Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm back..

hopefully I can get back into blogging on a regular basis.

The past couple of months have been very frustrating financial wise.  I just feel like I'm making no progress whatsoever.  I keep telling myself that things are going to settle down, the unexpected expenses are going to stop and I'm going to finally be able to more forward and make some progress.  Unfortunately since my last post, things just haven't gotten better.  I'm frustrated but I haven't given up.

My biggest struggle is staying on budget in terms of family/summer fun.  With summer here, it just seems so easy to spend more money due to summer activities.  We're spending more gas driving around, to the parks and beaches.  We're spending a bit more on food when we're packing lunch/snacks for the park/beaches.  And there are weekends when we're out enjoying the weather and even though I'm trying to pack most of the food/snacks, we're still heading out to eat.

Then there's still the endless birthday parties, wedding socials and baby showers that need to be attended and gifts purchased for.  Throw on top of that the landscaping the DH wants to do this summer and the budget is out the window.

The numbers need to be updated, and I need a plan.  Things just can't continue at the same pace, else we'll never get to that end goal of financial freedom.

I'm definitely hoping to get re-focused and come up with some kind of plan.  Looking forward to reading more inspirational posts by my fellow bloggers!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time to press the reset button...

Okay, life has definitely kept me busy.  And I feel like I'm lost control of my healthy eating and my spending.  Not that I've been spending alot of money lately, but it seems to go hand in hand.  When I don't plan appropriately, and I don't pack a healthy lunch, I end up spending money and buying a not-so-healthy lunch

This past weekend I had my fill of junk food and I reached that point where I had enough.  No more eating out, no more spending money on food that I could have brought from home and could have made healthier.

DH and I received our tax returns and I'm glad to say that I'll be able to put a small portion to the EF.  This month has been a bit more expensive in terms of birthdays and other social events (wedding showers, wedding socials, etc) so I'll have to figure out where the numbers sit and how much is needed vs how much can be put away.  All the bills are up to date, so I'm thankful for that.  The deposit for the destination wedding will be made this month as well.  Then it will be time to focus on saving the remaining amount needed for the wedding.  I believe final payment is due in October, so it's definitely an aggressive savings goal.

We're also planning a small family road trip in June.  I will need to figure out realistically what we can afford.  In the end if we end up having a staycation, I'll be okay with that.  There's really no need for us to drive 8hrs south when there's plenty to do in and around the city.  This week's financial goal is to review the budget and the bank balance and figure out what's going where.

I did get quite a bit of decluttering done this past weekend and it felt good to throw out 3 garbage bags full of old product, old clothes and just things that we've been hoarding.  Does our closet look any more spacious?  Not really but I know that I made a small dent and I'm glad for that.

Now if only I could get back to blogging more often.  Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Benefits Re-enrolment time...

And this time I'm going to be smart about it.  What does that mean exactly?  Well this time I will actually spend the time to go over the different benefit packages and will coordinate my work benefits plan with DH's.  When I first started working here, I just signed up for the highest level of benefits.  After getting married, I should have looked at what benefits DH had and adjusted mine accordingly, but instead I just kept them at the highest level.  I never looked at the actual numbers to see how much I was actually paying each payday towards my benefits.

I finally looked at the numbers and they don't look good.
A total of $92.91 is deducted is deducted from each payday (semi-monthly), which equals $2229.84 a year!!!  For benefits... that I probably don't even use!  How ridiculous is that!  That number really surprised me.  So this time, I'm going to be smart because really I can't afford to not be smart.  And there's no need for the highest level of benefits.

Tax returns should be mailed out later this week, and a portion of that money will go towards the wedding trip fund for next year, with the remaining balance being put into the emergency fund.  It will be nice to see some increase in the EF.

Last week I had a couple days of weakness regarding healthy eating and money.  I didn't want to eat my packed lunch and so I ended up going out for lunch twice last week, not good for my healthy eating plan or my wallet because the two lunches ended up costing a total of $35!  I realize now the poor choices that I made and am looking forward to bringing and eating a packed lunch.

Spending money this past weekend was out of control.  DH, the kids and I went out to eat a few times and I haven't added up all the numbers but I'm sure we spent over $100 on food.  Worse part?  As we ate at the restaurant and food court mall, I knew that I was more than capable of preparing better meals at home at a fraction of the cost.  This weekend I'm looking forward to making breakfast at home.  It's Mother's day on Sunday but I'm going to insist that we have a nice quiet breakfast at home with a home cooked meal.  I'm actually looking forward to that.

Once I've completed my benefits re-enrolment, I'll let you all know how much I saved.


So I just went through the enrolment and I must admit it was difficult to opt-out of some benefits.  But I think I made some very good choices.  Updated cost?  $1062.18 <-- that's over 50% less that what I was paying.  Payday deductions are now $44.26, instead of $92.91, that's a savings of $48.65!  If I take that $48.65 and put it away in a savings plan at the end of 2012, I would have approx $583!  How exciting!    At first when I saw the savings, I thought "So what's the big deal with saving $48.65 each payday?"  The big deal is $583 saved in 6 months (benefit updates start on July 1).