Sunday, April 4, 2010

Plan #3 -- on hold temporarily

Our 3rd plan will have to wait temporarily as we had a little hiccup in getting started. Plan #3 is our financial plan. We desperately need to get out of debt and start some serious saving so that we have some emergency money and a good amount for a down payment on a house. While we are living in my dad's house right now (one of his rentals) and will be able to live here comfortably with 1 or 2 more kids (depending on gender), our goal is to be able to buy our own house in about 5 years. That's what's the earliest, realistic, possibility for us right now. That gives us the time we need to pay our debts off, or at least all but our student loans, and have some time to save.

Part of our big plan to help all this happen was going to be starting our Financial Peace University class this past Saturday at a church near my parent's house. I was really bummed to get an email telling me that the class was cancelled due to them not getting the kits in. I don't understand why they don't just postpone it a couple weeks while they get them in and then have the class. The Saturday morning class was really the only class that would work for our schedule right now. We are just too stretched and maxxed out right now to add a weeknight class and we need our Sunday nights to prepare for the work week. Plus, in a week and a half I'm starting a new women's study at my church where we will be going through a book called "The Worn Out Woman". How appropriate! So to add FPU class while I'll be having a mid-week Bible study group would be too much. I want to be able to do the FPU class well and give it the time it needs so we will look into starting it a little later on in the summer.

Here are some of our short-term and long-term goals (I'll label them ST or LT)

- save up $1000 as our emergency fund (ST)
- create a budget (ST & LT)
- use the envelope system successfully (ST & LT)
- pay off the medical bills left over from having Brooklyn (ST - by the end of the year)
- pay off my credit card debt (LT)
- pay off the PT Cruiser (LT - we have 4 years left)
- save up to get everything that needs fixing on the van done (ST)
- create a working system to get bills paid each month on time (ST)
- save up 3-6 month's worth of salary (LLLLLLLT - lol, this seems like a pipe dream to me)
- live on much less than we earn (ST w/ LT effects)
- stop using any form of credit (ST - we've pretty much not used any credit since November of 2008)

So there you have it. I'm sure most of you have some similar goals as these and may have already achieved most of them. If so, I'm jealous of you! We are definitely living beyond our means and living paycheck to paycheck and I'm just so tired of that! I want financial freedom! I can't wait to take the FPU class and have some accountability and go through this with others who are struggling with the same issues and facing the challenge with us.

What are your financial goals? Which of the ones I've listed have you achieved? Which ones that I haven't listed that were your own personal goals have you achieved and are excited about? I'd love to hear some success stories, those always get me psyched up and motivated!


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Aileen said...

You've got alot of irons in the fire right now. I hope you all can accomplish everything you want to here in the near future. One step at a time with each change.

Simply Mel said...

I think those are great goals! The 3-6 months worth of living expenses may seem like a pipe dream but once you get going it's not! I thought so too but now that we're almost debt free credit card wise we'll start rolling all of that money into a savings for the 3-6 months.Once you start doing it you'll be amazed at how quickly it will add up. If you stay consistent and keep whittling away at it you'll get there. Just dont' forget about "blow" money for you and Waylon. You have to have something you can look forward to each paycheck to kind of reward yourself. You'll get resentful if you put every single penny towards debt. Right now it's not very much for us! Right now it's $20 each to last us for two weeks. It's not a lot but I can buy ice coffee with it or if I something I really want to buy that's not in the clothing budget, or some other budget I can save it to buy that. Make sure you budget in "fun" stuff like a movie once or twice a month or eating out on Sunday's. If that's stuff you normally do you'll only get frustrated if you don't budget for it. We absolutely eat out on Sunday's after church. There's no way around that. So we've budgeted $40 per pay check (2 Sunday's worth) to eat out with.
Oh, MIke has made this cool excel spread sheet that you just put in the categories your budgeting for, type in the amounts you've spent or saved and the spreadsheet keeps the totals for you automatically. It's taken me awhile to understand how excel works but if you already knew how to use it you might like this spreadsheet! Our FPU leader has already been super impressed by it and asked if you could e-mail it to everyone in our class for them to use.
Just a thought.

Good luck! It may seem stressful at the beginning. Especially having to work the budget and iron all the kinks out week after week or even day after day. But once you've got it mostly down it ends up taking a lot of stress off b/c you know exactly where your money is and what' it's doing.