Saturday, May 1, 2010

Total Money Makeover, Day One

Here we go.

Today is May 1st, the official starting date for our Total Money Makeover.  I'm excited to actually have a plan of action, but at the same time I am terrified about having to actually create and stick to a specific budget for the first time in forever.  Prior to Evan leaving for China, we opened a bottle of wine and hammered out a detailed budget plan for May.  We used an amazing budget spreadsheet from Enemy of Debt that is available to download for free on the website.  It's huge.  It's detailed.  Quite frankly, it's scary.  I'm so glad we busted out the bottle of wine.  However, I also think it is going to be quite effective.  I realize it's probably going to take a couple months of trial and error to hit our stride and feel like we actually have a handle on how to actually live on a budget, but I'm confident that we'll figure it out.

So how are things going to change around here?
  1. Record EVERY expense - Every single dollar that gets spent, from filling up the tank with gas to the soda from the vending machine, will get recorded in our spreadsheet.  Which reminds me.....I need to put a "receipt basket" on the counter so we'll actually remember to keep track of our reciepts.
  2. Save for expenses you know are coming up - What a crazy idea!!  As it turns out, I know we're going to a wedding out of state this fall.  Maybe we should actually save up for it, so it doesn't end up tempting us to use credit to fund the trip.  And did you know that Christmas is in December every single year?  I have no excuse to go into debt for the holidays anymore!
  3. Beans and Rice, Rice and Beans - Dave Ramsey talks about living on "beans and rice, rice and beans" while you're working on paying off your debt and that is not a euphamism for something else.  He actually means cutting your grocery budget down so far that you live on the absolute basics.  That means no going out to eat for us, no splurging on ordering pizza, and sticking to a strict grocery list.  Thankfully, Keeping Life Creative is doing an entire year of meals based on this principle so I have some go-to recipes!  I'm also trying to lean how to be a better coupon shopper to help us in this area.  I have found some great resources at Smart Couponing, Freebies4Mom, The Krazy Coupon Lady, and Keeping Life Creative.  This too will take some practice, but I'll get the hang of it.  Just don't expect us to join you for dinner and drinks anytime soon!
  4. Sell so much stuff the dog gets nervous - Garage sale, baby!  We're going to be selling a lot of stuff at our garage sale on May 14th and 15th and all the money we make is going to go toward paying of our debt.  Know anyone in the market for a wedding dress?  I'll sell it to ya cheap. 
So, help us out here.  What tips do you use for shopping with coupons or to keep your grocery budget down?  Do you have any tried and true methods for a successful garage sale?  Help us start off this TMMO on the right foot!

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