<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Envelope System
 

Viewing the 'Envelope System' Category

How do I love thee, kitchen items? Let me count the ways!

April 12th, 2015 at 08:52 am

This morning I entered the amount for the few little groceries I bought yesterday into EveryDollar. I also checked balances in my envelopes. I'm doing very well with my spending. When I funded my envelopes last Friday I got $60 for groceries. I'd budgeted $75 for two weeks but wanted to come in under that if possible so $60 seemed like a good goal. I still have $40 of that so I feel as though I've accomplished something. However, there are a few things I need before Friday, the next pay day and I'll probably get those later today or tomorrow before work. I budgeted $25 for gas for two weeks and still have $15 of that and $10 of the $15 I'd budgeted for Sammy the cat. Yeah, all in all I'm doing great!

I posted some clothes and household goods on a local free stuff group. I hope someone wants it all because I very much want the stuff gone. Decluttering is pretty easy for me but I have a few emotional issues with some of it, especially kitchen items.

My apartment is about 540 square feet with a seemingly impossibly small kitchen. It has few cupboards, a tiny amount of countertop, two drawers and no pantry. But I love to cook and do it daily. Fortunately, most of my cooking is simple so all I really *need* are basic items. The problem, though, is that I'm so very attracted to kitchen gadgets and doodads! An all expenses paid trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond is my idea of a great contest prize! Ha ha!

Over the last few years I've managed to calm down that crazy side of myself but I still have things I rarely use. For example, I found a blender at Target three years ago for $6. It gets pulled out a few times a year, generally to make hummus. Keep it or let it go? And there's my KitchenAid mixer. I'd wanted one for many years and scrimped until I had enough to get the red one that made my heart sing. The problem is that I haven't used it for over a year and prior to that its main job was to make shortbread, my all time favorite treat, and that was done only between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The thought of getting rid of that beauty causes anxiety so I keep it. It sits on a counter and takes up space but I smile each time my eyes spy it. I think it needs to stay, at least for now. Maybe soon I'll feel ready to sell it but not yet.

And then there's the electric digital pressure cooker. Another tool I love and one I rarely use now. It produces the best tasting and most tender roast I've ever had but I don't eat much meat now. Of course, I could use it to make vegetable soup. Hmmm, maybe I should try that today. And what about the stovetop pressure cooker? One of my sisters gave it to me a couple of years ago. I've not used it but can't seem to part with it because it was a gift. And let's not even get started on the slow cookers and coffee cup collection!

See the problem?

That darn kitchen. I have so much affection for the inanimate objects contained within it and have saved that corner for the last of the big push to simplify. I thought I'd be ready by now but I don't feel ready. Yes, I know it's just stuff and I know that each item can be replaced easily, if not cheaply, if necessary. But it's still so hard to even consider letting some of those things go.

I think I'll list the kitchen items to which I have no attachment (like a few of the many whisks I have and the wine bottle opener thingamabopper I've used once..what are those even called?) and enjoy the freedom of that for awhile. Maybe then I'll feel ready to rid myself of the other stuff. We'll see. It's a process and for me it's been a long one.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying a day off work and am about to head into the kitchen to give vegetable soup in the pressure cooker a try!

Happy Sunday. :-)

Pay day and catching up a little

April 3rd, 2015 at 05:40 am

Thursday was another no spend day. I think that makes 4 this week. That's pretty exciting! I didn't go to Mom's house or the nursing home because I was just too flipping tired to do much at all.

I did make a delicious crustless broccoli quiche and between that and the soup I made Wednesday, I shouldn't need to buy any meals at work and there's no excuse to do the "I'm too tired to cook, let me just grab this on the way home" thing. I don't do that often but need to do it even less often. The quiche is also marvelous for a quick breakfast and it freezes, travels, and reheats very well.

I needed to do laundry yesterday but plumbers were working in the laundry room all day so I hand-washed two shirts, an apron, and some stockings and hung them to dry. I have clean pants so I'm good to go for today and tomorrow. Since Sunday is Easter and the store is closed, Mom and I are going to have dinner at her house. I'll take my laundry over there that morning and get it tended to. Yeah, I'm 52 and take my laundry to my mother's house but I go there several times a week and it was her idea years ago for me to do that. To wash and dry in my complex costs $1.25 a load. That doesn't sound like much but it really adds up so I'm thankful Mom doesn't mind me doing laundry at her place. I buy the detergent and usually wash, dry, and put away at least two loads of hers while I'm at it so it helps us both.

Today is pay day! Once I confirmed my pay was in my account, I paid the rent and water which came to $587.00, $21.32 to my Chase credit card bringing the balance to $100, and later today will pay $80 to Target. That's an account Mom and I both use and pay, though I generally use and pay more than she does. Once the $80 is paid, the balance will be $2,797.12. I really want that one gone but right now am doing well to make the minimum and a little more when I can so I suck it up and deal with it. I paid the electric bill of $54.87 Wednesday and paid my internet bill last week so after I make the Target payment this afternoon, I won't have any bills due until the end of the month. Wooohooo! I need to go to the bank on the way to work for cash to fund my grocery and gas envelopes.

After the funk I found myself in when the ex died, I didn't care about bills. I paid them but wasn't concerned if they were late and I indulged in a little too much retail therapy, eating out, and general irresponsibility. That put me behind and led to more stress, just deepening the funk. I'm so glad I'm back on track with logging income and expenses and using my envelope system. Doing those things doesn't give me more money but it ensures the bills are paid on time and the necessities are covered. I still run with just a small amount of money in my checking account but I have some money in savings, bill payments are timely, I have food to eat, and a job I love or least like a lot most of the time so I feel grateful! The stress level is decreased and that's a very, very good thing.

This site is so motivational and y'all just rock! It's difficult for me to read some of your blogs because I don't understand stocks, bonds, and having large sums of income or large sums of savings but each of you is inspirational, nonetheless, and I thank you.

Happy Friday!

Long time no blog!

March 28th, 2015 at 07:34 pm

Way too long! Umm, a little over three years too long. ;-)

I'm still alive, still working as a barista at the same place, and still keeping my head above water, though sometimes just barely on that last one.

So much has changed in my life in the last three years. The man person, the one from whom I was separated, passed away after a brief illness. That threw me into a tailspin for awhile.

My stepfather's dementia has escalated and he was recently moved into a nursing home after a short hospital stay. If he's going to be there long term, I'll move in with my mother. She can't handle the expenses alone and taking care of the house and acreage is physically too much for her. Fortunately, they moved closer to me last year so although my drive to work will be a little longer than the one I currently have, it won't be bad. Also, there will be plenty of space for a garden! We've already decided to do container gardening again and are both very excited about that.

On the PF front, I'm doing okay. I have a little bit of money saved, have honed my scrimping skills, drastically reduced food waste, still use Netflix for entertainment, and my love for Dave hasn't waned. I still use his envelope system and still listen to his show. His EveryDollar app is one of my favorites! Yeah, I finally upgraded to an iPhone from my decrepit, barely functioning Blackberry. I have my son to thank for that, though. He gave me his old iPhone and added my line to his account so I now have a better phone and no phone bill. Thank you, son!

I'm still plugging away at paying off a couple of older debts. Ugh, would they please just disappear? At least I have no new debt and I'm thankful for that.

Before I stopped blogging here, I'd quit smoking. Well, that quit was busted but on January 21 of 2014 I had my last cigarette. I started vaping and although I still vape I'm down to 3 mg nicotine most of the time and foresee giving it up before too long. I know it's not as good as *no* nicotine but even my physician approves as long as I have a doable plan for quitting.

I'm still on my journey to minimalism. It's been a long and very interesting one. I've been in this one bedroom apartment for almost five years (wow, has it been that long?) and had accumulated too much stuff. Dealing with it was a source of distress for me, though. I'm not sure why except that it had taken me so long to get what I had that getting rid of any of it just seemed not quite right. On the other hand, it really was just stuff. I've given away a lot of it, sold some, and put some in dumpsters. Having more space and fewer material possessions to care for is so very liberating. Having less is easier now because I just seem to want less. I see this as serious progress in my emotional and financial health.

Anyway, I decided I really need to blog here again and to read other blogs here. The motivation provided is so helpful and I need that.

Nothing says "Don't buy that blouse/book/coffee!" like some of the entries here.

So there you have it, folks. Howdy! Again. :-)

Payday - envelopes funded and $10 free money :)

December 16th, 2011 at 11:06 am

My pay hit my checking out last night so I went to the bank and took out $175. I put $125 in the food envelope, $30 in the gas envelope, and $20 in the entertainment envelope. Food includes eating out, something I rarely do, and I usually don't need $175 for two weeks of food but with the family get together next week I want to make sure I have enough cash to buy what I need to buy.

I paid for my mail order Novolog, $84, with my Target Visa and will go to Target today and pay that amount on the bill.

My serve.com account was credited with $10 so that's some free money. Smile I still haven't gotten the $10 for signing up but hope it shows up soon. My sisters have both signed up and I'm hoping to get others to sign up. Hey, $20 for a couple of minutes of time is pretty good and I don't mind making an extra $5 when someone else signs up. Smile

Anyway, so far so good. I still have some money in the checking account. After funding the envelopes and paying bills plus the $84 on the Target Visa there isn't much but it's all good.

Rock on, rock on. Smile

Really low spending today - yaaay!

December 12th, 2011 at 04:53 pm

I worked a long and very arduous in ways shift today. I ate the lunch I took but didn't get around to eating on breaks so the snacks I took will go back with me tomorrow.

I just made some scrumptious chicken salad to take for tomorrow's lunch. I'll have it with roasted asparagus and a low carb yogurt. I'm also taking an avocado in case I need something extra.

When I got off today I was exhausted and just wanted to come home. But I was also very thirsty so I bought a Trenta iced tea and headed home. No stops, no more money spent. Smile

I get paid Friday and will fund my envelopes, though there won't be a whole lot of funding going on since I have some medical bills I need to pay. Oh well, it's all good and I'm beginning to get that motivation back, thanks to y'all!!

The paycheck after that should be pretty good since I'll have two weeks at 40 hours on it. Woot! That will come in handy in January!

"What can you do for me?"

December 2nd, 2009 at 10:27 am

That's what my 19 year old stepdaughter asked the salesman of a furniture store recently. She'd told her dad she'd found a living room set she wanted and it cost $2000. He cautioned her about getting in over her head and she insisted she could pay for it. She gets a lot of overtime and makes very nice money for someone her age. We were concerned about this large expense since she's on her own, has a car payment, insurance, etc. but she's of age and will spend her money as she sees fit.

However, after her talk with him she got to thinking about his words (and presumably the wisdom of them, lol), went to another store and found a set she liked just as much that was $1600. She told the salesman she'd pay $1000 cash for it and he agreed! Then she said something to the effect of, "Okay, I'm giving you a thousand dollars of my money for this set. What can you do for me?" He apparently was a little surprised and hesitant but threw in an extended warranty and arranged for free delivery. A few days later she found out her overtime was cut way back and her paychecks are substantially smaller, though still very good.

I still think she spent too much but how wonderful that she considered her dad's words, rethought her plan, came up with a better one, and seems to be learning.

We're giving her Dave's Total Money Makeover book and an envelope system. Certainly that will be money well spent!

Thoughts on "kids" and money

November 29th, 2009 at 08:45 am

My "kids" are 26 and 25. The oldest is married and the youngest lives with the married couple in Austin, Tx. I've talked to them about Dave Ramsey and they seem interested so I ordered a copy of Your Total Money Makeover and 2 starter envelope systems, one for each son. I don't know that my daughter in love would use the envelopes but I figure if she falls in love with her husband's system I can get her one, too.

Both young men have had their share of financial problems in their young adult lives. The oldest put himself through college with just a little help now and then from Mom and Dad and now he has a job he likes for the most part and he makes good money. His wife also has a good job but they have money issues too often and admit they blow too much money. The youngest son has struggled with college and jobs but is doing well at the local community college there and is trying to find a decent job. He's gotten a little help from Mom and Dad, too, but has also taken the loan route to help finance his education.

They're both very intelligent, gifted (and handsome!) young men but they had lousy financial role models growing up. Truly. Their Dad and I didn't know how to save, accrued a lot of credit card debt, and just generally sucked at money matters. I so regret raising my sons in that manner and hope they each find a better way to live. I think my mother has had some of these same thoughts about me over the years. Maybe Your Total Money Makeover and the envelope system will get their feet set on the right path, maybe not. I should have done this many years ago but I didn't. Here's hoping it isn't too late but hey, it wasn't too late for me!

The envelope system revisited

November 28th, 2009 at 08:54 pm

DH and I talked (again) about going back to the envelope system we used a couple of years ago. He agreed that it really helped us rein in our spending and that carrying a debit card or wad of cash makes overspending just too easy. So tonight we decided to revisit that envelope system and to make it work for us. Honestly, I think we need to go back to revisiting our budget at the end of each month, too. We have a few new expenses (gym membership, a new medication for him, life insurance, etc) but the business is doing well and we need to get a handle on all of this so we save/invest money productively rather than blow it.

And we've decided to start saving/investing my pay, all of it! Gulp! Not that its that much but I'm just sayin'...I think we'll start with saving rather than trying to invest it so that if something happens we have that little cushion. Once we feel a little safer we'll probably feel comfortable investing it. We're both sure we can live off what the business brings in, probably somewhat less than the business brings in but we'll see.

As LuxLiving said in the comment to my previous entry, we've come a long way! But we really do have a long way to go. I hope we're up to meeting the challenge and I'm so excited about trying!

The last eighteen months in a nutshell & Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2009 at 07:29 am

I'm still working retail at the same place and the man person still has his business. It's grown quite a bit and although its a one man operation it pays the bills and then some. We left the envelope system behind some time ago but still have an emergency fund and some extra money saved. However, we still don't have any investments. Honestly, we don't know where or how to start and are afraid of making the wrong move so we've done nothing in that regard. Well, we did do something....

A Primerica rep visited with us last night and hopefully we'll have our financial needs analysis before too long. I've read good and bad about Primerica and although neither of us wants to be a rep/advisor/whatever they're called, their products might be good for us. I think we can do most of it on our own but again, we simply don't know where or how to start.

We need to change that but inertia seems to have us in its clutches. And I think we saved more and just felt better about money when we used the envelope system. Its simply too easy to overspend when we don't use it and we need to give serious consideration to going back to it. We've talked about it and agreed that we should do it but haven't actually done it.

We still don't have health insurance. DH had a heart procedure done recently and we got the bill last week. $47,000! Yep, $47,000 and that's just for the hospital. We haven't received the physician's bill yet. I haven't a clue what we're going to do about this new expense but we'll come up with something. I've already started putting pennies in a jar for it. Ha!

DH got a small life insurance policy on himself. It's only $15,000 but its a start and better than nothing. We're looking into larger policies but with his health history the premiums are outrageous. No insurance on me yet but that's coming soon, I think.

Last week I got a call to clean a house someone had bought and I earned some extra moolah. The job took a little longer than I'd expected but I did it on a day off the regular job and I made about $25 an hour which beats the $8 and 40 some odd cents an hour I make at my regular job. I really do need to concentrate on growing the house cleaning business. I don't know that I could do that only but two cleaning jobs a month would give me an extra $200 to $300 and that's nothing to sneeze at. Every little bit helps...

I'm still working on 2010 goals. I have a few cemented in my mind but most are still up in the air. I'll post about those when they're a little clearer.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and don't overeat. Oh heck, go ahead and overeat. But get to the gym tomorrow! Wink

Finally over the flu and catching up

March 9th, 2008 at 11:37 am

We're finally over the flu. Well, we still have horrible coughs and off and on headaches but that's it. I have to say that was the worst virus I recall ever having. It was horrible and it seemed to take forever just to feel human again!

I've missed reading all the blogs so today I'm trying to catch up on them. I'm off today and tomorrow and though I don't feel really chipper (I stayed up too late last night) I'm going to get some cooking done today for the coming week. We're eating out too much again and better meal planning is necessary to put an end to it.

Hey, guess what? Today is the 9th of March and our rent, electric and phone bills are paid already, two of them well ahead of their due dates! How is that for progress, sports fans? I say it sure does sound like progress! We have a storage bill due on Tuesday and my car insurance is due next week but that's it for this month, I think. Yep, the envelope system is definitely working for us. Except we do have one snafu. One day last week, DH needed change for a hundred dollar bill a customer gave him. He didn't have it in his money so he took the $80 from our food envelope and gave it to the customer. And he didn't replace that money yet. But that's okay as long as he pays for whatever food we buy for the next week, up to $80. But he agreed to get change from the bank and stop using the envelope money, which was good.

Anyway, I'm off to catch up with y'all. By the way, thanks for the well wishes and notes of concern while I was sick. I appreciate them! But for the most part, I was too sick to respond to them. Frown

Not a no spend day but a good day, nonetheless

February 18th, 2008 at 05:52 pm

Today and tomorrow I'm off work but I got called in this morning to cashier. No problem, that's five more hours of pay for me. Yippeee! I talked to my man person during my break and he reminded me that we needed bread, milk and a few other things. I had no cash with me but did have one check so I used the check and when we made the deposit tonight I took that same amount from the food envelope and deposited it into the checking account. I'm trying very hard to stay within the confines of the budgeted food amount so that was the best thing to do.

DH had a good day today so he gave me the cash for his Yellow Pages ad and I'll deposit it tomorrow and send the check for that payment. It isn't outrageous, just $63 and he's already getting a response from the ad so that's a good thing. The bill payment isn't due until the 26th but here we are paying it a little early. Yaaaaaaaay!

After years of struggling with not only not enough money but no knowledge on budgeting, bill paying and saving money, being able to pay the bills on time or early and have money in the bank is a real blessing. You're all great support and I want to thank you! Smile

I heart envelopes!

February 16th, 2008 at 09:25 am

This morning I went through the bank drive thru since the lobby isn't open on Saturday. Since I've gotten into the habit of going in to the bank for all transactions I really missed it this morning! But I managed. I gave the teller the list of cash amounts and asked him to put each amount in a separate envelope. He gave me an odd look but did it.

After finishing at the bank, I went to Wal-Mart to do a little grocery shopping. I spent $35, leaving $95 for food.

Someone emailed me asking what payments are 'enveloped' and exactly how we handle our envelope system. The business and larger expenses are funded daily by money that comes into DH's business and things like food, gas, and clothing are funded by my pay.

Here's the breakdown of the envelopes funded by money from DH's business:

The business envelopes are funded six days a week because the business is open six days a week and is mostly a cash one. Each night we sit down together and record what's come in for the day. Some cash and all checks are deposited into the bank. Varying amounts of the remaining cash are put into each of the business envelopes and because we add money almost every day we know where we are with each envelope at any given time. When it's time to pay a bill the money is removed from the envelope and if we have enough in the checking account to pay that bill we pay it and put the cash in other envelopes that need more money. If we don't have enough in the checking account to pay that bill the cash is deposited into the checking account and we write and send the check for that bill and start filling that envelope for the next month. Using this system we're able to know exactly where we stand with bills, pay them on time and not worry about spending food money on advertising or some other need.

The expenses covered by my pay every two weeks are set ones and here's a breakdown of them:

Food - $130 Covers food for two people.

Gas for truck - $130 My pay for this period was less than usual so I only put $75 in it. DH will fund the remainder.

Entertainment - $25 Yes, we do budget a little for entertainment. If we didn't, we might go nuts! We didn't spend the last pay period's entertainment money until last night and it was nice to go out to eat and know it was budgeted for. No pain, no stress, no guilt!

Laundry & Clothing - $20 We don't have a washer or dryer so I go to the least expensive washateria to wash and dry clothes. I don't spend $20 in two weeks and the remainder is kept in the envelope to help with clothing expenses. We rarely buy new clothes and even if we do they aren't at all expensive. We generally spend less than $200 a year on clothes.

Whatever is left of my pay, whether it's $10 or $100, goes into savings.

So there you have it - the envelope system that works for our business and personal expenses both. Is it any wonder I have a mean crush on Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University?

Why I like paydays!

February 15th, 2008 at 05:18 pm

Today was payday and my Direct Deposit is now in action so my pay was in the account early this morning. Nice! And although I worked only a few hours one of the two weeks in this pay period, my pay was about $100 more than I expected. Also nice! But a powerful testimony of my poor skills with numbers. Wink

I made enough to fund the grocery, laundry, and entertainment envelopes for the next two weeks and the remainder, small as it is, goes to savings. DH will have to fund the gas envelope but that shouldn't be any kind of burden.

DH and I went out for Mexican food tonight. We still had the original $25 we'd budgeted for 'entertainment' and decided to use it for a meal out. We had a nice time with no guilt feelings.

I just love paydays! I feel a little bit of power on these days and even though short lived, it's a great feeling.

Most of our bills are paid for this month. We do need to pay the storage bill and the Yellow Pages bill but have a little time until those are due. We have most of the money for March rent and are working on saving for March utilities even though it's still February.

Have I mentioned how much I love the envelope system? It's been amazingly successful for us!

On the smoking cessation front, it's been 2 weeks, 1 day, 12 hours, and 31 seconds. We've saved $192.84!! Go us!

Well, I offered & a question about the envelope system

February 14th, 2008 at 02:37 pm

I offered to get another retail job to help pay off debts or throw extra money at savings but DH doesn't want me to. I'm working only about 26 to 28 hours a week but he's afraid I'll wear myself out if I work too much. The business is picking up and he thinks that before long I'll have more hours at work and we'll be out of the tight spot we're in. I hope he's right but told him if he changes his mind, to just let me know.

I really am not opposed to working another job if it will benefit us and I think it would. Not that I really want to work more but 26 or so hours a week isn't many.

In other things, I spent several hours today playing with Clusty, a search engine I just found out about. I still prefer Google for general and overall results but if I need categorized or specific results Clusty is my new favorite. I imagine I'll use a combination of the two engines to maximize efficiency.

One of the terms I researched with both engines was 'envelope system'. Google turned up more results but Clusty's results were very neatly categorized and pointed me to specific things about the envelope system. That was handy.

In the process of reading the sites I was referred to one of the things I read over and over was that one shouldn't borrow from one envelope to put into another and one shouldn't use the debit card if one is out and about and needs/wants something that falls into an envelope category and one doesn't have the envelopes! Those are things we've done a little of here. And we know we need to stop. Most people, including Dave, suggest going back home and getting the envelopes or not getting the item at all but with gas costing around $3 a gallon, turning back for the envelopes isn't always the fiscally responsible thing to do and not getting the item isn't always the best option.

In light of that, why not use the debit card if you have one and either take that same amount from the envelope and deposit it in the bank or deduct it from the money for that envelope next time you fill it? It seems to me that either of those accomplishes the same basic thing without using excess gas and without deprivation. Yes, I understand the concept of 'if you don't have the money don't buy the item' but I don't carry the envelopes with me and sometimes need to stop for milk or bread or some such thing.

What do you do?

February so far...

February 8th, 2008 at 08:52 pm

We started on February 1st using Dave Ramsey's envelope system for our personal expenses of food, gas, clothing/laundry, and entertainment expenses. And so far we're doing very well. We'd budgeted $86 for food for 14 days and we're at $108.22 only 8 days into the month. Interestingly enough, that's about the amount we haven't spent by not smoking, which right now is $108.19. Ha!

We've definitely spent more than we'd budgeted. However, we still have $24 in the food envelope. The difference between the $108.22 and the amount we've spent from the envelope, $46 and some change, came from a combination of our personal spending money and entertainment money. A little over $24 of that was actually for nicotine patches rather than food so it isn't quite so bad as it looks. But I include it all in food here because I'm lazy. Wink For you purists, I have it all properly broken down in my spreadsheet, though.

This month we're trying to spend as little as we can for most things. We're hot and heavy on the trail of an increased emergency fund and paying the bills! In light of that, we're using quite a bit of food from our pantry and eating meals like slow cooked beans, rice with a little chicken gravy and tossed salad, homemade taquitos, chili, etc. We have a beef roast, some ground beef, and several big hens in the freezer but I'm cooking with less meat for health and wealth. So rice, beans, small amounts of meat and lots of vegetables are the way to go this month!

So here's what we've spent so far:

Business rent, utilities, advertising, etc., $1000

Food, $108.22 This includes spending for groceries, eating out, snacks and drinks at work, and cat food

Gas, $49 (budgeted $86 for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th)

$100 for Financial Peace University

$35 to oldest stepson (we'll more than likely do this every week or couple of weeks for awhile so I might create a new envelope for it)

$60 supplies for office (not something we buy monthly - we usually don't spend even $5 on office supplies in a month)

$15 personal (budgeted $20 each for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th)

$7 laundry and $11 for a work shirt for me (budgeted $21 for two weeks - will be re-funded on the 15th and will have to increase that amount a little I think though I don't buy any kind of clothing every month much less every two weeks)

So far, so good. We have bills due again starting in a few days but we have most of the money for those and will have the rest by their due date, I think.

All in all, Financial Peace University and the envelope system are really helping us. And it's great to know the bills are paid..or almost paid!

A quickie comment about the envelope system

February 7th, 2008 at 07:15 pm

I just wanted to post a quick entry about the envelope system we created for office expenses. It's working and oh boy, how it's working!

Today is the 7th of the month and we already have 1/3 of the money we need to pay the bills later this month. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we're using Dave Ramsey's envelope system for our personal expenses and we've saved almost $100 by not smoking for a week.

All these things have combined to give us a little bit of financial breathing room. And I hope it continues!

I can't recommend strongly enough taking Financial Peace University. Even if you don't have debt (or much debt) it's a worthwhile course for information on budgeting, saving, and investing.

Tweaking our budget and envelope system

February 3rd, 2008 at 01:06 pm

They need a little tweaking, the budget and envelope system do. They'll work, I'm sure, but I set up this month with three pay periods rather than two. I didn't stop to think that the third pay period is on the last day of the month and by counting it in this month and dividing the monthly amount to go in the envelopes by three I was cutting it way too thin for two week periods. Does that make sense? I hope so! Anyway, after discussing it with DH I adjusted the envelope amounts to reflect a two pay period month. It should work better now, I think, but the budget and envelope system both will need a little more tweaking here and there to get them just right.

Also, it was asked in a reply to my previous entry if DH and I get allowance. We haven't done that in the past but maybe we need to. DH just keeps a little of what comes into the shop for himself and if I need money for something I ask him for it. I haven't the foggiest how much allowance we should get, though. Considering that we have a fairly low income, substantial debt, and are just getting into the concept of saving, what's a reasonable figure for weekly allowance per adult?

Okay, I have to head to work in just a bit. Not that I'm eager to do so but it helps pay the bills. Smile

I might be a little sneaky

February 3rd, 2008 at 06:47 am

but one of the stepkids is here and we're out of bread and breakfast meat so he and DH decided to get Whataburger Taquitos for breakfast.



DH didn't think to take money from the food envelope (just like he didn't think to take it for the chips or granola bars he got) so I removed the amount he spent from the envelope and hid it away. I need to make the point with him that breakfast taquitos and chips count against the food budget and maybe this will do it. Right now there's $16 hidden that came from that envelope for 'snacks and stuff'. When we go grocery shopping next time and he wonders why so much seems to be missing, I'll show him the envelope with the deductions for Whataburger and chip purchases (and whatever else is there at that point) and maybe he'll see what's going on.

I'm not sure if I should return that money to the food envelope after the point has been made or if I should stick it in savings or if I should do something else with it.

Opinions and suggestions welcome!

It might just be shuffling money but...

February 1st, 2008 at 12:20 pm

It's hard to describe what the last three days have been like for me. I've been in the depths of despair and have been almost elated, also. Why? Well, let me tell you!(Glad you asked!) And no, we didn't win the lottery!

About three weeks ago or so (after we last paid bills) we set aside envelopes to put cash from the business in to pay expenses. We realized that if the money is in our pockets it gets spent. So we wrote things like Rent, Electric, Advertising, and Materials and Supplies on regular envelopes and every night, after the shop closes, we sit down together and go through the sales for the day and put it in the envelopes. Business is slow (apparently in this field it drops off somewhere around Christmas and stays slow until early to mid February) so there have been days when we only had $25 to put in envelopes but we'd put $5 in this one, $10 in that one, etc and keep just a little for ourselves. We do this every day we're open, 6 days a week. Keep in mind this is our first time of doing this and we had no idea if it would work.

Then recently we opened a checking account at a bank closer to the shop. My checks go into that account as have some cash and all checks written at the shop. I've managed to be very careful with that checking account and rarely write checks from it. DH has a debit card for it but I don't because I KNOW from experience that it's just too easy for me to spend money with a debit card. Long story there but for me plastic just isn't money. It's.. plastic! Instead I get a little cash from when I need it. When it's gone, it's gone.

We just started Financial Peace University (FPU) last week and got Dave's envelope system. Since we already have one going for the office expenses so we decided to use the FPU system for things like food,
clothing, laundry, gas for the truck, etc. After looking at that cash flow plan a couple of days ago I didn't see how we could possibly do this and was so upset! And I'm still not sure how we're going to do it. But yesterday I realized that all this is just part of getting control of the finances and rather than panic and worry I need to stay calm, learn from this, and USE it to help us.

So last night I realized we needed to get the phone bill paid immediately or we'd incur a late charge. Now mind you, in the past even if I had the money to pay on time, I rarely did. I just didn't think about it and we constantly were late on bill payments and paid those late fees.
But last night I did think about it so I called the phone company and paid the bill over the phone with an e check, making sure I noted that in the checkbook. We had the money in the checking account so there
was no danger in me doing that. Plus we had the money for that bill in the Phone envelope set up recently.

So, this morning I picked up my paycheck and went to the bank. I took the FPU envelope system with me. It's very small, looks much like a wallet and fits in a purse easily. I knew the amount of cash I needed to get for the next two weeks and knew how much for two of the four categories I needed. I couldn't remember the other two amounts but knew the total amount to get. So I get to the bank and rather than go through the drive through I walked in. Why? Well, there were a couple of reasons but one was something that just dawned on me this morning. When I use an ATM or drive through it's just too easy. It's too easy to get cash from the ATM or a drive through teller without THINKING about it. For me, it's similar to using plastic. So I decided to go in to the lobby because that makes me THINK about money. Ehh, it's hard not to think about it with all the money related stuff staring at me. Also, I needed the cash broken down into certain bills and it was going to take a little while and it's cold outside and there's no need to hold up other customers while I piddle with money. So I went to the teller, gave her the deposit slip and check with the 'less cash received' part filled out and said, "I need this cash in a certain way." No problem.

I got $87 for food for two weeks, $87 for gas for the truck for two weeks, $25 for entertainment for two weeks (not that we will use it but we figured that amount in on the CFP sheet so I did it) and the remainder was $51. I walked to a side counter and put $87 in the food envelope, $87 in the gas envelope, $25 in the entertainment envelope, and left the $51 remainder in the bank envelope. Then I headed to Wal-Mart because we needed bread, lunch meat, and a little fruit.

Okay yall, this is where it gets good! Why? You'll see change of thinking popping up a lot though you may see some of that already. I got to Wal-Mart and walked in with my little envelope system and my keys and my cell phone and nothing else. No checkbook, no cards, not even my purse. I walked by the deli and saw they had my favorite egg rolls at 2 packages for $5. I bought a package of orange chicken a few days ago for dinner one night this week and figured egg rolls would be great with that so I got one package. Not two, not three, just one. Then I picked up bread, lunch meat, 3 bananas and 2 apples. That's it. I didn't wander around the store, I didn't look at every thing there. Oh, I thought about it but I had $87 in that envelope to last two weeks so I knew I couldn't fritter it away. I got what we needed and went to the self check out stand where I rang it all up and paid cash - $10.59. I paid for it, put the bills and change I got back back into the food envelope, wrote on the envelope what I'd paid and the new balance, and got out of there.

I got back to the office and told DH how much my check was and such. I balanced the checkbook, told him what's in it (a little more than we usually have, even on my payday!) and started showing him the envelopes with the money. He had the office envelopes in his hand and we started going through those while we talked. He said something about being a little short on the rent money which is due today then commented that we had enough in the bank to cover it. At about that time he handed me the phone bill envelope and told me to go ahead and deposit that and send the payment. I said okay then it hit me. I paid that last night out of the checking account! I told him and he told me to just deposit it then. But he'd just said the rent money was short so I asked what he needed for that. He counted and told me. I opened the phone envelope and handed him the money and said "There, done."

I know, this is simple stuff to some of you but this is a light bulb moment for me! He took the money, grinning, added it up, saw that it was enough and called the landlord and told him to come get his money when he was ready. After giving him that money I had $25 left of the phone money. We slipped that into the electric bill envelope which is still short but we have until the 12th to pay it.

Okay, so the phone was paid last night, the rent was paid today, the electric bill envelope has about 1/4 of what it needs with about 11 days to go, and we have plenty of food because we believe in stocking up when prices are really good.

Realizing the bank account was in the positive(not a lot of money there but a little), he went ahead and ordered something he needs for advertising purposes. The cost was only about $38 or so but he did it over the phone. Afterwards, he realized that he had $30 of that $38 in the advertising envelope so he got that out and moved it to the savings envelope. Yeehaw, another $30 in there!

At this point, yall are probably thinking "Big deal, they're just shuffling money around!" and that's true, we are. But this is our first time doing this and it takes awhile to tweak it so that its just right. For awhile, it will go on like this and that's okay. The point of all this, though, is that we're beginning to see the light about how we spend and we're beginning to be able to pay things when they need to be paid, and still have a little left. And more than that, we actually have money to shuffle!! I can't tell yall what this feels like to me!

The main reason we can do this is the Cash Flow Plan and the Allocated Spending Sheet. They're helping us prioritize what needs to be paid. A lot of people can do this without help but we need help and FPU is giving it to us.

No, it won't be easy and it's going to be very rough at times. We have a lot of old debt to deal with and at some point we will. But we have to take care of the four walls and the business and that's happening, slowly but surely. And my next check will be very small since I am only working a few hours this week. But most of the bills will be paid and we'll have food. And life will rock on, even if it rocks a little slowly. Smile

I hope all this makes sense to yall. I'm just so excited I had to tell somebody! I think I see light at the end of the tunnel.

So, where is it going?

January 15th, 2008 at 05:16 am



Last night when I couldn't sleep I perused some blogs. Ima Saver had a brief entry in hers about using the envelope method. I like her way of doing it so I figured out how much we would need to put back per week if we did it the way she does it rather than how we do it now. In reality, there isn't much difference but my mind was reeling last night so I was up late playing with numbers. What was left came to about $200. The shop income varies but that's a rough guess. Huh? $200 a week after we pay bills? We never have that much! So, where is it going?

Let's figure this out. From the $200 let's subtract $40 for cigarettes. Yes, I know we need to quit but honesty is vital here so I'm stating for the record that that is an expense. Okay, we have $160 left per week. Now let's subtract $50 a week for gas, understanding some weeks it might be more and others it might be less. We now have $110 left each week. Most weeks we spend about $45 at the grocery store. Again, this varies but that's a fairly accurate figure. We're down to $65. Throw in the $8 or so a week for laundry, the $20 or so DH gives me throughout the week for whatever I might need and we're down to $37. From that subtract the drinks and snacks he likes to get when out and about and whatever little incidentals might come up. Uh huh, that's where it goes! But wait, somewhere in there we eat out and we do it too often! Hmmm, no wonder we're always short on bill paying money!

So now I know why we never have $200 after putting money in the envelopes. The question is: what can we do about it?

Well, the first and most obvious thing we can do is quit smoking. That frees up about $40 a week, though not immediately as we'll use the nicotine patch which is expensive. It's cheaper than cigarettes, though, and once we're finished with them the money spent for them will be available. We're already pretty frugal with groceries and because of dietary restrictions we can't get much lower than $45 a week so that will need to stay about the same. However, we can reduce the food we waste and further reduce eating out which will help a lot.

So if we just quit smoking and cut back on eating out, $70 or so a week will be freed up. Hmmm, in theory, anyway. This all looks fine on virtual paper but how realistic is it? That's what I don't know.

Something else for me to ponder today while at work....

Envelope system and saving update

January 11th, 2008 at 10:55 pm



DH and I sat down this evening to evaluate how the envelope system is working for us. There isn't enough in any of the envelopes to pay that bill but there's money in each of them and we have two to three weeks to get the money for the current bills and that should be very doable. It's only been six days but it appears that the system is definitely working for us.

While we were discussing this, DH told me that he wants to try to pay the bills from shop income and save at least half of what I earn. Wow! If we can do that, we can have some decent savings in short order! The shop is making enough to cover all the bills but only if we stop frittering away money. We still do that and although we do less than in the recent past, cutting back on that more will ensure we can pay our expenses with the shop money and save a good portion of my income.

Frittering - it's so easy to do! We eat out too much which isn't good for the pocket book or the health. And DH likes to buy soft drinks and snacks while we're out and those are hard on the budget and health, too. I admit I do it occasionally, too. But if we just cut back on eating out, that will make a big difference.

I think if we keep track of every penny we spend for awhile it will show us again just how much money we're frittering. When we did that before, it stopped us in our tracks and caused major overnight changes. But that was a few years ago and we're complacent again, I think. Now if I can just talk him into doing that again. But that's the kicker. He knows we blow too much and he knows we need to stop so he will probably remind me that he knows those things and say there's no need to track every penny again. If he does, I won't bring it up again.

I'm grateful, though, that he's working to improve our financial situation and is aware and willing to work on it with me. Yaaaaay for husbands who man up! Wink

Envelope, job, & challenge updates

January 8th, 2008 at 06:16 pm

I wrote this then added to it and am now adding to it again so I edited the name, also. I might as well post just one entry rather than three.

So far the envelope system is working! Yes, it's only been three days but there is money in each of the envelopes, including the savings envelope. Smile

It feels great to know our bills are paid for the month and we're working for the next round of them. We have a ways to go before we have enough for the next round of bills but we'll get there, I know.

Yaaaaay for envelopes, cash, jobs, and a little discipline!

Speaking of jobs, I'm a reasonably intelligent person and am capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to. But correctly marking cups at work boggles my mind and I'm close to admitting I've been outsmarted by paper and plastic!

I did pretty well today but still messed up at least 6 cups. I either had the wrong size or marked them incorrectly or something else stupid. It doesn't help that customers often don't ask for an item by the name on the menu board. So I think they're asking for one thing and they're really asking for another. Example: "I'd like a Chi Tea." I mark the cup for what I think is Chi Tea. Then I look around and don't see Chi Tea anywhere. After doing this three times I realized they were asking for a Chi Latte!! Doh! When I ask what size, they say they want the medium and I mark it. Then they change their mind and want a large. Okay, no problem, I can handle that. I get another cup and mark it and bam, now they want the other one again!

It's fun and I love my new job. Wink

My $20 challenge is up to $27 now thanks to a couple of meatless meals and not buying a snack or drink while out running errands. I have some change to add to it tomorrow, about $2. Yippee!