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Staying Focused

April 18th, 2008 at 04:12 am

Today is payday and I am just shy of making my first financial goal of 2008. After today's deposit I will be $200 short of having my Emergency fund fully funded. It has been about 18 months simce I became debt free and when I started I had alot of trouble with this particular goal.
I wasn't very focused. I wanted to save up to do my home renovations, I wanted to save up for a newer car, I wanted a new computer. Then I started having difficulties at work which made me realize that what I WANTED wasn't what I NEEDED. I needed to focus on one goal at a time and the most important one was the emergency fund.
When I split my savings into all those different goals none of them grew very fast and it was hard to stay motivated. It reminds me a little of Dave Ramsey's debt snowball where you focus on one debt at a time, I need to focus on one savings goal at a time to keep me motivated.
So now I am looking at finally finishing one of my most important goals and it feels good.

Thinking about Minimum Wage

January 4th, 2008 at 10:18 am

I didn't do too well in the saving department last year so I had been thinking about it and how to do better this year. Then things got kinda crummy at work and I actually thought about quitting and getting a low stress low paid job.

Thinking about living on minimum wage made me think maybe that is a way I could save more. I think the problems at work are transitory but... it's pretty bad right now.

So I made up a new budget and with the exception of my Roth IRA contributions and my son's college savings I am going to try and live on $6.00 an hour this year. Even the lowest employers around here pay that.

I have an advantage in that I live in a fairly low COL area and I own a small (pretty crummy) home with a very small mortgage payment. It isn't a slam dunk though because my car is pretty old (1994) and said house is also pretty old.

Here's how it looks

$6 time 40 hrs per week=$240 a week or $960 a month

Tithe 96.00
House payment 165.00
Utilities 180.00 (est)
Food 150.00
Gasoline 40.00 (I don't drive much)
Life Insurance 32.00
CableTV/Internet 108.00
Phone 30
Misc (Clothing, Medical, Pets etc) 75.00
Car/Homeowners Ins 68.00
Property Taxes 44.00

Total=988, I think I can get this down with small frugalities, plus my Utiliies are estimated high. We will see. I may have to call the cable company about a discount. I'd hate to go back to dial up that would be a last resort.

Since it is one week until payday (Jan 11) I am giving myself $200 to pay for this weeks expenses. 2 Utilities are due on the 10th.

Let's see how it goes.

Thinking about budgeting

December 19th, 2006 at 08:53 pm

I seem to be becoming more obsessed with budgeting. It is ironic that this is the case because my budget is mostly set up automatic in case I get sick and cannot deal with things for awhile. If i did nothing budget wise for a week or two my bills would all still get paid, my savings would continue to grow. I do love direct deposit and online bill pay.

It seems to me that the hardest part of budgeting is getting it all set up, knowing how much you need to have for all the little things you buy day to day. I know my hardest one has always been the little things like batteries, light bulbs, TP and all the miscellaneous stuff around the house. I finally started giving myself a small household amount for all those things and it is working okay.

My utilities came in $20 over budget, the bathtub faucet is leaking so I understand the water bill (am getting it fixed this week) but I am not sure what is making the electric so high. I went ahead and increased the budget for the winter but all our heating appliances are gas, it is possible the waterbeds are working overtime since we don't directly heat the bedrooms so I added some extra blankets and told DS there would be dire consequences if he didn't at least cover his bed.

There is absolutely nothing I need to do moneywise until the 29th but I am still looking and playing with this budgeting thing almost everyday. Maybe I need a hobby....Anyone out there need budget help? Ah but there's the rub, what works for me doesn't always work for someone else, budgets seem to be very personal things, like clothes or hairstyles. Each person has their own style.

Back to Normal

December 6th, 2006 at 11:05 pm

Well everything is back to normal here with the return of my computer. Came in under budget and I even talked them into a discount for paying cash. Christmas shopping is finished and the tree and nativity is up.

This month is a big transition month for me, it is the first month in over a year I haven't done a zero based budget. I am getting away from the paycheck to paycheck budget and switching to a monthly budget. The only problem is I need to have enough leftover at the end of the year to pay January's bills and expenses so I am just letting any extra sit there waiting for January without giving it a job. Usually I would transfer it to my Target savings. Since December is a three paycheck month I can swing it. I will pay all my monthly bills, withdraw the cash and put the money aside for my irregular expenses on January 2nd. If it goes right I won't spend January's paychecks until February 1st. To give him his due I am modeling this after a system I saw on the 'You need a budget' website.

Talk about personal finance it is funny but I use Dave Ramsey's envelopes, Mary Hunts freedom funds David Bachs automatic transfers and now budgeting from YNAB. The only one I haven't borrowed from is Suze and that's just because she didn't have anything I could use. Plus she drives me nuts, I cannot watch that woman.

Well, time for bed. Tomorrow I have to work both jobs so it will be a long day.