:::: MENU ::::

Browsing posts in: Debt

No Spend Week

by

This week, I have officially declared a No Spend Week!

I get paid on Friday and, although it’s a 3-paycheck month (woohoo!!!), I’m really trying to tighten the purse-strings, in general. Also, the recent A/C outage made it painfully clear how close to the edge we’re living in terms of our finances and I am really craving the financial security of having a little Emergency Fund.

I just got back into town after being gone at a work conference. Luckily, all my major expenses were paid by work (lodging, transportation, conference fees, and breakfast/lunch were provided by the conference). But I still had to pay for my own dinners for 3 nights in a row and though I kept my spending pretty minimal, I was really hoping/trying to cut my eating out budget this month. Being gone and forced to eat out for 3 nights (plus airport lunches during travel days) puts a wrench in that whole plan.

Thus…..the impetus for a No Spend Week.

No Spend Week Rules

I am allowed to spend money to pay for our normal bills (e.g., electricity, water, etc).

I am also allowed to spend money to pay for our scheduled debts (e.g., our due dates are this week for the IRS, 1 credit card, and Navient).

I am allowed to spend money for required transportation-related expenses (e.g., I’m almost out of gasoline and will need to refill before the week is up).

I am NOT allowed to spend money on anything else. Period.

That’s easier said than done. Especially given that I’ve been out of town for 4 days now, and we could desperately use a trip to the grocery store. Even so, we have a lot of food in our pantry and freezer and I know that if I get creative I can piece together some yummy meals for the family.

Looking Ahead

This month is projected to be pretty good on the financial front. Not only have we gotten some of our spending in check, but we should even be able to save up a decent amount for an EF. The third paycheck certainly helps, too, but I’ve got specific plans for it.

I put together a budget for the immediate future/moving forward. I know it’s desperately overdue. But I’ll leave you in suspense for another day (or two) and just tell you to check back. It will be up soon!

~Ashley


Let There Be Air!!!!

by

Happy August!

The kids are officially back to school and we’ve finally got our air back on!!!

In all, we were without A/C in 110+ degree weather for nearly 2 weeks. Thankfully, we’ve got our air back on (running at full throttle! lol) and doing great!

A/C Repair Costs

The “adventure” wasn’t as costly as it could have been if we didn’t have warranties on the parts, but it still cost a pretty penny.

  • A/C repair: $1200 (this was the cash discount price)
  • 2 window A/C units: $250
  • Total: $1450

I didn’t include the two nights in a hotel because my mom ended up graciously paying to cover those nights away. It was a great staycation and chance for a “time out” before developing a longer term game plan (with input from you guys – thanks for the recommendations to get window units!) I have another friend whose A/C went out at the same time and required a full replacement. She got hers fixed in 2 days (versus 2 weeks!!!), but she ended up spending $10,000!!!! Do they finance that stuff? If we’d had to do a total replacement I honestly do not know where we’d get the money?! We don’t even have $10,000 of available credit on credit cards so it’d HAVE to be some type of financing situation, right?? Scary thought.

Surviving the Heat

To survive, we stayed out of the house for much of the days. The girls were in camp 3/week for the month of July (the month of June we had them home full-time). So we’d send them to camp and I’d go to work, or when they were home we’d all go to the library or the indoor mall play area, etc. etc. I tried to plan crock-pot meals, or I would cook first thing in the morning (while the house was still cooler) and then save everything in the fridge. At meal-times, I’d just re-heat in the microwave so I wouldn’t heat up the entire kitchen. Food quality wasn’t as great, but you do what you gotta do. It wasn’t fun, but we survived.

Financial Evaluation

This whole situation has really put our finances front-and-center in the minds’ eye. It’s crazy that a $1450 situation had to be such a crisis (I mean…the heat played a role in seeing it as a “crisis”, too). But only eighteen months ago, a $1450 problem would have only been an inconvenience, not a crisis. We really let things get away from us, financially speaking.

I’m spending some time today writing up a full August budget and figuring out ways to continue saving again. I’ve been putting savings on the back-burner in favor of paying more toward debt but what good is it when a crisis comes up and we have to use debt again to cover our butts because we have no cash on-hand??? It’s a vicious cycle we’ve got to escape from.

What do you use and/or recommend for an Emergency Fund? I think I’d like to shoot for at least a thousand dollars in a dedicated EF, but I’ve also done separate savings in the past for specific things (e.g., semi-annual bills, car repairs/maintenance, etc.) and I’d like to do that too….. so maybe $1,000 in EF + other specific savings categories?