Question for the group

how far out in advance do you plan your budget, and in how much detail? We have two levels of planning here – the monthly budget, which we use as our general indicator of what can be spent. And then I work a weekly cash flow spreadsheet each Friday, for the week to come. That cash flow is a lot more specific. For instance, I’ll allocate X amount in the budget for monthly spending at the grocery, but I’ll figure out how many cups of yogurt, how many trays of drumsticks, etc, I’m going to get that week and at what price.

We started

the year owing the little snake BOA( we have a much bigger BOA account too) $2,920 and currently have it down to $2,146 with a snowball payment due to be paid on it this Thursday of $275 which will put it below the $2,000 mark. Considering this bill started out at $10,000 and a MUCH higher interest rate the day my dh lost his job in 2009 I think we’ve actually been doing killer on it, but I am so anxious to see it gone! The sooner it is gone the faster we can start on Best Buy and they are the bill I have that I hate the most right now. They are charging us 9% interest on our debt payoff plan and that is just burning my math nerd backside to see nearly 1/3 of what we are paying monthly going to stupid tax. My goal is to get BOA paid off by April 1, 2013 so we can start on Best Buy in April. Now to just come up with that $2,000

Another thing I am really liking

By staying home all weekend we also saved a bit on the fuel budget. I did do the one merchandising shop last week on my errand day and drove less than 10 miles to accomplish all I needed to do. This week I have another merchandising shop scheduled to do at Wal-Mart so I’ll do that on the day I need to do my Wally World shopping so as to not spend any extra fuel with that job. Basically any more I only do 1-2 shops a week that will coincide with an errand I need to do. So it will basically pay for my fuel to do the errand.I also worked some more on my garden planning for this year, but that project is going very slow in deed. Which is not good since it is about time to start planting the cooler weather crops and the geese are still in the garden. But the guys can only do so much construction in a single weekend and the actual goose pen needs a LOT of work. I guess that work will need to be scheduled after the pantry remodel is completed and before the basement organization. LOL!

I love it!

Saturday the guys finished up building the easel for ds’ work station in the office and it works great.Sunday while ds worked on his taxes dh designed my can rotators and tiered shelving for the pantry remodel I’m wanting while I started emptying the pantry—a bigger job than it sounds (blog post soon on this endeavor). He pretty well has it all designed out and will use my $60 seeded-seedless grapes Lowe’s refund gift card to purchase what few materials he will need to make it. I’m very excited about this pantry remodel and hope it all works out to what I want it to be.I learned some more of the ends and outs of Grocery Tracker and am liking this ap more and more. This too will appear as a blog post in the not so far off future.
Another thing I am really liking is the continued work on the decluttering process of the house. We all work on it for at least some part of every day and things are really starting to get organized around here.

This week I fed her a bit due to one of my little royalty checks

coming in slightly higher than expected. Most of the check went into the bef to help replenish it, but I couldn’t resist putting some on the pet gazelle of the moment because according to the snowball spreadsheet I only needed to add $25 to drop another month off the sheet for this particular bill. I love seeing that paid pop up on that thing! Just wish we were all finished.
I also was able to put an extra bit on because for the third week end in a row we did not eat out. We’ve agreed, as you know, that each time we don’t eat out we put that money toward BOA immediately. Since weekends generally would find us eating roughly $20 worth of fast food for each time we ate out I put $20 on the BOA every Monday that we don’t eat out all weekend, it’s not much, but hey every little bit helps on this interest charging account. That makes $60 of just money not used for dining out so far this month that has been paid on the account.

We got two estimates for people coming out

One was $70 and the other $90. We talked with our landlord to see if they would rather have their maintenace guy call someone. He called the guy he would call instead of us just finding someone.
Well $45 later, the refrigerator is okay. Aparently our quick action to pull it out from the wall and vaccuming it out saved it from having a circuit breaker filp. The safety came on and that’s what caused it to warm up. The refrigerator was trying to keep itsself from over-heating.I’ll admit I tried to clean the coils two years ago, but I’m use to seeing them on the backside of the frig not covered up. They were underneath unbeknown to me and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway since I can’t tilt the refrigerator on my own to clean it and DH was in Iraq when I first thought about it.
You can guaruntee that won’t happen again. The repair guy helped my DH tilt it so we could finish cleaning it. He did inspect the copper tubing and found that the corrosition was just on the outside due to condensation and that the tubing is inact and should work for several more years. Yay!. That refrigerator is only about 13 years.
Murphy avoided! 🙂 Thankgoodness and at half the cost of some other guy coming out.

I took the comments from last week about budgeting

and sorta ran with it. Not only have I started to build weekly budgets for the rest of February (and already seeing the benefits of doing so), I’ve also built a table of assorted financial planning tasks to be done throughout the year. They can be weekly tasks, such as paying that week’s bills, monthly tasks like working out the next budget or reviewing our spending, or quarterly/yearly tasks such as getting all our tax reporting done. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I’m going to schedule time to work on financial stuff at least a little every day. For a long time, I would dread having to work on financial stuff, because it seemed such an intrusion into my schedule and whatever else I had to work on at any given time. So the tasks would pile up and then of course by the time I made time for it, there was too much to do at any given time. But by proactively spending at least some time on it every workday, I can take care of small tasks before they turn into big tasks. And I can pay bills and do reporting before due dates, so we don’t run into late fees anymore.
Feels good to turn this group of tasks into a regular, frequent, small-bites-at-a-time sort of thing, instead of one big looming monster waiting for me every month.

Well, it’s done.

We ended up with a minivan for $1150 out of pocket. We bought it from a dealership, and had our mechanic (f-i-l) give it a look-over/test drive. He said if we didn’t buy it, he would; and if we didn’t like it he’d give us our money back!
I feel like a huge load has been taken off my shoulders! I am relieved that my husband has something safe and *as-far-as-we-know” dependable ride! Mary in TN who blew the spending-freeze pretty good today!

Another good place to check for cars

and furniture is Assisted living centers for Seniors and active Senior living apartments. I know from personal experience that there are always a lot of both being sold by residents, or heirs of people who live in these facilities. When my dmil got to where she could no longer safely drive we sold her car it was low mileage and in good physical shape. It was an older tank so the blue book on it was low and we sold it below blue book to keep the roads safe for the rest of us.When my Granny moved into her active seniors complex she did not want to drive in town so we sold her car, again low mileage older car in good condition. When she moved into a nursing home and we knew she would not be coming out we sold her furniture. In both instances the managers of both places told me this was a very common occurrence. Jan who said it helped us out with their bills, while helping folks who needed a cheap car out as well in OK

Actually, it’s harder than I thought it’d be!

At Walmart yesterday, I had to buy needles. I say “had to”, because I’m quilting for a lady and she gave me money for supplies. I did get a $1 bottle of lotion, a box of Kleenex, and some lady-products. I think that’s a “need” on all of those right now! I mixed the “sweet smelling gag-me” lotion with olive oil to make a nice soothing mix for itchy, dry winter skin!!
We’re in the market for a car. I think we’re going to have to spend more than we want to on that. I’d like to know where these “$500 beaters” are! I think all the unicorns have driven them. Our 2nd car was on it’s last leg. Lots of things wrong with it… we sold it to a family member for … drum roll…. $500!It’s Sunday morning, so I’m doing laundry. I wash them and then hang wet clothes all over the house! Because our heat is on, it won’t take them long to dry. I made lots of pancakes to freeze. Baking an oven full of potatoes and I’m soaking beans for chili tomorrow. I usually take a baked potato for lunch, which is why we fix so many! We will usually have them one night for dinner too. There is an inch of snow on the ground, so I’m preparing foods that my teen son can eat while he’s out of school for snow days (Yes, you read that right.)
We’re going to see DR’s Living a Legacy this week. I’m not even sure what the show is about, but I’m excited to actually see him live. That’s what my husband got me for our anniversary gift, so we might have dinner before the show.

I balance my Quicken everyday

My bills come by email,but I look at them when it comes in and put the amount into Quicken. We don’t really do a budget. we just save X dollars, we are paid every friday, the paychecks are a recurring item in quicken. we know exactly how much money we get per month. we use a credit card, but I try not to as much as my wife. it is rarely more than $2,000, which is a small amount of our takehome pay. Our emergency fund is about 2 years of expenses with a car fund on top of that. all insurance is paid.

Our taxes

I did our taxes last night. I was just going to install the software and get the updates. (Yeah right!?!?) That’s what I told my hubby so of course he laughed when I told him that it only took me 45 minutes. He picked on me since I should have gone to bed but I like doing the taxes. I really am the nerd. I’m happy to report a small refund instead of a very large one. I adjusted our withholding in order to not receive a large one and opting to get bigger paychecks. I may be a nerd but I don’t like paying more than I have to and I don’t want them borrowing my money for free so it looks like the changes worked out. Thanks for the suggestion. I think it was Stan or Jeff.
Now we just have to wait for the IRS to accept it. We filed edcuation tax credits and I have heard that the website isn’t ready to accept those yet, so we are just waiting to hit the send button here to get a few hundred dollars.

I balance the checkbook

every 1st and 15th and pay bills then. Also I balance it every day we spend something which is rare these days. But I do check in on the account every 3 days or so just to see how much is there.
All the bills are opened.All the rest of them that deal with budgeting I have done through May.We do have one credit card but it’s a govt one for hubby that we can not use so that doesn’t count. Instead of envies we have sinking funds in the bank, works better for us . Yup got the BEF at 1K and all the little sinking funds are coming along nicely.Taxes are started, hubby is waiting for another paper or 2 before we can finish it off. We thought we would even out or pay in but it looks like we might get a tiny bit back.

After having gone through the “blow off the IRS and maybe they’ll go away” routine

After having gone through the “blow off the IRS and maybe they’ll go away” routine, we’re busting at the gate to get our taxes done this year as early as humanly possible. I have already expended so much extra time, effort and MONEY on getting current with the IRS, that’s the first bill I want to pay right now. Just submitted my first installment amount for our 2010/2011 taxes through the online payment portal, and we’ve got all our 2012 stuff put together and ready to go as soon as we can get the appt to see the accountant. NEVER AGAIN will we be late. Hurt too much the first time around.

I have a question

My husband and I just bought a new(er) house. We still have the one we lived in before and will probably rent until we can get it ready to sell eventually. Would it be better once we sell it to put that money into the new house principal or to invest it? We don’t have much retirement and are 46 & 49.

Thank you!

When the house sells

apply any proceeds from that sale to whatever baby step you are on, starting with a baby emergency fund ($1000), then any consumer debt you have—credit cards, personal loans, Sallie Mae or other school loans, etc.

If you still have some left after paying off commercial debt, then you can build up your FFEF (fully funded emergency fund) + if you need to borrow money online go to If there is still some left, put it toward retirement.

Stayed on track in Christmas spending (in cash)

Still putting money aside for Christmas, but not planning on buying anything other than presents this year. No new decorations for the house, no cards, no extras. Well, we do cut our own Christmas tree, but I can’t convince DH and kids to get an artificial tree.
Kids did Christmas shopping for each other this year. Oldest is 16, so she drove everyone to the mall. Next year I’ll learn how to give them better instructions on budget, but overall they did great!
It’s kind of weird to not have to buy those gifts, though. My DH likes to buy his own gifts for the family, so realistically I only have to buy one gift per family member. It’s strange.

Yes, kind of

I got current on bills….someday that will mean more than it does today, but as Karen said, I’m grateful for the ability to PAY bills.

I went and looked at a lease through Uber. My company reimburses me $73 a day for mileage to drive to my current location, so I was toying with the idea of getting a short term lease through Uber. After weighing all the options, I think I’ve decided not to. I might regret it later (the vehicle I’m driving to/from work has 310,000 miles on it) but for now, I think I will put the money toward getting us back on track or at least, putting that money aside for when the bough breaks.


My wife’s mother, who has never made more than $30K a year, is closing in on $500K at Vangaurd. Her house is worth about $100K. She is still working, but probably not much longer. She will be able to move near us and even a $1,000 a month apartment or $1,500 a month for assisted living, she will be just fine.

The number of vehicles/drivers

age of drivers accident tickets history, speeding tickets, and of course in today’s financial world … credit history. It all makes a difference.

Dh’s grandfather, now deceased, when in his 70’s …. he had NEVER had an accident. His rates got jacked. due to his time was coming to have an accident. Yes, he was considered overdue to have an accident.

Is that not only a matter of the # of vehicles, but also the age of the driver(s)?

I seem to recall you have a few teenagers in the house? That might be the difference. Young driver insurance can be 5x the cost (or more) of drivers who are older than 25. Frankly I’m not sure how young adults can afford to drive.
In any case, I hope you find a more affordable insurance option! I wonder if there are groups you’re affiliated with already, who would offer cheaper insurance. Church groups, AARP, sometimes credit unions, AAA, professional associations, stuff like that. If you’re a member of any such groups, you might want to check with them to see if they offer anything along those lines. Just tossing out some ideas..


We should be completely caught up by next Friday after 3 months of unemployment. I paid off some doctor and hospital bills completely (about $3k worth). I need to start researching car insurance again. Our car insurance went up to $786 a month…that is just ridiculous.