Thursday, December 3, 2015

Spending More Than You Make?

Is the reason that you like a certain day of the week because it is payday?  Our payday is twice a week on Friday.  Today I plan to stay home and not spend any money.  Why because tomorrow I can pay cash for things.  Today I can pay cash for items but it would be from savings and not from a new paycheck.
What percentage of what you make goes to each category?  What is the normal amount?  Are you higher or lower than you would like?  Are there things you care less about that you can chip away at from a particular category.

Our pending decision is whether to take the company offered medical plan or to pick up coverage on our own.  This was our first year with an HMO.  In prior years PPOs were the selections for the companies that employed my husband.  PPOs enable you to go to in network providers without having a referral.  Referrals now tend to be on a central database and take limited amount of time to set up.  Referrals were not as much of an inconvenience as they could have been.

Do you tighten your wallet when you have less money and tend to be more free with money when you more of it in your possession?  Last October we needed a new dishwasher.  We did not have the money saved up for it but went ahead and put it on credit.  This past month we wanted new chairs for the living room.  We had the money and paid cash for them.  We paid cash for them is key but did we budget to get them or were the chairs an unbudgeted item?  I would say they were an unbudgeted item.  When we first bought a house we had a goal of getting a dining room set. We had a picture of the set on the refrigerator waiting for the day when we could afford the dining room set.

When I look towards tomorrow do I run right out and shop for more chairs?  Probably not.  We do want to get seating for 7 and currently we have three new chairs.  We plan on buying two more adult chairs and two
 additional chairs for teenagers.  I have an idea of what I want or could use.  The teenagers have an idea of what they want.  Their chairs cost about 60 apiece while the adult chairs will be about 250 a piece.

Since it is December we will have added expenses related to Christmas presents and additional food for the holidays.  We have extended family that we can buy presents to mail away.  This is always optional.  We are hit or miss whether we do it or not.  Last year we did not have gifts for everyone that we visited on Christmas.  It worked out okay but I wished I did have something available to give to them especially since we received unexpected presents from them.  This year we can be prepared but I am really thinking of tokens of appreciation in the form of artwork or cookies rather than a retail type gift.

We also need to keep our eye on the prize.  No debt in January is one.  Four more seats for the living room is another.  Food in the refrigerator is a good one.  Gas in the car and oil in the furnace are good choices also.  Everyday we are faced with choices on how to spend our money.  Do we pack a lunch the night before or do we write a check for our child's lunch account?  Today I wrote two checks for lunch accounts.  The other day I handed over $20 in cash to fund another lunch account.  My oldest son says he would need about $5 or 6 dollars a day to eat in the cafeteria.  My youngest sons are capped at about $3 per day and they can get a good amount of food.  One problem with bringing the extra food into the house is that it does not get saved for lunch but random snacking.  While reviewing the school calendar there are 15 school days in December. The students that need $5 a day for lunch would be spending $75 for December.  Considering we have 5 children that number is going to add up fast.

Do you participate in all the holiday gift giving?  We do every year.  In the past I have thought it would be good to celebrate Christmas every two years.  This year I have watched so many Christmas movies that it is looking like visiting friends and family is what should be taking advantage of during the holiday season.  It is not so much the present that is important but being present to share your time with others.

When we bought the chairs with cash we might have used unbudgeted dollars but we did not use credit.  The problem came later in the month when rather than use the existing paycheck to pay for the lunch accounts we used savings.  While it could be argued that funding the lunch accounts were necessary they were still unbudgeted.  It is fairly easy to make up a budget.  The hard part is sticking to the budget and saying no to the things or events that are not in the budget.

We have a goal of not using credit for this holiday season.  Done.  We shredded the credit already.  The next goal is to live within our means.

No comments: