One of the things that brings me a sense of peace and calm is budgeting. I know…I’m a nerd, it’s how I roll.
The church I attend offered an Eliminating Debt seminar. It was a two hour class that The Friend and I decided to attend. Currently my only debt is student loans. I decided to attend because I am sure that in the very near future I will be stuck with half of the marital debt. I think this is bullshit because the credit cards were all in his name, I was not even an authorized user on any of them and had absolutely no say in how he spent the money. He would use cash for ‘entertainment and hobbies’ then use credit cards to put gas in his vehicle…you can understand how frustrating that could become when we lived overdraft to overdraft, hoping the paycheck made it to the bank in time to pay off the last over draft so we could make it through the following two weeks.
I have never been able to understand how people can live like that. I know that right now the ex has a disconnect notice for the electricity, is several months behind on the water/sewer/garbage bill yet some how has time and money for golf league, bingo, recreational golf, and several other newly acquired hobbies. How can a person (and I know there are people everywhere who do it) but how can people live like that? At what point does a person mature enough to say, “You know what, I need to just stay home for once and save money so I can get my feet under me at least.” When does that happen?
I’ve lived in deep debt before, I’ve lived in uncertainty. I will NOT do it again. I refuse. There is no way I would put myself or my kids in a situation where we are one disaster or emergency away from losing our home.
I’m taking steps to ensure financial security when our lives are falling apart. I created a budget again. I have to admit, I hadn’t been following one since I moved out in April. All the bills are paid and I have what I need, but there has been no accountability to where the funds are going.
With this initial spending plan, the challenge is that the first paycheck was smaller than what they usually are. This is actually going to work in my favor though as I am financing the spending plan on that dollar amount.
I was informed last week that I should start getting some awesome overtime soon as well (a lot of our part time staff goes to school so the first couple weeks while they work out their schedules I will be granted extra hours. This will help to get my first couple of goals taken care of. I want a $1000 emergency fund and I also need about $500 for new tires. I’m hoping that I don’t need anything other than tires once they get it up on a hoist…but I know it’s been making some suspension noises as well lately. Anything over and above what my first paycheck was immediately goes into the tires/savings account. It should only be a couple of paychecks to get the tires…going to start pricing today. Once the vehicle is maintained and there is small savings account I can get in to paying off my student loans.
So…my calming exercise has been developing a budget with immediate, short, and long term goals. Although not quite as restrictive as it could be it has been initially a little uncomfortable. As with any new spending plan, knowing what I actually spend is important; because I haven’t been keeping track of what I’ve been spending and just living paycheck to paycheck knowing what needs to be paid each period, this has been a bit humbling.
I don’t have the boys now for the next three weekends so the fact that we ate up the entertainment budget with bowling and mini-golf last weekend is ok. I was not impressed that I had to spend my clothing budget to buy Bubba new shoes as the one his father sent him to my house in were TWO sizes too small. I was really hoping to buy myself some new pants for work to replace the ones that are beyond worn (when you only own two pair of work pants they tend to wear out fast). Oh well, two more weeks; I know I can probably find some at a thrift store but that is one of my personal splurges. I like to buy new clothes. I don’t have much for clothes and always buy it on sale, but I enjoy the department store experience. (Feel free to send JCP gift cards) lol.
I can look through the budget a million times to reassure myself that I am on track and that I am exactly where I need to be. I can make spreadsheet upon spreadsheet and then a spreadsheet for my spreadsheets (if I wanted to…right Friend?). The Milk Man (The Friend’s Husband) likes spreadsheets, and so do I, I just don’t like them quite as much as he does!
One of the items on the ‘not too panicked’ spending plan that some may say can be put off for some time are things like a vacation. Sure, I’m not putting much into it right now (I think it got $8.55 this month) the fact is, it’s getting something. I made a little ‘gauge’ to post on the fridge…you remember, once it’s on the fridge it’s LAW in my house; that way I can see that yep…there WILL be a vacation, and it IS important to me.
As I forget that I am actually at work and fade off into daydreaming about a vacation, I think I will start a cork board for the boys to pin ideas to. Then when ever they have an idea about where to go we can pin it on the board. Once we get closer and actually have our destination set we can make a poster of all the things we want to do that are specific to that location by looking online and having tourism packages mailed to them…yep, I’m that awesome.