Friday, May 31, 2013

What's the Point of a NO SPEND Day Anyway?

After all if I don't buy the milk, and the eggs, and the cocoa powder today I'll just buy it tomorrow. What did I accomplish by putting off the purchase just one day?

I'd like to think that NO SPEND days are very healthy like exercise. For financial weaklings like me successfully accomplishing challenges like a NO SPEND help significantly strengthen my financial muscles. Even if you'll just purchase the milk, eggs, and cocoa powder tomorrow you still had to have a plan in place that allowed you to have all your necessities for today. And every single NO SPEND day guards you from impulse buys. You weren't able to plop that candy bar on the belt today if you didn't spend a penny now were you?

NO SPEND days:
Help teach the unorganized shopper to plan
Guard against impulse buys
Offer little financial goals during the long arduous process of paying off debt
Encourage frugality
Definitely help save money
If you try for a few NO SPENDs I think you'd be surprised at the little things you end up not buying.

All that being said I'm going to shoot for an every other day NO SPEND challenge in June. My goal really will be 10 days total because I'm wise enough to know there will be pit falls. But 10 days would be great!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Little Glimmer of Hope

I generally budget 6 months out. So until yesterday I hadn't anything penned out past June. The past few months have been tight and on top of it, as I've mentioned I've been rather undisciplined. I totally strayed from the budget. Between exhaustion, that painful back injury, quickly draining the emergency fund (that I was so excited to finally have), and my husband's lack of interest in getting out of debt I threw a temper tantrum and said, "who needs to be disciplined anyway?!?!"

I would NOT recommend temper tantrums (inwardly or otherwise) as a way to deal with frustration. The results were scary. I used the overdraft alot, something I was terribly ashamed of. I used credit cards a bit, something I thought I never do again. And I started to feel that, trapped in a deep dark pit feeling again, something I've not felt for a long time.

With my financial forecast ending in June it seemed as though we were no longer making enough money to pay the bills. Yesterday I worked the budget out through October. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that temper tantrum behind me and discipline back in place n five months I should be able to pay off a credit card and replenish the emergency fund.

Lesson learned: pit stops are okay but dropping out of the game sure causes alot of avoidable headaches.

Today's lovely: Fresh baked from scratch apple pie.

You can click on my photo for the recipe link.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What Snuck Into Your Cart?

A small girl and her mother walk past the deodorant display in the front of the health and beauty department. The child spots the display and enthusiastically points at a two pack of deodorant,"OOOOOH, Mom let's get him that!!!" You might have thought she just happened upon a pot of gold, or the one item on top of his wish list, or maybe the one thing that could complete his collection. I couldn't help but smile at the excitement in her little body as she pointed to the deodorant. Her mom quickly walked past the amazing find and laughed out loud at the brilliant suggestion. I too couldn't help but chuckle when I heard her mother say, "he doesn't need men's deodorant honey. He's only five."

The funniest thing is how often we all do just what that small child did. Items are strategically placed all over the store so that we'll pick up things we don't need. The candy at the check outs for example. I feel like I've been falling prey to this more often as of late and I'd really like to start being very conscious of the situation again. I can't even imagine how much money I've wasted over my lifetime because of impulse buys. Oh, and how much junk I've had to clear out of my home as well. I think the number one defense in this battle is writing out a shopping list and getting STRICTLY what's on the list. That tempting two pack of deodorant won't be able to grab hold of you if it's not on your list and you stick to your guns.

Planning and following the plan seems to be the best way to avoid many, many problems in life.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The paychecks have posted.
I've written this weeks budget.
It does not include going into overdraft.
I wrote out the budget and gave it to my husband.
He has his spending cash for the week.

Here we go again!

So very elementary yet seemingly always such a struggle.
fun, fun

Monday, May 20, 2013

Three Day Stretch

I'm in the three day stretch right now. We get paid on Thursdays. There's always a "you can do it, just make it to Thursday" feel Monday thru Wednesday. I have been sticking to the budget since my last post. Just following along like a good girl has already got me feeling much much better. That blindfolded, denial state is such a bad place to be in.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone who commented on the "Do you Budget" post. It seems that there are a lot of woman out there budgeting and handling the finances for their families. As my husband is completely un-interested in any of our financial affairs I appreciate your comments. It's nice to know others are out their walking a very similar path.

Of the day's I've kept track of my spending I'm averaging $14.13 a day. It's been a bit too long since I've posted a daily spending update. I'm quite glad to finally be back at it.

Happy Monday!

Today's lovely: The beautiful orange azalea bush in our front yard. It's blooming right now and just gorgeous. I feel bad for that little bush because it gets attacked by ice falling off the roof every single winter. It has hardly had a chance to grow ever since we planted it about 5 years ago but it still blooms with the most gorgeous orange flowers every year. It's a trooper, a lovely little trooper.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Reality Check

I'm back to making itty bitty baby steps, crawling in fact.

My one financial goal right now is to budget for our income. I have not been succeeding lately. It feels horrible. I'm used to paying down debt. I'm used to winning those little battles like, "should I buy the frappuccino or the $1 coffee from McDonalds?" I'm used to moving payment amounts and dates around to make up for hubby's spending. But lately... ugh, lately I'm just trying to figure out how to pay all the bills and buy some groceries and not have to borrow money from overdraft every single week.

Two side trail rants: 1.) I have this horrible HORRIBLE defense mechanism almost. When money gets really tight I almost go into denial and I just avoid looking at the account, avoid tracking what's being spent, and avoid the reality of how much we actually have. I lived that way for so long and it "worked" (haha) because we always had credit we could use. Now, I'm trying (not actually succeeding 100% right now) to not use credit but I'm still falling back into this awful denial state. I guess the first step to any problem is identifying it. I know, I have to watch what is being spent and spend what is being taken in. I know this. But I freak out when our income drops down (my hours vary at work) and when Murphy stops by (he's been by alot lately) and I just close my eyes. That's my confession for the day.

Rant 2.) Why is it okay for the government to spend and spend and spend and spend like there's no end to their income but for the rest of us real life and real economic laws apply? You cannot spend money you don't have! You can borrow and borrow and borrow but even then their comes a point when you don't have enough to pay back what you've borrowed (make minimum payments). I'm SO mad at the government right now. The US owe's $59 TRILLION dollars right now. And we're spending about $100,000 a second. I'm trying to clean up my mess. But I am so sick of our elected officials making a mess that technically we as the people of the US are responsible for cleaning up. Why is it okay for them to be SO irresponsible? Why?

Okay, for today:
I scheduled most of next month's payments online.
I sat down and wrote out this week and next weeks budgets so I can show my husband exactly what we have and where it needs to go.
I recorded the past several days spending on the spending page of this blog.
I'm FINALLY posting a blog. (it's about time)
And I pulled all the weeds in the front flower beds.
That last one was my favorite accomplishment for the day. I LOVE yard work! It was sort of my reward for actually sitting down and addressing the finances that have been terrifying me lately.

Well that's where I've been. Hope you're all doing stupendously well!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mothers Day to all the "not quite yet" Moms

When I was a child my mom used to tell me that she loved me even when I was just a twinkle in her eye. I knew what she meant but I never really understood until the day my husband and I welcomed our son into the world. We were married for just about 10 years before our son was born. 10 years is a very long time to hope for your dream come true. The one thing I always wanted to be was a mom. But for 32 years all I could really do was watch everyone else enjoy their go at the one thing my heart longed most for. When I met my son for the first time I felt as if I'd always known him and ALWAYS loved him. I believe I was born with that twinkle in my eye just like my mom was; I was born already loving him.

I've always felt like a mom. I've loved kids since I was a kid. My puppies and our cat are truly children to us. I saw a video at church about orphans in Guatemala and I spent four weeks there because I felt God say, "Go, be a mom."

There is a pain that only a "not quite yet" mom knows. A pain that stabs every single time a friend's pregnancy is announced. A pain that pierces every time a beautiful little one is welcomed into the world. A pain that causes the most loving women to turn her head away from someone else's infant. All the little joys of the little mommies are almost unbearable to a not quite yet mom. Today I am only hoping to ease that pain a little. To all the not quite yet moms out there, to everyone with a twinkle in their eye, and also to the puppy and kitty mommas I wish you all a VERY Happy Mother's Day!!! If you have that twinkle or that furry loved one you most certainly are a mom. The rest of the world might not see it, but your heart knows it. Rejoice in who you are mommy! Your  furry little one(s) and your little one(s) to be could wish for no one more spectacular than you. Happy Mothers Day to you too!!!
If we hope for what we do not see we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Romans 8:25 NKJV

Do You Budget?

Has anyone else noticed that May is almost half over?

I've been in such a haze. It really feels so icky to fall down, no matter what your path is. Whether you're embarking upon a health path, career, relational, a sport or hobby, or a financial path falling off just sucks. <Shake it off, shake it off> Spring is in full bloom. My back is finally starting to feel a bit better. Every day is a new day.

Have you ever wondered how many people sit down and budget every week? I've been seriously thinking about that today. Generally I have a solid budget every week/ month. When I set it, when I stick to it life is pretty great. There's very little to worry about when you know that your money is behaving. Granted you have to say no to things you cannot afford. You have to actually think about your purchases. And you have to put effort into planning your pennies' purpose. But I'm pretty sure that most people just collect a pay check and spend money with very little thought involved. I do not think most people budget.

Okay, you are reading a financial blog but really truly curious, do you follow a weekly budget? Do you know what's coming in, what's going out and where it's going? Or do you just collect a paycheck and then spend it?

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I've been absent for a bit. April was difficult. Murphy came a knocking (Murphy's law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong). I do not like blogging when I'm in a "whoa is me" state.

For your reading pleasure here's an April recap:
Here in Michigan it rained and rained and rained and rained.
The basement flooded. We don't have a finished basement thank goodness but three to four inches of water downstairs is never a good thing. I hurt my back quite badly trying to take care of the mess. We did get the water out, along with tons of ruined stuff. Then two days later the furnace decided that it hadn't liked sitting in  all that water and stopped working. We had a cold house for a few days until the furnace guy came. It took him about 3 minutes to fix the problem but we still had to pay him (obviously). Our front door meanwhile decided to break. It was a little issue but still, please can every bit of our house rebel all at once?!?! After a week of my back getting progressively worse I decided that I needed to see the chiropractor. My health insurance does not include chiropractic work. Yep, another nice expense to throw onto the April pile. She said it will be a slow healing process. Yay me! Additionally our van has started to make a scary clunky noise while turning. I'm scared to even find out what this new expense will be. In April I ended up using the credit card. I feel like poop.

It is now May and I'm hoping Murphy and his shenanigans have left the building.

Friday, May 3, 2013

"April Showers Bring May Flowers"

Oh, oh I certainly hope so! There were SO MANY showers.