My husband works 3 jobs. One full time and two part-times. We hardly see him, and I think its time to change that. I named this blog Character Changes and living a responsible fiscal life is part of that change. I have tried many, many times to make that change and I have failed. Well, I haven't failed miserably because I have learned a few things each time I tried changing. This time, I hope we succeed more than the last few times.
I have read Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and I even worked for Primerica so its not like I don't know what to do. I can tell you what to do, I can make plans to help others succeed, but it just wasn't that easy for our family. Finally, it dawned on me that I am sick and tired of having my husband gone all day, every day and trying to fit everything in on his one and only day off. He has two, but one day he goes to school...so we have Wednesday off. Not all of Wednesday, mind you..only Wednesday evening. That is not cutting it anymore.
I have now put my foot down. I hope I have put it down hard enough. I am ready to make a plan for us. I am ready to slash and save and do whatever it takes. My family is not as supportive as I had hoped. What is my plan? "People don't plan to fail, but they fail to plan" I'm all about plans and I have plans coming out of my ears. Our problem is not plans but follow through. So, yes I have a plan and yes, I will let you know. But where I need help is following through with those plans.
First, I am not going to do all or nothing. That's one sure way to fail.
Second, I am not cutting everything all at once.
Third, I need accountability, so I will blog about it.
Ok, here is the plan:
Our budget is out of control and my husbands solution is to work more. That is not working for us. I looked through my budget and found things to cut. The main one is our cell phone plan. It's eating us up alive. I have tried calling and asking for some help in trimming it, but even though they were very helpful it just not enough. We do have a contract and we still have a few months left on that contract. So, my plan is to cancel the plan, buy a month to month and save the rest. At least $200. Yes, I know that I will have a fee to worry about and I have a plan for that.
The second part of this plan is to work toward Baby Step 1. Dave Ramsey has 7 baby steps toward financial freedom and baby step 1 is to save $1000 asap. So, I gave myself about 6 weeks to 3 months to come up with that. After baby step 1, we can start on baby step 2, which is to pay off debt and the first on that list will be our cell phone plan. After that we will snowball our cell phone saving toward the next largest bill, then the next and so on.
That's my plan, and we are sticking to it.
Another part of the plan is to limit eating out and include that in our over all budget. I wanted to try the envelope system, but I am not ready for that I think. It's not that I haven't gone cash only, I have. But, I think it would be too much at one time. So, I am going to stick to working on our budget, keeping receipts and try to figure out where our money goes. Groceries and eating out are a major drain and gas used to be too.
We are a family of 9 with 6 kids still at home. We need to work on this area of our budget pronto. I have started working on a monthly menu (which I have done before) and will try monthly shopping. I don't think I will be able to go a month between shopping but if I can limit my trips and buy the staples I know I can save some time and money. As for eating out, its a must but not every day. We don't have time for fun activities, so eating out has become our family outing. I am going to try to limit it to only 2-3 times a month instead of 2-3 times a week.
One other problem I face with menu planning is trying to figure out lunches that are healthy, cheap, and gluten free. Every time I make a menu lunches tend to be sandwiches, sandwiches, pasta, and hot dogs. All full of gluten and no, we don't want to use gluten free bread or pasta. My son, uses some gluten free pasta but the rest of the family will not eat them. Lunch menus are a work in progress.
Above all, I had been working on one major part of our budget and that is paying tithing. We are doing a lot better in that area, but still need more consistence. I have a testimony about tithing and feel extremely guilty when we don't do what is right. I didn't want to deal with it and felt it was my husband responsibility and not mine. I know now, that its OUR responsibility and if my husband is too busy with work and school than I must step up and make sure that we do what is right. We are a team.
So, Tithing, Baby Step 1 and 2, and the grocery budget are the major changes I need to make. It won't happen right away but as long as I feel like we are working on our goals, things will be ok!