No one is…

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Just wanted to let you in on a little secret…we all struggle at times, we all have obstacles, we all have successes, we all make mistakes, we all excel, we all have troubles, and yet we all make it through…

If you have followed my blog or read any of my posts, you know immediately that family and finances are two of my passions.

My husband and I are both savers and we budget…BUT…we’re not perfect…we don’t always make the best decisions with our finances.

I am very passionate about budgeting, not getting into debt and living like no one else…and one of my passions in life is helping others get out of debt, and begin the journey to financial freedom…so if you need help on your journey, please contact me. I would love to help you begin your journey…

In saying that, I will say that I will never…judge you, say that I might not one day be in the same boat as you (we had to use a credit card last year for a major AC/Heat unit for our home), say that I won’t make financial mistakes, have an attitude as though I’m better that you…

because guess what my little secret is…NO ONE IS PERFECT!!!…life happens…I totally understand, but the principles that we live by encourage and help you to strive to continue on your journey!!!

(so message me if you would me to help you on your journey)

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IMAGE: http://www.picturequotes.com/no-one-is-perfect-quotes

 

 

When the Budget isn’t working…

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So…you’ve “done” it all right…you’ve tracked your spending, you’ve created a budget, you’ve sacrificed, you’ve kept yourself and your spouse accountable…BUT it’s JUST not working!!! You are NOT alone!

We struggle too. I know how to budget…I’m a certified financial planner (as of June 2016…YAY)…and we still struggle at times, emergencies happen…basically life happens!

As you know, if you’ve been following my blog…you know that we moved in Aug/Sept of this year and guess what…our budget is struggling! We’ve been so busy with work (I work part time and my hubby works full time plus multiple jobs on the side) and kids and homeschool and I’m going to school full time to get my Masters and just moving in general…we’ve haven’t gotten a chance to sit down, breathe and review our budget…so we’re in the same boat with you…so here is our plan:

  1. Take a day…PLAN nothing that day…(hopefully!)…
  2. TOGETHER look at all of our bills, right them all down.
  3. Right down any debt (medical, household)
  4. Create a budget together for the upcoming month (months…holidays are coming)
  5. See where we can cut or even add…(you will be surprised where some money is disappearing too)
  6. Set goals for the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 (realistic goals including fun…we hardly ever plan “fun” things to do together or as a family)
  7. Have a fun family day the rest of the day…even if that means going no where and just enjoy the company while watching movies and playing…

Keep each other accountable (we’re both savers…that can be hard too…since we’re both savers, we will either not buy something we NEED or buy the cheaper version that breaks immediately)

Let me know where you’re at on your budget…what needs to change or what you are doing that works…

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IMAGE: http://illawarrahomeloans.com.au/2012/01/

We’re Debt Free (and you can be too!)

As of a today, we are officially DEBT FREE!!!! Thank God and Dave Ramsey!!!

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It’s been a LONG road since January 2012. We’ve paid $25,000+ since then. It is crazy looking back on it all. Our debt was our van and medical.

I’ll let you in on a secret…YOU CAN BE DEBT FREE TOO!!!

Let me tell you how that you can be debt free! It’s hard work…but TOTALLY worth it!!!

First Step: Create a Budget and follow it! (There will be changes to your budget and that’s okay…keep working it)

Second Step: Pay the minimum on any credit cards or medical bills or vehicle payments while putting  money into your savings account to reach $1000.00 (Emergency Fund…only for Emergencies!)

Third Step: Once you have your Emergency Fund funded (remember when you use this for an emergency, you will always be refunding it for emergencies)…use what you were putting into your Emergency Fund to pay on the smaller CC, Medical or Vehicle Payment while continuing to pay the minimum on everything else. Once you have paid one bill off, use that amount and add it to the next smallest bill  and continue until you are DEBT FREE!! (this will give you small victories to prove to yourself that you can and will do it!)

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IMAGE: http://theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com/2013/01/were-debt-free-of-car-payments-and-baby.html and https://www.pinterest.com/cshell0717/debt-free/

How we budget!

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So how do we budget? (now, know that we aren’t perfect, we still need to work on our budget…get ready, I’m going to be very open and honest with you about our finances (this is very difficult for me to be this open; so I want to be an encouragement that you can make it too no matter what your income is) We are HUGE fans of Dave Ramsey.  We are currently following his 7 steps to financial freedom.

dave-ramsey-baby-stepsCurrently, we are on Step 1 and Step 2

 (You will always have to repeat step 1 due to emergencies)

So back to our personal budget…my hubby gets paid $11.00 an hour. So he brings home around $380.00 weekly (net income = income after taxes are taken out) Our current monthly bills average around $687.50. (this does not include our mortgage…I’ll explain that in a second and show you a breakdown of our bills) Our food budget is $80.00 per week ($240.00 a month) and our gas budget is $50.00 per week ($200.00 a month)

Monthly Bills

  • Church Tithe: $200.00 ($50.00 weekly…this can differ based on gross income, we give 10%)
  • Straight Talk (Cell Phone): $90.00 ($25.00 weekly)
  • Life Insurance: $65.00
  • Time Warner (Internet): $50.00
  • Trash: $17.50
  • Car Insurance: $$75.00 (This is for 2 vehicles with full coverage)
  • Netflix: $10.00
  • Energy United: $150.00 (this can be different based on energy used)
  • Van Payment: $220.00 ($60.00 weekly)

So Dave Ramsey suggest doing a cash only envelope system, and I do think that this works…but for us, it was difficult to stay to our budget, know how much we spent and keep up with it…so we decided to do something a little different…

Here is what we do:

  • When my hubby gets paid (Remember, he gets paid weekly), we put the paycheck into a checking account called Bills
  • We move $60.00 into our gas account (another checking account…our bank allows us to open as many accounts as we want)
  • We move $25.00 into our Straight Talk/Netflix account (this amount can be either $25.00 or $35.00 depending on when the Netflix bill is due…we have a separate account for these two, since these two companies do not allow direct payment from our bank)
  • We leave in the Bills account what is due that week (We know this from a spreadsheet that I created to show which bills go out each week…if you want a copy)
  • Whatever is left over, we move into a Food/Fun account
  • For our van payment, we move $60.00 a week into a Van account (that is automatically moved each Monday) and then the van payment is taken out at the end of the month (I actually move $240.00 a month into this account and extra has really helped us a Christmas each year)

(Eventually, we want to separate our Food and Fun account and set up an account for our electric bill since it can be large each month and set up an automatic amount to go into our savings each month)

So instead of using the cash envelope system, we use multiple debit cards, so we call it our electric envelope system (one for Bills, one for Food/Fun and one for Gas)…also, we don’t use food stamps or WIC. (Our children do receive Medicaid)

For our mortgage, we receive VA Disability from our service in the United States Air Force, so that amount goes into a separate account, the mortgage payment is then taken out and this little bit that is left over is a savings account for major emergencies.

We make it work on this income and it is not easy, but we are “LIVING LIKE NO ONE ELSE, SO LATER, WE CAN LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE”…thank you, Dave Ramsey…

We still don’t have our budget perfect and spend when we  shouldn’t and we haven’t gotten it down to a zero balance budget yet…so let me know how you are doing with your budgets!!

IMAGES: http://www.cristinarobinson.net/how-we-do-our-budget/ and http://www.twokidsandabudget.com/baby-steps-to-financial-freedom-part-3/

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It’s Budget Making Time!!

So last month, I posted about getting ready to create a budget (REALLY, I HAVE TO BUDGET) In that post, I asked you to  write down every penny that you spent for the month (I know December might not be as accurate as other months  since it’s Christmas time)…so if you didn’t do it last month, do it this month (start the year of right!)

So once you wrote down every penny, divide it up in the following categories:

  • Food (Groceries and Eating out)
  • Personal Items (Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, etc)
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Entertainment
  • Utilities
  • Gas
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Tithe
  • Miscellaneous Items (the purchases that you’re not sure where they go…like Birthday presents)

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Now, you will see roughly how much you spend throughout the month, so you can create your budget! So go ahead, take that next step and CREATE it!! (now, will it be perfect? NO! will you make mistakes? OH YEAH)

let me know how your budget comes out or if you need any help! In the next post, I will detail how we do it! (will ours be the way you do it? maybe or maybe not…that’s okay…this is a learning process and you got to figure what works for you and your family)

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IMAGE: http://www.knowyourbank.com/blogs/how-to-make-a-budget/

How does Christmas sneak up?

So it’s Christmas Eve 2015…still gotta get a couple presents (yes, I procrastinate). I have run out of wrapping paper (of course). I don’t know about you but we always seem to struggle around the holidays and birthdays and anniversaries (It’s the SAME time every year but it still sneaks up on me)…

I’ve come up with 4 tips for being prepared this coming year.

  1. Make a list of all the family/friends that you want to buy for.
  2. Make a budget for each of one.
  3. Figure out your total budget for Christmas and divide it by 11…so you now know how much to save every month (Dividing by 11 gives you one month to shop)
  4. Save your pennies and put the monthly amount into your monthly budget

NOTE TO SELF: DO THIS! (Include birthdays and anniversary too)

Now, make sure your basics are covered (food, shelter, gas, utilities first) but if you have it in your budget, make it work…so when Christmas rolls around..you’re not FREAKING out!

Second, you might need to cut your budget for the gifts (like sending Christmas picture cards instead of gift cards…we did that this year) or make more homemade gifts…

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Image: http://www.pinterest.com

Really, I have to budget!

The “use” to dread the  word…BUDGET…it means sacrifice & a life change (you have to know that my hubby and I are both “SAVERS” not “SPENDERS”)…the hardest part of creating a budget is figuring out how much you actually spend on a monthly basis (which explains step 1 of creating a budget)

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Steps to Create a Budget:

  1. Write down every single penny that your family spends for 1 month…Once you know where you money is going then you can figure out a more accurate amount for your budget (ex. you think you spend $50.00 a week eating out, but actually you spend $150.00…that’s a HUGE difference in your budget)
  2. Look back over your month and group them for your budget (groceries, gas, bills, etc)
  3. Write down any debt and what your minimum amounts
  4. Write down your NET income (The income that you actually HAVE for the month to use)
  5. Now, it’s time to create your Budget…Once you’ve created your budget, then the goal is to stick to it (this is the HARDEST part…but if you stick to your budget, you will become more financially secure)

I’ve attached a sample budget worksheet to get you started:

ORIGINAL Monthly Family Budget – Sheet1 (1)

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IMAGE: https://www.cranecu.org/how-to-make-a-budget-that-you-can-stick-to/