Thursday, February 28, 2013

Show & Tell: My Wallet

I wanted to show you guys my wallet. It seems weird to some, but I have struggled with finding a way that works with the envelope system. 

First, I used . . well . . envelopes. That didn't last too long before it got annoying. I used envelopes for about a month and decided I was ready to pitch them. They got in the way and never fit into my wallet. Second, I decided to make my own wallet like these found on Etsy. I thought it was a great idea, until I used them for a few weeks. They were really flimsy and were a bit annoying when checking out at the grocery store (plus change fell out really easily). Those also did not fit in my existing wallet.

Finally, I went to Kohl's with my $10 Kohl's cash and searched high and low in the clearance department. I found a Vera Wang wallet (for $9.80!) hidden under a HUGE mound of purses. After opening it, I was thrilled to see there were large divided sections, a coin area, AND a place to hold ID cards. Excellent.

I went home and started making custom tabs for my wallet, using a regular dollar bill as a guide (meanwhile, my husband was looking at me like I caught some incurable disease). Voila! Envelope organization without all of the hassle. It's so much easier to see what is left in each category, too. I have been using it for a few weeks now and definitely won't be changing it anytime soon. Are you surprised? Budget/organization nerd and proud.


Also, some GREAT news! I've done some planning ahead in the budget (trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel). On the paycheck I get on my birthday, April 8, we will have paid off BOTH credit cards! Jon's car loan is next, then for my student loans. My student loans are the most terrifying, I have divided them up into each loan amount . . instead of one huge consolidated loan. It makes the amounts seem more manageable and less daunting. One step closer to financial peace. Believe me - I will be posting once those credit cards have reached a balance of zero and I have called to cancel them (they have already been cut up so I'm not tempted)!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Surprise Here: I'm The Nerd

With budgeting, there are nerds and free spirits. Jon is a free spirit with a little nerd, and I'm 100% nerd. I'm honestly not surprised because working on a budget excites me and I swear I change it every paycheck - have to keep it accurate! 

We currently have an Excel spreadsheet set up with our numbers. Dave recommended doing it on paper first, but paper has always reminded me of homework. Technology is fun, so we're going the spreadsheet route. If you guys are interested in seeing what our budget looks like, don't hesitate to shoot me an email or leave me a comment. I just don't want to post that information publicly for privacy reasons. ;) We've been at it for a few months now, so we have a good idea of how much of our money should be going where.

After discussing grocery budgets with some of my friends (and looking online), I've decided our grocery budget is fine, but we need to increase our eating out money. Date night is important to us. With a new puppy and a cat to take care of, we don't have much time to ourselves anymore....I really don't want to know what it's going to be like with kids around. We used to have date nights every Thursday night, but since we got Mia . . that just doesn't happen anymore.

We are also adding more money to our vacation fund (and starting a money jar for that). We are going to Frankenmuth, MI for our anniversary in September and Florida/Disney World in December - January. We want to be able to enjoy our trips without feeling bad about spending money while we're there. Financial peace, here we come!

Monday, February 25, 2013

How Much Do You Spend on Groceries?

I'm curious as to how much money people spend PER MONTH on groceries - let me hear it! Also, let me know how many people you are feeding for that price as well.

FPU: Baby Step One - $1,000

I knew this was going to be the easiest step and the hardest step..

Breaking out of your old habits is always rough, no matter what you're doing. When people step out of their comfort zone, they tend to get, well..uncomfortable. I've always been a spender - I guess I just wasn't born with the saver gene. It's time to change that.

As most of you know, we have been budgeting since January. I've been updating the budget every paycheck because things change. Dave's first step was to get $1,000 in the bank for an emergency fund. An emergency is . . . a blown out tire, a sick animal, etc.  NOT a couch that is on sale for one weekend only.

After shuffling the budget around this week (and taking away some "fun" money) we were able to get up to $800. We should have that $1,000 by next paycheck...easy. We still have "blow" money and covered all of our bills this month. Makes me wonder where all of that money went during the last 6 months...

Baby Step Two is paying off all debt (except the mortgage). This is a scary one for me, considering I have $100,000+ of non-mortgage debt on my shoulders. Deep breaths...we can get through this, right?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our Newest Journey: Financial Peace Univeristy

First, I'd like to apologize for being MIA for a while. I caught a nasty cold on Monday last week, and I've been suffering ever since. I even missed out on our Valentine's Day dinner we had planned for a month or so. I went to the doctor on Saturday and he finally gave me some antibiotics. Not doing much better, but hopefully they will start working soon. This has been one nasty cold season for me.

My husband and I have been wanting to take Financial Peace University for the last year or so. We wanted to wait until we could register as a couple and only pay $100 instead of $200. Our church announced a new class and we knew it was our chance to sign up!

Yes, it is possible to be debt free (with no mortgage).

The overall picture is pretty overwhelming, but I am happy we are starting this journey so early in our lives together. With $100,000 in student loan debt, plus $140,000 in mortgage debt...this class couldn't come at a better time. I'll be posting updates each week with how things are going. I already implemented the envelope system at the beginning of January, so fingers are crossed that it will be an easy transition! I even shredded my credit cards as soon as we got home from the first meeting - now to pay them off...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

14 Days of Love: Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, I wanted to do something extra special for my husband. This was the first Valentines Day we were able to spend together (after the last 5 had to be celebrated long distance). I did what I do best, and went to Pinterest for ideas. I already made him the deck of cards with 52 things I love about him, so that was out. I found some wives got their husbands one item leading up until the 14th with cheesy sayings. I loved the idea and decided I had to do it. I am missing the pictures of the Zebra cakes (wild about you), puppy chow (mixed up without you), and the cupcake (have a great day) - we kind of inhaled those before I got a chance


I made the tags myself. You can save these and print them out at home if you don't feel like making your own. I had fun coming up with what was going to go with each saying. You can choose whatever your husband likes to go with each. For example, the love potion is Mountain Dew Code Red. I've seen red cream soda and Kool Aid used before.