Tag: budgeting

January 2018 Update

January 2018 Update

February 1, 2018

Hey Everyone,

I can’t believe that 1/12 of the year is already over. Seems like yesterday that it was the stroke of midnight welcoming in a brand new year with lots of things to accomplish. While there have been many strides forward during this month to kick off the 2018 year, there have been a couple setbacks.  As with any journey we keep pushing through to reach the finish line.

Husband and I reevaluated our financial situation for this upcoming 2018 year, especially since he is losing his GI Benefits in May and we needed to figure out how to pay for his summer classes and then the last semester of college for him. At first, it was going to be so constricting that we would have been having absolutely no room to breath, not even a penny could be squeezed out anymore.

After our conversation, we found some breathing room with him filing his FASFA for his last semester early. We just needed to figure out how to pay for the last three weeks of the current semester, summer classes and books for those times Which would have still caused it to be tight but breathable. Another windfall came as well in the form of my in-laws. Goodness, I love them. They kinda knew that with the loss of the GI Bill that we were going to have some difficulties so they gave us some money to finish paying the last three weeks of this semester, and then books for the summer. Now we just need to put aside money for books for the last semester at the University of Nevada, Reno. Much easier to come up with $500-$750 for books than an extra $6,000+.

We celebrated a whole year of braces for me, a successful eye surgery for Monster, and I even got a small promotion at work, and Husband is working on a promotion at his job. We even dropped my youngest down to two partial days at daycare to cut some daycare costs.

With all this stress and more “free time” since there isn’t as much overtime at my job at the moment (still an extra 12-20 hours a week, but less than what I did during OEP) I’ve been able to hit the streets more often. During the month of January, I’ve accumulated 36 miles under my feet. Yup, only 36. Those miles certainly feel fantastic right now. I’m only 7% accomplished with my goal of 500, but I’m slow and steady. I do not want a medical bill to worry about during this year. That can wait for a time of never.

January 36-500 miles

How about you? Did you accomplish any of your 2018 goals? Was it as hard as you thought it would be? Tell me in the comments.

Also, whoever can guess correctly the number of running miles completed by the end of February will get a special gift from me. Give me your best guess. Who knows? You might be a winner.

See you on the other side.

A Good Twist In the Journey

A Good Twist In the Journey

January 14, 2018

Hey Everyone,

So on Thursday night Husband, boys and I had dinner with Husband’s mom (MIL), step-dad (FIL), and brothers (BIL1 and BIL2). A get together is not a big deal because it is a very close-knit family that randomly has get-togethers like this, I would say every one-to-two months. Thursday was a little different.

Looks like MIL and FIL are moving all the way across the country to Tennessee in 2019. 2,316 miles away. None of us were really surprised because they had been talking over the last couple of years about the possibility of going and what would need to be done to accomplish that goal and other stuff. What surprised me was that they are going to divide their property into four equal parts and give them to Husband, his brothers and another person in FIL’s family. 8.25 acres each.

That was a major twist. A good twist in this journey.

Since that night Husband and I have been having serious discussions about the possibility of moving to TN with them. We would need to start getting our stuff together and paying down debt to save for putting up a house on the land if we decide to do it. Either way, though the land is there if we use it, or not.

Another great thing is that my job moves with me, so I don’t have to go through the awkward stage of moving to a new place and also looking for work. Unfortunately, depending on when we depart is on if Husband will have to go through the same song and dance. Finding an accounting job in TN shouldn’t be too difficult? We shall see when we cross that bridge.

What do you think? Have any of you ever move cross country? What would be some advice for us? Look forward to seeing some responses.

See you on the other side.

Recap of 2017. Welcome, 2018.

Recap of 2017. Welcome, 2018.

January 02, 2018

Hey Everyone,

The last time I spoke with you was in September. Wow! It’s been so long. I know I kinda went off the face of the Earth but I kinda had a whirlwind of chaos enter my life. Don’t you hate when that happens? I certainly do.

Well, I was in a car accident and totaled the car. Everyone was okay, including the other person I was in the accident with and my boys who were in their car seats. It was one of the scariest days of my life. I will go over at a later date in more detail about what happened and how we were able to replace the car within a week of the accident. That was the end of September.

After the accident, I decided that instead of trying to work a budget out every month and not being able to see into the financial future that I would use Excel. At first, Husband thought that I had gone and lost my mind when I made this document, but after I had it set up how I wanted he was a little impressed. I didn’t organize it by month because we get paid bi-weekly, and that would frustrate me to no end. So I did it by paycheck and then put in the amounts that are expected for income and then what bills are coming out in the pay period. All across the sheet until the end of the year. When I put in the formulas the numbers would change accordingly, which is exactly what I wanted so that I can see ahead what time frames are going to be hard for us and see what we can limit, or use some savings on. (Also, if you look the savings is only $75 which is the automatic transfer that happens from the bank each month, not including the automatic savings that comes from my paycheck each pay period, so that is slightly misleading.) I already started putting in the numbers for the 2018 year using expected numbers.

I swear the hardest part was the pie charts. The chart down below in the Expenses for the 2017 year from 10/06 to 12/28. I cannot put the income chart for that same time frame due to legal reasons with my company, but just know that during this time I made 71% of our income.

2017 Expenses Pie Chart

For some strange and blissful reason, people started panicking and calling the call center so the Overtime opportunities got greater and well before OEP started I was working 50+ hours a week, leaving me super exhausted. With the car totaled and needing to pay off the replacement, I decided to throw myself into working as much Overtime as possible. From 10/15- 12/08 I worked Monday through Friday from 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM with two 45 minute breaks before and after my regular shift to have breakfast and dinner with my family. Working Saturdays and Sundays was super difficult but I also worked from 6:00 A.M- 5:00 PM. 8 Weeks straight. I even got sick in the middle of November and had a fever of 104 degrees, with body aches, headaches and some vomiting and diarrhea. Not pleasant, but I pushed through and worked my butt off. I knew that it was worth it in the end.

I did get Thanksgiving off and spent it with my family and some very close friends.

Husband also started his job at Wal-Mart as a courtesy clerk, a.k.a. cart pusher. Since he has classes Monday through Thursday, he works Friday through Sunday. It isn’t the most glamorous job, there are days he comes home telling me about someone ODing in the parking lot, getting yelled at for closing the doors when the person’s vehicle is “Right there” and even, getting told that it is a shame that he can’t do better, on and on. We know that this job is only going to be temporary, i.e. a year. It is a temporary situation to a permanent solution.

Also, you know that chore chart stuff that I made for the boys at the beginning of the school year? It didn’t work for very long. Not because the boys weren’t doing the chores, but because they were too easy. I’ll tell you more about that in a little bit.

The last thing that would be a great thing to acknowledge is that I am so grateful to my company to allow people, such as myself, to be able to turn in our unused purchased PTO and get it the first paycheck in December. Even though we were financially stable and could have put the money towards paying off our “new” vehicle we decided to use it for Christmas gifts for the kids and family. It was our fail-safe measure to make sure that no matter what, we didn’t dip into our Christmas savings. It definitely worked.

Welcome, to 2018. Even though Husband worked New Year’s Eve until 11:00 PM. We did a mini celebration on his lunch break for the kids at 6:00 PM. This is the year that we are buckling down. We are using our Excel document, doing as much overtime as we can stand, and just making it through this year. I will still be running, but not as much as I would have hoped. This is going to be a bumpy road.

See you on the other Side.


Things We Are Teaching Our Kids about Budgeting

September 12, 2017

Hey Everyone,

People seem to have kids, be having kids, or thinking about having kids. It must be something in the water for people to have that kind of activity. I have two of my own.

Growing up my dad would get paid at the beginning of the month and then would expect to be able to go shopping at that time and that the food would last us the entire month. That would be $300 to last 5 people (2 adults, 3 growing kids) and 1 black Labrador. More often than not it didn’t. We would run out of food about a week into the month and live off of nothing but Top Ramen, pasta (in any way you can possibly think of- dry; with butter; salt and pepper; etc), or just dry cereal. Sometimes it would last two weeks in. I’m so glad that my siblings and I were able to get food at the school, otherwise, it would have gotten even worse.  During the summers, and breaks were the hardest for us.

If you were to hear this, many people would think that we didn’t have money, were poor, or were just down on our luck. The truth is, my dad actually got enough money to support us decently for the entire month and not have to worry about anything. The problem was that my dad didn’t know how to manage his money. Or make wise money decisions.

This is sad that some kids have to go through this. As a way to counteract this with my own kids, Husband and I implemented a way for the kids to earn money, and have the freedom to choose how to spend it, within reason.

chore Chart Since it’s the beginning of the school year I bought 2 different chore chart notations. (To the left is for my oldest). This is a tester model to see if this system is a right fit for my kids. On the left side is the weekly dates. Across the top are 5 repeating expectations for my oldest with monetary values:

Homework- 2 cents

Quiet Time- 3 Cents

Pick Up Toys- 1 Cent

Eye Patching- 2 cents

All 4- 2 cent incentive

So far it is having mixed results for the effectiveness. My oldest is in Kindergarten so he doesn’t come home with homework. So there are two workbook pages that he CAN work on if he wants. Quiet time is during the times that I’m working. I cannot be on the phones at home and have someone hear, “Mommy, can you come wipe my butt? I pooped”. They need to be quiet. Picking up toys is so easy and basic. And eye patching, oh man. With my son’s eye problems, he hates wearing his eye patch, for every day that he wears one for the full 6 hours, he gets some money. As you can see the ones that are consistently being not done are the homework and toys.

At the end of the day, I will put a sticker in the correct spot to show that he accomplished the task and then on Friday I will pay him accordingly. I will give him pennies for each task completed and any incentive that was earned, and also make a separate pile for the money that was missed out on so he can see what not doing something does for him. Once I’ve finished divvying out the pennies we will count and exchange for Nickels and Dimes. Quarters are needed for laundry money so he won’t be getting any of those, unfortunately. But he’s still learning about how to exchange money.


On Friday’s I get a weekly report from his teacher about his behavior and anything special that happened so he will get 10 cents for every “Dojo” point he gets during the week as an incentive to listen to his teacher. Also, if he does anything “extra” that is paid out on that day, right after it happens, i.e. putting away dishes, matching socks, taking out the bathroom trash.

Friday is the only day that he can “buy” something. The reason for this is because we needed to limit when he would be able to utilize his money. And make conscious decisions about it, right when he gets it, instead of changing his mind. Plus, if he wants to buy something on Wednesday night, he will have a couple days to think it over if he really wants it or not. He could buy a piece of candy for 50 cents, a soda for $1.00, an hour playing on my iPad for $5.00, and if he saves enough money ($10) he can pay to have a bowling night. Bowling night is something that the boys decided they wanted if they were to save a lot of money.

Also, we are teaching consequences and that some bad or negative choices come at a price. If my oldest son is being mean to his brother then he has to pay a 5 cent fine, pay 10 cents for every “Dojo” point taken away by his teacher, 50 cents for losing his temper/throws a temper tantrum. There are other things that he can do to pay a fine, but he is a good kid.

First Buy

This proud guy has saved $4.50 and decided that he wanted a soda so he with his own $1 money he walked with Husband down to the gas station and bought his own. You can tell he is so proud of himself.

The reason why I’m doing this is that I want my kids to be money smart and learn to make financial decisions, learn the value of $1. I know that next year because things will be different, we will need to change the chores, and also change the values. Next year he won’t get paid for picking up his toys, while his younger brother won’t be paid 1 cent for going on the potty (I am not a fan of potty training).

Being financially smart on this journey is imperative because there is no need to go into debt for a vacation. Start being smart with your money now, so that it will be easier when we cross that finish line together!!

See you on the other side!!