Saturday, January 28, 2012

On a roll

Without giving in to the numerous cliches coined by Dave Ramsey, we are on a roll. I've read Total Money Makeover (and even bought the workbook today with a gift card we had lying around! Score!) Our ING Direct bank account is verified and I've set up our sinking funds accounts. Tonight we are forgoing a HHS Fundraiser for a quiet date night, funded with a coupon from the Entertainment book we purchased from Horizons. We'll talk, work on the workbook, and hopefully come together more on what we're doing. Paul is more "don't spend any more money" while I'm more "let's have a plan so I am not tempted to spend any more money." Sometimes it's tough to speak the same language.

Here are our sinking funds accounts. These are things that don't happen monthly, but can sneak up on us every few months.
  • Quarterly Taxes
  • Western Disposal
  • Allstate Umbrella Policy
  • Horizons K-8 Various Fees
  • Emergency Fund
  • Vacation Fund 
Once we are debt-free (except for the house) we will add more to the kids' 529 Funds and our Retirement Fund. I am super excited and motivated to get out of debt and have all that money to ourselves. I like the idea of not paying for the past but saving for the future. 

Here are Dave's 7 Baby Steps:
  1. Save $1000 for a Baby Emergency Fund.
  2. Begin Debt Snowball Plan.
  3. Finish Emergency Fund (3-6 months of expenses)
  4. Invest 15% of Income for Retirement.
  5. Save for kids' college.
  6. Pay off mortgage.
  7. Build wealth (invest).
Hopefully we will complete all 7 steps (usually in 4-7 years, for most people following his plan) and actually have enough money to give - to whatever causes we like. I'd love to help my parents, send money to Mae's orphanage, help the synagogue, help Horizons... I'd love to. We shall see.

Friday, January 27, 2012


With my birthday month coming to a close, I've been fortunate to read a number of books lately. Many dealt with China, so my compassion for the poor and homeless has been upped. I plan to bring breakfasts to the two ladies outside my church job each Sunday morning. I am ashamed to say I've never given them a cent. Starting Sunday, I will at least look them in the eye, offer them something yummy, and acknowledge them as the human beings they are. Perhaps I will learn their stories. Perhaps I can help them somehow.

I can't wait for Feb.6, when the Whole Foods Kitchen workshop begins. 3 months of inspired cooking! Can't wait.

And, we are finally jumping on board the Budget Bandwagon. We've done this so many times in the past, and I hope this new reincarnation will be the one for us. It involves snow-balling and sinking funds, and ING for an online bank. I am excited and hopeful. We MUST get out of debt (mostly my school loans) to begin saving more for Retirement. We MUST.

Our first snowball is towards the Visa bill that we've been using while we struggle to pay our quarterly taxes. Beginning in February, we will allocate a monthly amount to that fund so we aren't surprised each quarter and forced to use the Visa for groceries.

Once Visa is payed off we will attack my Sallie Mae loan and then the other school loan. Starting in February, we will dedicate a small portion to an Emergency Fund. When the loans are paid off and the emergency fund has 3-6 months of expenses saved, we will begin investing more into retirement. Then we will get back on the horse for the kids' college funds. They have a decent amount in there already and we are going to put ourselves first, then funnel extra into their accounts. Finally, when all that is said and done, we are going to try and pay off the mortgage early, hopefully in 15 years instead of 30.

Big sigh of relief. It is time to do this. For real. Something about turning 39 definitely made me feel my age, for the first time. I am no longer a young mother. I need to be more responsible and look towards retirement, not be paying off the lattees I had a month ago. Bring it!