november financial update

calculating kids

looking forward to our 2012 budget, we’ve decided to re-name our normal sinking funds category. mostly because they are not really sinking funds anymore.

as i was running the numbers for next year, and looking at our increased goals, particularly in the “sinking fund” categories like eye exams (bryan hasn’t been in a couple years) and vacation (we’ve never taken a vacation aside from visiting family), i realized something: we don’t make enough money to be able to afford all of that.

we do spend less than i make after our giving, bills and cash envelopes. and we do have some extra sources of income like bryan giving plasma and little surveys or odds and ends that i do. and sometimes we’re lucky enough to get into car accidents. but because we can’t count on plasma or those random extra earnings, we can’t count on filling all of our sinking funds little by little each month.

so we’re changing our budgeting strategy around and we’re affectionately renaming our sinking funds to dump funds.

the dump fund: where we dump as much money as possible, as quickly as possible and fill the fund for the entire year in one fell swoop.  

it’s similar to the debt snowball in many ways. the main reason i like it because it gives us momentum on our other goals. if we don’t have to save little by little each month for those inevitable expenses, we can put more money towards the goals we’re really ambitious about, like paying off our student loan before it accrues any interest.

i don’t know if it possible, but i’d love to completely cross off the first goal on our list before 2012 even starts. with that said, here’s the update for november!

2012 financial goals:

  1. fill all of our essential sinking dump funds as fast as possible. these dump funds include:
    • auto insurance
    • home insurance
    • auto tax
    • home tax
    • pest control
    • eye exams
    • eye glasses
  2. pay off our student loan
  3. fill all of our non-essential sinking dump funds. these dump funds include:
    • christmas
    • clothing
    • vacation
    • birthdays
  4. save and pay cash for a second car
  5. fully fund our emergency fund (6 months of expenses)
percentage-wise, we’re 6.97% completed with our 2012 goals. 

trailer park life


you know you live in a trailer park when…

you watch painfully as the tiny, cute, super old lady with a walker complete with tennis balls walks slowly but noisily to the mailboxes. her walker scrapes along the concrete sidewalk as she inches towards them.

i just wish the mail had actually come that day, because she walked back to her trailer with nothing to show for it.

paint chip calendar


this was a little bit of crafting fail, but i decided i’m still satisfied with the functionality and overall look. i LOVE having a calendar in the kitchen, especially a dry-erase one! bryan loves it too, and he said he thinks it looks cool.

of course i can thank pinterest for the idea, but i tend to forget to read the actual instructions/tutorials, i just look at the picture and do it my own way.

i used a 16×20 sheet of plastic that came from a poster frame, 30 green and yellow paint chips from lowes, and lots of mod podge, which didn’t end up drying very well on that sheet of plastic, oh well. i’m not really sure how it could have worked out better, but a friend on instagram asked if it was laminated. that’s not a bad idea and would eliminate the use of mod podge. but i don’t think the laminate would be as sturdy as the poster plastic.

i also suppose that instead of speculating with me on how to put this thing together, you could just look at the tutorial on pinterest that inspired this craft [which i still haven’t looked at by the way]!

happy crafting!

planning for Christmas

calculating kids

i LOVE giving gifts to people at Christmas, it’s so much fun. there is something so gratifying about finding that “perfect” gift, the one you know will be loved and appreciated. being crafty as i am, i’ve handmade a lot of gifts for friends and family, but i’ve got some family members who are as into the handmade gift-that’s okay too.

whether handmade or store-bought, giving thoughtful gifts at Christmas-time is something i value greatly. i think it probably means more to me than the person receiving the gift.

the thing about giving gifts is that it can be stressful, because it costs money. and giving gifts is just ONE of the expenses that usually comes along with Christmas. we send out christmas letters with a photo card, we go out to eat a little more often around the holidays, we travel, we give more money away, and we just generally spend more money.

i’m not complaining, i love this time of year, and i love all the things that go along with it. even the spending money part. after all, it’s easy to spend money when you have money to spend! here’s how we plan for the Holidays financially:

at the beginning of 2011, we decided on a reasonable amount to spend on Christmas. we actually doubled what we tried to spend last year, because it was too hard to stay within such a small budget. then we divided that number up into monthly increments and saved a little bit each month for Christmas. instead of catching us by surprise, gift-giving is something we can do with out feeling sick about how much we’re spending. i’m so grateful for that.

i also am in the habit of Christmas shopping throughout the year. if i find a really great deal on something, or find something really unique that i know someone will love, i’ll buy it then and just pull the money out of our Christmas “envelope.”

what are your plans for Christmas spending? how early do you start putting money away? how do you save money during the Holidays?

have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!

trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when…
you see this on trash pick-up day:
note the american flag in the background. america would be proud.