Since we have been married, we have always done a budget. Did you know one of the #1 causes of maritial stress and divorce in America is financial burden? We didn’t want to be another statistic, so we decided to do something about it by being on the same page financially early on in our marriage. It makes for a firm foundation.
Every month I complete the budget I am more comforted in having it. Whether you are in the red or in the black, it is good to know where you are and where you want to go. It has given us a goal — together. We worked and were debt free after our first year of marriage.
Also, by having a budget, it is allowing us to see how much we are able to give. Without a budget, we would not realize just how blessed we are. With a written plan each month we are able to be good stewards of the money God has entrusted to us and make every penny count.
What are your financial goals? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
:: Get Out of Debt
:: Build an Emergency Fund
:: Start Investing
:: Start Budgeting
:: Give More… than ever before!
I am planning on kicking off a “Budgeting & Meal Planning Series” in the next few weeks. So, if this is beginning to interest you…stay tuned!
So, how did we do in January? Well, I think I did better than I have done in awhile. Being accountable here has really helped. If you are interested in the same accountability, please leave us your ideas, results and accomplishments/setbacks this month.
Lowered Monthly Bills
Home Monitoring Service Not Active: Any of you pay for a monthly home monitoring or alarm service? Be sure it is working. I found out this week that the service we have been paying for has not been connected or active for over 2 years! All because I didn’t check it out. UGH… do you know what a waste that was? They told us it was our responsibility to call and check the line EVERY month. It was not their responsibility, even though we are paying them. That is over $600 we paid for a service we never received! I guess you know we will be switching companies very soon, any suggestions?
Reduced phone bill by $12/month: The first thing I did was go through all our bills and see if we were paying for anything unnecessarily. I cut a few services from our phone bill, namely our voicemail and fax ring master. We have an answering machine on our phone and were paying $6/month for a service we didn’t need!
Gas Bill Overread : Our gas bill ended up being double from the month before. I found out after MUCH investigation that we were being over-read on our meter. Which meant that one month we were paying a lot more than we used, so our bill was lower the next month. I don’t know about you, but I want to pay for what I used in that month, not next months.
Overpaid Insurance Premiums by $1000 : I also did some investigatin into our insurance premiums on our car and homeowners. Wow, did I hit the jackpot! We changed insurance companies when I found a much better rate a few months ago. The original insurance company never sent us our overpayment on our homeowners. Then our new company didn’t give us our agreed upon discounted rate, because they never received my fax on our proof of insurance. Do you know that these two small things resulted in 2 checks to us for over $1000!!! I just assumed they had done everything, so be sure to double check and make sure all policies you have are correct, be sure to keep records.
$100 Credit for Budling Phone/Internet Services: A few months ago I did a bundle deal with phone, internet and tv. The tv piece never worked out for us. After double checking our bill, I found that we were charged the tv service, one that was never even installed! In addition, we received over $275 dollars in credits & rebates for switching our services. I happened to also realize that they had never sent us $100 of that amount that they had promised us. I called and reminded them and within a week received a $100 Visa Giftcard!
2009 Goals Progress
You can go here to see my family and personal goals for this year.
Financial Goals Attained:
- 401K at 15%
- Contributing $50/month per child in their college funds
Personal Goal Progress
I have completed the following:
- Daily Morning Devotionals with Ainsley (this has turned out to be such a sweet time together, after my quiet time, she comes upstairs and we sit and do hers together)
- Entertain in our home 2 times this month
- Completed a meal plan each week and blogged about it!
- Reduced my tv time at night (yeah! that is huge for me, I am still not telling you what it is though! )
- Taught 1 Grocery Class in January (1 down 9 to go!)
Areas that need improvement: $40 weekly grocery budget & exercise goals
I have not been so successful in keeping with my $40 a week grocery budget. I am having a hard time so far in February too. I am barely getting 3 exercises in a week, some weeks I do and some I don’t.
How have you done this month? Did you do make any goals for this year or have any great money saving tips that you did to reduce your overall monthly budget? Please share them with us here. I need all the encouragement and ideas that I can get and I bet you do too!
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