Frugal Fresh Start Week 2 – Getting Organized
I left you with writing down the prices to the basic items you listed to start a home. Well lets revisit the prices and list.
1. Taking pictures – Our memories are not very great and we tend to remember differently then what we actually saw. So lets not take our memories word for it. Take the extra step and take pictures as you are getting prices. Because of our financial situation, I do not have a cell phone but my hubby does. Either way I did not have a camera on hand or a device to take pictures such as a cell phone so I wrote everything down. Believe me going thru Wal-mart and Dollar Tree to write basic descriptions of the products and cost takes time. I have been to several stores and done online pricing several times. I think I have easily invested 10 hours but the best thing is I have plan and although I can be flexible I know I will accomplish most of my goal each purchase. Remember we are looking at basic needs so pictures come in handy when it comes to calculating the best buy. For example buying Dish Detergent or any liquid you will want to know the best value for your money so you need to take into consideration ounces per unit. Also very helpful to be realistic when in my case I want to have 1 yrs worth of cleaning and health and beauty products. So for me its a bit easier because a couple years ago when I first started couponing and creating my stockpile I wrote down how often we use a certain product and how much if needed for a year.
My kids are much older now so I do have to adjust shampoo, body wash, etc for their higher usage now then just a couple years ago. So as you can see these pictures will help you plan out how much you will need to reach your goal whether it will be for a year stockpile or more. Don’t rely on your memory, I’m sure you are stressing out over other items right now like me!
2. Setting up a budget plan – finances. Oh boy this is so hard to do but you really need to chug through it and write it all out so you can see the entire year and be able to see how to plan it out and know exactly how much you can spend each month toward your goal. Start with each month dates of your paychecks and how much they are or expected to be. I used Microsoft Excel to set up a simple table. I did not start from January because its passed and what was made was already spent. I started from the nearest paycheck to come. Both my hubby and I get paid close in date. I get paid 2 times a month and my paycheck is the exact same every time. I don’t have to guess is its less or more. I am not salaried but payroll purposes it seems like it. My husband on the other hand is part time and his schedule is a week to week basis but we can guess he gets between 20-23 hrs a week so for our realistic purposes and manage our money effectively we budget that his check will be the lowest he has been paid in the past year minus his first paycheck which is always the lowest. This way we know his check will be that amount for a minimum of 20 hrs a week. There is no surprises, we can expect the bare minimum and it also seems like we are cheating because we get to celebrate every time its a little more than expected which is most of the time.
Now that we have the bare minimum we know to expect for 1 months time, we can plug in our monthly expenses; groceries, fuel, car insurance, health insurance, schooling, and yes Netflix! Netflix is our sore spot. But for $7.99 we can pamper ourselves with a little entertainment! Don’t forget housing, utilities, cell phone and so on. Write down all your expenses for the month in broad categories. Really quick you will be able to see how much is going to each category. Do you find yourself shock? I hope not, now you need to write out projected costs and when you might have the services done. For example health, dental, eye appointments, oil changes and vehicle registration and inspections if your state requires them. These are expenses that are not monthly but over the course of the year you will need to have done. Don’t forget property taxes! Being able to write it all out on paper will show you where you need to plug them in your budget and how long you need to save to pay for the services. Do you feel tied down now? It was a very depressing site for me when I did this for my family. I cried and tons of thoughts went through my head about how will we ever get on our own again. I am scared and I apologize if I come of paranoid and silly but we’ve been rock bottom and its not fun. As a family we have to take every precaution and think of every little expense. We do not want to end up in the same situation we have been in.
After much prayer and talking to God, I got a grip on my emotions and realized our expenses are not so bad. They could be worse. In fact not even 12 months prior I hadn’t found a job yet and my husband was only part time and had only been working a month at most and we were so swallowed in debt and not to mention a whole lot of other stuff was going on as well. We were by the state considered homeless. I tell you this because when I started to have a fit over $20 it was a huge deal to me. $20 is a lot. I can buy about 18 items at Dollar Tree with that amount so to put that amount away in an envelope has hard for me. But I was being very silly. We could afford to put $100 away in an envelope towards a new to us car and $100 towards household items for our new place. We are not rolling in money, believe me we are not. The federal government says we are 400% below the poverty line for our size family. Doesn’t feel good at all.
So now that we have set aside in an envelope of $100 for the car and $100 for household items, we can now set our goals of our basic needs.
Check out Frugal Fresh Start Week 3