Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cutting Spending

Some of the ways we have been cutting spending money...

  • Not getting fast food very often unless there is money for it in the family spending money. 
  • Not getting Starbucks very often unless it's in the family spending money. 
  • Having at home Movie night (renting a movie from Amazon for $5 or from on DVD from Redbox $1.99). We do this with candy and popcorn (we have an air popper which makes some great popcorn too) and sodas at home. 
  • Instead of going to ice cream places.... taking the kids to pick out half gallons of ice cream which allows us to have ice cream many more times than just the one time at the ice cream place. Getting sundae fixins' to make sundaes at home too. 
  • For going to movies out... $5 movies... and not getting any drinks or snacks while there. A small popcorn cost more than the movie admission... no thank you movie theater. 
  • I got a library card for myself and have been using the overdrive app to borrow E-books on my kindle from the library. Reading a lot keeps me busy and keeps me from shopping too. 
  • Not buying bulk sizes just because we have a SAMs membership, instead buying what we need for that two week period. 
  • Finding things we can do that don't cost money... like walking around IKEA... I could walk around there a lot and am not tempted to buy anything... and there is always a few dollars in our pocket in case one of the kids or Bry wants a vanilla cone haha. 
  • Bowling... an affordable option for family fun. We haven't done this yet but it's in our plans. 
  • Think ahead... it's too late this year but for next year we want to make sure that in January we begin to put money aside for birthdays and holidays for the up coming year. And we want to set up a sinking fund category as Dave calls it, for the camping vacations we want to take.. tent camping... nothing fancy but we feel this would be a great thing to do with the kids and the dogs while being cost effective and budget friendly. 
  • For grocery shopping... keeping up with detailed menu planning and using a pen and pad to keep track of what we are spending as we shop to keep in budget. If you see a gal using a notebook to add up prices... yeah that's me haha. Please say "hi". 
  • Keep up with unschooling the kids... every once in a while I'm tempted to buy some fancy item for homeschooling... Yesterday I wrote out a list of what Skylar is doing for her 9th grade year using educational speak for the things she does in daily life. Let me say that kid covers a lot of college level stuff and beyond. So that was good. So just to keep on top of that list to help me avoid needless spending on supplies. 
  • Remember to ask myself if things are needs or wants before making a purchase. Old Melissa would have purchased all the camping stuff we want on a credit card and worried about it later. There is such power in waiting and planning and saving. 
  • Staying in God's word daily. I do some verse mapping each morning on the daily verse that the You version bible app shares each day. Praying daily that God will keep me steadfast in our budget and avoid the temptation to spend. And then I'm doing the 17:18 bible journaling, right now doing the book of John... So marinating a lot on God's word. 
  • Focusing on being content with what we have in the moment not what we wish we had. 
~Many blessings to you and yours~ 

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19, 2016

Today is Payday... so we have made some payments today of course.

We paid down more of the citi card, $651 toward that bringing that balance down to $2,687.20.
We also paid some of the PSECU but that's not due until the 25th so I wait to update the balance after the payment is credited on that account, just because of the interest.

Bringing our total debt balance to $40,562.41 as of today.

Bry and I had sent my parents FPU for home study. In the mail yesterday I received a box, and when I opened it it contained the unopened FPU that I had sent them. They never opened it.
Bry and I decided to keep it and popped in the first DVD. What a great speaker Dave is... and he is so funny. I listed to his Podcast every day but seeing him and his facial expressions as he acts things out... well it's just great. So their loss is our gain in this instance for sure.
We watched two lessons last night. The first being Super Savers and the second (we accidentally skipped ahead to lesson 3 being Cash flow planning. So we are going back to watch lesson 2 the next time Bry is off.
Sparked lots of laughs and more importantly lots of thoughtful discussion on our debt and our dreams.

So even though I had felt prior that if someone read the books maybe they didn't need FPU. FPU is definitely well worth the expense just as it's so motivating!
I signed up for the online tools that comes with the membership, very cool!

~Have a blessed day~

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Down goes the debt

We started this journey with $50,530.01 in debt.
Now the total amount is $41,213.77, so since May when we started we have paid off $9,316.24.

As of today the balances due are:
Citi Card:             $ 3,338.56
Car Max (Van):    $ 6,227.97
PSECU Credit:    $15,757.71
Amex:                  $15,863.14 (this one is a little tricky as it's not going down fast enough as I hadn't been making a payment enough to cover the interest, the min due always said zero so I just kept paying $50 a month. Stupid tax as Dave Ramsey would say and now the payment is up to $286). This is effecting the snowball as the money I was paying on on discover was supposed to be shifted to Citi and instead it's going to Amex. So just a small blip in the matrix. This is why after Citi is paid we are going to pay the Amex as the next debt in line.

Since last time I update I did end up setting up a free checking account to use for auto payments online for Xbox and for Bry's gym membership as well. The gym had overcharged us by a month and the capital one card credited us right back, so I'm waiting to see if the gym tries to bounce that charge back to us again before moving on closing this card and moving over to using the debit card instead for this.

The family van is in the shop... since August 2nd.... So that has been an inconvenience. We had it at a local dodge dealer... it's a dodge Van... and they were not helping us... this isn't the first time we have had this experience. So we pulled the van and took it to a Hyundai dealership for service. Here's hoping it's fixed in a timely fashion. We did have to pay $300 deductible for the work that dodge did do on my van, as we have a warranty from CNA that was offered to us when we bought the van through carmax. Hence the $300 cost to us from Dodge. We were told by the warranty company that this would count as one event and shouldn't have to pay the $300 deductible again. The AC compressor is what caused us to take the van in for service and that compressor had been replaced by Hyundai for us with a certified warrantied Chrysler compressor. Dodge refused to honor the warranty on the Chrysler part, which is why we pulled the van and took it elsewhere. Here's hoping I get my van back soon. Getting hard not having a car that fits the entire family.

~Have a blessed night~