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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daily Damages

I've seen other bloggers utilizing the concept of "Zero spending days" and a visual accounting of what they spend each day. I'm going to do this as well from now on. Tallying up everything that I spent over the last 5 days is actually very upsetting. I don't realize how much I actually spend on stupid stuff.

I'm only accounting for purchases that either I made or was directly involved in making, like going to a movie with my husband. Here goes the last few days:

Thursday’s Spending:
$10.23 – Target
$5.07 – Sonic (Breakfast)
$5.43 – Taco Bueno (Dinner)
$35 – Hair Cut
$12 – PTA Membership & School T-Shirt
Total: $67.73

Friday’s Spending:
$30 – School Pictures
$32 – Cookie Fundraiser
$17.25 – Movie Tickets & Snacks
$4 – Movie Snack
Total: $83.25

Saturday’s Spending:
Total: $0

Sunday’s Spending:
$17 – Coin-op Laundry (Washing all the sheets and the comforter)
$76.13 – Target (Household items)
$133.80 – Wal-Mart (Groceries)
$30 – Prescriptions
$2.81 – Taco Bell
$5.63 – McDonald’s (Kid’s meal and ice cream)
Total: $265.37

Monday’s Spending:
$23.76 – Domino’s Pizza
Total: 23.76

Five-day total: $440.11!

Wow! It really does add up fast. The thing is, we don't have an extra $440.11 in our budget; in fact we're seriously over budget for the rest of the month and if the husband doesn't get his bonus next month (not looking good, sales are really down) we're completely screwed. What's even worse, this is in addition to the bills that were paid last week as well.

I do have an item to take back to Target with will be a credit of about $30, if I can find the receipt. Last night we really shouldn't have eaten pizza but the husband is sick, I was exhausted and I didn't want to mess with making dinner while my dad was over visiting with us.

No more eating out for the rest of the week. The kids are home this weekend, as opposed to the older 2 being at their dad's so I will have to cook every day this week.

I was hoping that today would be a "no spend day" but just realized that I'm completely out of gas. I need some fresh thyme for a recipe tonight but I'm going to try dried instead and hope for the best.

I'm also going to make a large pot of vegetable stock to freeze for later use in soups and stews this fall/winter. I'm sure this will only be the first of several batches over the next few months. Hopefully making my own vegetable and chicken stock will save a little money there. I also plan to prepare some soups and stews to freeze; hopefully this plan will help with nights I don't feel like cooking. Thankfully the kids all love soup.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Some failure is inevitable...

... but not necessarily excusable. As of my last post I had already purchased 1 pair of shoes 4 days earlier. Then, just 3 days later, 2 items on my Wait List of an online store I regularly shop, came available. I justified one of the items as it is a coat for one of the girls for fall. Not only that but it might be a little big this year and will likely fit her next year AND since it is a denim jacket, a rather versatile piece, I can pass it on to her younger sister in a couple of years without having to worry about the style.

But, the other item, the more expensive item I purchased was a skirt for me. Granted it is really to wear to work but still. Well, we are so incredibly close for the next 2 weeks that I have opted to not go with the meal plan for this week since it requires purchasing so many items that we don't already have. We have plenty of food to get us through most of the week until I get paid on Wednesday anyway.

The bad thing is, I was anticipating that only the jacket would ship quickly, as the skirt said it wouldn't ship for 2-3 weeks. I got an e-mail this morning that the whole order has shipped and we simply can't afford it right now. I can't stop it and I can't even return it for a refund, only a store credit. So, it's really a moot point now.

I have to get on track here. I am having a really hard time committing to this. I want to have a savings account that has enough money in the event that my husband doesn't get his monthly bonus that we depend on. At one point there was 3 months worth of what we need out of the bonus to make ends meet but now there's not even half of one month.

I have to focus on the goal. I have to commit to making it happen. I have to, for me, my family and our sanity.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Anything It Takes" Starts Now

Anything it takes to have financial freedom.
Anything it takes to save up for my dream house.
Anything it takes to know that we are safe from a financial tragedy.
Anything it takes to make my marriage work.
Anything it takes to position myself to be there for my kids.

Here goes the introduction: I have a shopping addiction. Not just shopping for clothing or shoes either. I shop for EVERYTHING! I'm obsessed with some of the usual things like nice clothing, shoes, purses/bags, etc., but my shopping problem doesn't stop there. I shop for my kids, my house, my husband, my friends, new cars, new houses (we just bought our first house about 15 months ago), new, new, new.

I don’t ever seem to be satisfied with what I have. I’d like to blame it on my upbringing, and I do partly, but not everything can be my parents’ fault. My parents were always bad with money and as I get older, I find out more and more about how bad they really were at managing and prioritizing it.

When I left high school with plans to attend college early and really get a head start on life and a career, I immediately got a full time job. I had no rent and the only bills I had were my car payment, insurance and spending money. I made good money, really good money for a 17-year-old. If I had been a smart 17-year-old I would have put most of my money in a savings account, but I didn’t.

I made bad choices overall, not just with money. I’m not saying that all of the choices I make now are perfect but they are generally much better, except when it comes to money. That’s where this comes in. I’ve tried to make myself accountable to my husband but that generally just ends up in a fight. The fight about money then turns into other things and it ends up like a 90° rollercoaster drop.

I started out the year with the plan to wipe the slate clean and start anew, taking a responsible, smart approach to our money but it hasn’t worked out so well. In my mind I say “We make $X a month/year and we should have something to show for it,” and by “show” I don’t mean our bank account, although that would be the “smart” thing to have.

Now for our wants:
Financial freedom; my 5,000 sqft dream house (okay, that sounds like a lot but 2 adults + 3 kids, I love to entertain, husband wants a theatre room and a library, I want a nice master suite and a H-U-G-E kitchen) on a couple of acres; nice cars that are paid for; husband wants a boat; we both want bikes; I want to be involved in a strong charity or community project; I want to get my masters degree (have to start over on my bachelors at this point); and I want to be a work-from-home mom, preferably doing something in real estate or marketing.

If I continue on the path that I am currently on, I/we will never accomplish any of this. Right now my life revolves around money, how much we have or don’t have or how we’re going to pay bills and still have money to enjoy ourselves a little at least.

I’ve started the YNAB ( plan (15-day free trial) and will be purchasing the software soon. Budgeting is really where I fall short and I believe that this budgeting software will give me some accountability. Dave Ramsey’s plan is hard to follow with a household of 5, 3 of whom are in daycare.

A budgeting we will go, a budgeting we will go, hi-ho the money-o, a budgeting we will go…