Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Quest

I am on a quest to become more financially savvy. Since having Joy we have had more than one month where out output was more than our input. I know these things happen occasionally and especially with kids and an 8 year old American car (Rob's 10 year old Honda is in better shape). However, it has been more months than I would like to admit. I am sure that some of these were my fault as I don't always want to eat at home, I am terrible at cutting coupons, I buy things for Joy when I think she needs or I want them and as long as they are under $20 I think nothing of it. I am terrible at just getting things at Target and not really seeing the bottom line. So I am on a quest. Well to be honest it is a forced quest, Rob finally looked at the bank statements and saw what I already knew was happening. So he told me until the credit card is paid off no second child. This I can agree with and was in my head as a goal. In my head as a goal and in his head as a goal are 2 different things. My goals come and go his are put in stone. So my quest to be a better steward of our money in an effort to pay off the credit card possibly build a little more back into savings and have my second child that I want so badly.
So far I was very lucky and happy to be the recipient of the many toys that were passed down to Joy. This is a great blessing as some of these things are things that I truly wanted or needed for Joy. The next thing is I am looking into summer clothing now and I have already received some hand me downs from Jen/Lily and someone from one of my Mom groups that are 12mo size what I think she will be in this summer. To my amazement they are also summer clothes, in the past the few hand me downs we have gotten seem to be for the wrong season! My mother also was generous with some clothes for Joy as a Valentine gift. Then today I went to Kohls to see what they had and to get a present for my Mom's upcoming birthday and I got a few mix and match short sets for $5 a piece. I have also inquired of Michelle who I know frequents area resale shops for the good ones in the area. I look forward to shopping at the 3 she let me know about in the near future. I also know she didn't hide one from me since her youngest is not the same size or sex as Joy.
In addition to my new quest for lower priced stuff for Joy I am also going on what I have heard referred to as an "all cash diet". Basically I have told Rob I will leave the debit card at home, write checks at Target and Grocery shopping. I will then only spend cash on any food or other frivolous things. I will keep the credit card in my wallet for occasional need, and for gas since I hate to go inside at gas stations.
So there it is my new quest to get the credit card paid off and the savings back up. I know it's not an impossible quest, but I know a few habits will have to change. I am sharing this with you in hopes you will share with me your money saving tips. Also know I have tried and failed at the grocery game, and I just buy more than I need when I coupon clip, so although the receipt may say I saved $10 with coupons the truth is I spent $20 on things I would not have gotten if it weren't for having the coupon.
In this quest I am also looking at and thinking about options for next year. I already have the summer planned to have 3 kids here 2 days of the week. They are paying for care, and I look forward to seeing how it works out for me and for their parents. I have already somewhat decided not to return to my church's PDO next year for various reasons (#1 as a teacher being pay). I am thinking of looking for someone or an extended PDO so I can substitute which makes decent money. I have also thought about trying out other PDO's in the area, although being the loyalist I am I feel like a traitor not supporting my church's PDO. Right now it's all a big blur and I hate thinking about it. I also really miss having other Mom interactions during the week so I am hoping to have Wednesdays available for my mom group's playdates. I really like and want to be a stay at home mom, but have yet to find the right niche to contribute to the money situation and stay at home full time. If you know of a good legitimate easy money maker for me let me know, I am interested.


G said...

I completely understand how you feel because we have some financial goals to meet too before getting serious about kids. Life is just so expensive! Remember when all that mattered was having $5 in your pocket so you could afford Taco Bell outings? Anyway, I don't have any great advice for saving, but I basically try to forget about a certain amount of money each month as though it doesn't exist. To top that off, I place it in a different bank altogether, so I can't "borrow" from it. It makes it easy to do all the finances from one bank, one account, and having savings somewhere entirely different. I don't know. It works for me. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
I don't cut coupons, and I really like to shop, but I love Try it for Joy's clothes; I bet you find some good bargains. They have toys, electronics, etc. too.
For me, I think I have to stop being extravagent with gifts. I tend to go way overboard, especially at Christmas and birthdays.
Anyway, I will be thinking of you, and I know it will all come together. I love when you said that the credit card plan had been yours all along, but then Rob said it and became more set in stone. I can relate to what you mean there!
Good luck in the job search for something that fits your talents and your needs. I know you'll find something that feels right.
Love, G

Tracey & Christopher said...

We have Bank of America which is a free checking account with direct deposit and then the "Keep the Change" program so it rounds up and puts that money in our savings account. We use our debit card for everything but online purchases.

Coupons are great. So are store-brand items. Eating at home saves major bucks. It sounds like you know what to do, you just have to do it.

Dave Ramsey has books and has good advice:
The bedrock of his system is simple: work hard, pay what you owe and stay out of debt. His main commandment is "Pay cash." He first exhorts the reader to take "baby steps," which are designed to build on each other: first, save $1,000 as an emergency fund; then, pay off all debts from smallest to largest; save a larger three-to-six-month emergency fund; finally, start to save for college and pay off your home mortgage.