Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Rules

It's been about a year since my husband discovered my snowball of financial fuckups. After skimming the treetops we're finally in a more positive place.

We still have a shitload of scary debt, but....
- his car is paid off
- the lease on my car is up soon and we should be able to refinance the remaining balance to get a much lower monthly payment
- he now gets a quarterly bonus

Last night we spent time figuring out how best to use the money from the most recent bonus. Rather than using all of it to pay chunks of credit card debt, I'm setting aside an emergency fund until the next bonus check comes in. Hopefully, we can use the Q3 check completely for debt reduction. He's also expecting a raise 12/1 so that will help too. We've still got quite a ways to go before we are back in a good situation but at least things are no longer as bad as they were.

To help stay on track, I need to limit the miscellaneous expenses. My husband hardly spends any money as he works a lot, weekday meals are provided and he dumped the Starbucks habit in favor of a Keurig a while ago. I've come up with a couple of rules for myself to limit the wasted money.

NEW RULES
NO credit cards - no need to explain this one. We all know they are evil if misused.

No more lies or not admitting to him if things get tight again.

No more getting cashback off the debit card. If i need cash, go to the ATM, get a receipt - KNOW my balance. I used to guess and sometimes I was pretty close, but most of the time waaaay off.

Spend at least as much time on mint.com as I do on Pinterest ;) Seriously though at least weekly, (preferably daily) check-ins on transactions

One bank account for bills. One for fun. If there is no money in the fun account, then we can't have fun it's as simple as that.

Read and check any statements that come in. As much as I love the convenience of auto billpay, putting bills on autopilot is bad. Great to use the billpay to make sure bills are paid on time, but I hardly ever look at statements anymore. Not good.

Allow $20 per week in cash for impulse buys and/or crafty stuff. Anything leftover rolls over to the next week.

I started a couple of weeks ago and I've been good about it. I've been to Target a couple of times since and would see something I wanted but didn't really need. If I had the cash I would get it, if not, it had to wait. Right now I have a few different things on my wish list - nothing huge, but still enough that each thing would have been $10-20. Again doesn't sound like much but it's that little crap that adds up as you convince yourself that $15 on fun office supplies to be used for getting organized are worth it. For a lot of people it may not break the bank but it's still money that we should be using for other things.

Best of all some of the things when I thought about them again the following week when I got my "allowance", I realized I didn't really need those things anyway.

Since I already use coupons, and meal plan I'm not sure what else I can do to cut costs on our groceries - our biggest variable expense. I mean yes I could cut our wine budget, but come on, I need one vice and I already by the cheap stuff - Barefoot Chardonnay is a current favorite.

Any tips - on cutting costs or suggestions for cheap wines - are always appreciated.

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