No Chaos No Order

January 17, 2013

Organize Now! chapter 6

Filed under: home — fairyguts @ 9:20 am

Organizing our finances. Bleck.

I discovered how frivolously we have been living the last few years. Sure, we’re not decadent, but we had both been working decent jobs and now have nothing to show for it! We’re scrambling, now, trying to figure out how to live off one income. Trying to accept that we should supposedly be able to buy groceries for $100/month/person when we were spending $600. Accepting that our individual “fun” money each month is $30 and includes magazine subscriptions, domain names, and clothes. Thinking ahead to save for fixing the heater in the car, a chest freezer, and putting off the fancy touch-screen computer. The scariest part? It’s totally do-able! It’ll be tight, but possible. There’s not enough (yet) to save for a down payment on a home or a new car, but once we get caught up on the medical bills we’ll be able to. I also know, once we get used to our new frugality, we’ll be able to cut back a little more here and there and that amount will be able to be squirreled away. AND, once I go back to work, all that income will go towards those big savings goals! Yay!

So, for our finances, we gave a budget and a way to easily track it (we’re using www.mint.com and it’s accompanying apps). And we have started using my Ing Direct checking account for bill paying. Nearly everything has been automated and set to paperless. I move the monthly bill-budget from checking (earning .015% interest) to the savings account (earning .8% interest). The day before a bill is set to be paid, the allotted amount is transferred from savings to checking. We used the largest bill in the year to budget the power and gas bills, so, when the bill is less, the “extra” money is left in the savings account along with the semi-annual bill savings. I’m pleased with the set up. We’ll only earn a few cents off the interest, but keeping it not-so-visible is the key.

I don’t have a pretty picture for you, but my mind is a little easier knowing I have those essentials taken care of.

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4 Comments »

  1. […] of organizing our paperwork and/or offices this month.   Chapter 6 was regarding Finances (see my previous post), 7 is Bill Paying Systems (also taken care of along with 6), and 8 is Receipts & Taxes.  We […]

    Pingback by Taming the chaos 6, 7 and 8 « No Chaos No Order — January 21, 2013 @ 6:03 am

  2. Have you thought about asking the gas and electric company to take what you paid in one year & average it out and then that is your monthly payment? At the end of the year, they’ll adjust the amount, up or down, as necessary, I like this option because I know exactly what I’m paying each month and can budget it in.

    Oh boy! Food budgeting is the worst! I’ve gotten it down by about $100 — but the actual amount is still too much. I’ve been trying to go to WinCo every other month to stock up on condiments, grains, canned food, pasta, frozen food, yogurt, cereal & then weekly I go to one of the chain grocery stores here for fresh produce and meat. I suspect the extra costs are my special non-dairy items, soda pop, etc. Bi-Mart is another good place for food stuffs but you never know what you’re going to find!

    I’m also trying to bake my own bread more often and make more soups, That can last a couple of days. Meh. I just think groceries are extra expensive here.

    It seems everything’s manageable until it’s suddenly time to pay auto insurance or the cat gets sick or something. My emergency fund is in an emergency! lol

    I hope you continue to blog about what works for you and your experiences with Mint. Very curious about that after reading about it on Get Rich Slowly.

    Comment by mdeira — January 21, 2013 @ 7:42 am

    • I averaged my electricity bill one year, but I ended up having a big bill at the end of year. I don’t quite remember what had happened, but I was not happy with it. We could try it again, though!

      I went to WinCo this time – $148 for a bunch of staples and almost everything needed for 12 meals! I find coordinating my meals and buying in bulk is really helping keep my costs down. The hard part is doing the cooking and using the stuff up before anything goes bad! This time I picked out too many cook-before-freezing meals which has been a major pain!

      Yeah, there’s always something that comes up, even when you try to plan for it, maybe there’s two “somethings”!

      I’ll try to check back in once in a while about the budget thing and share with you! 😀 Thanks for your suggestions, too! I need to try to think ahead for more of the non-food things (toilet paper, toothpaste, etc) and BiMart would be a good place to do that!

      Comment by fairyguts — January 22, 2013 @ 4:27 am

      • I believe Pacific Power and/or Northwest Natural Gas give you the option of either paying the difference in a lump sum or having it spread out over the following year’s payments. You might want to double-check!

        Oh — I wanted to suggest Amazon’s subscription service: I buy my soap and dish detergent and a few other items every six months. It saves a bit on house supply costs. 🙂

        Comment by mdeira — January 23, 2013 @ 6:50 am


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