Frugal Fresh Start Week 1 – Starting with the Basics
Having to start all over from nothing, this will be a huge challenge!
A quick summary; We have always struggled financially but we got hit hard in 2013 when one thing after another happened along with our poor choices. We ended up moving in with family, giving away, tossing or selling almost every belonging we had.
We have over the course of the past year gotten jobs, paid of credit card debt, closed out accounts with the exception of student loans. We are now in a position to start over. Thankfully we did not have to file for bankruptcy but it sure felt like we hit rock bottom.
Below is our family journey to starting over. It’s rough and very hard, but we are pushing through it and will make better choices. We are very grateful we have a second chance to start over.
1. Setting a goal – Don’t know where we are going yet, but we can start preparing now. What do I mean. We don’t have a place to live yet because that is several months off in the distance but what we can do as we start setting money aside for our new place we can set goals. As I started thinking of how are we going to set out as a family on our own, we need the very basics. I know we will have help and support from friends and family but we need to rely on ourselves to set goals and making frugal habits.
As I sat down with my notebook and jotting down lists I got so excited about the possibility of moving in a few months. Well things happen right? Yup they sure do. I started having visual problems and for the first time in 7 years I finally got insurance, its not the greatest but has enabled me to see an optometrist and yes you guessed it, I need glasses. Spending a lot of time on a computer will deteriorate your eye sight. So what does this mean to my excitement just a week earlier looks like my projected plan is now pushed back a few weeks.
More to happen! Hubby is right, we need to look at replacing our car. So I had to do some homework as to what we can afford and to pay it off before we move out on our own. I had to call our insurance to get a quote on adding another vehicle. Remember we will be adding to our fuel costs as well plus maintenance, taxes and registration. So this now puts up back at least another three months from my original expected moving date. So my advice, set your goal loosy and DO NOT get worked up if you have to readjust constantly. It’s OK we will work towards our goal and if it takes us even longer than that is what will happen. Things will come up and happen, be flexible and adjust accordingly.
2. New to us Car. Our first goal is to get a new to us car that will last a minimum of 2 years. So I am giving you what I am looking for because I am being realistic and upfront. We are struggling and so here is what we need. A car that is under 5K, that is the max I want to spend. I want a 2005 or newer with 100K or less mileage. Has to be a sedan because fuel cost may be low right now but they will eventually increase and because this is a second vehicle for awhile until our current one dies on us we need to think about costs. I know its a tall order but I know God will provide for us and we will get what we need. Yes we are expecting a refund from taxes and have already filed. Yes we are using a portion of it for schooling and a large portion for a vehicle. We plan on putting $2500 into the vehicle as a down payment giving us 2500 to pay in a few months. Because of our jobs and housing situation we can theoretically pay this amount off in 4 months. That is our goal as of right now but remember things happen so it may take us 6-8 months to pay it. Lets hope not!
3. Making a list of every Basic need. Yes it may seem silly, but once you start thinking and writing, the list becomes long. Yes I know toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper and something to cook with are essential, but remember I have 3 children and they require a few more basic needs. Because we are not pressed for a certain time, we can take the time to prepare for 1 years worth of basic needs and expand our list. Also we aren’t trying to rely on the help of others, its nice but we as a family need to take responsibility and make the frugal habits now, so we don’t find ourselves in the same situation we have been in. It helps if you visually picture in your mind walking from one room to the next while making your list of basic needs. Start with the kitchen. Move on to the Living Room, Bathroom, Laundry Room and bedrooms. Don’t forget to list items needed for outdoors, like a hose, lawn mover, etc.
4. Price checking online and in store. Now that you have your list of basic needs it is time to be realistic and write out the price of each item. Shop around what may be cheap at Wal-mart may be even cheaper at Dollar Tree or even Walgreens. Double check prices online such as Amazon or even grocery stores. You need to be flexible and not too picky. Yes starting over does give you a chance to decide colors, themes and patterns of items you want but you also need to be frugal minded. For example, when I was at Wal-mart making my first purchases I found pink ice cream scoops, spatulas and more. They were part of the College back to school selection but everything was priced at a $1. This is what I was planning on spending at Dollar Tree for the same items. So I was like “Yes” because I like zebra print and with pink accent to the black and white, I can have a relatively cheap decorative kitchen that is my style. See you can have fun and be imaginative and create your style without spending a ton of money.
Check out Frugal Fresh Start Week 2 – Getting Organized
Topic: Frugal Fresh Start Week 1 – Starting with the Basics