Friday, October 30, 2009

Now More Than EVER....

I need to be on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon.

Reason #1: Matt's hours at work are almost non-existent
Reason #2: Did you know Christmas is in December this year????

Matt and I finally got the opportunity to enroll in a Financial Peace University class and we are loving it. We are about at the halfway point and it will carry us through to Christmas, or right near it. What amazing timing is that! We'll have lots of support to rely on during the time of the year where we are most likely to backslide on our finances.

The class has really pushed me to follow the Total Money Makeover principles, and I can officially declare myself to be a NERD at this point. I know that FPU is designed to be the framework of budgeting, so I took it to the next level and decided to make myself a budget workbook to really get the nitty gritty details. I can input in our gross pay and net pay every 2 weeks when we get paid, along with all of our standing expenses and basically calculate out our tithe, how much cash to pull out of the bank, and what our debt snowball payment is going to be. It really works well and I just wrapped up my first full month using it. I have a couple of small adjustments to make, but otherwise I am very pleased with it.

We decided in FPU to move more of our spending into cash, and that has actually gone much better than I expected. Our cash envelopes right now are: groceries, gas, entertainment/family fun, blow money, and household (cleaning supplies, etc). The biggest plunge for me was moving our gas money to cash. I'll admit I am lazy and HATE walking into the gas station to pay, but it's not been that bad. Maybe I'll be singing a different tune shortly when the snow starts falling, but we'll see.

October was a 3 payday month for me, so when I went yesterday to pull my cash out of the bank to replenish my envelopes, I pulled out our Christmas money as well. It's going to be interesting to Christmas shop this way, but I'm willing to give it a try. It's a "seasonal" envelope and it's fully stocked, and once it's gone, it's gone, so I know we'll stay on budget this year for Christmas!

Which brings me to another point, cashing in on Christmas! I have been hoarding rewards points all year from various programs and have begun cashing them in towards gift cards to either give people directly for Christmas, or to shop at my favorite stores and buy Christmas gifts. As of right now, I have over $125 in gift cards that I've got in my purse from Speedway Rewards, MyPoints, and MyCokeRewards and I have another $25 sitting out on Amazon in credit from Swagbucks.