“I’ll start my diet on Monday”, “I’ll start paying debt down next year”, “I’ll start working out next month”, and “Ugh, I missed 2 days to my exercise program so I might as well wait until next week to restart.” All of these are excuses I’ve used to excuse myself from doing something NOW. That comment about starting to pay off debt? I made that in a February and wouldn’t allow myself to see the silliness of the comment. After all, I had missed the New Year’s “deadline” to create goals so I would just save it for the next year. Which, in case you were wondering, went by and this was not one of my goals. Instead, I waited another few years to start doing something.
Just this past week I found myself starting to do this cycle of waiting all over again to re-start something. It started out simple enough: I missed 3 days of work outs and when you add this to the 3 days I had missed the previous week, I really wanted to just say “I’ll wait for…”. But thankfully I recognized the cycle and on Sunday, I got my butt out of bed early and went for a run. Granted it was a slow jog and I didn’t feel nearly as great as I normally would have but I at least did something. And yes, on Monday, I was a little bit sore as I re-started Insanity week 3 (missed all but 2 days of this workout the previous week) but I feel better already!
With finances, I try very hard to stay in my routine. If not, I’m afraid I’ll go back to the old ways. So yes, I might check accounts every day or look at my budget, but I want to stay on top of things. And last year, I finally started repaying my debt but I started in September. It at least got me some momentum going and I was able to come up with a loose plan of attack. The “scariest” part was a few months into following my budget and I didn’t write it down to carry with me. I hadn’t memorized it yet so didn’t realize how much money was for what category-but we spent anyways. Thankfully we managed to switch some savings around and stay in budget but I did have a moment where I wanted to say I would start again next month.
The point to all of this is I had no real reason to wait. There is no time like the present to implement a change. Waiting to start it a few days probably won’t help you out-it might even hinder you farther.
The girl I work with (let’s call her A) was talking to me the other week, and it keeps making me laugh. She couldn’t remember what she had spent her money on the previous weekend, but her credit card had a higher balance than what she thought it should. After much talking (where I did the whole “smile, nod and make random noises”), she figured out that she had forgotten about going to a restaurant with a friend. She then went on to lament on how this ALWAYS happens to her. My suggestion of tracking fell onto deaf ears-she really just wanted to complain.
The talk then turned to budgeting. She was going on and on about her sister didn’t know how to budget and neither did her roommate. This was kind of funny but she didn’t see the irony of it. Mostly because they can’t keep track of their money and cannot save. Right after this she was musing out loud that she didn’t think she would be able to save “this time” either. But then started talking about some fancy doodad she was going to be buying on credit later.
The sad part is, I have a lot of experience in what she’s doing but she’s not at the point where she will take control of her finances. And sometimes you just have to let them make a mistake in order for them to fix it. Hopefully she fixes things sooner rather than later!
Thank you for all the awesome comments on yesterday’s post. They help encourage me when it gets a little rocky and tight in the finances. But the fact that I can look back at this time last year and realize how much better we’re doing is a wonderful thing. Truly amazing. Today’s post won’t be very long as I didn’t really plan out anything. Work took me on a mini field trip and I forgot about it yesterday and read instead of working on blog stuff.
Interesting news though? My car started up without needing to be jumped the other day. It felt amazing-apparently we have to be very careful of how we turn it off. So it’s a pain in the butt to remember but it beats having to jump it every time. And it beats having to shell out money to fix it right now.
And on other news? My water company wanted to charge us $140 for last month. My normal bill is around $45 (on the high end there to). Hmm….that’s three times as much. They had down that we used almost three thousand more gallons this last month. So we went and found the water main with the gauge and turns out the “8” they wrote down was really a “6”. They’re sending someone out to double check on it. I took a picture and emailed it as we will not be paying that high bill. I’m glad I look at bills now instead of just paying them. You know what the really cool part is? If it actually was that high I could afford it as it’s in my budget. Maybe it’s a little weird to be excited over that as I won’t be paying it but it goes back to the whole issue of I wouldn’t have been able to do that a year ago.
Also, I spoke with my friend that I helped work on her budget a few months ago. It has been working out for her! I know that sometimes her husband will go off track and they have to talk about it but for the most part, it really works. She’s changed some things (my suggestion to pay off student loans now instead of in a year or so she’s decided to forgo but she’s also making trips every week so the gas adds up) but really liked it. It helped her narrow down apartment searching to what she knew she could afford. So yay for budgets!
That’s it for now.
Okay, I have an issue. It’s not a “huge” issue but it’s an issue. We decided to plan this wedding like we are paying for it ourselves because that’s our goal. We don’t want to go into debt and any help, while nice, shouldn’t be needed or planned on in order to make it work, right? I might be one of the most unromantic people on the face of the earth (seriously, for Valentine’s Day, after the nifty steak dinner my guy made for me, I watched a bunch of scary movies while he played his battlefield 3 game. I believe that we spent $25 on each other or we donated it to our wedding fund….) so to me, I want to celebrate our marriage with as little fuss as I can get away with short of eloping. I actually want the chapel and the wedding cake. He wants the honeymoon and the chapel. So obviously, we’re doing all those things.
The issue comes into play when we have the wants and needs balanced up (along with my best guesstimates) and look at that total compared with what our projected savings are. We’re only about $1k short and I haven’t even added in some things! We do have money saved every single paycheck and after a date in September (a show he wants to go to), we’re cutting back our dates to add in more money to this fund. I do have the budget planned out but haven’t included tax refunds or bonuses.
So let’s break it down shall we?
He needs a suit and needed shoes. I needed a dress and shoes. Not to mention I still need a dress for after the fact but I’ll be buying that with my personal money as I don’t NEED it, really I just don’t want to be in the wedding dress for all that long. He does have a suit that could possibly work. He had it high school and it is just a little too tight now but with Insanity, he might be able to wear it again. We may just have to get it altered and dry cleaned. His shoes we bought for him are going to double as work shoes as well so it was a good buy. We will already have to make alterations to my dress and dry clean it but the dry cleaning estimate is for both outfits. (And as I’ve never had anything dry cleaned I could be WAY off base)
Obviously we need a license to get married and I’ve already picked out our chapel. Okay, future mil showed it to me but I fell in love. With that money, I’ve got the highest package which consists of: dressing room for me, toasting ceremony, video, photos (40), 1 hour time (it shouldn’t take longer), and a memory book. Plus, $50 is already down.
The reception will most likely be held at a park and in order to reserve a pavilion, I’ll have to spend that $310. But with the food and heat, we’ll need it. And it’s still a lot cheaper to reserve the park rather than any other place we can hold it. Originally I thought my back yard but that won’t work—it’s not big enough and I’ll be moving somewhere. I will get half of that back though.
The food itself? Well, we’ve gone back and forth on getting it catered, supplying it ourselves a la bbq style or getting sandwich platters. The estimated is the catering price for a chicken restaurant for 100 people (I think). And I probably won’t really need that right?
The cake? Well, that was my splurge. As noted, I already have $50 down on it and $25 will be coming back.
I’ve never had my hair professionally colored and the last time it was styled was for junior year prom. I’m allowed to splurge right? And this might actually come out of my personal money—I haven’t decided yet. Same for the mani/pedi—it’s something I really want but not necessary so it might come out of personal money.
Invitations are getting done by my supervisor for cost of materials. It could be higher or lower-I’m not entirely sure. And flowers, well, I’m trying for simple and really don’t want to spend a ton on it. Hydrangeas for my bouquet and we’ll see after that-I know the bridesmaids need them as well.
He needs a wedding band but that should only be about $50 or so. We’ve priced them out so I’m fairly comfortable with that estimate. As for me, I’ve estimated the $200 but I don’t know if I’m going to have one. I have my engagement ring and am good with that so I’m leaning towards no other ring.
$4000 is the absolute limit for everything. We thought about Jamaica but it will be in rainy season. Hawaii was a tad out of our range so we’ve kind of kicking around Las Vegas. This would include flights, hotel stay, food and spending money. Cheaper is better but we want to have fun.
Other things not in the budget but wanted:
Gifts for bridesmaids/groomsmen: I have no idea what to get anyone yet.
Breakfast: No rehearsal dinner so we’ve been thinking about him taking the guys out (groomsmen, siblings and both our dads, plus my nephews) and me taking out the girls (bridesmaids, mil, dad’s and brother’s girlfriends) for a nice breakfast before the getting ready has to start. Or we could just take everyone out to dinner the night before together.
Mass transport of guests/wedding party: The chapel we chose is in the middle of nowhere and is hard to find. Either we want everyone to meet at central location and leave together or we’ve been thinking about doing limos out there and back. Right now it is probably not in the cards but that means I’ll worry about this for a while.
Notice no decorations? I don’t have to decorate church and couldn’t think what I’d decorate at the park. But I’m thinking of bubbles for children or a football/Frisbee.
Reception photos: I kind of want this but I just might not worry about it. Not everyone will be able to go to the wedding (it’s very limited seating) so that’s the reasoning behind wanting it but I might just stick with grabbing a digital camera and snapping like crazy.
Any thoughts or ideas? Did I leave anything out?
Medical-pass. It’s currently low but I finished my dentist appointments and we will soon be starting on the guy’s
Guy’s Student Loans: I want to put $150 into this. Pass. We were able to put $170 into this.
Car Fund: $100. Pass! I was able to put $284 into this fund!
Efund: $250. I was able to get this account up to $265 so I’m saying pass!
Hmm maybe I made my goals too easy? Or I just rocked at them this month? Either way, I passed all of them. So go me! I, of course, need to make my next goals a little harder. Not a lot as I do like seeing that I passed them but a little bit harder!
July’s Goals (AKA the best month ever because it’s my birthday month—they shortened it to July though)
Medical: Not a monetary one as much as we need to make my guy’s doctor and dentist appointment. We’ll move on from there. Also, I need to make a doctor’s exam and get set up to get my prescriptions through that nifty work program. I think it will save me money.
Car: Pay for tags and taxes and start to save for back breaks. I think if I could get $75 in here at the end of the month after the tags/taxes I’ll be happy.
Guy’s Student Loans: $100 more into this and I’d be happy. I know it’s not much but every little bit helps.
Efund: I’d like to get this to $300.
Personal: Continue to train for the next 5k. I want to improve my time and I think the next one out near me is not until late August but I want to really rock it out. And losing 2 pounds would be nifty too.
There you have it! My goals and ramblings. I love that I passed my goals so I tried to look hard at my budget for this month and see what would be a “struggle” to get to. How are your goals for July?
I’m horrible when it comes to diets. I tell myself “no cookies” and about a week later I’ll start craving a cookie. Notice that I say “a” as in one-one cookie is all that I want. But because I’m on the dreaded d-word, I’ll tell myself no. And I’ll be good for about a week or so. Then one day I crack and I’m scarfing down an entire batch of cookies. A lot more than that one single cookie I denied myself in the first place, right? And because I “failed” myself by eating the cookies, I stopped dieting.
Good for me. Why do I say that? Because I have discovered I hate diets. I hate the “you can’t have that because….” mentality. Now, I know it works for some people. And I did that with the whole “no soda” but I replaced my sweet drink craving with tea or juice. Because I found that it wasn’t the soda I wanted it was the sweet taste. Now what I do is limit myself. I may have this many calories a day and if that means I eat half of them by having a big piece of fudge pie, then so be it. I am still allowed to buy books off of my list even though I have a stack of unread books—the disclaimer being that it comes from my fun money of course.
However, absolutes in some areas of my life? They rock. I know that when I do my budget, I will be saving $50 a paycheck for medical expenses. Very rarely has this changed in amount—well, sometimes I was even able to increase the amount. So now when I look at my paycheck, I don’t see money that I can spend all over the place. Instead, I see “medical fund, bills, debt, savings, wedding fund, and so on”. These absolutes are a life saver. Before my life on budgets, I was a mess. I would spend entire paychecks on books. I’d tell myself it was okay because I was getting a discount. Um, no, no that’s not okay. Because a week after that, I would be getting bills due or rent or need gas or food or something.
Now, I allow myself that one cookie (personal money) and am perfectly content with it. I don’t need a stack of books that I haven’t read to make me feel satisfied. Instead, I look to the future and see what kind of life I will be having due to those absolutes. Do I wish I had started earlier? Of course but oh well—can’t change that now!
So last night after getting tired of working on work at home (trying to play catch up after I kind of deleted some things I shouldn’t have. Oh and there was no “undo” available) I decided to play around with my budget. Specifically I have done my budgets up until next July. (Notice I said budgets plural) Why? For the following reasons:
First reason: wedding planning! Okay, this was the more fun reason. I’ve got a post that will be coming here shortly on my wedding budget but in order to figure out what I could save for my wedding, I’ve had to also figure out my pay schedule and budget. I know they are estimates but I tend to estimate high. I figure excess is good while being under is bad. (Oh grocery fiasco, I’ll never live you down!) So I’ve figured out what we can roughly afford to put aside and have based a wedding budget of off that. (Not going to lie, right now my wedding cost exceeds what I can put aside but some of those things in my budget aren’t for sure and I’ve just put them down as a “maybe”.)
Second Reason: Debt planning! Minus the excitement of the wedding planning. And it’s more like “debt repayment planning but whatever. Not much more to say on this subject-I don’t have a time line or anything. Instead, I’m just fantasizing paying off one or more debts by the time the wedding comes along. I think it’s doable but we’ll see!
Third Reason: new rental house planning! Our current house, as I’ve mentioned, is a bit small. It doesn’t seem like it when I describe it: living room, kitchen, backroom/washer and dryer area, bathroom, small office/bedroom, and a “master” bedroom. But we’ve agreed that for us, a slightly bigger house would be ideal. The trick is finding one that is in our price range. The living room is roughly the same size as our bedroom and there is just very little storage space. Not to mention that the closets? Well, they aren’t really awesome. They were kind of added as an afterthought. And is it weird that we are trying to plan out when/if we have a baby? Right now our “second” bedroom is where you have to go through to get to the bathroom. And it’s packed full of computer goodness and bookshelves. You’d think it’s my office but as we have no desk, I just typically use my bedside stand as bill holder and so on.
Fourth Reason: Christmas planning! Both for this year and the start of next year. We started saving up in May this year a very minute amount from our paychecks and I have a budget (of course!) that shows what we want to spend on people, and the doodads that we would like to buy; as in wrapping paper, postage, etc. Also—this is our first Christmas where we are in our own little place. The previous two were spent in a roommate situation.
So there you have it. I have my budget planned until next July. I know it might change (what with any potential raises or new expenses or even some expenses disappearing) but at least I have a hint of what is to come. Insane? Maybe. Probably. Most likely yes. What do you think?