Monthly Archives: October 2013

Just Keep Swimming

Posted on our fridge is our Family Financial Goals which is a fairly constant reminder of our plans for our financial future.

Our short term goals are all about getting out of credit card debt, our medium term goals include paying off a car loan and a personal loan from the in-laws for IVF, and our long term goals include saving for things. It’s a list of needs versus wants. We need to pay off our credit cards, but we want to finish our basement.

It works for us. Which I think is the most important piece of all. If it doesn’t work for us we don’t do it.

The best part of the paper affixed to the fridge is that we get to cross things off. We can see our progress from across the room. In big black sharpie we have each had the opportunity to strikethrough a debt… twice each! I cannot tell you how good that feels and how anxious I am to do it again.

The ever evolving list of needs and wants now looks like this:


I’ve added items like Lasik eye surgery for me (someday – when we can pay in cash!) and put more emphasis on others (like Baby Boy’s college fund). The copy on the fridge will probably (hopefully) become tattered and a marked through mess but that means we are making progress!


3 weeks in

Time for a check in! 3 weeks in and I’ve finally gotten over my fear of depleting my savings account. It does me no good to earn $4 a month when we are losing $70 a month to interest charges on credit cards. So… I took my savings down to $3,000 (after much discussion with my husband this is as low as I we are willing to go. So our Emergency Fund is established time to kill some debt!

So far this month we’ve been able to cross off 4 (yes FOUR!) credit cards. It feels amazing and is making this whole process seem much less daunting. I know it will be a while before we are debt free but each step makes me feel reenergized.

So here is where the money has gone as of yesterday:



We’re on “Vacation”

Dave says not to take a vacation unless you can pay cash for it… well, we had one planned already that was mostly paid for by my in-laws. We traveled to Florida for my husband’s grandfather’s 90th birthday. It was to say the least interesting traveling with a 4 month old and a budget.

We did okay in the grand scheme of things. We had a couple purchases at the airport, two stops at CVS (diapers! oops!) and a hefty parking fee at the airport ($84) but otherwise we ate in and refused to spend… until we hit the outlet mall. Very guiltily I purchased a new diaper bag for myself and splurged at the Carter’s outlet. $190 later lesson learned. I also scored a deal on a Coach Iphone5 case for my sister for Christmas – it was nearly 70% off!

The good news is that we have not yet “blown the budget” and we did much better than I think we would have done before Dave.

One week in

Yesterday officially ended the first week of our modified DR plan. We managed to blow the budget on home repairs – that “Man Store” trip came in at $168 and I forgot that we owed $200 towards our deck – so much for the $50 I had budgeted.

I was feeling motivated yesterday so I paid all the months bills including those that are due at the end of the month. I want to do that from now on so that I can really see what is left in the budget. The good news is that I was able to rearrange some things and paid the car insurance in full (saves us $100!) and because I had previously transferred money to pay down debt I put $1000 towards our next CC on the list. It feels so good!

I am concerned about the food budget though. We have spent $300 of the $400 for the month already. $231 at Costco this weekend :-/ the dog food and disposable diapers were $70 of it. (I don’t know how people use disposables full time, wow! they are expensive!)

I’m feeling good. I’m feeling like this could be worth it… not sure what Hubby is feeling but he isn’t complaining too much so far 🙂

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Love those words.

Yesterday I paid off the CitiCard and Best Buy card.

YAY!!! I originially planned to pay down other cards first because the Best Buy was interest free but it felt so good to have one paid off I asked Hubby his thoughts. He said it definitely sounds better to have 2 paid off than just one. Sounds like motivation to me!

I also sunk $1000 into the next CC on the list! Let’s go snowballin’!


Budget Blown

Hubby just called from “The Man Store” (aka. Home Depot)

I had budgeted $50 for home repairs and $100 for furniture replacement for the month – the deck sealer we need costs $152. I don’t know the total of this trip yet, but I’m guessing we are blowing the budget today.

not-so-happy Holidays?

Last night Hubby says to me that he needs my permission to buy two things.

1. an anniversary gift for me that he has already selected
2. an item I have already forgotten what it was

now, the fundamental issue is that my brain has already shut off the lower priced item, which I believe we actually did need or could justify, because it is hung up on the larger amount which he is intending to spend.

I put $400 in the budget for this month for gifts. We need to start buying for Christmas so I didn’t want a windfall of money leaving our account in December. We agreed to spend $100 per person for each parent and sibling (that’s $700), then probably $100 on each of us and baby boy. $1000 Christmas and we haven’t bought food, given to charity, or bought for grandparents. Yikes!

The other thing that gets us is that we have Brother’s birthday, Brother-in-Laws Birthday, and Dad’s birthday all in November. We have Father-in-law’s and Mom’s birthday in December, and Mother-in-laws and my own birthday in January. If we continue this spending pattern it is no wonder each February we discover that we have spent another $2000 on credit cards.

Now we need to have a serious talk – figure out where we can skimp, and probably be honest with family that we are trying to get out of debt and would appreciate if we cut back our spending over the holidays significantly. That talk has to start between Hubby and I but I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.

… for the record I was planning to spend $41 on his anniversary gift

Friday Check-in

It’s the end of week one. This “budget” stuff is HARD!

This week we spent:
$25 to the college fund
$30 to the water bill
$7.30 at Popeyes (Lunch with co-workers)
$425 to the car payment
$27.40 in gas for my car
$97.80 to the LAST medical bill for baby
$75 to the Capital One CC
$50 to the Best Buy CC

total spent in 3 days – $737.50!

Breakdown of spending month to date:



Family Financial Goals

A Goal should be SMART:


Here are our Family Financial Goals – I have printed this out and posted it on the refrigerator:



Baby Steps

I have taken this truncated version of the baby steps from the Diaperswappers forum:

Pre-Step 1: Get current on your debts and do a budget
Before you begin the
baby steps, you must be current on your bills and, if you aren’t doing one
already, begin doing a monthly budget.

Baby Step 1: Save $1000 cash in
the bank
Start your emergency fund. If your income is less than $20,000, make
that $500.

Baby Step 2: Get out of debt
With Gazelle intensity and
using the debt snowball, pay off all your debts.

Baby Step 3: Finish the
emergency fund
With the money you were paying towards debt, now with no debts, you can save 3-6 months of expenses into a fully funded emergency fund.

Baby Step 4: Save for retirement
Saving 15% of your income
didn’t seem possible before, but with no payments, you’ll be ready for
retirement and not have to take a job as a Wal-Mart greeter.

Baby Step 5:
Save for College
Instead of taking out student loans, your kids will be
eternally grateful you thought ahead and had a plan for their higher

Baby Step 6: Pay off the house

Baby Step 7: Build
Wealth and Give It

Expanded Baby
0.1 Commit to NEVER borrow $$$ EVER for ANYTHING other than possibly a
0.2 Talk with spouse and get him/her on the same page as you concerning
0.3 Do a written budget
0.4 Temporarily stop all retirement
0.5 Get current on the basics (You MUST have Food, Utilities,
Shelter, Basic Transportation)
0.6 Amputate “toys” (bikes, boats, ATV’s etc)
if they will keep you from completing the snowball within 12 months
0.7 Cut
lifestyle (Cut CATV, Cellphone, Regular phone “extras”, Internet, Eating out,
etc) and/or take a second job if $1000 EF will take more than 30-90 days.
(depending on income)
0.8 Get current on ALL bills.
1.0 Save $1000 in Baby
Emergency Fund (EF)
1.1 Chop up CC’s. (You have an EF now, no NEED to keep
those CC’s!!!)
1.2 Get Health Insurance NOW (chances of getting sick w/major
medical bills are larger than that of death), especially if you have
1.3 Get Life Insurance NOW if you have debt/your family couldn’t
make it financially if you died. Especially important if you have children!
Social Insecurity only provides a small amount of coverage if you have
1.4 Amputate cars that you can’t pay off within 24 months (you
have an EF to fix “bondo buggy” if something should happen)
1.5 Consider
raising insurance deductibles to $500 or $1000 and dropping full coverage on
paid for “bondo buggy” (you have an EF ya know)
1.6 Draw up a will.
Get Long-Term Disability Insurance.
2.0 Do debt snowball, paying all your
debts from lowest BALANCE to highest.
2.1 You can take your first vacation
since finding Dave if you can pay cash for it. (no using the EF!!!)
3.0 Save
3-6 months EXPENSES in EF (FFEF)
3.1 Start replacement car fund.
3.2 Save
up 20% for home purchase OR pay down existing mortgage to the point that you can
drop PMI.
3.3 Start furniture or other non-essential stuff replacement
3.4 Move up in car if you still feel the need to (must pay cash for
it!, you can only buy NEW if you have a net worth over a million dollars)
Start contributing 15% of your paycheck to retirement.
5.0 Save for kids
college fund.
6.0 Pay off the house early.
7.0 Live like no one else since
you have lived like no one else! Give, Build Wealth and Have Fun!


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