Our teeny, tiny budget (kind of like a little baby unicorn)

As I mentioned in my last post, we had to find some ways to adjust to the reality of our lost income when I stayed home to provide care and education for our youngest adopted daughter. I have to admit that I had some pie-in-the-sky ideas about how my days would go and how I would be working part-time from home doing what SAHMs do when they need to bring in money. Soooooooo naive.

The reality is that I had no idea how much time therapy was going to take and that my daughter’s complete hatred of education was not limited to mainstream classrooms, that I had so little extra time, and I had to make some tough choices.  

  1. We went back to paying the minimums on the cards in most cases. When extra $ showed up, we threw it at bills as soon as we could.
  2. We set up a fund-raising website. In the state of California, homeschool requires the parent to set up a private school. So we did and we did something that is really hard for me – we asked people for money. Now, I only did that for about a month until I just got too embarrassed and I stopped, but we did net $400 from the effort, which really helped with school supplies and field trips.  
  3. We cancelled and cleaned out our storage unit…kind of. We’re still working through all of the boxes, but we decided not to pay any extra and to really look at the things that we have. I think it is safe to say that we have gotten rid of over 1/2 of it.
  4. We planted and grew vegetables. It was 40% effective. We had some fresh veggies, and we got time in the sunshine and “fresh” air (we do live in L.A. after all).
  5. We started shopping 1x/week. Which is directly related to #6
  6. We planned every single meal and snack. It really helped to keep costs down, which is something we had struggled with for a long time.
  7. We stopped drinking soda. I haven’t done a real analysis of this, but I am confident that we saved several hundred dollars with this choice. It was tough, but I am really glad we did it.
  8. We went gluten-free. Now, I know this is a little controversial and it is WAY trendy, which we are not, but…we had done a 10-day fast from gluten, and wouldn’t you know it, 3 of our 4 family members dropped major weight and lost puffiness. So, that also means that we can’t eat out very often, and if we do, it is generally a place with fresher/non-processed food. Which is good for our health and our budget.
  9. I got a part-time job. This was not originally the plan, and if fact, when I was approached with the position, I said ‘no’ because I didn’t want to take the time away from my family when we were trying to do some important therapy. But, we pondered and realized that 1 evening and 1 weekend-day each week should be do-able and would really help out with the finances. And it has! 

So, there you go – some of the things we did to counteract our shrinking income!

 

June 2014 :: Report

Debt Reduction

Here is where we were after 6.30.2014:

Credit Card Debt               :: $    16,294.96
Taxes Owed                   :: $            00.00
Car Loan  #1                    :: $      4,829.69
Car Loan  #1                    :: $     11,744.76
Tuition                           :: $             00.00
Personal Loans                 :: $           00.00

Total Debt*                        ::  $ 32,869.41

*does not include school loans

We have come down a little bit since last time, but as you’ll see in my post later this week, I haven’t had a full-time job for almost a year, so that’s to be expected.

Budget

We didn’t have a budget for this last month, but we will have some information about what we are doing for July!

Savings

Where we landed at the end of June:

Regular Savings  :: $     171
Emergency        :: $      00

Total Savings      :: $   171

We had over $1000 in this earlier this year, but a vet bill for major surgery wiped it all out. So now we have a little. But a little is better than nothing!

April 2013 :: Goals

Our goal for April is to pay $2,700 toward our debt. Taking into account the interest that will be charged ($412) , the net will be $2,298.

So our totals at the end of  April should be:

Credit Card Debt $  17,141.96
Taxes Owed $        00.00
Car Loan #1 $    8,829.19
Car Loan #2 $  14,709.19
Tuition $      705.66
Personal Loans $        00.00
Total Debt * $ 41,386.00

*does not include school loans

And now for the Savings Goals – at the end of  April, we aim to have:

Regular Savings    :: $   325
Emergency           :: $   550

Total Savings      :: $   875

According to Quicken, our debt-free date is :: October 2015.

March 2013 :: Report

Debt Reduction

Here is where we were after 3.31.2013:

Credit Card Debt               :: $    17,924.96
Taxes Owed                   :: $            00.00
Car Loan  #1                    :: $       9,381.81
Car Loan  #1                    :: $     14,949.50
Tuition                           :: $       1,705.66
Personal Loans                 :: $           00.00

Total Debt*                        ::  $ 43,683.62

*does not include school loans

Yes. It is difficult to watch that total go up. But we really did our best to get every last mile out of my old car (yay for getting past 190K miles!) and it was time. So, now I have a safe car, with good gas mileage to get us around. This is life.

Budget

Guess which category we struggled with? Yup. Food. Sigh…

We also had a lot of pre-summer camp fees to pay for registration, so there was a bit of spending there, but we’ve got that budgeted, so it isn’t like we weren’t prepared.

Savings

Where we landed at the end of March:

Regular Savings  :: $     165
Emergency        :: $      00

Total Savings      :: $   165

That’s $25 less than we wanted and a lot less than we wanted for the Emergency Fund, but the new car purchase impacted quite a bit of that.

We missed the halfway point!

Yesterday, after getting caught up on my numbers, I noticed something that bears mentioning…

We are at 51% paid-off!

Wait, what?!? We rolled right past the 50% celebration! Oh, no!

Well, the great news is that we’ve reached this milestone. I’m a little “sad” that it has taken us 4 years to reach this point, but I’m still thankful. It isn’t like we haven’t had some set backs during this time and there was that whole year where we were just in survival mode as we were adjusting to our new family reality. That being said, my spreadsheet and Quicken seem to think we can knock the rest of this out in 20 months, so LET’S DO THIS THING!!!

March 2013 :: Goals

Our goal for March is to pay $1,900 toward our debt. Taking into account the interest that will be charged ($323) , the net will be $1,577.

So our totals at the end of  March should be:

Credit Card Debt      ::  $ 17,930.61
Taxes Owed            ::  $        00.00
Car Loan                 ::  $  9,107.50
Tuition                   :: $    1,205.66
Personal Loans        ::  $        00.00

Total Debt*              ::  $ 28,243.77

*does not include school loans

And now for the Savings Goals – at the end of  March, we aim to have:

Regular Savings  :: $   190
Emergency           :: $   550

Total Savings      :: $   740

According to Quicken, our debt-free date is :: November 2014.

February 2013 :: Report

Debt Reduction

Here is where we were after 2.28.2013:

Credit Card Debt               :: $    18,723.66
Taxes Owed                   :: $            00.00
Car Loan                        :: $       9,381.81
Tuition                           :: $       1,705.66
Personal Loans                 :: $           00.00

Total Debt*                        ::  $ 29,811.13

*does not include school loans

_______________________________________

Budget

I’ll have to come back to this – I wanted to get an update out there and not have anything else delay me, so this will wait 🙂

Savings

Where we landed at the end of February:

Regular Savings  :: $     140
Emergency        :: $      00

Total Savings      :: $   140