Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas is Almost Here!

Well, the kidlets are out of school for two whole weeks!  I'm finishing up the last of the shopping online.  One down, one to go.  DS last present is the only thing left to buy!
The week had its ups and downs with spending.  I didn't actually budget for any lunches out, but I ended up spending quite a bit in that department.  I should just plan for a few "running around town, need a bite" type meals.  Although after a fun afternoon yesterday with friends at MickeyD's, I did manage to get me and all the kids to eat at home today and we had frozen pizza for dinner last night too.  I warmed up pizza for them to eat in the car between softball practices.  That saved me at least $20+.  Now all the kids and two friends are running around outside while I finish the online shopping and balance the checkbooks.  So nice they aren't being lazy all afternoon watching tv!  Love it!
Been planning the last payoff of a computer loan.  Looking forward to bidding that adeiu!  That should be next week.  My goal in the next six months is to get all the business debt transferred to business accounts or paid off.  Once that is done and our last personal credit card is paid off, I'm starting the house savings account!  Finally!  I've been looking forward to that for 5 years.  I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
A very Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekly Overview 1st week of December 2011

This has been a good week financially.  Checks from clients have come in, bills are paid, and spending is on budget! There was virtually no unplanned spending this week! Gas budget was extra low due to extra cash leftover from our Thanksgiving trip. Ran to the store to get DD#1 some longjohns and wool socks for camp, but otherwise everything else was in the budget.

The Christmas spirit is kicking in and I'm ready to decorate the house and get the shopping done.  Our gift list is pretty small and I can get a lot online.  I have my list and budget including doing some fun charity things with the kids and the business.  Just have to get going on it!  The money is all saved and sitting in the savings account. 
New Year's resolution review for 2010 coming soon along with new goals for 2012.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas is Always in December!

Are you ready?  Did you plan this year ahead of time?  Did you save up?  Or is "planning" using a credit card and paying it off for the next year.
Our family hasn't used credit cards personally to charge any item at all since 2001!!!!!  And I'm still paying them off.  Can you imagine the Christmas presents and interest I've paid?
This year and in previous years, since discovering Dave Ramsey, we've created a savings account for Christmas.  Any type of expense that is not monthly like Christmas, Auto Repairs, Vacations, or Insurance, I've created a "sinking fund".  In this fund I put a 12th of the expense every month.  So if the insurance is $175 a year, then I divide that by 12 and transfer $15 a month into a sinking fund.  Then when the bill comes due, it doesn't put a $175 hole in my monthly budget!
We do this for Christmas too.  A 12th of the Christmas budget goes into the sinking fund every month, so that when November gets here we have all the money saved!
I budget an amount and write down every present and amount spent on each person so that I can keep track of how much we've spent.
Try it!  You might like the organization and stress free feeling of the holidays next year!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Extra Pmts Good or Bad?


Our Weekend Round Up:  Well a big budget buster came when I accidently (I guess?) scheduled two payments for the same card.  That was a $344 oops.  Not good.  Well, good that that much debt is gone, bad because it is so close to Christmas and I had already budgeted that $344 for other items.
Work was a bit  hurried because we had early dismissal at school this week which meant I picked up the kids 2 hrs early all week.  That's 10 hours of work I lost.  I made a up a bit on Friday afternoon, but still am looking forward to three regular days next week and then Thanksgiving!  The good news is the "big" check came in from our client and that make our bank account fat and happy for a while!
I love Thanksgiving!  Seeing all of our family, relaxing by the fire, sleeping in, not having to clean the house or do dishes or laundry.  It's a nice vacation for me!  I also look forward to Black Friday shopping with DSIL.  We get all our ideas for each other and the kids, so it makes Christmas shopping easier.  We may take a trip to Yosemite this year as well which is always beautiful.
Planned and budgeted for our 11th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony  at our local mall.  The whole family loves it and it is definitely a beloved family tradition.  Cookies and hot cocoa too!
Took our youngest DD to the American Girl Doll store.  A memory making afternoon/evening for sure.  She was in absolute heaven.  Instead of the $50 dinner at the store, I choose to eat elsewhere and still had money left over for a few treats for her (and me!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No Plan equals Overspending!


November 16th.
Not enough planning tends to make us overspend.  When we have absolutely no cash on hand or don't budget for extra meals out during a late soccer game and don't bring food with us, we just spend and guilt follows.
I haven't been looking forward a month and planning for that month's expenses very well.  I programmed Quicken to automatically populate our register with items that occur on a monthly basis.  Unfortunately, that type of planning is only good for the "perfect" budget from heaven scenario and doesn't take into account the extra things needed for certain months.
My goal this month is to look ahead and plan the extra meals and excursions we will be doing and make sure the money is set aside ahead of time.  That way I will enjoy the time spent with family and not be nickel and diming everything because I didn't plan.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog for November 14th

End of the check cycle today! Tomorrow morning our account will be fat again. I had to transfer money from savings twice this weekend to keep up with our random food spending. $40 here, $40 there. Entertainment and dining is banned this week! I have to make up some of that so that I can put it back in the sinking fund. It is not a fund for eating! I need it for the accountant, dmv, life ins, and pet expenses.

Luckily I think our car repair hole has been plugged. I got rid of the Volvo and even though I have a huge bill that I still need to pay from the last of the repairs, I know that will be gone in six months or so. $12,269 in work for the darn thing, which includes multiple tire replacements/alignments, oil changes/tuneups, one warranty work $1144. This does not include all the covered warranty work done prior to 2008 that was covered!

I've got to sit down and plan for soccer and baseball coming up, as well as start another sinking fund for Halloween and birthday expenses for next year. I spent way too much money from the checking account without a plan this year.

Medical expenses are looking up too. We are getting an actual refund from Blue Shield that will pad our HSA account for the kids' annual physicals, a sore heel, and dh's dental. I hope that we can pay cash up front and not have a debt for any of that. God willing we don't have any major medical happen.

Our visa is shrinking rapidly now that it is the only credit card left on the personal debt side! Would love to pay it off in six months, but will slow the snowball to save up some extra for Christmas. Halloween and birthdays were quite a drain on the gift budget. I still want to get in a weekend at Disneyland too.

The 2010 federal taxes have been paid and the state taxes on are a payment schedule of $216 a month til it is paid, I think six months.

A business software contract is up in two months and that will put almost a thousand dollars back into our business pocket. I'm planning on earmarking and transferring weekly amounts of $230 to our business savings for bulking up our cash reserves and emergency fund. I have no idea what kind of buffer amount will give me peace of mind. Right now it is so small we can't even pay one payroll with it. I want to build it up, but I also want to save for a house, so we will have to see where my comfort level is when we start getting a decent amount in there. My initial thought is around 10K. But I may need more as we add more employees and payroll costs go up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Roller Coaster

Wow, the past couple of weeks have been quite a roller coaster. Our financial picture has gone down more than up. It seems like we do this every month. We get paid, spend it all and then wait until we get paid again. Some months better than others, but always the pressure. Being self-employed definitely has its ups and downs.
This last week has been especially difficult, so I've not felt the need to post because there is no progress on our debt reduction.
But I've realized that I have much to be thankful about. Watching the horrific scenes in Japan from the tsunami has been hard. I pray for those families still trying to locate their loved ones. Our family has talked and taken action about what we would do in an earthquake. Just beginning the cleanup must be overwhelming.
I am thankful for our health. I heard on the radio about a child who has a life threatening disease and needs to go to Seattle for treatment for six months. Of course, there is insurance, but her mother has to go with her leaving her husband and two small children back here. Many extra expenses will be needed while they are gone and I so wish that we were in a different financial position to help them. I am thankful that we are all healthy.
Beginning Lent makes me reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us and it makes my problems seem trivial. We have food on the table, a roof over our heads, and nice clothing to wear. We have a loving family to support us, a strong marriage, and wonderful kids. I really have nothing to complain about.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Goals/Dreams

Had a great comforting talk with DH this morning. It was a calm talk. Sometimes when we talk about difficult subjects it is hard not to get emotional. But this was a good one. I feel like we are a team, working together. We don't always discuss money issues, when to pay what bill or what amount to pay on debt or put in savings, on a daily basis. But when we do, it really makes me feel like we are on the same page.
Even when things are tight, I know that as long as we work together, we will make it through. We've had our business for almost thirteen years. We must be doing something right. I've sometimes even wondered if this was the path we should take, but God always provides for us, so I know this is what he wants us to do.
I get so wrapped up in reducing and getting rid of our debt that it becomes a detriment to the rest of the budget. I really tend to hyper-focus on a goal to the end of everything else. My DH helps me focus on the big picture. To step back from the little credit card I want to payoff so badly and see that there are other priorities too. It is a good partnership, he and I!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Organizing

Not a lot of financial news right now. So instead of focusing on the debt snowball and paying bills, I'm focusing my energy on organizing the house.
I've been doing some deep cleaning, sorting through closets, and getting caught up on domestic chores, like laundry!
In addition, I've been trying to be more organized and plan out the morning before I go to bed. This is a struggle for me because once we get the kids to bed, all I want to do is relax! But when I get the coffee and breakfast prepped the night before, plan the kids' lunches, and clean the kitchen, it is such a calm, nice morning.
I think I'm going to make a list (I love lists!) of all the things I need to do at night and then time it to see how long it takes me. Then I'll time the same tasks on a morning and see if it takes me longer in the morning.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Safety

I am learning more about safety on the internet. Wow, the innapropriate images available at our fingertips is ridiculous! Locking down the internet is something we hadn't done, but now I have. It is unsettling to have a child be exposed to things that aren't appropriate. It greatly effected me. I wish I could go back and change things. Hopefully this has effected me more than it did my child.
Please if you have children, take a moment to lock down your google search toolbar.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Death and Taxes

Making a profit on your business is always a good thing. But finding out you have to pay extra taxes is not. Luckily, we weren't too surprised about having to pay. I always have our accountant do a review mid-year, and we knew were on track to having to pay.
Luckily, we do have some money put away in savings and business is picking up even more, so we should be able to get it paid off quickly.
The down-side is we will probably have to start paying quarterly payments. Although, having a "forced" tax savings plan may not be a bad thing.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Found Enthusiasm!

Lately, I've been reading some books and blogs that have inspired me to get back to paying off debt again. We got through Christmas paying all cash and I'm now ready to payoff all the credit cards!
The first one is small, less than $1,000 left. So I'm very motivated to get it gone next month! In addition, all but $150 is left on old medical bills. That will be a weight off my shoulders!
So I will be tracking our monthly progress through the bar on the side of my blog. Hopefully this will keep me motivated!