Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gotta be clean!

Last night I realized there were a few things I missed in my budget: pet care (we have 3 cats), personal care, home cleaning, car care and professional expenses.

Personal care and home cleaning are fairly easy to address. I have an off an on addiction to using local drugstore incentive programs to get free or super cheap items. Items include: soap, tooth paste, tooth brushes, shampoo, conditioner, shaving needs, diapers, paper products and much more! I'm going to be diligent in using these programs. I solemnly vow I will not pay more than $1 for any personal care or cleaning products. Oh, but what about the laundry? I've got it covered. I will go back to making my own laundry soap. I want to find a good dishwasher detergent recipe that doesn't leave a white residue on everything!

I'm going to need to look more closely at the other expenses. Cats need food, litter, and vaccines. Care care includes: basic maintenance and license plates. Professional care is going to be a doozy. Kevin requires 2 licenses, as well as 2 professional memberships/accreditation. I on the other hand only have 1 license to think about. More number crunching to come and a revised budget. I hope there is some more money I missed!

Just a quick though on professional expenses, I think next tax check will be used to cover theses costs. We could also use tax money for the cat vet visit and license plates! I'm going to have to remember this!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moving through the list.

Number one on the list, check! I have figured out monthly income and added up expenses. Let me tell ya, there's not much for food and gas. It is helpful that Kevin rides the train to work since train fare remains fairly constant in price, unlike gas.
Speaking of gas, I am at a loss as to budgeting this item. Kevin's car is mostly driven to and from the train station; so, I am budgeting $25 for his car, which will be one tank of gas per month. My car is the family car and I do the grocery shopping; therefore, I will allow for 2 tanks of gas per month which should be about $50.
I have learned when I use Speedy Rewards™ card at my local Speedway Gas Station to purchase the fuel cards, I earn points. AND by using the prepaid card, I get 3-cents per gallon savings + more points for buying gas! Points can be exchanged for gift cards to various stores, restaurants, or for more fuel cards! I can't make up my mind if I want free gas or a free family night out? Putting the thought in writing has brought forth the decision. My Speedy Rewards™ goal is 54,000 points to get a $50 Vanilla Visa Gift Card to be used for a family fun night.
Alright, steps 1 and 6 have been addressed. Today, I will work on the food budget, which is a whopping $220. Sounds impossible, but I WILL make it happen! Grocery sale ads come on Wednesdays which is today. I'm going to plan meals based on sales. more to come tomorrow on my food strategy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dollar day woes!

I am frustrated with money! Rather, I am frustrated at my inability to manage our finances.I can make excuse after excuse about why things don't work out. But the truth is, I have not been firm enough. There definitely is not very much money left after the bills, but it is my job to make it work. We have chosen for me to stay home with the girls. It is what we both want. I am responsible for running the home. I must set a good example for our children. I must make the time to plan meals based on sale ads. I must adhere to the grocery budget. I must get our bills back on track. I think I will refrain from spending anymore money until the next paycheck at the beginning of next month.
Here's my money plan:
1. Put into writing monthly income and bills. This is the first step to seeing how much I have to work with for groceries and gas.
2. Set a monthly grocery budget. Since our income twice monthly, I will evenly divide the budgeted amount by two. Then, I will withdraw this amount on payday. I will be on a cash-only grocery budget.
3. Clearly define what bills are due when. Using planner, write down bill due dates.
4. Bring utility bills up to date.
5. Once utility bills are current, I will use my bank's bill payment system to arrange all bills to be paid automatically!
6.To keep from taking money out throughout the month, I will purchase 2 gas gift cards for hubby and myself at the beginning of the month.

Maya just woke up from nap. Motherhood calls. Time to make lunch. I will work on step 1 today.

To keep me accountable, I will report here.