We know Penelope is going to grace our home sometime early May this year and that's going to be a huge change for us all. It's also going to be a financial change because we all know that babies are expensive. The kicker is that I've started a new job that is very part time and my original plan to work two jobs until I give birth basically went to the crapper. We had a really great, concrete, totally stress free, do-able plan and that has gone to hell because of the second job thing. So realistically, I'm not finding another job right now. Matt and I have agreed that it doesn't make sense so we have to make what we have work for us. So keeping that in mind, we've come up with a monthly budgeting system a few months ago and so far- it's actually been really great.
- Each month we plan everything around his two paychecks. He always gets paid on the 7th and the 21st which at first sound really nice to be able to plan, right? Yes, but then on long months (like January) it's a LONG haul between January 21 and February 7. Those months are brutal. Equally brutal are short months (like February) because instead of having 15 days in a pay period, he has 13. Which means he can't take any days off at all, for any reason, otherwise his March 7th paycheck is really awful. Those extra days are HUGE because they almost always are all over time.
- But we divide all of our bills between the two paychecks. We don't figure my paycheck in at all right now because by the time Penelope comes, I won't have a paycheck at all so we need to get used to running on one income.
- I also make a list of debt like credit cards and our furniture payment. Those are things we can feasibly pay off early, if we're diligent.
- Then I figure out how much we'll be paying towards those debt items.
The really nice thing is that we managed to pay off my dental surgery from June, and that was really nice. This month the goal is to pay off the latest dental bill, one credit card for sure, possibly three. Yes, three. That's assuming Matt's raise is larger than we anticipate. Goal #1 this year is to have all of the store cards paid off in full by the end of May, and to have our furniture paid off by the end of December. Completely do-able IF we don't spend more on them. Which brings us to Goal #2, which is starting the No-Spend January.
I'm going to be dead straight: I am the one who will struggle with this the hardest. I'm that person who shops when she feels bored, upset, or if I have a $20 in my purse. I'm that girl and it's awful. I hate being that person. I do remember it starting in college when I got my first credit card. My parents made me get a job right away when I turned 16 but I always had to be extra responsible with my money and anything I bought got scrutinized. Well, I turn 18, get a credit card and SUCK IT, PARENTS. I, of course, ran it up to ridiculous amounts and felt totally sick each month. Not that it stopped me from going out and buying something else because I felt sad and new things are fun. So it's a super vicious cycle and I'm terrible. Absolutely terrible.
So for January, Matt and I are going to try this out. It could end badly, and I'm prepared for that. But I feel like if I can make it, I'll feel really good and it'll be a good momentum going forward.
Goal #3 is to save. Seriously, you'd think we'd be better savers considering how many crisis things come up every single year for us, but we aren't. And maybe because of that? I don't know, but it seems like any time we have money in the account something happens and it's gone. So we're starting the 52 Week Money Challenge. I've got my chart printed out, we have already made the first deposit, and we're going to try super hard to stick to it. To say we have $1378 in savings at the end of the year will be huge.
Why get all serious about this now? Well, as I mentioned before, my new job is only limited part time. When there is no school, I don't work, which means all breaks and summers I'm off without a paycheck. That's a huge perk for me because I don't have to scramble to find care for my kids when there is no school. Downside is I'm not really making that much. So depending on how this all goes, it'll determine if I go back to work in the fall. If we're not saving as much as we can and we can't find affordable daycare within our budget, I can't go back to work. We can't afford for me to work and pay a daycare more than I'm bringing in. So that... hurts. That hurts a lot, and that's another blog post. So I'm trying very hard to do what I can so I don't go mad as a stay at home mom. Because that's my fear, folks.
So what are YOUR resolutions? What debt management tips have you tried that have been helpful?