Tuesday, December 02, 2008

$1000 in a month challenge

Ok, so here we are. I guess we're about done so why stop now? I must say I've been terribly disappointed with this whole series and think I should totally make up my own. It would run something like this:

1. Look at your paycheck
2. Take out 10% tithing, 10% savings, 10% debt reduction.
3. Live on the rest.
4. Stop arguing with me. Yes, it's hard. Yes, you will have to give up eating out and starbucks and shopping for clothes anywhere else but goodwill and possibly even limiting yourself to one outfit per year. But you can do it. And you will find it's worth it. And you will be soooooo happy when that debt's paid off.


You know who my heart really goes out to? Those who don't go out to eat and don't go to starbucks and don't buy clothes and don't go on vacations and don't have a car and eat rice and beans....and who are still struggling. If you're one of those families, may the Lord bless you. Hang in there. Stay close to the Lord. Make your needs known to Him and those around you. Be faithful to Him and He will help you.



Anyway, back to this $1000 in a month challenge.

Tip 20 is change the date of Christmas to take advantage of airline deals at off-peak times and/or January sales and what not. This one is particularly good if
a) you're homeschoolers and aren't tied to public school holidays and/or
b) you work in retail industry and have to work on Christmas day.


Tip 21 is prepay your debt This one's a no-brainer.

Tip 22 is Analyze how you're doing with the 30 day challenge. So. How ya doin'? I'm up to $288.84 Not exactly $1000, but better than nothing. Furthermore, I don't feel deprived in the slightest. I was right when I said I bet the children wouldn't notice that I'd totally reduced the Netflix subscription. =)

Tip 23 is to go cash only for 15-30 days. Another excellent tip. I actually do this all the time except for two things:
1. Petrol. I pay with a credit card because that means I can stay at the pump and not go through the hassle of getting Andrew out of the seat, taking him in with me, paying, then putting him back in the seat. Also, as soon as I took him the store he'd be after a drink or something. Paying with a credit card at the pump also allows Bert and I to rack up air miles will be excessively handy once Emily's at BYU. The other alternative, of course, is to leave my child in the car while I go inside to pay but that is something I simply will not do.

2. Online purchases. We do have a paypal account and I've considered using that instead, but I'm not very familiar with it and frankly, I find it rather freaky that they have access to our bank account. What I'll usually do if I need to buy something is check with Bert to make sure we have enough money in the account, or take the cash out of one of my envelopes and give it to him. This is almost like paying in cash but not quite. =)


This is how I pay cash for everything. I have lots of envelopes. At the beginning of the month I take out a lump sum. Bert appreciates this because he then knows that the family is taken care of in one go and that there will be no hits at the end of the month when there's no money left. It's a lot easier for him to keep the books balanced that way. I take that cash and divide it into several envelopes. These are the envelopes (that I can remember - hopefully I get all of them. =D) in no particular order:

1. Food Storage
2. Crown Financial Savings (Destination 1)
3. Swimming fees
4. Gym fees
5. Clothing allowance
6. Curriculum
7. House up-keep. We're aiming for some curtains, or a new vacuum cleaner. Not sure which at the moment. =D
8. Uhm. There's another one or two but I can't remember them.

I put the allotted amount in each of those envelopes. I then divide the amount that's left into the number of weeks there are in the month plus one. So if there's four weeks in the month I make five piles. I then take $20 out of each of the four piles and put it in the fifth pile. That fifth pile is the "big shopping" money. The four piles that are left are "milk, bread, veggies and fruit" money.

To say that with the money spread so thinly there is not alot in each envelope would be an understatement. However, when the money is gone from that envelope, it's gone. There is no more. Cry me a river. If you need a new pair of trousers and there is no money in the clothing allowance, you're out of luck until next month. However, if there IS money in the envelope, no problem! You can have your winter coat. Or your pairs of socks. Or whatever.

If it's an emergency I will borrow from Peter to pay Paul. For example, I borrowed from clothing allowance envelope to pay for the Thanksgiving nosh. Thank goodness Bert paid me $50 to run that 5k so I could replenish the envelope. =)


Last tip of the day! Tip 24 is to cut your commuting expenses by 40%. I actually think this would be an awesome thing for Bert to do - except he's in meetings ALL day so it wouldn't exactly work. =) Plus his department works odd hours so carpooling is not a viable option.

We do have a sort-of-mentioned-but-barely-thought-out-and-not-yet-in-operation plan which is to sell both the van and the MG, drive the escort until it dies (ie, soon) and thereafter be a one-car family. This is what I mean about it being a sort of mentioned thing. Bert mentioned it in passing, it fits totally into where I want to go, so I'm all over it. However, it WAS mentioned in passing so I can't exactly count on it. Furthermore, the plan Bert mentioned was for him to buy an old small used car to commute to work in...which is just *slightly* different than my one-car-family plan.

It would be really difficult to be a one car family, considering all the driving I do. I'd drive Bert to work in the morning and pick him up which (referencing Tip 24) would actually DOUBLE commute mileage etc. We'd have to crunch the numbers and see if it's workable financially before we even look at the logistics of it.

We'll see how this one goes if it goes. Should be interesting.

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