Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reworking a Budget

I think it's really important to keep a budget a flowing, moving thing. Yeah, I used the "b" word...but it's necessary for us, or our money just disappears. (My other comment would be "grow up and stop being scared of a word", but that might just be mean...)

With the new beginning of the year paycheck (see last entry), we had to sit down together and figure out where our newfound wealth of an additional $177 after taxes per month would go. Actually, what usually happens is that I sit down and look it over, show it to him, he makes suggestions and changes, and on it goes until we're content.

Unfortunately, our cc minimums increased by almost $70 a month, and our electric/gas bill went up by $20/month. That sucked up $90 of that "extra" money. Then, we've been struggling with gasoline (it was over $3/gallon for awhile, and now, thank God, it's down to $2.39 for the moment), so we upped that category a little bit. Why is it that bills never go down, only up?

So we pushed and prodded and tweaked...until it's all accounted for. We do ZERO-BASED budgeting, which means that we start with our paycheck and account every dollar somewhere until we reach zero. The category might be something like "Blow" or "Treat Ourselves", but it goes into a category. If we don' disappears.

I think we have to treat our money with may not be a living thing, but if it doesn't know where to go, why would it go somewhere great - like paying off cc's or going into savings?

In the money saving category, I'm working on the grocery bill. It's just too high for two people, no kids. So today - pancakes for breakfast and homemade pizza for dinner. I got some chicken out of the freezer (el cheapo legs and thighs) which I plan to cook up this morning, let sit to get the fat out, and make chicken dumpling soup this afternoon (Yummmmmy!). That will take care of a couple of dinners and my lunches for the week.

Budget is not an evil word - it's a working word. I like that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Paycheck year roll-over

The first paycheck of the school year is always the best because it shows the changeover for one more year of experience. With experience + education, we saw a $177 increase per month (we only get paid once a month) after taxes.


I was halfway enthusiastic about going to Boston Store tonight for their "hiring carnival", but hey...almost $200 a month is about what I'd make there...that's what the increase was...maybe, for now, I'll be happy with that.

We could always use more, of course, but...

Plus, I found out that I have only 3 years to get 24 credits or I'll bottom out on the paycheck. It's a weird teacher-pay thing. So...maybe I'll go back to school. Again. It would defer my current loans. And with more loans we could probably pay off the cc's. Nothing like moving it to a lower interest, tax deductible, 30 year rate.

Dave Ramsey would cringe and yell. I know.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Two things posted on ebay. The bathroom is clean, and I even got some stuff back in the linen closet. We got 16 ears of corn from Woodman's for $1 today. Got boxes and packing material from my mom for free (for ebay stuff).

It's all good.

I am slowly learning that I can do just a little - that everything doesn't have to be finished at once. You'd think I'd know that at my age.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The last two weeks have been amazingly full of things to do...we were doing okay following a budget until we found out that I had made a bank error - in our favor! Then, we spent about $150 in three days - gas, eating out, in general being terrible money-minded individuals.

But - we sold a bunch of stuff on ebay (about $100 for the moment), and I finished the bridesmaid's dress (another $100). We're sending a chunk to Best Buy and setting some aside for xmas.

We put some clothes on layaway at Walmart and decided to pay half this paycheck and half the next. We didn't put it on the cc, which is a big step.

We've sent some extra to Best Buy - deposits from sales. Also a big step.

We've been making meal plans and pretty much sticking to them. Also a big step. :)

So...slowly but surely. Dh found something online that he's interested in doing. If it works for him, more info here later. Also - I can get into ebay sales again now that the bridesmaid's dress is done & delivered, plus the first two weeks of school are over and I'll have more time.

I might get a job for the xmas rush. We'll see. I know I say that every year, but hey...Boston Store or Penney's could be really nice. And it would only be for two months or so. Anyone can do anything for two months.

Okay - not much else. More later. :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Not much going on - lots of work, getting back into the swing of things with school starting back up, making a bridesmaid's dress, ebaying...

The ebay is going decent. I don't have the time right now to list more, with school starting, that dress I need to finish (wedding is two weeks from yesterday) and still trying to finish up the bathroom. We've made about $75, with about $30 (as of now) ending within about 3 days.

We've been having car problems, which really cuts into the amount we can send to the BECC's. We had to replace the water pump & thermostat ($200), and he says the catalytic converter is shot ($250+) and the valve cover gasket needs to be replaced ($500+). I guess next on the list is the catalytic converter - he was amazed that we've never had to replace it, our car has 170,000 miles on it. But man...where are we going to come up with another $250 - $300?

I vowed when I bought this car that I'd keep it until the monthly upkeep rivaled car many months do we continue until we give in? I hate car shopping - and have no desire to have a car payment again, even though we have no money put aside to buy one.

It's just about to the point that I need to reconsider the second job thing. There's no news on the soc sec lawsuit (dh is going to call the lawyer this week to see what's up), and we need the cash. If that came through...well, things would definitely be easier. But there's no sign of that happening...

Okay - I need to go update the bills to see where we're at until payday.