Friday, June 4, 2010

Total Money Makeover - May Recap

One month of the Total Money Makeover is now complete!  We made some big changes in the month of May and we're already starting to see the effects of our hard work.  However, being on a budget for the first time EVER definitely opened our eyes to some things we might not have really wanted to see.  On the flip side, we made some big steps toward reclaiming our financial freedom. 

  • Garage Sale - We dug through all the piles of crap stuff we had stashed in the house and put it up for sale in our garage during our village wide garage sales.  We ended up profiting more than $800 and got rid so much clutter.  The clothes that didn't sell were donated to St. Vinnie's so we were able to help others as well.
  • Baby Step #1 - Our baby emergency fund is complete and stored safe and sound in a secure location.  That $1000 is our insurance policy to fall back on if we're socking with something unexpected while we're attacking our debt.  On to Step #2 (see next bullet point)!
  • Paid off our first credit card - Thanks to the money we earned at the garage sale, we were able to pay the balance on one of our credit cards in full.  I'm still anticipating the arrival of that credit card statement showing a balance of ZERO.  Stay tuned for the celebratory post complete with photo of cutting that bad boy to shreds.
  • Coupons, coupons, coupons - I started getting serious about using coupons in May and it has really paid off.  Our grocery spending has been slashed and I have been able to purchase household items at much lower prices than previously.  I'm still getting the hang of this, but I'm so glad I decided to take the time to learn how to shop with coupons.  It's totally worth it.
Low Points
  • Still not Saving - Despite factoring it into the budget, our saving is still out of whack.  I failed to put money into envelopes to save for the roof, clothing, car maintenance, and the numerous other things we were supposed to save for this month.  I got so caught up in trying to stay under budget in our spending areas, I completely forgot about saving for upcoming expenses.
  • Falling Behind - We diligently saved our receipts in a pretty red bowl on the counter, but failed to stay up to date on entering our spending into the budget.  At the end of the month, we were left with a HUGE stack of receipts to sort through and add up, creating a rather daunting task.  We really need to stay on top of it this month.
  • Over budget - We spent too much and saved too little.  What more can I say?  We're still learning how to do this and we clearly still have a lot to figure out.  I researched some budgeting software and thanks to Dustin at Engaged Marriage, I've decided on the "You Need a Budget" software.  Now, we just have to factor it into our budget so we can purchase it and help us get our budget into shape!  See the irony there?
Not a bad start!  How about you?  What bumps in the road to being debt free have you encountered?  For that matter, how did you overcome obstacles that stood in your way to financial freedom?  What successes do you want to celebrate?

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