Monday, January 5, 2015

If I could just win the lottery, that'd be greeeat.

Yes, with the new year comes new resolutions for everyone. Easily the top of the list is either weight loss or get out of debt. To stay true to all of that, those are definitely on my list this year as well. I have a big motivating factor for the weight loss, but nothing is confirmed so I shall stay mute so I don't jinx anything. We also have some major family decisions to make this year so our number one priority is debt control.

We know Penelope is going to grace our home sometime early May this year and that's going to be a huge change for us all. It's also going to be a financial change because we all know that babies are expensive. The kicker is that I've started a new job that is very part time and my original plan to work two jobs until I give birth basically went to the crapper. We had a really great, concrete, totally stress free, do-able plan and that has gone to hell because of the second job thing. So realistically, I'm not finding another job right now. Matt and I have agreed that it doesn't make sense so we have to make what we have work for us. So keeping that in mind, we've come up with a monthly budgeting system a few months ago and so far- it's actually been really great.

  • Each month we plan everything around his two paychecks. He always gets paid on the 7th and the 21st which at first sound really nice to be able to plan, right? Yes, but then on long months (like January) it's a LONG haul between January 21 and February 7. Those months are brutal. Equally brutal are short months (like February) because instead of having 15 days in a pay period, he has 13. Which means he can't take any days off at all, for any reason, otherwise his March 7th paycheck is really awful. Those extra days are HUGE because they almost always are all over time. 
  • But we divide all of our bills between the two paychecks. We don't figure my paycheck in at all right now because by the time Penelope comes, I won't have a paycheck at all so we need to get used to running on one income. 
  • I also make a list of debt like credit cards and our furniture payment. Those are things we can feasibly pay off early, if we're diligent. 
  • Then I figure out how much we'll be paying towards those debt items. 
The really nice thing is that we managed to pay off my dental surgery from June, and that was really nice. This month the goal is to pay off the latest dental bill, one credit card for sure, possibly three. Yes, three. That's assuming Matt's raise is larger than we anticipate. Goal #1 this year is to have all of the store cards paid off in full by the end of May, and to have our furniture paid off by the end of December. Completely do-able IF we don't spend more on them. Which brings us to Goal #2, which is starting the No-Spend January. 

I'm going to be dead straight: I am the one who will struggle with this the hardest. I'm that person who shops when she feels bored, upset, or if I have a $20 in my purse. I'm that girl and it's awful. I hate being that person. I do remember it starting in college when I got my first credit card. My parents made me get a job right away when I turned 16 but I always had to be extra responsible with my money and anything I bought got scrutinized. Well, I turn 18, get a credit card and SUCK IT, PARENTS. I, of course, ran it up to ridiculous amounts and felt totally sick each month. Not that it stopped me from going out and buying something else because I felt sad and new things are fun. So it's a super vicious cycle and I'm terrible. Absolutely terrible. 

So for January, Matt and I are going to try this out. It could end badly, and I'm prepared for that. But I feel like if I can make it, I'll feel really good and it'll be a good momentum going forward. 

Goal #3 is to save. Seriously, you'd think we'd be better savers considering how many crisis things come up every single year for us, but we aren't. And maybe because of that? I don't know, but it seems like any time we have money in the account something happens and it's gone. So we're starting the 52 Week Money Challenge. I've got my chart printed out, we have already made the first deposit, and we're going to try super hard to stick to it. To say we have $1378 in savings at the end of the year will be huge. 

Why get all serious about this now? Well, as I mentioned before, my new job is only limited part time. When there is no school, I don't work, which means all breaks and summers I'm off without a paycheck. That's a huge perk for me because I don't have to scramble to find care for my kids when there is no school. Downside is I'm not really making that much. So depending on how this all goes, it'll determine if I go back to work in the fall. If we're not saving as much as we can and we can't find affordable daycare within our budget, I can't go back to work. We can't afford for me to work and pay a daycare more than I'm bringing in. So that... hurts. That hurts a lot, and that's another blog post. So I'm trying very hard to do what I can so I don't go mad as a stay at home mom. Because that's my fear, folks. 

So what are YOUR resolutions? What debt management tips have you tried that have been helpful? 


Unknown said...

Seriously, if you win the lottery donate just like 1% to me and I'd love you forever. If you won the mega millions that'll be like nothing for you to give away. :)
I'm kind of embarassed to say that at 24, I'm close to $10k in credit card debt. It's embarassing. I pay everything on time, but like you, if I see something I buy it. I worry about it later. And that's terrible. So this year I'm stopping. I've had a big girl job for 3 years now and I have nothing saved. I make a really good salary, so it really pains me when I have to ask my parents for some cash. No more.
I did a post about this today, and even though we're only 5 days into the new year I already want to spend all the money. It sucks and I hate it.


jn said...

Hi Sara....Happy New Year to you !! I must say, I commend you and your husband on your challenge for 2015. Speaking it. You will feel so empowered when you succeed. You also are setting a great example for your kids. If you slip, you slip. Don't give up. There was a time when I was a very good budgeter. I could save like nobody's business. Then we got sloppy and thought Dick's job would last forever. Wrong.... so here we are 6 years after termination living from payday to payday....if that. Pay off those cards. Don't give them all that interest!! It's yours....keep it !! Easy said ? No. I am determined to get our card down and then have the limit lowered so I'm not tempted to jack it back up again.I need to make more cards, and more "middens"...and contribute more to our income that way. I could go on and on but you asked for a comment, not a book !! lol Take care can do this.

Nicole Pyles said...

ACK MONEY! If I could also win the lottery that'd be amazing. I'm in a lot of debt due to using credit cards for grocery shopping. I see bankruptcy in my foreseeable future to be completely honest with you. I have two family members out of work and it's just gotten really bad. I've learned my lesson though and hope to never find myself in this spot again.

Steff said...

Have you read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover? That book definitely changed my life and is amazing!! I agree with most of what he says (some parts I don't agree with, so just leave them out of my plan) and it has helped us stay on track so much.

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