Well, groceries will vary by region and family

but I budget $600 a month for a family of 6. That includes toiletries, paper products, diapers(she’s almost done, YEA!) and dog food for our large mutt.

I bulk shop, bulk cook and shop for loss leaders. I also cut down on convience foods. Not entirely rid of them yet, but SO much closer than before! LOL

If you want specifics, let me know!

Thanks for the input!

I guess I should have given more details so you know where I’m coming from. I have been budgeting $100 a week for a family of 5 (2 adults, 14 yr old, 11 yr old and a 2 yr old.) This is supposed to include food, toiletries, (diapers too), cleaning supplies, laundry supplies,pet food (3 small dogs & 1 cat). I generally make a menu from on-sale items (we are doing Adkins so meat is main part of meal). I very rarely spend more than $2 a lb on meat. We use store brand canned goods, veggies – cheese – butter etc. I do make a list, but always seem to have forgotten to list something. Sometimes I catch it while I’m at the store, but if I don’t and have to run back out, it costs me even more. (Time and grabbing something extra.) We NEVER eat out, and seldom buy our lunches – even the kids. I think that I underbuy stuff like lunch materials trying to stay under my budget. Maybe I should break out the cleaning stuff and the personal toiletries into another catagory. I have found that if I pay cash, I am more likely not skip the impulse buy.

The why, in my refi question, is this…

Why is it so hard to refi and not get screwed?
Here’s the deal we have our mortgage through a small town bank and our car loan through the same bankl and our home equity loan through 5/3. We want to refinance the two home loans and possibly my husbands government student loan…not sure if the car loan could get rolled in there too…
Anyway, he bought the house for 101K and 86k is left on it (including the equity loan) and we’re paying $1080 a month between the two loans. I asked the small town bank about refi-ing and she told me we had to pay for the appraisal and $2500 closing fees and that it would only work if our house appraises for $126K. Which it won’t appraise for the much…maybe $112K.
I’ve got a friend who worked for several banks as a loan officer telling me that the lady at the small town bank is nuts. They can waive the fees if they want and if they can’t they can roll them into the loan so we don’t have to pay anything up front.
Why are the two telling me such completely different things? What can ya’ll tell me about Refinancing the house loans? We need the payment to be closer to $850 a month vs. the current $1080….is it possible?

Paid in full and closed! SOOOO HAPPY!

Next up to bat is the Discover, but thats next month.

March budget is complete, and luckily its a crazy work month for me so I was able to tweak the budget I have set for food, travel and leisure. We have the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show this month, and my company operates a booth there. All month I work my usual 8-4 and then work 430-10 at the rodeo. And I have many saturday and sunday nights too. The plus side to the crazy month? Paid cash for the rodeo hours, and should make an extra $1500 because of it. Also, all my work meals are free all month due to the overload hours, and I sure won’t have time to spend money elsewhere lol.

So, you may not hear much from me this month, but I’ll be working up a large snowball for that Discover card 🙂

I have started working on Nov’s budget

Most months it’s just tweaking since not much changes around here. We have given our long-term care insurance agent the go-ahead to pursue the policy we chose. Have to go through the medicals to get approval. He is also checking into a rider for dd. I really don’t think she’ll pass the medical part due to her history but we are going to try it. One thing we found out is that not that many agents/companies sell LT ins here. Maybe it’s different in other places.

It is ironic that this agent has read several of DR’s books but still believes in whole life insurance. We do not have any other insurnace thorugh him other than the long term care are applying for. He seems to like several of DR’s ideas but has not drank the cool-aid yet.

We are working on getting things together for our accountant. Gonna try to have it there by the end of the week. Since we have to pay every year now we are not in a hurry to write that check. 🙁 Our accountant files for an automatic extension for everyone, as most accountants do. Last year it was like October before we actually filed. First time since we bought out my dad taht we ever filed that late. I told dh that I didn’t like filing that late and to ask if we can get bumped back up to the top of the pile.

Exactly what I was thinking !!!

Little League provides pretty good training (at least out here in our area) and the rules in high school and PONY are not much different (substitution rules in high school, and the age where you can lead off for PONY). Even if you spent a season volunteering (for free) just to get the experience, you would be pretty far ahead.

I love your story about buying your car

We no longer finance either, even cars. If we can’t pay cash without it negatively affecting our financial situation, we don’t buy it, no matter what it is. We do not buy new cars. The last car purchase was dd’s car, which she paid for, in cash. It was a 2013 Impala, beautiful condition inside and out, with less than 700 original miles! She bought it this past December. It was so cool to see her do that. Oh, dh and I threw in a little at the end as part of her Christmas, enough to cover tax, title and license. That was minor compared to what she put in. We have a relationship with the sales manager at this dealership, less than 3 miles from our home. We feel very blessed to have found some impressive deals like this with dd’s car and our last one, an Acadia. The sales manager is keeping his eye out for a Suburban-esqe type vehicle for us that is in similar condition to dd’s Impala … low miles, no history of wrecks or engine/transmission trouble, etc. We know the time will be right when the right vehicle comes about. When you’re not in a hurry, like us, you can afford to wait for the right deal.

When the right deal comes along I am not sure what we’ll do w/our current vehicle situation. Dh has said he’ll drive my Acadia and do something with his truck, which is older. Currently we are using it to carry our craft show stuff. Our new vehicle will have to be big enough to handle it or we’ll have to see about renting a trailer as needed or buy one.

Dh will keep his old car, a ’77 Monte Carlo. That is his baby. It won’t sell till dh passes away or he scores a car he falls in love with more than this one. He his fixing up his baby with cash and it is not financed either.

About credit scores and reports. We have not checked ours in a few years. I am not worried about our scores since we bought a home we can spend our retirement years in. Since it is one story we don’t have to worry about negotiating stairs, etc. Big enough but not too big.

I am so thankful that dh and I are on the same page about debt! I am believing this year will be an excellent year financially and that we will be able to write a check within the year to pay off our house. I am having faith!

Today I got a call from the flooring place where I get tiles for my coaster business

They had about 75 slate tiles that are 4″x4″. These tiles were going to be greatly discounted. They thought of me and wanted to offer them to me first. I got all 75 for $15. That comes out to 7 cents per tile + tax. I got these so cheap that if any experiment does not work, it is no big deal. They also let me know during this call that my 8″x8″ travertine was in as well. I got those at my usual price.

I also have been working on January’s budget, tweaking it some. As I stated in a previous post, we have a stockpile of money in our medication envelope. Since it has built up we are moving some of that to the furniture envelope since we are wanting to buy a couple of recliners. If we should have to unexpectedly plow through our medication envelope we will redirect the money back to it.

We will have to make a regularly occurring tax payment next month so dh and I are getting $$ ready for that. It does not have to be mailed till next week. However we have started the process so when we must mail it, all the funds will be in place.

We also talked briefly about Social Security. He is not near retiring but reminded me that we need to think about salary adjustments starting 3 years before he begins to draw it. Dh is almost 59 so it’s not an immediate thing to do but it is not far either. He would like to wait till late 60’s or maybe 70. This topic got on the agenda today because my dad brought up how he basically lives on SS, though he does have retirement elsewhere. He rarely has to tap that other retirement money because he is completely debt free and has pretty much lived that way all his life. So … getting debt free early lets us all start saving and dreaming for the retirement lifestyle we want to live.

DH also looked at what we can put in our HSA to fully fund it next year. It is a slight bump up and every little bit helps. We try to save it for high dollar expenses, kind of like what Jan and her dh is going through, or contacts for me or glasses for dh. Dh’s prescription for glasses is not cheap, he has to have a prism ground into one of his lenses. Other expenses like regularly prescribed medication or sick visits to the doctor get paid via line items in the budget.

Guess that is enough for now.

What did everyone else do?

Yes it is all crazy!

My poor sister was hoping to get a mortgage loan this year, and since she has no credit cards, paid her car loan with all on-time payments and saved up about 30% cash for a downpayment she really thought she would be seen as an eligible candidate.

Wrong!

Lenders (several!) have told her she needs to open 3-4 “lines of credit” and use them lol.

Why should a good score be based on the fact that you want spend more money than you have? She’s been responsible on her modest income, caring for 4 children and saving, saving, saving.

She and I talked about it and she’s decided to just continue saving cash for now, because she doesn’t want any credit cards! Maybe in another few years she’ll have enough cash to buy a fixer upper home and then put in some sweat equity.

I just looked on CreditKarma

and discovered that Transunion doesn’t care about utilities accounts, but Equifax does. They’re tracking my electric bill account, so I have a 13 year history. That means they don’t ding me for a short credit history after I closed all my other accounts. Transunion only shows me as having a 10 month history on the Visa I got last April so I could rent a vehicle in Reno. Just something I found interesting…

Itching to SPLIT!

Background: 7 Children, two medically complex with frequent surgeries, our daughter with Spina Bifida just had hip/pelvic/femur repair and is wheelchair bound for 4+ more weeks and we won’t know if she will regain her previous mobility until that 4 weeks comes and goes. We live in a split level house (4 levels) and it is NOT accessible…we’re hoping to get her custom wheelchair in this summer.

We have two main loans (besides house loan) to pay off…one expires in Sept 2015 and the other Sept 2016.

I want to move NOW! We have 7 children and I’m itching to just split outta here!

We’ll pay off the smaller loan ($3800ish) in 3 months and the other one ($5800ish) 6 months after that. So, no we won’t be moving this year (BUMMER) but maybe next year!

So hard to be patient when I just want out of here now!

Cindi says to tell everyone thank you for the prayers and suggestions

She is definitely checking on everything everyone has suggested. Saturday she came back to the “neighborhood” to see if even one item was salvageable. And one item is exactly what she found, but it wasn’t hers. She has no idea where it came from, but she feels it is a sign from God.

Laying in the smouldering ashes of what had been her home for 14 years was a small ceramic figurine, burnt, but in pretty good condition considering. It was a Phoenix.

I don’t know your beliefs, but I am with her it is a sign that she shall rise from the ashes of this challenge, just as the fabled Phoenix did.

It is now her cover photo on her fb page as a reminder that it is all going to be okay.

Pay off!

Woo hoo! We paid off our 2011 federal tax return today!!! It was $25K, so it is a big relief to have it finally gone. It’s only a $100 a month snowball, but getting to cross one off the list is a wonderful feeling. It was such a bummer when we found out we had to “pay” that year. 2012 and 2013 we got refunds which helped to get the balance down faster, but I thought we had another year until we paid it off. I logged into the IRS today and saw that the balance was only $236 and DH said just pay it off! So I did!

State is getting low too, under $2K, so hopefully that will be paid off this year too!

It’s a good day!