March in Review

I am giving a huge sigh of relief as I type this.  March was a long and busy month but I honestly don’t feel like I was overwhelmed by it. The best news of all is that we are ending the month on a good financial note. I still have to pay for pool dues for the year but other than that yearly expense, we are on track. We did not make major gains this month but we did not have major loss either.  Personally I have spent several days this month working in the yard and even managed a walk one day. Spring appears to have finally arrived as well. The weather shows highs around 70 for much of the week.  We did turn off the heat on Thursday, so my fingers are crossed for an entire month without heat or air.

Financial- We are attempting to use a cash only method for the first six month of the year in order to get us some better financial balance.

  • Total paid to credit card debit $2096 total reduction in credit card debit approximately $200. Amanda purchased a new washer and dryer that she is paying for and has already covered over half of it. It is very difficult to get a good read on the actually numbers but we are basically at the same level of debit as we were in January. Slow and steady progress is the best method and unlike last year, in which we started increasing our debit in March and never looked back.
  • Grocery budget $475- Total spent $726.27. Yikes, I did spend extra to purchase ground beef and had several trips to stock up on good deals. I have already discussed with Matt that we will be on a purchase only if we are out grocery budget for April.  I am allowing my self 2 exceptions, chicken breast from Zaycon at the end of the money if we have enough remaining out of the very small $100 budget and purchasing Suddenly Salad if they go on sale for $1 or less a box.
  • Gas budget- $280- Spent $261. This is really impressive since this was a 5 week month.
  • Kid/Summer expenses : uggh lets just say Lily had a 3 night play that was $9 a ticket and Zach started Baseball along with several field trips and the purchase of year books for Zach and Kendall. I really don’t feel like finding a number but it was all covered.
  • Earned $100- this is indeed a much lower amount than any of the previous months I have tracked but it is still extra money and I hope to see this number double in April.

Personal- 

  • Blogging- 11 for the month. Super busy this month. I initially set the goal for 20 but 15 may be more realistic.
  • Exercise- 4 total days for the month.  a goal of 15 but not sure if that is realistic or not.

February In Review

I did not want to write this post. In fact, I am writing it 4 days late because I have been avoiding putting the words to the paper. February was a hard month both emotional and financially on me. Actually I think that says it way to nicely. FEBRUARY SUCKED.

Financial- We have been hit with several unplanned financial expenses including a new tail light for my van, nails in at least 3 tires and kid’s expenses were really high for the month.

  • Total paid to credit card debit $981. We also added to our credit card debit by $381
  • Grocery budget $450- Total spent $466 I had planned to spend only $300 but…
  • Gas budget- $280- Spent $205, This was managed by only paying cash for gas and moving money other places.
  • Kid/Summer expenses : $200, Zach was registered for Baseball, purchased new bat, glove and pants. Lily need silent auction item for LYT
  • Earned $125- this is indeed a much lower amount but this is the expectation until at least March.

Personal- I fail, just do not want to even discuss it any more.

January In Review 2018

The final week of January has been a rough one for us, on many different levels. Today is Thursday and I can see a small light at the end of the tunnel at least for this week. Both our electric and water bill will be extremely high for February so I am already working the budget numbers to accommodate the extra amounts.

Since I am not totally positive on what things I want to monitor this year I am going with a list method of goals and may decide to add or delete a few as the weeks go on.

Financial- We are attempting to use a cash only method for the first six month of the year in order to get us some better financial balance.

  • Total paid to credit card debit $1050 total reduction in credit card debit $415
  • Grocery budget $160- Total spent $200. This is still $275 less than budget.. I will be increasing the February budget to $300.
  • Gas budget- $280- Spent $235
  • Kid/Summer expenses : $85
  • Earned $170- this is indeed a much lower amount but this is the expectation until at least March.

Personal- This is truly where I am add or change several things

  • Blogging- 15 for the month. I am going to set a goal for 20 but realize that is probably not realistic.
  • Reading The Bible – 31 days complete!
  • Exercise- 7 total days for the month.  Again setting a goal for 15 but not sure if that is realistic or not.

2017 End of Year Financial Update

One of the reasons that I continue to blog after 7 years is that I enjoy having a record of our lives. I decided to go back and read what we were doing last year at this time and it is amazing how similar my years are starting to look. I am also able to see where we are financial and make plans that should work.

This year has brought about many life and financial changes for us. The biggest change is that Matt is working a part time job. Our goal is to return to a stable financial ground and then begin to complete some of our “wish” list. I spent several hours between last night and today looking and gathering data  in order to get a good picture of where we are and how to achieve our overall goal for 2018. I am planning to continue the monthly review post as this make finding things much simpler. I have decided on two big changes that will occur. First, we are returning to cash for both gas and groceries. I am talking the actual cash that you carry. I will plan to transfer money to cover any Costco trips on the day the trips are made as well. It has become very easy to just bring out a card but that is not how I want to live so to stop takes a drastic action. The second is more of a mind set change, we are budgeting all money except for extra earnings. These extra earnings from apps will be used for eating out. We enjoying eating out and this is basically fun money that the whole family can enjoy. Other small changes in amount will also help us gain a more stable financial ground.

As you read you will see I like the idea of January being a time to reset our budget. Now on to the numbers…

  • We increased our overall debt this year by $6500. Our current minimal credit card payment is $989.69 a month.  The plan for at least the first six months is to keep this minimal payment the same each month, which should get us started in the right direction in order to reduce it by $10,000 this year. We will focus on paying extra on the small cards as we earn or save it.
  • Extra earning in our budget is money earned from apps. I know that this amount may decrease this year due to several of the apps are no longer paying out. I have said all along every little bit helps and it adds up quickly. In 2017, we earned an additional $2,315.  In 2017, this money was designated to help pay on our Disney trip. This year, we will use the extra money as a “slush fund” it will cover unexpected expenses or treats including eating out and gifts.
  • Groceries- I am amazed by these numbers in a good way. We did not include the cost of purchasing a cow but we also are eating more food as the kids grow. In 2017, we spent a total of $5,578 on food or an average of $464 a month. These amount include anything we use in the house such as toothpaste and laundry detergent as well.  I set the January grocery budget at $160 due to our December stock up. Otherwise, the grocery budget will be reduced to $475 a month!
  • Gas- We are going to change the way we budget for this as well. We will begin budgeting $70 a week strictly for gas, this will actually decrease the monthly budget by $20 but should be easier to maintain especially for 5 week months. Along with this change, I am changing the “insurance category” to  included taxes, tag and repairs. This will increase $20 a month to $92.
  • In the past, we have had a “pool” fund however this is changing to “Summer fund” which will include the pool along with summer camps and swim team expenses. My goal for this fund is $2000. . We will plan to place $100 a month into this fund with an additional $400 from each of my “extra” paychecks going into it as well. This first year is budgeted a little differently as the money will need to be available sooner, so we will use our income tax return to fund at least $1000 this first year.

I am actually excited to start with our new budget and see if I can save even more!