FPU Week 3: Cash Flow Planning

This week's class is the real deal. The first two weeks, while important, kept things fairly light. Those not fully engaged in this plan got pulled in with the stories and the humor. And there's nothing wrong with that. But now it gets serious, folks.

The rubber officially met the road.

This is the budget lesson. Where nerd and free-spirit come together and make a plan for their money. It was 4 years and 6 months ago that we started living on a budget. And probably 4 years and 3 months ago that I saw the value of it.

I, like any good free-spirit, made fun of my wife when I found out that she was listening to AM radio. Turns out she wasn't rockin' out to ABBA on her way home from work. Slowly she tried to engage me - she talked about what she was doing, showed me what she was doing. I tried to be supportive, but was still really on the outside looking in.

At the same time, I was fed up with my job. My boss had gone nuts. Work was drying up. We had moved offices and went from a 10 minute city commute to a 45 minute gridlock commute. it was bad, but I started to lean on what I'd previously dismissed - the budget. But yet, we just couldn't work an angle to survive on just her income. She kept talking about having to sell my car. Years later I would realize how funny that is (Dave often refers to his radio show as the 'Sell the car' Show).

Keep in mind, the Mrs. was new to all of this too, and as Dave warns, your budget probably won't work for the first three months. It doesn't help when one partner is kinda sorta on board, yet not really participating. Fortunately, after three months of practice, we made that budget work on just her income. That was the same day I was laid off.

And we didn't have to sell my car!

It may have taken a slap to the face, but ever since then I've been a believer in the budget.

Who does the budget in your house? How well does your system work?

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


We're Pleased to Announce....

... after a rather gargantuan effort - Not the Jet Set 2.0

The new template is up and in beta release. [If you happen to find a dead link or something we missed, drop us a line. Thanks!] The new version sports a cleaner look but the same great content you've come to know and love.

Hit the jump for a full list of what's new and what you won't find anymore.

  • The Blogger bar is gone - Instead you'll find some quick links across the top and a search function integrated just below the logo.
  • A Fuller Disclosure - Our new goals have been added, old ones are still visible.
  • Twitter - The Mrs. is on the twitter scene. Follow her through her busy days with the big blue t
  • Add only this - the 'add this' button has long been a part of this site and is now the only integrated way to bookmark and share.
  • 3 Columns Plus - Our new layout sports 3 columns with space for advertisers, including our very first - Auntie Em's Sewing Room.
  • Classic Comments - We tested JS-Kit and Intense Debate comment systems. Both had their positives, but were also not without issues. You'll find neither on the new template as commenting shouldn't be a chore.
  • Downloads, Buttons - They're still here. Check out the links across the top.
  • Subscriptions - Drastically cleaned up. RSS, Email, still here and easy to find.
  • Much ado about labels - The Mrs. has gone through and given the labels a good scrub with a mixture of Borax and white vinegar. Apparently they had gotten quite messy. Previously all personal finance posts were lumped together. Now you'll find them broken up into things like Budgeting 101, Our Family's Finances, and Work Life.
There is probably another couple dozen things we have cleaned up, overhauled, tweaked or adjusted. But those are the big ones.

Let us know what you think!

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Friday Feedback: Financial Peace University

We love teaching Financial Peace University. It is amazing to see the life changes that are made during the 13 weeks. Just knowing that you are making such a huge impact on a person's life makes the personal sacrifices of teaching the class more then worth it.

Our question for you today is:

Have you taken Financial Peace University?

Head over to the poll on the right side. If you have an FPU story you would like to share please leave us a comment.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sorry, guys, but the poll also died with the template update. Looks like a good opportunity to try something new... Check out the new poll on the right.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


FPU Week 2: Relating With Money

This is one of our favorite classes in FPU. "Worth the price of admission". Last year we wrote about my time as a reluctant spouse. It's one of my favorite posts as we each wrote about it from our own perspective. You can clearly see - we were not on the same page. A big focus of Financial Peace University and specifically this week's class is bringing husband and wife together to talk about money in a constructive way.

The first time we lead an FPU class, we were also taking it ourselves. We really didn't know what we were getting into, or what to expect. One couple showed up for the first class, and clearly they had been fighting on the way over - probably about money. The scowls on their faces said it all.

They sat next to each other, reluctantly. No touching, no talking. By this lesson, they were laughing, elbowing each other, and holding hands. Where they were previously guarded and quiet in the small group discussions, they were suddenly talkative and open. They were so excited - collectively - that they were reading ahead, and knew the jokes before they were coming.

It was amazing to watch. Especially come the final class when they admitted that without this class, they would likely be divorced. It was a truly humbling moment, to know that this class had that big of an impact on a marriage. They were talking, budgeting and had a shared set of goals. A couple that had previously filed bankruptcy and were still struggling, now had a path to success.

This updated version of FPU has this lesson in week two, which makes a lot of sense to have this lesson before the budgeting lesson - aka, The Big Fight! Just kidding. If you get this lesson, you'll have much less to worry about come cash flow planning time.

Has money been an issue in your marriage?

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


The Best Things In Life Are Free

During tough economy times we sometimes forget what is really important in life. We get so worried and wrapped in the things that are going wrong that we miss the forest from the trees. If we just take a step back we can see that their a lot of blessings in our lives. And as the saying goes "The best things in life are free." Here are some of the best free things in my life.

My Blessings:

  • Happy children
  • Wonderful husband
  • Dear friends
  • Time with extended family
  • Good neighbors
  • Wonderful Church community
  • Family dinners
  • Backyard campfires
  • Hammock time
  • Lazy days at the beach
  • Family bike rides and walks
  • Watching my husband play basketball w/ my daughter in the driveway
What are the best free things in your life? Share with us the positive blessings you have in your life right now despite the economy.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Winner Announced!

On Friday our most recent giveaway ended for "The Better World Shopping Guide". The randomly selected winner was comment #2, Gina from Money Wise Moms.

Thanks to everyone who entered! If you did not win I would still highly recommend spending the 10 bucks to buy yourself this wonderful book.

Stay tuned to find out what the next giveaway will be.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---

God's Financial Planning

When you start to manage money the way God wants you to, you will be blessed. The blessings you receive can come in a variety of forms. We have seen it over and over again in different peoples lives as they start down the path of financial stewardship.

Like most things in life it is sometimes easier to see God working in other's lives instead of your own. However, when you take a step back you can see God at work in your own life. Here is how God has been working over time in our financial lives.

We have been working hard to save up enough money to put a new metal roof on our house. Our current shingled roof is very old and is in need of replacement. With the amount we set aside every month we would have the funds by June to replace it ourselves (not contracting it out).

Along with way several things happened. The first was that the Mr.'s annual bonus was cut to almost nothing. It would not be enough to cover the cost of our daughter's school tuition for next year. Our boiler also broke and the cost of repair made us think twice about fixing our 50 yr old boiler vs. replacing it.

The funds we needed were adding up fast. We were not sure what to do. But we prayed for God to give us direction. Then we waited and watched his plan unfold. First thing he did was make us remember that the Mr. had an all but forgotten savings account from his childhood. He never wanted to close it and we thought that there was only about $50 in it since it earned almost nothing in interest. We decided while working on taxes that it was time to close that account. That was when we found out how much was in it. There was $1,564 in the account! Which happened to be the amount we were short on for next year's tuition. We knew right away that God wanted our daughter to continue to go to the Catholic school and He provided the way this year. This would give us another 12 months to work the cost of tuition into our monthly budget but we were not sure how, yet.

After completing our taxes we were shocked to find out that we would be getting back over $4k! We had not expected to receive that large of a refund. We had never received more then $1,500 before so this made it even more unexpected. Since we didn't have plans for this money we went back and forth about what to do. We had already talked about putting off the roof one more year and using those funds to replace the boiler since they would cost about the same. We thought that the best use of the tax refund funds would be to save up for a new car since ours are getting up in age and miles. We also adjusted his withholdings so that we would not have such a large refund. This adjustment gave him a "pay raise" of $260 a month. Which happens to be the amount we needed to come up with a month for tuition! Once again we took the time to pray. We asked God for some more guidance and thanked Him for the tuition funds.

This time he was very clear about what he wanted done. That Sunday while we were getting ready for Church I heard a weird noise in the kitchen. When I turned the hallway corner and looked into the kitchen I was horrified. The roof was leaking and the hard rain we were receiving was pouring into our kitchen. After Church I started to smell something musty smelling in the living room. Two days later I realized that the roof was leaking around the living room fireplace. The ceiling around it was soft and musty. God made it very clear to us that we needed a new roof and we needed it now! Not in another year.

After God clarified our needs a little more I sat down with all our numbers. Our savings funds, our projected repair/replacement costs. We kept God's plan and signs in our minds as we discerned his will for us and his money (that we manage for him).

Here is the breakdown of our decisions.

  • 2009/2010 tuition would be covered by bonus and closed savings account funds.
  • Future tuition would be covered by the monthly savings added to the budget by the increased take home pay.
  • Roof would be replaced by us but we are going to use higher end shingles to fit in our budget and make it easier for us to install w/ the help of friends.
  • Boiler would be replaced w/ a high efficiency boiler using the tax refund along w/ a little from the roof fund.
  • Car replacement fund would not see a dime. We will just make do for now and save up when we get some extra money.

It's amazing to see God working in our life when we just give him a chance. Have you seen God working with you on solving your money problems? Do you take the time to pray before making large financial decisions? Tell us your story!

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Friday Feedback: Super Sized Life

Friday is here all ready! It has been the most beautiful week here in Michigan. Seeing the sun and playing outside with the kids really lifted our spirits. I hope that all of you were able to enjoy a sneak preview of spring as well.

This week our Friday Feedback question is related to a post from earlier this week on living a super sized life. Without any more delay, here is the question.

What area of your life is super sized?

Is it your car, house, food, kids, extra activities, vacation or something else? Enter your answer into the poll on the right side. Feel free to add a little comment explaining your super sized life!

For us, nothing is super sized at the moment. We stopped living super sized about 4 years ago. Back then it was food for us. We loved to cook really nice food and when we ate out it was always expensive restaurants.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Super Sized Life

About six years ago I started to realize that people where living beyond there means. There was no way that their income levels could sustain the lifestyle they lived. The people I'm talking about are not people on TV or others that I've heard about. These people were my co-workers, family, friends and other acquaintances. They were real people who I had real interaction with.

It was not until about a year ago that I starting to really analyze this situation and came up with a name for it, the Super Sized Life. But why shouldn't we Americans be living a super sized life? A lot of us act like our world is just like McDonald's. We expect everything fast, cheap, and a little bigger. Of course this would never hurt our waistlines or our pocket books. Or would it?

Did we super size our lives a little too much? I mean so what if we buy a few items at the store that were not on the list. If we bought a car with a few more features then we needed. Who couldn't use an extra bathroom and bedroom in their home? And God forbid we don't buy something from all of the fundraisers going on in the area. Plus, I think that it's important to keep your kids extremely busy with at least 4 extra curricular activities each per season.

Do you sense a little sarcasm above? I hope so. Our mentality of "a little more of a good thing won't hurt" has caused us all great pain. Our economy is in the toilet, people are losing their super sized homes and cars, we (and our kids) are over weight, and we are all stressed from our crazy schedules.

We say forget the super sized life! It's really not as much fun as it sounds. We have found that our family did better when we went back to the basics. We are healthier and happier. Not to mention our pocket books have something in them.

Were you living super-sized? Has the current economy put an end of the super sized life? Are we going to stop living one size larger and start living one size smaller?

Image courtesy of MSNBC

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Super Savers: FPU Week 1

We've been quite nervous about this. Starting FPU, that is. We used to facilitate FPU before moving here, and after two years of discernment / dragging our feet, we felt the calling again. We soon found that not only was our Priest excited about it (a fan of Dave's radio show), but the Deacon as well (he and his wife had just taken it at another church). Just to add to the pressure, we had 37 families sign up for class. 3 times the size of any class we'd previously taught!

Anxiety was high, but as far as we could tell, week 1 was a smashing success. The class went well - people were entertained and the material was well received. All things you would expect. There was a part that we didn't expect though - the part that we got out of it.

First, for those not familiar. Financial Peace University (FPU) is a 13-week course taught via video by Dave Ramsey. Class coordinators like ourselves organize the classes, facilitate the meetings and lead the discussions. We don't get paid to do this, but rather do it as a ministry.

Week 1 is called Super Savers - the point of which is.... saving money! Week 1 is a bit basic, but you have to start somewhere. You can't lead this type of thing off by trying to balance everyone's budgets while running their credit cards through the shredder. They'd never show up for week 2. Week 1 teaches that saving must become a priority. You'll never do it if you keep putting it off.

"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,
but a foolish man devours all he has."
-Proverbs 21:20
Turns out, God's a pretty smart guy.

One of the big take-aways in this lesson is that there are three reasons to save:
  1. Emergencies
  2. Purchases
  3. Wealth building
In a class like this, you'll always have folks all over the spectrum - some who have been diligent about saving, others have never saved a dime. For us, we've been through the class and at this point are pretty well living the plan. Debt is long gone. We have our fully-funded emergency fund. We save for big purchases that we are planning. We have money in retirement accounts and have started saving for college. It's the purchases that have been big on our minds lately.

See, we've been saving for a new roof, basically since we moved in (sellers agent misrepresented the property, was a big mess). Lately, we've been wondering if we should replace the boiler (forced hot water heating) instead. It's 45 years old, on it's last leg, and we seem to be dropping about $300 per year on it to keep it going. Not the most efficient thing either. We even mentioned it to the class that we were trying to make this decision and were hoping for a sign.

Turns out, God's a pretty smart guy.

Besides the one leak in the roof that we knew about and have patched, a current rainstorm revealed two (2) other leaks. Ug. We knew right then that we could not put off the roof any longer. But, we've been saving, and should have more than enough for the materials and the DIY crew to put it up. Dilema solved, right? But what about the old bloiler?

Well, we had some folks come out to quote the replacement of the boiler. We had two quotes, but fellow parishioner recommend someone else, so we gave them a shot. Well the salesman came out to inspect, the Mrs. was quite surprised to see that he was one of the folks from our class! We don't have the quote back, but we are hoping to swing some kind of 'Dave Ramsey' discount. We'll see.

If the price is right, we may be able to do both - without taking more than a couple hundred out of the emergency fund. Saving money is a basic concept. But so many people don't do it. Relentlessly saving all that money hasn't been tons of fun, but when big expenses come up and you can cover the bills - in cash - that's pretty cool.

What was the last major purchase that you saved up for and paid for in full? Have you ever done that?

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Friday Feedback: Blogging

TGIF! What a week. I'm glad it's almost over.

Earlier this week I start to really wonder how many of our readers have their own blogs. Which lead me to today's Friday feedback question:

Are you a blogger?

If so please leaving a comment saying the name of your blog, a short description and a link. We hope that everyone enjoys their weekend.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Baking Mix Recipe

I few years ago I found Mary Jane Farm's Budget Mix. Before then I had never used Bisquick or the likes. I never even had the desire to try them. After having several people recommend MJF's Budget Mix I gave it a try. I was hooked from the first recipe I made. Since that day our budget has become a lot tighter and a lot of those little extras have been cut from the budget.

After living without the budget mix for almost two years I decided to try and make my own version using the bulk supplies I keep on hand. I spent way to much time searching online to find just the right recipe only to not find it. Most baking budget mixes include shorting and only white flour. Some even include sugar. Those were all things that I would rather leave out or cut back on.

After a little trial and error I came up with the perfect baking mix recipe for my kitchen. It has only four basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. With this basic mix I have made perfect muffins, cookies, scones, and more! The nice part about this mix is that I can use it in all of my favorite recipes. There is no need to use a special recipe. You just have to substitute an equal amount of the baking mix in place of the flour. Then you leave out the other four ingredients when making the recipe.

Here is the baking mix recipe:

5 cups White flour
5 cups Whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
4 Tbsp Baking powder (Aluminum free)
3 tsp Sea Salt

Mix it really good in a large bowl. Keep in a sealed container in your pantry.

Oh yeah.... I really is that easy!

As excited as I am to have a nice baking mix back in the kitchen, my family is even more excited. The house smells so good to from all the baking.

Give the recipe a try and let me know if it works for you.
Happy Baking!

For more great recipes join us on:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Real Food Wednesday

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


What Would You Pay For A CT Scan?

Since late Winter / early Spring is our Emergency season, we've now got a few bills in front of us. In reviewing one of the ER bills, we saw the charge for the CT Scan. The doctors wanted to do it as a safeguard, I went back and forth, but in the end decided to play it safe.


It took them ten minutes to do it. Had I known the cost... well, I'd still probably have them do it, but maybe would have thought about it a little longer:) Ahhhh, the joys of a 'consumer driven' health plan. The theory is that if you see more of the bills, then you'll consider the cost before having procedures done. Trouble is, you see more of the bills by way of paying them.

We're on a Health Reimbursement Plan, that means my employer covers a certain amount, then we cover a certain amount, then the bills get split 80/20. If you get past that, then everything is covered. So for a period of time, we have the pleasure of paying monthly premiums AND paying the medical bills.

Quite timely was this article by Ben over at the Consumerist about refusing unnecessary treatments. In his case he knew that the x-rays were not needed. For us, we were borderline, but did it to be safe. Isn't that the point?

Anyway, do you have a traditional health plan (HMO, PPO ....) or one of these new "stick-it-to-the-consumer" plans? Would you hesitate to have a procedure done if you knew the cost.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


My Performance Review

2008 was a tough year for lots of companies - mine included. So when the edict came down that there would be no raises given this year, I was bummed but not surprised. Still, I tried to look on the bright side - at least they didn't hand me a pay cut.

This news came along side other "benefits adjustments". Yeah, when you see that phrase on slide one of a powerpoint deck, you know it's not going to be good. The 401k took some hits. Several programs got cut. Basically money would not be so free-flowing around campus. The carrot that they dangled was that bonuses were yet undetermined.

So with my review approaching, I formed a plan:

  1. The company’s performance is not my own, so I expect a fair performance rating regardless of the company’s ability to compensate. It may be possible to leverage that next year assuming that things improve by then.
  2. No money for raises - fine, I get that - so give me what you can. I’m planning to ask for an increase in vacation time.
  3. Continue to work my butt off, and pray that there are better times ahead of us all.
They had replaced some 401k cash contributions with company stock. No matter how you feel about that, the root idea was, "we don't have the cash, but we'll give what we have". That's where my idea came to ask for added vacation time.

So the time came. My manager and I sat down and he went into auto-pilot. I think I was one of his last to get their review, so he was getting used to delivering the bad news. Bonuses were reduced by 75%. I was expecting nothing, so this didn't hit me too hard. We went through the 'official' review and compensation statement, and then I hit back.

"The company isn't giving pay increases this year, and I understand that. Since I have a strong review (and I did), what I'd like to know is if I can get increased vacation time instead." He looked perplexed, though I could tell he liked the idea. Once I explained my reasoning, he was nodding his head and making notes. This was a good sign.

Unfortunately, our HR rep was out of town at the time, and the request would have to wait. I could tell that this request was unexpected, which meant that the goofballs in HR would have to stew about this for a while. Our Generalist would have to pass it up to a Specialist, and then maybe on to a Grand Pooh-Bah or something like that. I'll let you know.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Giveaway: The Better World Shopping Guide

Our first giveaway was so much fun that we decided to do it again! This time we are giving away a book that I love. I loved it so much that I bought 20 copies to give away for Christmas gifts last year. The book is called The better World Shopping Guide #2- Every dollar makes a difference by Ellis Jones. The reason I like this book so much is that it is an easy way to introduce a person into making every decision a green decision.

Here is what the Author had to say on his website.

The only comprehensive guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers available, this book ranks every product on the shelf from A to F so you can quickly tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys” — turning your grocery list into a powerful tool to change the world. Representing over 15 years of distilled research, data is organized into the most common product categories including coffee, energy bars, computers, gasoline, clothing, banks, cars, water and more.

Also included is a summary of the essential information about particular product categories, profiles of the best and worst companies, practical buying tips and the most useful online resources available. Whether you believe in environmental sustainability, human rights, animal protection, community involvement or social justice, you'll want this book.

Small enough [4"x6"] to fit in a back pocket or small purse and organized in a shopping-friendly format, The Better World Shopping Guide will help you change the world as you shop! For just 10 bucks, how can you NOT get one?

How could you not? If you don't win the copy we are giving away I highly suggest you spring the 10 bucks and buy yourself a copy. It is worth every penny in my opinion. There is also a wealth of free information on his website as well.

The Rules:
There are several ways to enter to win the giveaway. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. You can enter four ways, but use each method once per giveaway. So you can have up to a total of four entries per giveaway.
  1. Simply leave your name and email address in a comment below.
  2. Stumble two of our other posts, then comment saying which posts, and your stumble username.
  3. Add us to your blogroll and let us know in the comments.
  4. Blog about the giveaway with a link back to the giveaway post in the comments.

This contest ends on March 20th at 5:00pm EST. The randomly selected winner will be announced on Monday March 23rd. An email will be sent to the winner. They will have 48 hours to provide a valid mailing address. The prize will only be mailed to U.S. and Canadian addresses.

Thanks for checking out our giveaway!

This giveaway was not sponsored by the author or the publisher. If you would like to sponsor a giveaway we are open to sponsors. Please email us for details.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


FREE Organic Lettuce Seeds

I normally don't post about free things on our blog since there are tons of other blogs out there that focus on deals. BUT this is a great offer and will be going fast.

I just got an email from Earthbound Farm Organics. In the email they had a link to their website offering free organic heirloom lettuce seed for you to grow your own salad. You might want to hurry before they run out!

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Feedback Friday: Dr. Bronner Uses

I read online about hundreds of things you can do with Dr. Bronner soaps. The only problem is that none of them say how they do it or share their recipe/mix ratios. I bought a bottle but it was no help with that either.

My question to you today is this:

Can you share your favorite Dr. Bronner recipe/ mix ratio with us in the comments?

If you would rather email me instead that is fine also. I'm going to take all of your advise and make one recipe post with all of them in it. Please leave your blog address and/or name so I can give you credit in the post.

Thanks for your help!

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Free Baking Classes and More

I have often talked about taking a cooking class. The Mr. always says that he would be just fine with the girls and I could enjoy the evening out. There are two reason's why I have not done it to this day. Money and time. I'm sure most of you are like me and don't want to spend the money or time when you really don't have it to spend.

Some day I will budget for this unnecessary cooking class. Until then I've found a wonderful online resource that is completely FREE. The website is The Prepared Pantry. They sell all sorts of neat kitchen related items AND they have a section called "The Baker's Library". In this collection are tons of free resources to help improve your baking. They include 8 free baking lessons from Pros, free e-books, articles, recipes, and much more. I have not had time to go through all of there free resources, but so far what I've seen has been very educational.

I hope you enjoy this free resource. Do you know of any other free cooking class or learning materials? If so feel free to share the info in the comments below or leave a link to your blog post.

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


Procrastination: I know it well

I swept out the garage yesterday. Congrats, right? While that doesn't seem terribly significant - it is. See during our recent push to finish the bathroom remodel, I used the garage to cut some materials - kicking the Mrs. and her car out in the process. That was about two weeks ago and that work was completed over a week ago.

It always seemed like it would be such a pain in the butt to do - get bundled up, clean up the debris, put away the tools, and sweep up. I'd usually remember to do this around 8 or 9 pm. Day after day, rain after snow, it didn't get done.

Yesterday, I was home early and the Mrs. was still out running errands with the kids. Despite still being dressed up from work, I was outside, and had no distractions. I had it done in probably 5 minutes or less. When the Mrs. got home, she had her garage back.

Occasionally, in our financial lives certain tasks seem to be out of reach despite their true difficulty. I have a natural predilection for procrastination. It's why my bills were usually late in college and why the Mrs. cuts the checks today. Still, there are things that we have put off. Updating our wills for one. We've done one before and this update wouldn't be terribly different. Mostly just adding provision for our second child.

What are you putting off? Paying off debt? Funding an emergency fund? Is it really as out-of-reach as you perceive it to be?

--- Continue Reading This Post ---


NtJS Household Budget - March '09

If you read our monthly budget update from last month you know that Murphy had struck our household big time. We weathered it just fine and was glad the month was behind us. The reality it seems is that February would not be much better. We spent most of the month sick! We made three ER visits, one CAT scan and one MRI. We are know waiting to hear the results of the MRI to see what, if anything needs to be done. Our daughter has her first appointment with an Allergist on Monday and I'm sure we will be making more visits to figure out what is triggering her allergic reactions.

With all the medical expenses we have had so far this year we will be paying for this next stretch 100% out of pocket until we spend $1000 then it will go to 80/20 split. To see more details check out the breakdown below.

February's Budget Recap:

  • We ended up fighting the insurance company the whole month to get the rest of our money reimbursed from truck repairs after the wreck. It should be in the mail but we have had to absorb the cost for over a month now.
  • The money ran out before the end of the month. We had to make things stretch the last week of the month.
  • Property tax assessment came in and we need to increase our monthly savings for our annual payment.

March Budget:
  • We budgeted for $400 in health expenses.
  • Increased take home pay this month by changing the Mr.'s deductions at work.
  • Put money in the house repair category to update our 1964 thermostats with new programmable ones.
  • I accidentally paid our electric bill in Feb. instead of waiting until March so we don't budget for electric this month.

2009 Financial Goals:
  • Save for new roof (100% of funds by late spring) (Started)
  • Start putting money in Roth again after roof is fully funded
  • Continue to save for kids' college in 529s (Started)
  • Continue to do company matching 401k (Started)
  • Fully fund Roth and 529s by late summer
  • Start aggressively saving for a new car (Applied tax return)
Did you have a rough financial month? Did you have a better month then us?

--- Continue Reading This Post ---
Blog Widget by LinkWithin