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
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!
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!
This is a post I wrote about but never finished it for last month. Hello business season was upon me lol.
This month was a PERFECT example of why your family needs an emergency fund. My husband's military orders were delayed. Don't ask me to explain in detail, because quite frankly, it confuses me as well. The gist of it was he hasn't been paid since the end of September. YES. YOU READ THAT RIGHT. For a family that lives giving every single dollar it's place, this was a time where our emergency fund came full circle in it's need. I was able to pull the funds for our bills from that fund and pay them accordingly. What if we wouldn't have had that money in there? We would have had to resort to pay them by other means. This has also been the busiest month for me in my business all year. It always is. I can't imagine having had that extra stress of not knowing how in the world the bills were going to get paid.
This is why you have to have an emergency fund. It's just for these very circumstances. 57 million Americans have no savings. Savings for us gives this woman some peace of mind. It's funny, when we lack that fund, I feel defeated, scared, and just not secure. I've kept up with every penny that we have had to pull from savings, and when he gets paid next week...every penny goes right back in.
All those circumstances haven't stopped me from gazelle intensity on our debt snowball. I've kept up with selling things as a side hustle on Kidizen & Poshmark and total for October in sales(what went to debt) is $174.68. Not bad for a side hustle lol.
There has been some changes in my husband's position in the military and the status of his deployment, but I'll wait for that for another blog post.
So, what do you do if you have no savings at all?
1. Sell, sell, sell. You HAVE to have things laying around the house that you don't use. Start selling them and putting those funds in an account that is hard to access. You know, where you can't just use a debit card to easily withdraw or spend it. I have to physically walk into our bank to retrieve money from our savings account.
2. EVERYONE should have a budget. Hands down. If you don't have one...start today, now. It's not as hard as you think it may be. Once completed, what can you minimize on that budget so that those funds can go towards an emergency fund.
3. Have a massive yard sale. Have you touched that item in the last 60 days? If not, it's gone.
We don't have to live like this forever. There is a whole community of people striving to be debt free just like you.
I got ALOT of messages yesterday over the previous blog post. You guys, there are more families than you realize going through the EXACT same financial dilemma. Too much going out and not enough coming in. I thought I'd dive in to what we are doing to help curb the desire to spend. I am actually a natural good deal finder. I like to have money in the bank because it makes me feel secure. Always have. But, like I said yesterday...Christmas time turns me into a spender. Hands down. I am currently done with purchases for the upcoming holidays. With only a few prints left to buy, I decided I'd find a frame here at the house that I longer use and put the prints in that. There is no reason someone else can't enjoy a frame I no longer am using.
Here are a few things I'm doing currently to help for the upcoming Fast:
1) Every single time I get an email from a company that sells something...I'm unsubscribing. No offense to those beautiful small businesses I love to follow and purchase from, but this momma has a plan. With those emails being out of sight, the need to make an impulse purchase will be gone.
2) We're having a family meeting to explain our plans for the next 6 months. Yes, I understand the kids will forget, some not understand, and some who are used to getting most things their heart desires, but time for change kids.
3) I joined a group called "And then we saved." This group is lead by the amazing author of the current book I'm reading by Anna Newell Jones.
4) I've gotten my husband on board. It's important that we're all on the same page so when something comes up, we can handle it together.
5) I'm currently thinking about an upcoming February birthday with a certain soon to be 7 year old and how to handle all of that. I'm honestly thinking of selling some stuff to consignment and then using the credit for a new to him birthday gift. Anyway I can stick to the plan.
6) I've always meal planned, but it's game time now. Half of our family is vegetarian, 1 true vegan, and then some meat eaters so this should be interesting lol.
7) Potluck dinners with friends. No more Mexican food night or vegan pizza night, or any other dang food themed night lol.
We've always done a budget. ALWAYS. I know what's coming in and what's going out. Like down to the penny, but I end up always using that "extra" money that is supposed to tackle our debt to food, so I'm going to be really strict with that area. Cheaper meals, better organization, packing meals when I know it will be a trigger day for me. I think I'm also going to host a once a month meeting at my house to give support, answer any questions that I can, or even help someone with their own budget. It will fill that void of "giving" for me. I will give time and not materialistic items lol.
I also want to touch on something. Back a year ago, we were in the negative every month without my income. We never missed a payment, never went without, etc. because my business took care of the negative balance. I realize that is not the truth for everyone. I realize that some families, even with two incomes, are still in the negative every single month. You are not forgotten, you are not alone. Yes, you can still get out of the mess you're in. It's time to dig deep and really look at what you're spending your money on. There is ALWAYS something you can take off that budget. Cable? Meal plan better with cheaper foods? < This does not have to be forever. Go down to one car? Sell anything you can get your hands on at home? Find a second job? Babysit? Are these things we want to do? Of course not, but what if it meant getting out of a whole we've created?
Some families are bogged down with medical bills(we've been there). Some families have had a spouse loose their job. Life is going to happen. I want to be prepared when it does.
There IS hope. I promise.