Thursday, July 28, 2011

Budgeting Again

Here we are at the end of another month.  July seemed really long this year, especially since we had our Emergency at the end of June which spilled into July.  At the lowest point, our Emergency Fund had $1.14 and our checking account had $48.  We usually have more of a cushion, but there was an issue with payroll that has since been cleared up.
Let me tell you, being that broke I was so grateful for our budget.  I looked at the bank account (gasped and swore a bit) and looked at my check book.  Within five minutes, I knew we were ok.  All our checks had cleared, and there was nothing hanging out there on the debit card waiting to clear because we use cash for all our incidental purchases (groceries, gas, clothing, etc.).  Even though we had less than I would have liked, I knew none of it would go anywhere before we got paid again.  I knew that every one of those dollars was named "sinking fund for Caleb's life insurance", which we pay at the end of the year, and would not be leaving the account.

That was our situation when we did our July budget.  Now, it's time to do August.  We have refilled our emergency fund and Caleb's life insurance fund.  Our car now has a rebuilt transmission and a new muffler.   We're free and clear to look forward to next month and all it's oncoming craziness.
Usually, we'd just adjust last month, but since August will be so completely different than previous months, we'll be starting from scratch and we'll go through it with you.
There are two forms that we use from Dave Ramsey's My Total Money Makeover site (they're in all of his books too).  The first is the Cash Flow Plan (pdf) and the second is the Allocated Spending Form (pdf).  Over the next few days we'll walk through how we do our budget so you can see how these forms work in real life.
It'll be way fun.  You're welcome.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


There's not to much to report as far as our debt paying-off progress or road trip plans.  We continue to battle the temptation to do something off budget "just this once" "because we deserve it".
At some point, I think, it gets easier.  But we aren't there yet.  Right now, we have to stay focused and do what's needed to get it done in the long run.  Every day.  Little by little.  Baby steps.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sometimes, paying off debt really stinks.

Have you ever prayed for patience?  Whenever I do, it seems virtually guarenteed that within mere hours something will come along and test my patience to the limit, usually leaving me furious, frustrated and all together impatient.
The same thing seems to happen whenever I make a resolution of any kind, including getting serious about getting out of debt.  Not too long ago, I blogged about our Emergency Fund and how we've used it a few times, but it generally seems to cover things.
"Things" in this case does not include a rebuilt transmission, as we discovered last week.  No, a transmission generally runs about twice our emergency fund ($1897, to be exact).  So, what to do?  We were able to squeeze about $100 extra out of our budget for the month, but that still left us about $800 in the hole.  To make up the difference, Caleb's dad stepped in and provided.  In our July budget, we will be paying him back as soon as our four walls (housing, food, transportation and clothing) are covered.  Then, we'll be rebuilding our emergency fund.  Even with Caleb working an extra job and nearly doubling our normal income, we won't be able to go back to our snowball until August, unless money drops from the sky.
Financially, I know we'll be fine.  Emotionally, I'm pissed off, frustrated, tired and, in moments of weakness, ready to throw in the towel and just be defeatest about the whole thing.  It seems like every time we're ready to really get going with paying down the debt some little thing pops up and wont let us do it quite yet.  When will it end?  When does it get easier?
Well, not yet.
The good news is that we are not going through this alone.  God always knows when we're at our most exhausted (physically, emotionally, financially, etc.) and uses that exact moment to remind us of his love and provision.  In that vein, two things happened this week.  The first was a talk that Dave Ramsey gave at my uncle's church.  He sent me the link to the videos.  In that video Dave talks about how when the transmission blows (and he uses that example) is a test.  This is when the rubber meets the road.  If we weren't really committed to being debt free, it would have been really really easy to open a new credit card account to pay for it.
The second moment was at church this week.  The gospel reading was, of course, Matthew 6:19-34.  Do not be anxious. I know what you need.  I'll take care of you.  Keep doing what you're supposed to do and let me handle tomorrow.