Peanut Butter Grits
Tuesday, March 06, 2018
By Mellisa Pendleton

It's been a really good month here. The husband's pay checks are finally squared away and are plan is slowly moving forward! Yay for budgeting!!! lol. This month we had to budget in quite a few things that I didn't anticipate or plan accordingly for: 

1. Jackson's birthday. I mean, it comes every single year so I should have thought ahead for sure. That's where those sinking funds people talk about come in handy ;)

2. My online computer back up system annual fee. 

3. Kailyn's graduation fees(cap & gown etc.)

4. Car inspection x 2 and vehicle taxes x 3

5. Kids school extras(a Valentines Party event)

We have decided up up our grocery budget by $100/month. It's just too tight for us. That puts our grocery cash envelope to $150 each week and it gives me a little more wiggle room. I do make the kids' lunches every day so I'm hoping this helps. We have now replenished our emergency fund and I can breath a sigh of relief. It really does make a big difference in my anxiety to have that in savings. 

The most exciting thing this month has been the availability to put a total of $1827.02 extra(not including minimums) towards debt. We now own our Verizon phones out right you guys! I know that must sound kind of pathetic, but it's a big deal to us. That payoff alone saved us almost $70/month on our budget. That $70 will now be snowballed into the next debt we are tackling. All those amounts really really add up. We are only $352.18 from paying off our next debt!!!! That will be another $65.91 added to the snowball at that point. That's how all this works. 

We actually get a tax return back this year! Holy crap! So, where are we putting it? I will pay the balance off of the epic trip I'm keeping a secret for now. That trip will then have been COMPLETELY CASH FLOWED. Nothing will have been put on any debt/credit/IOU and that is a big deal my friends. The remainder left will go towards my business insurance for the year. That will be a good day and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. 

I'm hoping March is just as good <3

 
Friday, February 02, 2018
By Mellisa Pendleton

Whew, January has come and gone and I'm not kidding...I felt like it lasted WAY more than it should have. My husband pay schedule is FINALLY fixed and we're back on track. It's too long and confusing to explain, so lets just say his pay has been messed up since the end of October. At the beginning of this month, our 12 year old dishwasher took it's last breath....you guys, we have 6 people in this house and I never realized how much I not only use that beautiful piece of equipment, but how much time it must have saved me. I had been searching all month to find a gently used one and yesterday(after the much anticipated pay day), I went and picked it up. I budgeted $150 for a used one and was going to save and have it installed in March....but I was able to buy that gorgeous thing for $120 and my husband used the remainder $30 to buy a part we needed and installed it himself last night. You guys would have laughed seeing me and my two little people dance in the kitchen when the light on it came on. I've learned a lot about patience this month. I've been tested on it multiple times. 

I had my very first Debt Free Journey meeting the other evening with like minded women who want to change their finances. I'm hoping they gained as much as I did just talking about our story, what we're doing, how to construct a budget, and all the random facts we shared. I think it's really important to surround yourself with as much positive people as humanly possible. Life is too short. February's budget looks insane and that's ok...we're doing a little catching up, but by March everything will level back out again. I'm keeping up with every single penny and putting everything we have towards this monster. You know what's funny though? I'm looking forward to paying as much as we can. Every step is a single step closer. 

The bare minimum we'll be able to put extra towards debt(that means in addition to the normal payment) for February is $517. By the beginning of March I will have also cashed flowed the graduation present for my daughter....shhhhhhh, and yes, it's a good one. Jackson's birthday is this month, Kailyn's graduation fees, the dishwasher, a few kids' school events, the dogs annual vet visit & car taxes and inspections all came up for February so that's what I mean it's not a normal month for us. Sinking funds should have been in place for these things, but we're still learning like everyone else. 

Some things I have figured out this month: 

1) Your local Humane Society has monthly vet clinics for healthy animals. What that means is that their vaccinations and well check up are sooooooooo much cheaper. I've decided to break up all 3 of our dogs to one per month so it's easier on the budget. 

2) I got asked how we budget our energy bill every month. Did you know you can set up to have the same amount billed every month? They average your previous year and divide by 12 to come up with the average. We've done this for years and it helps so very much. 

3) I called to put extra money towards our Verizon bill(b/c we're stupid and got new phones last year and you know how they divide the cost of the phone over to your bill?)...you can't pay extra towards your phone unless you have the full amount to pay it off. 

4) You really can do alot of tasks yourself, well my husband can lol, if you really want to save money. He put that dishwasher in HIMSELF! 

5) Kidizen is still my most favorite app to sell my children's clothes. It's so stinking easy.

6) I have to put "blow money" in the budget. We each have to have a little money to do with what we want. Mine is usually spent on going to lunch with my 5 year old ;)

7) We have to budget for date nights. They don't have to be expensive but they are a need. 

We have also beefed our emergency fund back up since we had to dip into it to fix two of our vehicles. Murphy, you suck lol. 

A big thing for me is to making sure I keep meal planning. I have a calendar that I got for Christmas that I use strictly for meal planning. I also write down any extra payments I make from my side hustles in that notebook to keep track. I have a list I keep track of pantry and freezer items so I can utilize those first into meals for the following week. I pay cash for groceries which means my calculator is always on my side while shopping. If I didn't meal plan, keep track of expenses while grocery shopping, and have cash...we wouldn't be able to pay anything extra towards debt...I know it. For most people it's this single category that drains budgets. I refuse to allow that to happen. We still only budget $125 per week for groceries so I have become quite the planner lol. 

One thing we added this month was Crossfit for both my husband and I. My husband has been an avid Crossfitter for over a year now, but we both went to a grand opening of one 30 seconds from our house and I was sold. It's budgeted for me, for my health, and as I type this my arms feel like they may fall off, but that's ok ;)

And I know what you're thinking..."but Mellisa, that money could be used for debt." Listen, everyone's budget, what they find important in life, and what they are willing to sacrifice will be different. This is something just for us, for me, for my health. I don't feel bad about it one bit. And in case you were wondering where we are going....I give you Crossfit Stacked. I'm totally hooked and to us, it's worth every single penny. 

Anyone have any other tips? Leave a blog post and lets help each other out. Happy Friday friends! 

xoxo Mellisa 

 

 
Friday, January 19, 2018
By Mellisa Pendleton

My outside nature is optimism, but inside I can see my dad. The "what if's," the negative, the trials, the tears, all of it. I'm a worrier by default. I wish I wasn't, but it's the truth. I worry if I'm doing it right with my kids, if my marriage is ok, am I feeding them enough healthy options, am I being an example of the adult I want them to be, am I putting myself first sometimes like I need to, am I showing them grace, am I playing with them enough...all of it. I don't think men know how much we worry about all those things on a daily basis. They're just programed like that. As a whole, I think women are. We wear so many hats at so many times, that it's hard to find joy in the mundane tasks of life and motherhood. Add financial issues, work schedules, due dates, and kid's appointments and my good gracious alive...it can all feel like too much. 

When I feel my thoughts going in that direction the only thing I have found that puts my life in perspective is looking back on our year thus far. I was going through all the images from last year putting them strategically in our family yearbook (I do this every year) and just cried. It may seem mundane and alot of times it is, but when you look at it as a whole...there was so much love. Joy, happy tears, adventures, ice cream trips, backyard water fights, dinners, cookie making, reading, snuggling, and just living. When you find yourself doubting where your life is...look around. As I type this I currently have a 6 year old screaming, a 5 year old asking for her 4th snack, a very tired senior who stayed up all night finishing a paper, and a 12 year old stating he is bored. My life is chaos, but I honestly wouldn't know it wasn't the normal. This is all I've known. I've been a parent for 18 years so far, and although I may have more regrets I can count, they are still the air I breathe. This is what I was called to do. Every night I go to bed with the thoughts that tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start, and alot of times I still fail. In some way shape or form, but they still love me. They still call on me. I hope this is their safe place to land. Always. I am not perfect and I was never designed to be. Failure is just God's way of shaping me, refining me for what HE has called me to be. 

xoxo Mellisa 

 
Thursday, January 18, 2018
By Mellisa Pendleton

We were supposed to get a "light dusting." Ha! As you can see, it was beautiful. Even though it takes a village to get everyone dressed and out the door, it was all worth it. 

Happy Snow Day friends

xoxo Mellisa 

 

 

 
Thursday, January 04, 2018
By Mellisa Pendleton

What a crazy December. Time got away from me, and poof...it's the New Year. We had an amazing Christmas and I hope your family did as well. This year has not started off like I had planned. I have three kids sick and we're headed to Urgent Care with one of them who I believe has the flu. Ahhhhh, germs...you love this family. Anyhow, we are GO TIME with our plans for financial freedom this year. I (we lol) have a plan and damn it...I'm sticking to it. Total debt repayment for December was $1,011.08. This includes minimums, but with it being at Christmas time...I'm still proud. Like I said on the last blog post, I'm cash flowing a HUGE trip for May while still putting the extra $316 every month towards our debt snowball that I did the math for. That is the bare minimum we'll get to put towards debt if I did nothing extra at all. Just being diligent about the budget. Now, I'm not one to sit by and just do the minimum for anything in my life, so I'm working my butt off selling stuff, cutting back even more on our monthly budget, and figuring out additional ways to speed up the process. Any income being brought in by my business will be divided as so... 10% savings, 90% debt after taxes. I was actually going to cut back on working this year, but life throws us curve balls and we have BIG dreams for this family. 

I have a love affair with Instagram. I have found some incredibly inspirational people on their debt free journey. You can find alot of people by just looking up the hashtag #debtfreecommunity, but one of my most favorite peeps to follow are.... Debt Kicking Mom She feeds her family of 6 so amazingly cheap that I'm just blown away. Frugal Kittens is another one, and one of my most favs Debt Free in Sunny California. You know the old saying to surround yourself with like minded people? Well, I try and do that with all aspects of my life. Even social media. I took a small break away from FB, but gosh, if it wasn't for my business, I'd leave it completely. It's a time sucking addiction. 

Anyhow, yes we are on it. Yes, we will prevail. Bring it on. A look at our December...

 

Happy New Year!

xoxo Mellisa