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Archive for May, 2009

Overtime, Budget Tweaks and Focus

May 28th, 2009 at 04:04 pm

I've been working overtime at work a few hours a week for over a month and I feel tired but prosperous. Extra money has me smiling a lot.

I've been tweaking the budget. I like budget tweaking. The grocery budget is quite a bit higher with the kid at home, but I stockpiled cereals on sale (12 boxes at the moment) and frozen pizzas and sausage links on sale so that helped. Utility bills will also be higher, but because we were under the $200 a month budget for the last 6 months, we have a cushion in our account for the higher utility costs.

In the meantime, however, I'm feeling prosperous. I want to DO things, like go out to eat (we don't go out to eat often) or do other extra things I don't usually do. I haven't done anything rash, but this is what extra money does to me.

Then I start comparing my life to the "I'm Debt Free" stories on Dave Ramsey. Whenever I hear an "I'm Debt Free" shout and story on his show, I always wonder if I can do the same with my savings that these people have done with their debt. "Gazelle intensity" Dave Ramsey calls it, meaning extreme focus. I'm thinking, if people who have $21,000 in credit card debt can pay off the debt in one year or in 18 months or whatever their story is and they're making the same kind of salary I'm making (say $58,000 annual), why can't I SAVE that same amount that they paid toward their debt?

I think the problem in the past has been lack of goals and a wavering commitment (like the wavering I'm considering right now) to the few goals I had and not facing reality. (As in the reality that "something unexpected ALWAYS comes up and a financial cushion is needed for these things." I wasn't facing the truth of that until the past year or two.)

I started out great in 2009. I'll continue to blog about my $20 + challenge to my wealth account, how my focus is on that account and getting it up and past a certain level. I think I'm 'intent' on this goal and that I've done well thus far, but I feel myself wavering. And my spouse and son are not EVER on the same financial wavelength, so it would be easy for me to let things slide before I get back on the horse again. But I don't want to let things slide.

I'm tweaking the budget with my prosperous outlook and my new intentional intensity. I want to be able to save all my overtime money and every other stray dollar that comes my way. I'm mostly trying to convince myself to stay focused (FOCUS!). I think it's working. I'll keep you posted.

Summer's Here and The Kid Is Home...

May 21st, 2009 at 01:49 pm

Wow.

The kid is still insistent that I buy him a car to replace the one he totaled. I'm still insistent that the answer to that is 'No'.

His original plan was to get a summer job and save money for a car by September. (He currently has $1,000, which used to be $1,800...not sure how he spent $800, because he certainly has nothing to show for it. That's another blog entry.) He has been lazy about seeking employment the past two weeks and is extremely reluctant to catch the bus to 'anywhere'.

We (me and his step-dad) offered to help with transportation if he got a summer job convenient for us (i.e., not too far from home). I also offered to contribute 'some' matching money to money that he saves.

Even though family and friends tell me to give in and help him out, 'just buy him a car!' they say, I'm comfortable with my stance. He's not in high school anymore so it's no longer a power struggle for me. (It was at one time!!) But there's no more punishment, no more grounding of a 20-year-old (not sure that it worked in high school!) I'm allowing HIS choices and HIS consequences to affect HIS life. I just have to stay strong here.

My choice is to help, but remain focused on my own goals. My choice is to help him, but not to carry him. I feel like I've figured it out, like something snapped in my mind when he was ranting about it...the battle is more on him then it is with me. I HAVE a car. I HAVE a job. I BOUGHT him a car that he didn't take care of. I'm doing the right thing.

Plan to tell him 'No' a lot when he asks me for money or to buy him a car. Also plan to tell him I love him a lot when he doesn't ask. The two are so closely connected for him.

He's a bright kid and fairly independent... until we get to the subject of money. Heavy sigh... All my fabulous frugality has fallen on deaf ears...

Wow. What a rant. I was really just checking in, since it's been a while. It's great to reconnect with everyone's blogs. I've been working extra hours so I haven't made much time to blog. Think good thoughts everyone! And those who are staying on budget and reaching savings goals--keep up the good work!