Monday, July 29, 2013

How To Give Your Budget A Kick In The Pants

Multi-Tasking
Doing things step by step is a good idea.  We follow Dave Ramsey's principals.  It keeps you focused on one single goal.  Multi-tasking is not my forte, so I've learned to do one thing well and when it is finished move on to the next thing.
In life, this doesn't always work.  With three kids, sometimes I need to do three things at once.  Usually no one gets my full attention and nothing is completed quickly or accurately.  Sometimes I don't even hear what they say.  So to focus on one child at a time while the other two wait, works much better for me.
Even in cooking when the rice needs to cook while the chicken is baking and the veggies need to be steamed, I usually get two of the three done and we end up waiting for the third thing to finish cooking. 
Our home budget had been humming along in slow mode.  Small deposits going into multiple tiny sinking funds, for future purchases: Christmas, auto repairs, animals, accountant, insurance.  Nothing was getting fully funded.  When I had to divert some funds for sports fees and back to school items, it seemed that I would never get anything accomplished fast.  I had gotten back into my old habit of funding too many buckets and nothing was getting done.

Ax That Budget!
That's when I decided to take an ax to our budget.
I kept rent, a tiny bit of food, fixed expenses and that's it.  I zeroed out ALL other categories.  Lo and behold there was lots of money left over. Slowly I added things back in, but not without first seeing how big of a shovel I could get.  I cancelled all sinking funds, blew away the blow money, cancelled the travel fund, slashed the entertainment, and squeezed the groceries til they screamed.
It hasn't always been fun.  Summer is usually the months of excess lunches out, sweet treats, impromptu dinners and excursions.  Planned expensive amusement parks and multiple extra trips to the gas station.  The last month has been a bit more relaxed and lazy.  A few free movies and an inexpensive trip to the bowling alley.  Walking has been top on the list and visits to the library have been frequent.  The money that we saved has been used to catch up on some past due bills.  Getting our finances back on track is a top priority for me in the next 6 months.  We can't keep sliding downhill in our finances or we will find ourselves with a mountain of debt again.
So the sports fees are covered, the school clothes will get bought and the light at the end of the tunnel is coming again.

Baby Step 2, the never ending saga....

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