Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our Finances {an eye opener}

This is one of those tough topics.  I usually prefer to keep this blog light & fluffy, as a 'highlights reel' of our life to look back on and smile at, but we also know there's a lot of 'cut film' is each persons' life and I think it's too important to skip over.  I wish I could cover my eyes and pretend this wasn't happening, but it is.  So, I just ask that if you don't have anything nice to say, please don't say anything at all.  Everyone spends their money differently, and that's okay.  Until I'm asking you for money to help pay my bills/debt, it isn't your issue! :) It's takes all kinds to make the world go 'round...

Ugh! Monday started off with a bang this week!  I was talking to Adam on the phone as he was driving to work, after dropping the kids off at daycare, and all of sudden his car 'died'.  Luckily he was able to get to the side of the road.  So, I picked him up, waited for the tow truck, he brought me back to work, and took the van to work.  The tow truck guy said it was most likely a sensor, so I felt a sigh of relief, naively thinking a sensor was probably $200. Bahahaha!  We got the call from the repair shop a few hours later, a sensor blew, causing the air filter to catch fire, and something else.  The part will 'hopefully' be in Friday and it will only {sarcastic font!} be $700-800.

While I know we were very blessed {the car didn't actually catch on fire, the kids weren't in the car, we didn't take that car to Omaha this weekend, etc.} I couldn't help but lose it!  I just feel like we can't get ahead.  Before I get any snarky comments, yes, I know we have two homes, it could definitely be worse, but the truth is...we spend what we make.  We like to travel and do fun things when people ask.  Adam took a job a couple of years ago for a significant {think $20,000} paycut.  And while it was worth it to get my husband back, we never really cut our spending back at that time.  That on top of two kids {hello, just daycare!} has taken most of our 'fun money.'

I'm trying find good out of this whole fiasco.  For years {5+ to be exact} I've done of the bills and just told Adam we have this much left over.  Monday night we finally sat down for the first time and talked about big picture where we currently are and where we want to be.  Do we want to be paying mortgages at 60?  How important is it to have a lakehome?  Is driving a new car important?  How much do we want to continue putting in the kids' accounts or our retirement?  You know, all that stuff!  We've decided to cut back!  In small ways, and bigger ways.  So, a few things changes we've made so far...maybe you could use some ideas yourself?

1| Weekly Finance Meeting | Sunday night or Monday night we're discussing our spending for the week before, paying bills that need paid for the week, & making a list for what need purchased the next week.  We've made a plan and this will help keep us on track.

2| CASH | This is a Dave Ramsey thing, I know.  Our checks will be deposited into our account.  Bills will be deducted {online bill payment}.  Cash will be withdrawn for groceries, spending money, entertainment, gifts, etc.  This will be good for us!  I think it will really make us think about our spending when we have to take cash in!

3| Reassess The Bills | I called to cancel our internet {I use it at work, and we pretty much use our cell phones, or can connect to them for internet if need be at home}.  As it turns out, she gave me a 50% bill reduction with no term commitment, so I decided to keep it for a while and see how much we really use it.  $30 monthly savings.  Adam called to lower our cable package.  They gave us $30 off our bill each month. A flyer came in the mail last night from our cell phone company {one I usually throw right away, but for some reason looked at yesterday} that offered $20 off our bill just for current customers if you called the customer service number.  Adam offered to do that, and the girl ended up giving him $50 off each month because our contract is up and we aren't getting new phones.  Just by becoming more aware of our bills, we're saving $110 each month.  I still plan to call the credit card company {we have just one credit card, luckily} to see if we can get a better interest rate. Other than that, we feel all of our bills are pretty much necessities right now.  Mortgage {x2}, association dues {x2}, utilities {x2}, insurances {x2}, investments {x2}, van payment, car payment, daycare {!!}, Jordyn's preschool, credit card, medical bills, & gym membership.  The gym membership is negotiable.  Yes, I could run outside, but with Iowa weather and needing daycare to workout, I feel it's justifiable at this point.

4| Declutter! | Oh my gosh!  You guys have no idea how amazing this has been!  I have a totes and totes and totes of stuff sitting on our guest bed forever!  I've been meaning to sell/donate/give a bunch of it away, but never too the time to do it.  Monday night I photographed a everything and listed it on the local Facebook page to sell.  And while the extra cash is great, getting my room back is even more exciting!  Space is at a premium in our condo!! :)  It's so refreshing!  After we de-clutter the condo, I'm going through the garage, after that I'm going through the lakehouse, and I'm ending with our stuff sitting in my mother in law's attic.  If I haven't used it in 3 years, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to miss it!

5| Plan Ahead | The main area we're focusing on is groceries.  We're terrible about going to the grocery store 2-3+ times a week for this or that.  We spend anywhere from $170-230 on groceries each week {for 4 of us!}.  I'm so excited that we're making a meal plan each week.  This will help us buy exactly what we need!  I'm going to try to pay more attention to the deals.  I hope to make a monthly trip to Walmart {ugh!} for staples, bimonthly stop to Aldis, and shop weekly at HyVee.

Along with planning ahead, if we know we're going to have an expensive month coming up, I'll add a few more photoshoots in or Adam will pick up a DJ gig.

And of course, be more aware of our 'entertainment' expenses!  So don't be surprised if we opt out of the weekend getaway, or push vacation to 2016.  I would lie if I said I was dreading more time spent relaxing at home this year.  More playtime with my kids.  More home dates with my mister! :)

Although I know this will be a lot of work {mainly saying no to friends, or explaining our situation to family}, but I know it will be worth it in the long run!  I'm really anxious to pay off Adam's car, the IRS {yes, the CPA made a tax error last year!}, and our credit card in 2015.


  1. I'm married to the cheapest guy, ever. He hates spending money. So it's nice because he balances me out (I love spending money) and we always do great with our fiances. We have no debt, have a nice savings, and stocks. But we don't own a home and are a one car family. When we do buy a home and eventually another car I hope we can still stick to a budget.

    1. And you're young, so you have everything going for you! You'll be sitting on a beach retired at 50! :) do you do the 1 car thing? We did 3 days of it and I'm dying!

  2. I am horrible with money. My hubby doesn't deal with it at all. We spend what we earn and we're much closer to retirement and college than you are. Just wanted to say, "I get it". Good luck.

    1. Thanks Stac! I know I'm not the only one, it's just hard when you're the only person 'sitting out' from the fun stuff. I swear our friends like 4+ vacations a year! It could be worse, right?! :)


Thanks for taking the time to read some of our story & especially for commenting!

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