Thursday, July 30, 2009

August 1-14 Budget

So technically it's July 30th, but David got paid this morning so I did all the banking today. He's leaving for a short deployment next week, and I'm going to my parents since MY BROTHER IS COMING HOME from his deployment. Our expenses will be less this month since we'll both be gone. He'll be using his Government card and I'll be staying with the parents in Florida.

Regular Bills: $356
Debt Repayments: $230

Grocery/HBA: $50
Gas: $100
Misc: $50
Dog: $20
Gifts: $35
Travel Savings: $100
Marine Corps Ball Savings: $50

Hope you all have a great weekend!

One Credit Card Down...

Only one more and a truck loan left until "WE'RE DEBT FREE".

I paid it off this morning. It was a small balance, but annoying none the less. Our goal is to be debt free, except the truck by March 2010, and then start saving like our lives depend on it to buy a house (and thus take on MORE debt) by the beginning of 2011 when we move. It had the highest interest rate at 19%, and it was a dreaded store card. I know those are the worst to have, but I was an employee of the company at the time and we were forced to get one. I actually never used it, until David needed all new clothes for a business trip. I used it that one day, spend $265 and never used it again. Now, 2 months later it's paid off. It has a credit limit of over $5k, so I'll keep it open so it adds to my credit score. I know Dave Ramsey says it doesn't matter what your FICO is, and I completely agree. However we are in our early-mid twenties and will be buying a home in the next 2 years, so I don't want to hurt the score either. We only have one card that we really used and it has an interest rate of 9%. We haven't used it since December 2008!!!! And we'll have it paid off (hopefully) in March 2010.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

6 Month Update

So last week I post about looking back on the last 6 months and what we've accomplished. Today, I wanted to focus on what lies ahead in 2009, and check up on my goals.

August: David has a short deployments this month, and my brother homes home from his tour over seas. I'll be spending a lot of time at my parents house, and should be able to pay down a good chunk of debt, since I won't need food and such here. Also, David gets a little more money from his trip. Not much, but every little bit is welcome.

September: I turn 24! And David will be gone and yet another deployment the entire month. I will spend the first part of the month at my parents house to celebrate my birthday, their 25th Anniversary, and attend some local high school football games. (There are few things I love more then high school football!) Again, there will less expenses with Davie gone, and slightly more income, it should be a very good month financially.

October: David will be home the whole time! And will probably submit his package for re-enlistment in the Marines. I am so excited and grateful for another 4 years of secure income!
Financially, not a real busy month. Just the same old grind. I would like to start getting come Christmas shopping done. There are no birthdays or anniversaries this month, but we do have a trip to my parents house planned. Oh, almost forgot! The Marine Corps Ball is this month, so we'll need to budget about $150 for tickets and travel. I am using a dress from a few years back.

November: Will renew tags on David's truck, to the tune of about $100. Not happy about this, but at least I know it's coming and can plan. That money will come out of the "auto" fund. Again, not birthdays or anniversaries, but will continue to shop for Christmas. Also going to my parents for Thanksgiving.

December: CHRISTMAS!!! Hope to have all shopping done by the first week. Aside from Christmas festivities, nothing financial going on, just the same 'ole. I do want to change our TSP (retirement) contributions this month though, since I want to start 2010 with 7% going toward retirement verses the 5% we have now.

And GOALS! How are we doing?

  1. Have 80% of Credit Card debt paid by December 1st. So far we've paid off 55%, and should be able to pay off another 20% in August and September, bringing us to 75% by October 1st and in good shape to reach this goal!
  2. Have Baby EF funded with $1000. DONE and then some!
  3. Have $200 "buffer" in checking account. Currently have $75. Eventually our goal is to have an entire month's worth of expenses always in out checking account. Again, we're in good shape to have this by the end of the year!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A look back...

I started this blog on December 1st 2008. I can't believe it's already been almost 8 months! Lately I have been really motivated, but it hasn't always been that way. Being able to look back on the past few months has help me stay on focused and keep up with my goals. I have learned so many priceless things from other bloggers. I decided now is a good time to look back see how I have changed since there, and where I could still use some work!


  • We have paid off over $6, 600 in debt.
  • We have set up a new cash only budget that is working very well for us.
  • We are following Dave Ramsey's plan.
  • My neighbor has become my best friend, and coupon partner.
  • I am way more organized and prepared then last year.
  • We have a positive cash flow each month.
  • We have savings accounts set up for the pet, gifts, travel, vehicles, and emergency, and they all get money added at least once a month.
  • We have a solid, achievable 5 year plan.
  • We bought a new truck. I know this added to our debt, but we got a great deal and it's under warranty. Our old truck needed over $3000 in repairs, so this was a smart move.
  • At CVS alone I've saved over $1000, I think in total my coupons savings is well over $2000. Next year I will track it better.

Things that still need some work:

  • We did add to our debt by buying a new truck, and while it was the best decision, we still feel it's extremely important that we start now to pay if off early.
  • We can still "cut some fat" from our budget.
  • I would like to increase our retirement savings and open an IRA in addition to our 401k.
  • We need to cut down our traveling to Florida to once a month.
  • I want to track my coupon savings better.

I am excited about the changes we've made this year and proud of all we've done. Thanks for taking this journey with me, and thanks for blogging and giving me ideas and motivation!

I want this!

It's the Kodak Z1015 IS. I've been researching cameras for almost 6 months now. I love taking pictures but currently it's a hassle. My "good" camera's flash bulb went out almost a year ago and I was told it would cost more to fix it then to buy a new one. I can use it for outdoor pictures, but nothing inside, cloudy, or after dusk. For this I use my "bad" camera. It's not awful, just old. It's 6 mega pixels, and no optical zoom. It works, but I really enjoy taking pictures and neither of these cameras fit my needs. So in researching and shopping around I found this beauty. I've played with it in person and have fallen in love. And the best part? Sam's Club has it for $210. My birthday is coming up, so I'm using the money I get, and money I've saved and buying it. In fact, if I save enough between now and then I might get it in time for brother's homecoming! I'll have tons a nice pictures to post on my blog after that. I am so excited!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Envelope System, Day 15

Yesterday ended the first pay period of our new Envelope System. We are very, very pleased with the results. I was nervous at first since we took a trip to Florida over the 4th and other trip to Mobile last weekend. Then there were a couple birthdays thrown in there. But we managed to do it all on the set amount of cash we pulled out at the beginning of the month. We did use the debit card once on gas, but that was IT. I'm amazed at the amount of money left over that was about to go to paying our credit card.

Today is the start of another pay period. We technically got paid yesterday, because our bank releases the funds early. But we "pretend" to not get paid to day to simplify out plan. We sat down after dinner again last night and went over the money from the previous pay period, and made a budget for the next. Then we went to the ATM (we don't have any local branches of our bank) and withdrew our cash for the next 2 weeks. Here's how it looks:

Grocery/HBA: $120
Spending Money; $100
Entertainment/Misc: $100
Pet: $20
Travel: $40
Gifts: $60
Gas: $75

I also was shocked at how fast the pay period went by. Normally, I am stressed and praying for pay day to get here because I need more money. But I actually forgot it was even payday until I checked my account yesterday. That just doesn't happen here, and it was total wake up call. When you tell your money where to go, you have total control over it. It DOES NOT control you.

Hope everyone has a great afternoon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Envelope System Day 7

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! We had a wonderful time at my parents house. This holiday is especially meaningful to my family. David is in the Marines, and my brother, Matt, is in the Navy. Matt is currently underway and will be back stateside by fall, so this weekend was bittersweet.

We left Thursday headed to my parents house and stayed there through Monday morning, then headed home with my sister. She'll be staying with me again this week, since she only had a few more weeks before school starts back. I was nervous about traveling on the ES, but it worked out really well. For me, the best part was not having to remember to write it all down in my check register. I am awful at doing that on vacations and while traveling, so using cash made that much easier. We only used the debit card once, and that was for gas. We didn't spend more then we planned and we didn't dip into our money for this week. So I'd say that's a definite success!!!

Oh, and I didn't make a post about this because I was busy getting ready for the weekend, but last week I made a trip to the commissary and got some great deals. My total before coupons was $80, and my final oop was less then $3. $4 was the surcharge, so my total savings was 101%. I was with my best friend and I told her I almost wanted to cry. I really needed that good trip to motivate me!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Envelope System: Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of our new envelope system, and I'm excited to get started posting about it! We started out by sitting down together after dinner the night before payday and making a budget. I think it's extremely important to base your budget on the events and specific needs of that pay period. For example, July 1-15 will include a trip home to Florida for the 4th of July, as well as both my parents birthdays. Therefore, we budget accordingly.

Here are the amounts for July 1-15:

Grocery/HBA: $120
Cash: $100
Gas: $75
Entertainment/Misc: $100
Travel: $180
Gifts: $50
Dog: $20

Day one went really, really smoothly. I love paying cash! And it's so convenient to pay with cash and not have to swipe that card for $1 here, or $3 there. I'll update in a few more days, but for now HAPPY 4Th OF JULY!!!!