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Archive for January, 2011

New budget, first payday

January 27th, 2011 at 11:04 am

Today was the first payday that we had while on our new budget. You are probably thinking this is no big deal, but this is the first time that the end of month/beginning of month pay period has not made me panic. Let me explain. Traditionally, the paycheck that comes at the end of the month or near the beginning of the next month goes to pay the mortgage, due on the 1st of the month. DH gets paid every 2 weeks, so this means that we only have the portion of the check NOT dedicated to the mortgage left to live on, so we go into "crisis mode", only spending money on things that are ABSOLUTELY necessary. The funny thing is, after doing this every month for over 2 years we are getting pretty good at it. We have managed to make it 2 weeks on less than $200 for a family of 4! However, now that I am using YNAB and giving every dollar a job before it is spent, I know exactly how much we have to make it through until the next payday and what it will need to be spent ON. Luckily, very few of our bills are due during this time period, so we just need to pay for food, gas and other items needed to live our lives. I also know exactly where the NEXT paycheck is going and that is a wonderful feeling as well.

I feel a sense of peace for the first time in a very long time. And I hope DH never gives me that mean look he tends to send my direction when I had to tell him to only put $10 worth of gas in the truck again.

Credit cards are out of our wallets!

January 26th, 2011 at 06:08 am

That's right....we took the credit cards out of each of our wallets....even had a little ceremony as we tucked them into the safe. Until doing our budget and "giving every dollar a job" we used these cards as our safety net. Just a couple weeks ago I had to put a bunch of household necessities from Target onto the credit card because our balance on the debit card was too low and was denied. I felt awful! Not anymore!

From now on we are only getting rid of debt, not making more. Period.

Starting Over and Digging out of a deep hole

January 24th, 2011 at 06:38 pm

Wow! I did not realize it had been 3 years since my last post. I am sure no one will remember me, but I am going to update you anyway. Smile So much has happened in the last 3 years that I don't quite know where to begin. Three years ago we were well on our way to being out of debt. We had a road map to freedom and then the worst happened. In April of 2008 I lost my job. Needless to say, I was completely blindsided by it. I was told on a Friday afternoon that I was being transferred to a new team and the following Friday I was told my job didn't exist anymore. That same week I found out we were pregnant with our second child, which was wonderful news but the timing was hard. The emotional fallout has been intense and I am still not back to being "fully employed". Working in a male dominated field that is closely linked to the housing market made it impossible for me to find a job while pregnant. There were very few jobs to go around and no one wanted to hire some one who would be taking leave shortly after being hired. We survived on unemployment for a while and once that ran out I decided to start watching my friends children to bring in extra money. I am still doing this, but find it extremely soul-sucking. While I enjoy being a mom, I do not enjoy being a stay-at-home-mom.

We did/do have an emergency fund, but we never touched it. Seems counter-intuitive, but we didn't think this was bad enough of an emergency. What would happen if we were already strapped and had a medical emergency? Or my DH lost his job too? THESE seemed like the worst case scenario once we were in what we once thought was our worst case. We were doing OK, but looking back on things we were using credit cards to plug the gaps in our budget which just made the gaps in our budget bigger. We are back up to $23,000 in credit card debt and unfortunately had to take on a $22,000 vehicle loan this summer. Grand total of $45,000 in debt makes me want to cry and scream because we were so close to getting off the debt roller coaster just a couple years ago.

As of this week we are back on track. We are plugging away at the debt and embracing the Dave Ramsey "baby steps". We are using YNAB to keep us on track and both my husband and I are on the same page for the first time in a very long time. We are ready to take this debt done NOW! Each little step we take feels like we have reached an enormous milestone, just by getting our debt moving in the right direction.