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A Big Weight Off

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I’ve mentioned before that I do my forecasting out a quarter at a time. (It’s just a simple Excel spreadsheet.) I include all my regularly budgeted items, any extras I know about (birthdays, holidays, travel, etc.) and my income based on current contracts with clients.

As I continue to go full speed ahead with debt payoff, I spent some time this weekend creating my forecast through the end of the year. And you will never guess what…

I am finally at a place of stability again…by that I mean, if I maintain all my current on-going contracts, I will make enough to cover all my currently budgeted for expenses for the rest of this year!

That is such a weight off my shoulders, especially as we have been living paycheck to paycheck for so long. Obviously, there are no guarantees, but right now, my financial situation is stable, my income streams are varied and I am very hopeful for the long term.

The Caveat

There are a few caveats to this and one is glaringly obvious, at least to me:

I do not have a car, car payment, fuel costs or car insurance in my budget. (Well, I do have car insurance but it is minimal since Sea Cadet and I are both insured on his car.) That will have to change in the next couple of months somehow.

But for now…I can breathe. And I don’t have to count every single penny, although I am.

Switching to a cash only budget has made a big difference to me. There’s something about seeing the dollars in my purse dwindle that keeps me from spending on things that are wants rather than needs.

There is definitely something about seeing positive numbers in my forecasting and money in the bank that is very motivating. What keeps you motivated?


Birthday on a Budget

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Princess turned 15 this past weekend. And we managed to have a party with no “extra” money spent! Proud mama moment here!

I used our weekly “allowance” to cover the costs of snacks and decorations…

I also purchased various personal hygiene items over the past couple of months with our regularly budget monies. And wrapped them as presents…razors, shaving gel, lotion, face mask, etc. By doing it a little at a time and purchasing items that I would typically purchase for her anyways, it didn’t come as a big shock and she had something to unwrap.

We invited her 3 ‘bestest’ friends over for the night…and instead of pizza, they chose to hit up McDonalds for dinner…$26.

Saturday we drove an hour to the closest mall, and they spent an hour wandering around and ‘shopping.’ They each had their own money for this portion of the ‘party.’

And then a final stop at my favorite park there, where you can purchase duck food for a quarter and feed the ducks. I think we spent $2-3 there.

Finally, that night, as is our family tradition…Princess and I went out to eat at the local Cracker Barrel, her choice, where she opened the gifts from family. We spent $24 there. (The twins are out of town for their school break or they would have been with us.)

We had a fantastic time. She was thrilled with her ‘party’ and her gifts. And all of it was done for less then our $200 weekly cash allowance that covers food, entertainment, etc. Lesson learned…one child is definitely cheaper than 4!

And in two days…I will have another driver in the house…YIKES! Permit here comes Princess!