I can hear you all now.....Huh? Mysti....you really are off your rocker. Since when is planning the reason that something doesn't work? That is so counter intuitive.
Oh, but listen, my little grasshoppas....
I looked at our budget and where all the moola is going, and it dawned on me. We are SAVING for PLANNED expenses. In the past...we would hope that we could use our three paycheck months to cover the shortfall. There were some things we would put on a credit card, and then we really didn't think about them as expenses, because they just fell into the abyss known as DEBT.
Last April, I opened our first ING account, and have since opened several more. These have allowed us to save for planned expenses, and to actually visually see where it all is. And we are now paying CASH for things that either previously went on a credit card, or we shuffled around to make ends meet.
- We saved $1,000 CASH for the kids' camp. They didn't take credit cards, so that wasn't even an option. Last year, Nannie paid for camp (which was great, because we hadn't saved enough.....). This year, we had it, no problem.
- The kids' birthday is coming up at the end of August. They will each have a party (their first one since they were 4, and they will be 9). I researched the cost (she is having a spa party, he is having a bowling party), and saved up. I saved $700 for their parties, gifts, cakes, and their special dinner on their birthday. Probably more than I need, but the left over will roll into the Christmas account. Now, I realize that is ALOT for a birthday....but this is for 2 kids' parties, and they haven't had one in 5 years.
ETA: Please remember....I have a child with Autism. He simply will not tolerate having people in the house for a party. Kids "touching" his stuff....will set him over the edge and he will not even attend his own party. We can't do parties the way the rest of the world does. He likes bowling....he understands what happens there. We can do a party for him and have him have FUN...and that is important to us.
Sassy....her party will be for her and 3 friends. She doesn't have friends. She doesn't get invited to parties. She doesn't have playdates. She is the kid that has "that brother." If she has a friend over, Bossy goes into hysterics, and it is a mess.
No one has to agree with us on this one. But if you take a 9 year old kid who has had ONE party in their life......I don't think we are being over indulgent.
(I should add that originally this was going to be for G-man's 40th birthday bash....but after this year of issues, I decided against holding it, and decided that it would go to the kids).
- The boat. My nemesis. It needs some repairs. We are now saving $40 a month toward that.
- The cars. Having a car maintenance fund has saved our tushies a few times. It has covered oil changes, wiper blades, a few smaller repairs. Granted, it didn't do squat when we had the $2,000 transmission bill. But over the past year, I guarantee ever last one of those expenses would have been on a credit card if we didn't have an account for this. We save $140 a month for insurance and maintenance.
- Christmas!!! We are all guilty of charging up Christmas. And last year I planned to not do it....and then did. Not this year. We have a Christmas fund. We are saving $230 a month for Christmas right now (this fund is still small....we had to save for camp and birthdays first). And we decided that the kids really don't need alot of fancy stuff...she is really happy with books. He is harder, but again, fancy doesn't do it for him. We budgeted for gifts, cards, postage, the tree....and when the money is gone, it is gone. I am not going into more debt for this.
- Irregular expenses. These are things like the 2x a year car tax bill, 2x a year water bill, quarterly trash bill. Those things you know exist...but sort of ignore until you have to deal with them. Not anymore. I save for them, to the tune of $80 a month.
After I thought about all of this.....THERE is where my debt repayment money is. I used to think I should have at least $500 more a month to repay debt. NO....we were living above our means, and now that $500 is being saved for REAL expenses.
I can beat myself up for not slashing through our debt in Gazelle style. But I am not going to. We are living a more realistic budget now. (Even if the food budget is STILL crazy, and gas prices aren't helping either). Baby steps.
Dave Ramsey might not be proud per se....but he at least wouldn't call us an idiot.