Posted in budget, finances, income

2017 budget goals

In this new year, there’s new budget goals! I hope to pay off some credit cards, lay off the spending, and build up a savings. I know we’re already a month in, but, what are you still shooting for?

Goals need to be written, something tangible, something specific, something measurable and have a deadline. Break up the huge goals into smaller bite sized ones. I mean, you can’t eat a whole cake in one bites right? Neither can big budget goals be accomplished in one moment, otherwise it wouldn’t be a big goal, right?!

Anyhow, last year I stopped using credit cards. It brought me into crazy debt that I couldn’t pay off. This year the goal is to stay credit card free and to pay off some of those obligations. I also have new obstavles, but I shall not allow it to stop me. How does being laid off from a job spin your world?

I’m on a quest to be more and do more. I want to be a work at home mama, so I can be more available for my family. I want to focus on my growing business and allow that to be my sole income. A few of my friends are succeeding in this without being torn from home or their kiddos, I can do this! Want to know more about how you can do this, too? Reply below or message me on Facebook!

So what’s my budget goals for the year? No credit cards. Pay expenses on time, every month. Build up a savings account, even if it’s only $50 a month (I need to start somewhere!). And become a work at home mama with my growing business, which means earning the same monthly income or more before the end of the year.

Posted in budget, finances, income, Job Hunt

3 places to job search

Sometimes, making ends meet financially is harder than it looks. Yes, you can budget. Yes, you can sell all that stuff you no longer need. But after that’s all said and done, are your expenses still higher than your income?

I’ve been there! Sometimes I still feel like I am, especially in seasons like this one where we’re so focused on spending time with family and gift giving. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the pressure of just making it until the new year with one pay day left in the year!

Well, if looking for a better paying job or maybe getting a second job is the path you’re on to be more financially stable, where are you looking to achieve this? Where do you start? 

3 places to turn when looking for a job:

LINKEDIN – LinkedIn is a professional platform similar to Facebook where you have the ability to connect with former coworkers, friends, clients, vendors, groups, etc. Each user can upload their resume, not limited to the length like a regular resume (generally 1-2 pages) and if there’s an article about the company or position the user can attach it to the particular job. This is also a platform that allows others to put a good word in for you! There’s job announcements and articles that you can like and share and comment on as well. It’s a great way to get connected in the employment world!

INDEED.COM – is a very popular job search engine that pulls job announcements from all over the internet and places it in one spot. How convenient! When you find an announcement you like, simply click on it and the site will take you to the original post. Double convenient! You can upload your resume in and allow employers to find you just as you search for them. Win-win!

INFORMATION INTERVIEWS – Conduct information interviews. What is that?! Well, it gives you a chance to meet the key players in a company. There’s no pressure on you not them. Do not bring a resume to this information interview! Call or message someone at a particular company you’d like to work in and ask to set up a 20-30 min information interview. The goal of this is to stick to the timeframe you set because you want them to know you think their time is valuable! Meet in a space that’s unbiased yet convenient for both of you. And bring a few questions to ask the person about the company and a particular position. You can ask about their requirements and what they look for in a candidate. You are trying to gather information about the company and position(s). In turn, they may ask about yourself. This may give you an edge to get that upcoming position! 

These three simple ways to find a job, hopefully a better culture, salary, and utilize your education and skills a lot more would be ideal right? Hopefully a place you can utilize that passion, your occupation desires. I hope you find this useful and it helps you to get debt-free down the road, too! 

Posted in budget, Debt management, finances, MONEY: Mastering the Game

Budget yourself!

In my last post, I mentioned how I have been saving receipts each month since January. I’ve started to add up the receipts to find out where we spend our money. Keep in mind, the cell phone bills, utilities, car payments, insurance, and after school care is not included in my receipts as those remain pretty constant. 

Wow, we spend approximately $800 a month combined at Walmart, Target, and Safeway. Whoa! What are we buying at these stores?! Mainly food items and occasional clothing (at Walmart and Target). We also get household items like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and school supplies. But $800??

And we’ve been spending about $300 at restaurants. What?! The more popular restaurants we seem to eat at include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Chili’s, and this cute little restaurant that I really enjoy called Spicy Ahi. Granted one month we had our son’s birthday party at California Pizza Kitchen, which ended up being costly, but not nearly as bad as what we spent at another birthday at ChuckECheese (and I’m not trying to make it seem like it’s okay to spend so much, but we didn’t throw him a party last year, either). So we have all this foods at home, but we spend many meals out eating someone else’s? Hmmm, there’s something wrong with this picture…?
So now that May is right around the corner (tomorrow to be exact), here’s to trying to be on a budget. Let’s cut in HALF the spending at the combined Walmart, Target, and Safeway. Only purchase what we really NEED and do lots of researching for coupons and price matching. That leaves us with $100 a week to these stores.

Also, cut in HALF what we spend at these restaurants. Why do we need to eat out so much? Take home lunch, even peanut butter and jelly will do for me. However our son needs something with a little more substance and not allowed to have peanut anything. Cut the restaurant spending to $25 a week. 

By the way, the ATM withdrawals are usually for things like after school care or medical co-pays. Andasbi usually do not have any cash on me, I’m starting to prefer having at least some cash for the ocassional small purchase I need to make. 

I will check in each week to see how we progress and stick to this budget crazy. There are other areas that I found unnecessary spending, but I really believe starting with these two big whammies will help to focus our spending.

And I just started reading the latest book by Tony Robbins, MONEY: Master the Game. It sounds enticing and I look forward to reading it through. I’ll be posting as I read and what I’m gaining from it as well. 

Happy last day of April and first day of May weekend!!

Posted in budget, finances

Where does your money go?

When 2016 started, I began trying to save receipts from all our purchases and place them in an envelope. The goal is to add up all the receipts for particular stores or types of purchases to see where all our money goes. Where does your money go?

I have an envelope for every month in 2016 thus far. I know these envelopes are missing some purchases since I’ve found balled up pieces of papers in the laundry or made purchases where receipts were emailed to me. Luckily I keep most emails that are receipts!

The envelopes have not been touched since the months ended. I plan to start calculating where our money goes this week. I’m also planning to place us on a tighter budget since collecting enough for rent has been really rough. 

I’ll post my findings after I calculated here we spend our money!

Posted in budget, finances, Gratitude Journal

Be careful what you wish for…

It’s been a crazy weekend of oddball events. Several events occurred that I never imagined would happen and a slew of thoughts I never thought I’d think! Don’t let me get ahead of myself here, it seems to happen a lot lately. 

I’ve heard throughout mane phases of life to be careful of what I wish for. It goes the same for being careful what you pray for as well. 

If you pray for patience, whoa will you need tons of patience the next few weeks! You might think you have everything BUT patience. It will seem like everything is blowing up at the spur of the moment and all hope feels lost. 

In the same manner, if you pray for financial stability, you just might get everything BUT what you asked for. Trust me. This is a hard lesson to learn! But when I ask for financial stability, I end up with bank fees and overdrafts left and right! 

How about we change our focus here. This goes back to the previous post about gratitude. Have you been working on a gratitude journal? Yeah, me neither. But what better than to start right now? 

Okay, three things I’m thankful for today:

1. I am thankful for my family. I would be so extremely lonely without them and there would be less hope. The love I give and receive is an amazing feeling. 

2. I am grateful for my job. Even though we don’t get paid much, I’m so thankful to have a job where I can be there for my clients and assist in their transition.

3. I am thankful for the freedom to read my bible and spend time with God. There are so many places across the world that are seriously persecuted for their faith. Here in America we are also persecuted, but in a more subtle way. 

So, if I focus on being grateful, then I won’t be so concerned about finances. And wherever God takes me financially, I will be ready for Him. Thank you, Lord, for your guidance. 

Posted in budget, Debt management, finances, Payday

Auto bill pay or calendar reminders to pay?

It’s a relaxing Saturday, a small breeze (here in Hawaii we call it trade winds), it’s a mostly cloudy day (mainly due to that fabulous disruption in our beautiful weather that’s causing high temps and tons of humidity), and I’m sitting in our back porch. With nothing else better to do, I asked Siri, “How many seashells does she sell by the seashore?” A list of websites pop up. Then I asked Siri, “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Response? “Haven’t you got anything better to do?”

As a matter of fact, “Siri, is there anything I should be doing today?” And Siri’s immediate response is to show me my calendar:

All the yellow items are books I was planning to be reading but I’m super behind. Green items are bills that are due. “CareCredit?!” I asked out loud to the coconut tree in front of me. Whoa! I’m so glad I added that reminder in my phone! I’m on a mission to avoid bank and credit card fees the rest of the year. I think the bank got enough of my money the first half of the year!

Phew! I was able to get that payment scheduled without any snafus. Now I’m curious if I have anything else due that I failed to input into my calendar. I would mess up like that!

There are some bills on autopay, like tithing, Compassion International, and the electric bill. It means I need to be much more aware of what I spend on due to the need to have enough funds to pay the autopay items. It forces me to be more aware of what’s going on. 

In my current employment, we get paid every other Friday. It has its benefits, but managing for the month by dividing up the bills makes the bill paying much easier. I’m so thankful that I do it all via phone these days. Life is so much more convenient. Maybe too convenient?

My main question is: Auto bill pay or calendar reminders to pay? Which is better? I suppose it all depends on your needs and your bills. Unfortunately I allowed my bills to get out of control, so trying to spend less so I can pay off credit cards is proving more difficult that I imagined.

How do YOU manage your bill payments?

Its a mostly cloudy day
Posted in budget, Debt management, finances

Mint, do you like it?

Years ago, I completed my federal and state taxes online. Towards the end of this tax filing journey, I came across a website, Mint, that suggested the ability to view a budget online through connections with my bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and spending. I noticed it was offered by Intuit, who seemed to run the tax site I was using and I figured it’s pretty safe.

Soon after I found myself with a smartphone and I learned there’s an app for that! So, I downloaded it and started using the app more frequently. But my use with Mint has varied and I’ve deleted it and reloaded it several times since.

You see, I didn’t feel like Mint did what I need. Yet at the same time, there isn’t another app out there that does what I want either and I wasn’t about to pay for an app that doesn’t accomplish what I want. I often end up going in circles and emit seems each time I load it, I find better options with the app. It’s growing on me. 

  In Mint, users have the ability to connect to bank accounts, many credit cards, and users can categorize spending. Mint can show users how money is spent throughout the month. There’s helpful tips for saving, investing, etc. overall, I like the ability to recategorize expenses. For example, whenever I get gas at the Sam’s Club gas station, Mint automatically categorizes the expense as groceries, when it should go under gas. But, not all Sam’s Club purchases are gas, so having the ability to categorize is useful. 

There is an issue with some store credit cards who use Synchrony Bank, though. Synchrony is currently not allowing Mint to connect to accounts, which is personally frustrating since apparently three of my credit cards are now with Synchrony, after previous banks sold their accounts to Synchrony Bank about a year ago. Hopefully, this will be resolved in the next 30 days, says the notice in Mint.

Having visuals with my spending is useful because it deters me from spending unnecessarily. I’m sure there are other apps that have the same capabilities. I have recently downloaded Mint again on my phone in hopes of getting a better grasp on the crazy spending and fee paying that I’ve been wasting money on. 

Do you like Mint? Have you ever used it? Do you use any other personal budgeting apps? Please comment and share your thoughts!

Posted in budget, Debt management, finances, Payday

Bill is past due

Have you ever had a bill to pay and you plan for it, payday is coming, the bill is due that day so you’re prepared for it, then all of a sudden it’s two days after the due date and now your bill looks impossible?

That’s where I’m sitting at this very moment. Normally I split my car note in half and pay half each paycheck (I get paid every mother week). So normally, that works out just fine. But for some reason I put it off last week and the note was due last Tuesday. 

Today when I look at my bill it’s already scheduled for next months payment and whatever I was supposed to pay last week and the late fee have been included. Hmmm, yay. So unnecessary fees again. Great, way to start the second half of the year that I told myself in on a budget. Seriously? 

Wait, there’s 2 more paydays before the bills is due. I should break it into thirds. That will give me more to split for other bills, right? And still make it? Hmmm, there’s got to be a better way to arrange my finances. Why is it all so confusing?

Now that I’ve gotten that figured out, let me go back to that payment and reconfigure! Y’all are wonderful, thank you for helping me get through that. I was in a small panic there!

As you were 😉

Posted in budget, Debt management, finances, Payday

My bank is broken

My 6-year old often refers to my bank as “broken”. It’s his interpretation for “Mommy’s broke and can’t afford to buy toys.” He started saying it when he was around 2 or 3 and still says it occasionally. 

I may have just gotten paid on Friday, but it seems I have not budgeted for anything this paycheck. I have a notice that the oral surgeon I went to last year to pull a wisdom tooth will seek collections if I don’t pay within 10-days. I have all my bills I still need to pay on top of it all, plus gas and food. 

Maybe starting to pay off school loans was premature? I had to start at some point and I thought it was good timing. Now, I’m not so sure. I cannot forget my credit card payments and vehicle lease I need to pay as well.

It really stinks when your expenses outweigh your income. How did this all happen and how do I get myself out of this cistern I dug myself into? The Old Testament mentions cisterns, I hear that it was used to store water, like a reservoir. But when it’s dry, it’s difficult to pull oneself out of it. It’s what Joseph’s brothers threw Joseph into before selling their dear brother to the Egyptians. 

My cistern bank account is dry. It’s hard to pull myself out of it. I am in need of some rain or someone to fill it to get myself out. While I attempt to do this on my own, I do hope you will stick with me! All the accountability and suggestions and uplifting comments are welcome. I dug myself into this and I will dig myself out.