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Cancelled Satellite TV

November 17th, 2010 at 03:18 pm

Today I reduced our monthly bills by $109, and it felt great. Our 2-year contract was up last month. It's something I've been thinking about doing for a while now but kept talking myself out of it.

After watching Downsized, I decided to cancel. The Bruce family met with a financial planner who questioned their cable bill as something of importance. It made me realize that the TV keeps me from doing a lot of stuff that needs to be done.

Years ago we had cable and my husband commented that he would get a lot more done if we didn't have it. I cancelled the next day. With less options on TV, we did more. When we moved, we could barely pick up any local channels. This was before the digital switch so the channels were grainy. Cable was not an option to us so we went with satellite TV. I have enjoyed it but feel it is the right time to let it go.

Now if I can cut $100 from our budget weekly, that'd be awesome.

Cash is Awesome

October 29th, 2010 at 08:18 pm

The past two weeks we have been back to using cash for everything except gas. I'm proud to say that the cast lasted the whole two weeks.

It was a little rough after the first week. I didn't start week two with as much cash as I had expected. Plus with the fair and a trip to the pumpkin patch, I had doubts that I could make the cash last. But it did. For the first time in a long time, we actually had money in the account on payday and didn't touch savings.

These past two weeks I haven't worried about money. Using cash gives me hope we can finally make our money work for us and start saving more.

Back to Cash

October 21st, 2010 at 03:55 pm

A few months ago, we tried the envelope system for everything but gas. It is just too convenient to swipe the debit card at the pump instead of paying with cash. Last week we went back to using cash for everything except gas.

It seemed last time to take about a pay period to get used to cash. Using cash shows us how much we spend without really thinking about it. The weekend after payday is always the worse. We will spend $100-$200 without even realizing it - and we're not buying stuff. It's from eating out and impromptu trips to the grocery store. Maybe a trip to the bookstore is thrown in there. But using cash we see the ugly truth - we are spending way too much money.

I love cash because it means that the bill money is in the bank. I don't have to worry about figuring groceries, lunches, etc. out of the amount in our account.

I have been saving my receipts so that I see where every penny of the cash went. This way I know exactly where I need to tighten up my spending.

It is such a relief to spend cash. Now hopefully we can get our spending under control and get rid of our debt.

Flexible Spending Account

August 26th, 2010 at 09:08 pm

This year we doubled our flexible spending account amount. Next year we will drop it back down, but this year we wanted to get a some major dental work done.

My husband had a tooth extraction today and had to visit an oral surgeon. We had to pre-pay $280. The whole procedure is right at $500 and insurance is not expected to pay any of the $300 anesthesia bill. So, in a few weeks it's possible we will be getting the rest of that bill.

Thank goodness for the flexible spending account. It just makes me feel better that at least we have one financial area that we have planned out. Now if we can get the rest of the budget as well thought out we will be in good shape.

Emergency Fund

August 25th, 2010 at 04:30 am

It seems our emergency fund never gets to be a nice, padded amount. There is always an emergency that comes up - which makes me think we should be added more categories to our monthly budget.

This week we will have to replace a tire on my husband's Jeep. It has been a money pit since we bought it. It does get us around but it has just had one issue after another. The Jeep is used so you expect some problems but still it is really getting aggravating. The lesson also to learn from this is to never spend money when you feel rushed. We needed a new vehicle really bad and jumped on the first one we found. Never again. I hate that I keep having to pay stupid taxes as Dave Ramsay would call it.

We'll survive but it just seems like we are barely treading water lately. My job at the beginning of the year just wasn't for me. I had to quit or lose my sanity. Now I'm thinking being sane is overrated and should have stayed with the job. Hopefully we can get back in the driver's seat in September. Between my husband's raise and dropping a few bills, we should see a nice increase in our budget. Maybe then we can stop dipping into the emergency fund so much.

Spending Less

August 21st, 2009 at 07:45 pm

Today is payday for my hubby. Since we are tired of living paycheck to paycheck, we have resolved to live on less than we make starting today.

For me that means sticking to a budget. I plan on using eBay to make my spending money and to keep unplanned spending to a minimum. It'll be hard because I'm a firm believer in retail therapy. Either I shop or eat when I'm feeling down. I need to change both of those habits.

June Already?

June 15th, 2009 at 01:12 pm

I can't believe it is already mid- June and I haven't been tending to this blog. My one excuse for the past week at least has been sickness. I caught whatever is going around then of course my husband and daughter now have it. But before that, I'm not sure what happened to make me not update here as often as I should.

One issue is that I just haven't felt on top of our money as I did in May. My husband had a smaller check because of negative earned time off, so that put us in a bind. Since then I just can't seem to get back on track.

I have a rough budget for the month but need to look at our bills again. I'm behind on my credit card payment but plan to get that taken care of either this week or the next. First I need to make a little extra money to help get back on track.

Hopefully now that I'm feeling better I can get things going again. We still want to be credit card debt free by the end of the year, which means we need to tighten our belts and make some extra cash.

Expensive Weekend Trip

May 18th, 2009 at 01:17 pm

We went out of town this weekend. We hardly ever go anywhere, so we decided to 'live it up.' Of course we went over budget on spending. We had taken cash and when that ran out, we turned to the debit card. So the rest of the month will be filled with frugal spending and trying to make extra money to not rely so heavily on savings to make up the difference.

Even though we went over, I wouldn't change anything. It was such a great weekend and one that was much needed.

We had budgeted roughly $400 for the trip but spent closer to $500. With my husband's pay check being about $300 less due to him being in the negative for earned time off, going over budget will cut steeper into savings. That makes me sad since savings is finally getting to a nice amount. But hopefully next month we can rebuild savings and put back at least half of what we are taking out this month.

Saving Money While Traveling

May 14th, 2009 at 01:30 pm

We are going out of town for the weekend and I'm super excited about it. When we travel we try to be as frugal as possible about some things so that we can enjoy what we want in other areas.

Food is a good example. We will bring snacks, drinks, and sandwich items so that we can save money at meal time. This way those meals that we do eat out can be a little nicer.

We also always stop at the welcome center when traveling to pick up brochures and coupons.

So how do you save money when traveling?

Thank goodness for savings

May 12th, 2009 at 07:04 pm

My husband's job has been crazy this year. First the company filed bankruptcy and then they were sold to another company. But the new company isn't hiring everyone. So that has been up in the air if he would be hired until about two weeks ago when he found out he would be hired. Now he is in the last few weeks before the new company takes over.

He has a negative personal time balance and knew that the company planned to take it from one of his checks. Well they are taking it out of Friday's paycheck. His check will be $300 less.

This weekend we are planning to go out of town - a trip I have been looking forward to for weeks. My husband was worried we would have to cancel since his check will be less.

Here is the beauty of budgeting and saving. I already know how much of his check will need for bills and the amount he will receive will cover it. Our weekend trip was coming from money in savings anyway, so it is already paid for. We usually 'blow' at least $100 on non-essential stuff. We'll just cut that out and we will only be down $200 - the amount he has automatically put into savings from his check. So if we really need it, we can just grab it from savings.

I'm hoping to eBay and do some online writing to make up the difference and not have to pull it from savings. Still it's nice to know it is there in savings if we need it.

Over Budget for Week and it's just Monday

May 11th, 2009 at 09:50 pm

So maybe my $30 estimate for groceries for the week was a little on the low side. I spent $54 but not all of it was grocery-related. I picked up the girl some more paint and paint brushes. That was probably close to $10(it was big pack of brushes plus a palette to mix paint), but she loves to paint. It will keep her occupied for hours so definitely well worth the money.

I did buy a few items like toilet paper that we don't necessarily need today but might need by the end of the week. I'd rather buy it now than have to return to the store later in the week.

I will probably hold off on the digital TV converter but go ahead and buy the fan. It's really hot and a fan would help out greatly.

The Plan for the Week

May 10th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

This week should be pretty easy as far as groceries are concerned. We have a few things in the pantry that I plan on using. So I should can spend less than $30 and get everything I need.

This week I also hope to buy an oscillating fan. This week Walgreen's has a deal on their 3 speed fans. You buy one and get Register Rewards. So I can spend $1 more for the fan($19) and get $5 in Register Rewards. I just have to remember to use them before they expire.

I would also like to pick up a digital TV converter box. I have the coupon, so it should only cost us $13.

So I'm looking at spending around $65 this week. I have about twice that amount in my bills/grocery account. If I can stick with that, then we should be in really good shape for our weekend trip out of town.

Happy Mother's Day

May 10th, 2009 at 04:18 pm

Today the girl woke up at 4am in the morning and crawled into bed with us. It wasn't too long after that my husband rolled out of bed to give us more room. Well when I woke up, I found that he had already been to town and bought Diet Cokes(yes!) and pink and white roses.

I love fresh cut flowers but really don't like spending money on them. I worried that he spent way too much money. But found the receipt. He spent a total of $20 on roses, so that's not too bad. So now I can fully enjoy them knowing they won't put us in a financial bind this week before payday.

Frugal Graduation Gifts

May 7th, 2009 at 04:41 pm

Between my husband and me, we have about 25 nieces and nephews. This year two are graduating from high school and one is graduating from college. This makes for a stressful May as we try to attend graduations and two of these will be out of town.

We probably won't make the college graduation. Next year she will be attending a 4 year college. It's this weekend and it's out of town. So we are going to send a card. I'd like to send a little gift but need to be frugal since it isn't budgeted. The other two graduations are in the month's budget.

I'm thinking I can take some of the scrap booking supplies I have that I'm seriously considering selling on eBay and make her a card. Then I could possibly crochet her something from my massive yarn stash. I'm so proud that she will be attending my Alma mater next year and am thinking I could whip up an afghan in the school's colors. There is no way I could do it by the weekend but it would be a nice 'send off' gift before she actually goes on campus in the fall.

I could make a no sew blanket even though I would have to buy the fleece. It still could be a nice gift for under $15. I definitely want to do something with the school's colors.

Any frugal graduation gift ideas would definitely be appreciated.

New System for Paying Bills

May 5th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Last month I tried something different with our money. We have two checking accounts. They aren't his/her accounts but one is an account I had started for my freelancing money. Last month I tried using that account for paying bills. So when my husband got paid, the first thing I did was to move the bill money to that account. I also move the grocery money and household expense money. That way what is left in the checking account is gas money and lunch money for my husband. That way he knows how much money he has to make last until the next pay period.

What always happens to us is that we spend way more than we should when my husband first gets paid. We have money in the bank, so like dummies, we think we can afford to splurge. Then what happens is we don't have enough money to pay all of our bills. It's really been depressing since my husband makes enough money for the bills and for our other expenses.

It worked really well last month. It was definitely less stressful so I'll do it again this month.

We are huge fans of Dave Ramsey and have tried the envelope system before. We may go back to it for groceries, gas, and lunches. That would help us build up our checking account if we aren't constantly tapping it for expenses. That's the great thing about cash. It keeps you on a budget.