Category Archives: budget

June by the Numbers

We are only a few weeks away from the birth of our little boy – and yes we are super excited to meet him.

In addition to meeting him, to not being pregnant anymore, to having a new baby at home and getting into a routine – we are REALLY looking forward to getting the debt snowball going again.

As you know, we’ve been on hold, but once the baby is born and medical bills are paid – we will use the rest of the Crisis Fund to throw at debt.

I. Can’t. Wait.

In the middle of this month, we did dip a little into the Crisis fund to purchase the last remaining necessities for the baby (like the car seat).  At the same time, at the end of the month, we had a bit of extra income and gift money that we put toward the Crisis Fund.

That being said, I’m guessing it will be at least August by the Numbers before we have exact figures and know what portion of the Crisis Fund is for medical expenses and what portion is for debt. Mostly, the timing will be based on when we get final bills from the hospital.

I’ll leave you with the following picture, me at 37 weeks. Officially full term.

37_weeks

Leave a comment

Filed under baby, budget, by the numbers, debt

Baby Stuff

Wow.  Baby stuff is expensive. But then, I already knew that.

Last week I spent several hours compiling a list of all the remaining items we needed and where the best deals could be found when it comes to completing our registries.

We went to one store and finish most of the items on the list. My hours of work ahead of time helped us head to the store with a plan – so we didn’t make any emotional, impulse buys. If it wasn’t on  the list, we didn’t get it. Plans are necessary to stay on budget.

Even though we spent a good chunk of change, I was so encouraged that this was really the first time we’ve bought anything brand new for the baby (other than some shelving for the baby’s room).  To this point, everything has been gifts or second hand. I know how much of a fortune we would have spent, had we needed (or wanted) to buy everything new.

Plus, it was wonderful that we have received a few gift cards and had at least one duplicate gift that we returned for store credit – so even that helped this weekend when we bought a bunch of things.

Now I’m up to my elbows in washing baby clothes and boiling bottles and pacifiers. Our living room has now been taken over by a stack of boxes full of diapers. At 34 weeks… this is getting real. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under budget, clothes

Thankful

I just felt I needed to share how thankful we are for the generosity of fiends and family. I’ve mentioned in posts before, how we have received gifts for the baby and how the only new items we purchased are some shelving for the baby’s closet.

That still holds true.

Since those posts, we’ve received a few more gifts – a couple of which were duplicates, which actually is completely terrific! Because duplicate gifts mean I can return one and get a store credit. We are now a little over halfway to purchasing the car seat with gift cards & in-store credits.

It’s one of the few items we felt it would be best to make sure was new.

Other than that – in a week or so, May by the Numbers will actually have a bit of an update. The debt snowball is still on hold, but we’ve made some unexpected progress.

Stay tuned…

Leave a comment

Filed under budget, debt, family, friends

Quick “used baby items” update

We have a spiral staircase in our house – so we are going to need to be creative about making the house safe. We also have almost all tile/Slate flooring (which is an often uneven step/hard surface).

So far, our solution to this will be using play yard gates (as apposed to standard baby gates that most people have) to block off the stairs and using those bign foam squares with maybe some rugs to make the floor a little softer of a landing.

These are all things down the road, but I was able to purchase both the play yard gates and the foam squares used.
What we paid: $100.
Would have been new: $243

Running total for used items: $258
Approximate amount if all items were new: $802

Savings: $544

Leave a comment

Filed under budget

What’s New

So we had a bit of an unexpected additional ‘Debt Snowball’ setback this month.  I was laid off.

It does not change the current process of our baby steps, since we are already on hold and trying to save up money in the “crisis fund” but it does mean the “crisis fund” will grow much slower than expected.

So the next three months, I will be applying for unemployment benefits, and looking for work.  There is a chance that some contract work will come up and I can at least be making a decent income. We’ll just have to wait to see what happens.

As for when the baby is born in July – most things are up in the air right now how all of that will play out. Thankfully, I do have the option of picking up COBRA – so myself, and eventually the baby should be covered. The cost of labor and delivery has not changed – other than the fact that we now pay for my monthly medical premium.

The other good news it that my husband’s freelance work had picked up quite a bit as compared to the last fall and winter.

Other than that – we had two baby showers in the last two weekends. We are almost set and ready for the baby to come. The only items we really still need are the car seat, diapers & wipes, bedding, and a few items for our “diaper changing” desk.  And the ergo baby carrier – but the carrier is a luxury and not a necessity. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under budget, employment, work

Consignment Sale – update

I went to another consignment sale. I only purchased 2 items, but they were great deals! A little fisher price swing and a diaper champ.

Running total for consignment sales: $158

Approximate amount if all items were new: $559

Savings: $401

Leave a comment

Filed under budget

March by the Numbers

Basically the same news as before (debt snowball on pause due to slow work & baby on the way) – with some improvement for the self-employed one of the family.  Work has been picking up a bit – so that’s really helpful. We anticipate adding to the “crisis fund” at a slightly higher rate.

Our little guy appears to be healthy as far as any one can tell at this point – so we are very thankful for that.

We are a little over halfway from his arrival, so we’ve been deep in the throws of preparing for a baby in the house while staying as cost conscious as possible.

One of the common questions people ask is what theme the nursery will be. Our answer… Ah? Mustard yellow walls with a twin bed & desk?  We aren’t “themeing” anything really. Not painting. Not really buying new, fancy furniture. Our changing table will be the desk that is in there now. We added a bit of additional shelving in the closet for better organization of new baby stuff – but that’s about it.  We went with generic blue, green, and random animals in the things that we registered for – so – that’s our theme? I guess if you can call it that.

Mostly, as I mentioned last month, I’ve been hitting up a few consignment sales. It really helps to be in a large place like DFW where the suburbs support multiple sales.  Check out these numbers…. Money spent at consignment sales: $135

Approximate amount if all items were purchased new: $466

Some of the items that we purchased:

  • Assortment of bottles
  • ‘Snap & Go’ type caddy/stroller
  • Bathtub
  • A few additional needed clothing items for me
  • SwaddleMes
  • Highchair
  • Nursing Pillow
  • A couple small toys/books
  • Towels

And last, but most certainly not least, we have a wonderful community of family and friends who have given us so many helpful and much-needed items.  Just a few of the items are listed here. Some are straight up baby gifts, and some are “hand-me-downs” from those who have gone before us on the adventure of having kids.

  • Crib & Mattress
  • Pack & play
  • Bassinet
  • Bouncy Seat
  • Car mirror
  • Breast Pump
  • Mobile
  • Towels & wash cloths
  • Glider chair & footstool
  • Bumboo seat
  • A tub of Maternity Clothes
  • Books – Educational and Product research/money-saving tips

So yes – as you can see – we are doing our best to be frugal; to not give in to the culture & emotions of … got to have the biggest and best, nicest nursery with name brand, new everything.  We are so thankful that our family and friends are helping us so much.

When I listen to the Dave Ramsey show – there seems to be a lot of  individuals who did not have supportive friends and family. They had people in their lives that thought they were foolish or a bit nuts to be working to be completely debt free. We are thankful to report that is not the case with us.  Everyone has been more than supportive of our long-term financial goals.

Leave a comment

Filed under budget, by the numbers, dallas, family, friends

February by the Numbers

And, not much to report.

Baby is still on its way. Hubby’s work is still slow. Debt Snowball is still on pause.

However – I did a bit of math the last few weeks and was amazed at – with slower work, the payroll tax holiday ending and my insurance premiums going up – how much less in income we take home each month than a mere 6 months ago.  This realization (along with news headlines this week pointing out that across the country, income has dropped significantly) – I was so thankful that we started getting out of debt last year.

I think we have somewhere around $500 LESS a month in payments because of all the items we finished paying off.  So not only did we save a ton of money (on interest that we won’t be changed), we created a decent bit of margin in our monthly budget. That is really helping us get through our current drop in income.

[March sneak peek… Might be ‘Consignment by the Numbers’  🙂 ]

2 Comments

Filed under budget, by the numbers, debt

January by the Numbers

Not a lot to report.  Still slow work. Still expecting a baby in July. So… no debt snowball progress.

We were able to add a bit to our crisis fund.  My job does reviews and possible raises at the anniversary date of your start date.  My anniversary date was in October, but my review and all of the paperwork was not done until this month.  Unbeknownst to me – the company gives you back pay from the point of your anniversary if you get a raise.  So we were thankful for a bit extra in our check. ESPECIALLY because the payroll tax holiday ended and more taxes are taken out of my check.

One particular set of numbers I thought I would highlight is my student loan. Because we paid such a large portion off early over the last twelve months, technically speaking, my next payment isn’t due until 11/14/2017. Of course, we are still paying the minimum payment during this debt snowball pause so we don’t lose all the extra ground we gained (and tack on more interest).

Also – on the saving money front – we are so encouraged about how much one can NOT buy name brand when prepping for a new arrival.  I’m planning to attend two consignment sales (yeah for First Time Mom Presales!).

We are also very blessed and thankful for an entire tub of maternity clothes from family. I honestly don’t think I’ll need to buy much clothes for myself.

2 Comments

Filed under budget, by the numbers

December by the Numbers

To start with – no new progress was made on debt this month. We are still putting the debt snowball on hold due to lower than expected income.  We are adding to our “crisis fund” which we hope will we will convert into debt pay-off one day.

One specific number I thought I could highlight from this month was our Vacation Fund.  We planned since May to go to Washington State to have Christmas with my family. Every month, we put aside money for the vacation. From this fund, we paid for our plane tickets, our rental car, and all of our on trip expenses and purchases. We still worked to be frugal on the trip, not spending excessive amounts. We are pleased to report we were at least $600 UNDER budget.  SWEET! Because you know what that means… the extra $600 goes into the Crisis Fund.

Since I don’ t have any other numbers to report, I thought I’d do a quick summary of 2012 by the numbers.

This year, we sold items on CraigsList, re-purposed gift cards, and turned coins into the bank in order to drum up some extra income. We also had several items come up that we had to figure out how to cash-flow. We cash-flowed enough money to cover a Garage Reno, an MRI, a Washer, a mattress set, and the closing costs on our home refinance. And of course, squeezed every cent we could find out of the budget for extra debt payments.

Extra income for 2012: $2,121

Cash-flowed in 2012: $6,181

Over and above debt payments for 2012: $27,304

Total Debt paid in 2012: $31,018

Amount of Debt left – Aiming to be paid off in 2013.  Approximately $15,500

I look at those numbers and I think wow. You mean… we put enough toward debt to pay for a new car?

I find it SO encouraging. No, we don’t have that money to use now – but yes, we are avoiding even MORE than that in would-be-interest.  And once all the debt is gone, we have already established really great financial habits which will help us reach goals like paying cash for a car a lot quicker than we ever thought we could.

Leave a comment

Filed under budget, by the numbers, car, debt, family