Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent 2012 - a confession

4 weeks in and I have nothing saved.

I started strong. I put in the cash I received from my ride-sharer. The birthday money my mom and dad sent me. Then pulled $300 cash from my paycheck. I was excited for my big start. Only two weeks in and already closing in on $400!

Then life happened.

With gas prices were rising, we knew we had to get my 40+ mpg metro running. My hubby had a friend stop by and offered to finish up the metro for $100! It was a good price and I knew I had the cash on hand. Then there were parts needed $60. And a few more parts $40. Then the hubby reminded me of the $100 I had borrowed from the farm fund. Then the $50 for tabs and plates.

Did I forget to mention the seed sale at Menards? That used up the remaining $20.

That is why I have nothing saved after 4 weeks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Adventures toward Savings

This year for Lent, I have a very large goal.


In case you do not recognize the amount, it is the Dave Ramsey "Baby Emergency Fund." We live every paycheck by the skin of our teeth. This amount is completely beyond my reach within my usual budget. The most I had managed to save so far was $100 and that was from extra cash we received during our home insurance claim. We had to use it, and the farm cash to cover a recent car repair.

I have a strong longing for this small amount of security. Knowing I had that small $100 tucked away helped me rest a little easier. I really know I have to get this bigger fund put away.

About the finances: The husband and I had decided last summer to stop paying the credit cards and start focusing on things we needed. Clothes for the kids, school supplies, and car repairs. It was torture for me. I had freed up over $400 per month by not paying the cards, yet there was no improvement in our budget. We still seemed to only just squeek by. I still did not have an emergency fund. Instead I had the stress of credit card collectors. While they were actually very kind and respectful when they called, I knew I owed them the money. I loathe not paying what I owe. There was a small benefit to not paying. My cards were suddenly willing to talk about reduced interest rates and other work-out plans. One deal I accepted: card gets basically converted to a 5-year term loan, .99%! I am currently waiting for the paperwork from that deal to send to the rest of them to see if they will match it. I am now current on 3 cards. The other one I am working out a deal.

Knowing I need to pay my bills. Knowing I need to provide for my family. These things do not magically make money appear. Deciding I want to do the right thing and get out of debt forever does not make the bills magically disappear. What will we do to get the emergency fund in place, and continue getting the bills paid, and continue making progress on debt-free-ed-ness?

These are things I can definitely do:
1. Pantry Challenge
2. Sell STUFF
3. Tax refund

These are some silly, might try it in small doses ideas
1. Turn out the electricity (we are on a budget plan, so this really would not have any effect until next year.)
2. Sell the house, move to something tiny in the middle of the woods with acres and fields and outbuildings.
3. Sell the cars and bike to work - giggle - how long would it take to bike 60 miles?

Do you have any ideas? Add it to the comments and I will try to incorporate them.

Questions to be answered in future blogs:

What is a pantry challenge?

What is the best way to sell STUFF?

When will my tax return come?

What would it look like to go without electricity?

Why would I sell my home?

Are there any alternatives to driving 120 miles per day to work?

Here is what my last year's Lent looked like.