the dentist will be like. I'm probably due for x-rays but I wonder if they'll let me skip those. Dental stuff is expensive when you don't have insurance for it!

Mike and I had our first financial meeting last night. He was mostly asleep on the couch, but we did get to make sure we were on track (this is where I found out his truck eats gas) and we could talk about other stuff we have coming up (i.e. father's day...not sure where I'm going to fit this in the budget). The weird thing is we have money in our checking account right now. And if you look at our budget, it says we don't. It's cause we had money from last month's checks and I paid all the bills that were due at the beginning of the month, last month. It'll be interesting to see how the end of the month turns out.

I have shopped 2x with cash only now and not really had a problem. This week, Mercy slept the entire time, which helped. I ended up spending $83 and a couple bucks of that was from our toiletry fund ($30 a month for toilet paper, diapers, etc) So for the month so far, we still have $10 in our grocery fund. We decided to try Bountiful Baskets this week and that ended up costing us around $20 so I had to take that out of the budget. But, I think I'll be really happy with it. It'll be an entire basket of produce for only $20 vs a head of lettuce, some apples and potatoes for $20. And we're finally getting Grace to eat some real food.

So that pretty much covers the budgeting news for the week. I always wrote down our bills and had a ball-park figure, but putting in the grocery, gas and extras has been making a difference. It's not hard for me to not spend money. Hell, more often than not, I'm too busy to think about it. But at the store Grace will want a treat or a $3 juice cup (with a princess on it or something). Unfortunately we waited so long to start our Total Money Makeover cause she's already used to things. Mercy will just be growing up with us budgeting and saving. Grace is used to going out to eat, ordering pizza, and getting new toys all the time.

Ok on to the really exciting news. We started May with owing Great Lakes $2921. This was a loan Mike took out in college. It was a $5000 loan and we've ended up paying over $6k for it because of interest. One thing I'm learning, my kids will never had student loans! Before our house is paid off, we will have all of our kid's college funds going and rolling and I hope they never have student loans. So back to Great Lakes. As I mentioned in a previous post, we took money out of our savings to throw at this. We ended up getting some unexpected money from my Grandma. She does this every once in a while and it's a nice surprise. It went straight into the debt snowball. I had the SMART card money, the tips, plus another random $20 or so. And Mike had his line-cleaning money from May. That wasn't much, but we got distracted with the fence and he couldn't get out much to clean some times. This month he's already at like 10 or 12 lines cleaned (at like $10 a tower) and it's only the 9th! I also took about $100 out of our other checking account. That was the account we threw all our extra money in before. It actually is the account we paid for all Mercy's doctor bills. We own her straight up :)

So May 1st was $2921....balance as of today: $392!!! We have paid off almost $2500 in a month and a week! Granted, it was "found" money, not all earned money, but it's getting us going! If we didn't have dentist appointments this month, we'd be paying that sucker off! But I still have another SMART class this month. I really need to get some flyers out. And Mike has the line-cleaning money still. It will be paid by the middle of July.

Next thing on our list is my car. That's such a weird feeling. We have $6500 let on that, so it will take us more than just a month once we start attacking it, but I'm hoping to have a big dent in it by Christmas and have that paid off by this time next year. We'll be adding $78.51 (the Great Lakes minimum payment) to the monthly payment of $164 so that little extra will help, but it's really going to be the budgeting and throwing all the extra money at it.

Ok I'm almost done. I really think the Lord is watching over us and helping us with this. I don't think we would have had all this extra money before we sat down and started budgeting and controlling the urges for material things. I'm so thankful that Mike and I are both employed and we are able to have insurance. I'm thankful that he's helping us with our NFP so we don't have to add more kids to the equation (yet!) And I'm thankful that our kids will be raised to live debt-free and realize they don't need to rely on credit to enjoy their lives. Ok I'm done. I'll update again later!

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