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.