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Cash is King

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The credit card is on ICE…literally. Put up, out of reach…and detached from all online payment methods…for now. We have no travel plans until late June, and our town in tiny. So I’m not worried about not having it.

That bulls eye I mentioned when I mentioned my last debt pay off, it’s all I see when I think of it!

The Plan

Cash, cash or not at all. I’ve divided our monthly expenses into weeks. And I’m pulling out that much cash every week.

This weekly amount includes our:

  • Groceries – $125
  • Entertainment – $50
  • Household – $2.50
  • Gas – $20 (I’ve decided to give each twin $20 every other week for 1) my use of their car and 2) the gas they use when they drive Princess somewhere. I think this is more than far since nothing is more then 3 miles away.)

To make it easier on ATM withdrawals, I’m taking out $200 per week. I’ve let the kids know of this plan…we can use this money however we wish, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. Until the following Monday.

I decided on Mondays so that the kids start planning ahead at least a little bit…ie think about what we want to do this coming weekend, meal plan for the week, etc.

Caveat: This is one caveat to the $200 per week. Princess birthday is in May. I have a little extra budgeted that week for a family meal out and her birthday present, so I will also pull that extra out for that week.

Goal

By doing this, my goal is to not overspend at all…

And when we come to the end of each week, I will review income vs outgoing and put any extra toward the credit card debt. My income continues to vary greatly depending on what projects I pick up, etc. so I am hoping that this will expedite the pay off process.

Wish us luck. I haven’t done a cash system in a very long time. And today is the first day! But I think it will be good for us. And there’s something very empowering about pulling cash out…


Travel Costs

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One of the biggest bones of contention in my latest budget is my travel budget for the year – $6,000. I felt maybe a little more explanation was needed…not justification.

Gymnast to Georgia

First, this is first year Gymnast has lived away from me. And thusfar, I’ve only had to purchase two airplane tickets…one was $366 (round trip to visit us over his Spring Break) and one was $74 (one way flight to Georgia for the summer). I’ve got one more I know I have to purchase to get him home this summer. And then I know I will bring him down either for Thanksgiving for Christmas…at least.

Trips from Chicago to Georgia, can add up quickly and I want to have a buffer in case I ever need to facilitate a trip quickly…my grandmother and mom are fine, but I know things can change at any point. I have to be in a place to bring him home quickly if I need too.

Georgia to Texas

As long time readers are aware and someone pointed out in the comments, my mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinsons in the last couple of years. As she has declined and been limited in what she can do, we have increased our trips to Texas. That is why the quarterly trips at this time…

And they fluctuate in expense…depending on the time of year, who all is going and how we are going. Last Thanksgiving, I had planned for all 5 of us to go and rented a car. This Spring Break, it was only 4 of us and we took my car (which ended in a wreck.) And this summer, only Princess and I are going and we are flying….

When we drive, it’s 28 hours of drive time round trip, which means a minimum of 2 but possibly 4 hotel nights depending on how driving goes. (We typically get there in two days of drive time, but here are times when we must stop more.)

Ok, are you getting the point…if we 3-4 times a year, it adds up. $5,000 (subtracting some for Gymnast travel) ends up being $1,250-$1,566 per 9 day trip. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

This Summer

Princess and I will go alone this summer. My dad bought us airline tickets to get there with his credit card miles. And our return flights were $74 each (just like Gymnast as he will be returning home with us then.) So our summer trip cost will be minimal…

With that in mind, I am not willing to change the budgeted monies. I will be more comfortable with a buffer in case of emergency.

I hope this clears up why this amount is disproportionately large compared to the rest of my line items. It is certainly not representative of my dedication to getting out of debt. But it’s no surprise that my family comes first…

Do you have things going on in your life that trump the “full on sprint” to debt payoff?