Long Weekend

We had an awesome long weekend at Myrtle Beach.  When we left around lunch it was 70* and sunny. We arrived home to 45* and showers.  I wish we could have brought the awesome weather with us. The internet at the hotel that we stayed at was horrific to say the least. I was unable to read any of the blogs that I keep up with so posting anything  was just out of the question!  I did take lots of pictures with the intention of sharing so keep checking back to see pictures of our fun. I will try to post links as I plan to post in a series, so you wont miss any but for now here are a couple of the view from our hotel room.

2014-03-20 sheilas phone 001 IMG_0580

Making a Budget

Just a quick heads up in the next week or so the blog will be moving. As part of Matt’s learning for his business, I will be moving this blog to its own site.  

But now, I often, at least once a month, talk about our budget. It seems I have been working and changing it for the past several years.  So today, I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learned and figured out that works for me.

  • In order to actually know where your money is going and how much you have or don’t have, you must have a budget
    • personally I am becoming more and more convinced that a realistic budget should account for all “expected” regular income. I do not include in my budget, some income simply because I can’t count on it. So when this extra money comes in, I have a choice to make. First; does this money need to be placed into the budget to help cover “regular” expenses?  If not then the choice is even tougher. Do I keep the money for “extras” such as meals out, upcoming expenses I forgot to budget for or should it be placed in to our second account for the “irregular bills” or finally savings?
  • Regular bills are all accounts that are due on a monthly basis, these include mortgage, car payments, electric, water, phone, cable and any and all loans and/or credit cards. I also include in this area gas and groceries. In the past, I have include a line for entertainment and dining. However at this point in our lives these are both luxury items. Therefore these items must come from unexpected/surprise income.
  • Irregular bills- After much debate and thought we recently opened an online account to use for these items.  I am already liking the idea of having separate money waiting to be used when things happen instead of finding an extra $200-$300 as things become needed. My list of irregular bills include Auto(both our cars are older and pay for), Auto Insurance, Gift (Christmas and Birthday), Clothing, Hair and Medical. Currently the Auto fund is for repairs, in the future this may turn into a saving account for a new vehicle Auto Insurance for us is due every six months. Gifts- the goal is $100. Clothing-$100 a month, Hair- $25 a month and Medical $100 a month. I will be placing money into this account as it is available, in the order of importance to me.
  • Savings- We are working toward establishing an emergency fund. The goal initially is $500. We previously had reached this amount just prior to needing  a new washer. So far we currently have $150 in this account.  After we have reached the goal, I would like to use this to help cover the irregular flow of income. This means that months that either Matt’s work or my work provides an excess over the budgeted amount, we place the excess into saving for future months that are not so successful.
  • Older expenses/bills- We unfortunately have a file of bills that we have been unable to pay in the past, the majority of these are medical in nature. Each month, my goal is to use at least part of any money that is saved, found or other acquired to slow pay off these debts. Once the Emergency Saving account reaches $500, I will then split extra money between savings and tackling these debits.

Do you have suggestions?questions? thoughts?

Hats I Wear

I have been working on the posting in my head for several days now. I will go ahead and explain this may be my longest post to date because I am writing while at the church taking Angel Food orders, Lily and Kendall are at Tumble Tots and Zach is asleep at my feet. My plan is to do an introduction series; me, each of the kids and Matt. The reason to spend so much time on this is that I want to be able to have a copy of this 20 years from now, so that I can remember where we came from and how much we have changed. I realize that I forget the little things that make life interesting. This became very apparent the other day when Haley asked what she wore for her Dedication. She was never dedicated but I don’t remember what was going on when she was small that we didn’t do it. I hope through this blog that I will remember more of the little things about Lily, Kendall and Zach. One of the most interesting things that I have ever read was written by Matt’s mother before her death. His sister Sue had encouraged her to write down her life story. Although this was written prior to me even meeting Matt it is amazing and interesting to read. Because of her death when Lily was only 4 months old, this story will be Lily’s as well as Kendall’s and Zach’s connection to their grandmother. So I am hoping that one day my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will want and enjoy a connection to me through copies of this blog. Matt’s mother and sister’s death have taught me that connections and history are important. I don’t think this explains what I am trying to say but it is the best I can come up with!

Who am I- I am going to make a list and then comment as I want to 

Child of God/Christian- I have a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior. I have been a Christian since I was a small child but have strayed several times in my life. But no matter what was going on in my life, I always knew that my God was with me. In the future I may chose to blog more about the times I strayed in my teenage years and again as I enjoy the “freedom” of being a single adult but for now there is no need :P.

Mother- I deliberately placed this ahead of wife because Matt will tell you that from the start of our relationship there has never been any doubt that my children come first. I realize that this may not be the “correct or best “ thing but it is a fact. I am the proud mother of Amanda (18) Haley (14) Lily (4) Kendall (18 months) and Zach (4 months). A post in the future will be dedicated to each and everyone who I love equally! Currently I am a SAHM (Stay at home mother). At this point with the 3 little ones I see no way that I could work a full-time job or even a steady part time job, unless Matt would change and be home. Being a SAHM is one of the things that Matt and I decided prior to having any one child together and I plan to remain at home at least part-time until Zach is in Kindergarten. At that point I would like to work only the hours that everyone is in school. This worked well during the time that Haley and Amanda were in school that I had the financial luxury of doing it! Now if I can just figure out the Stay at home part, meaning it seems that bare minimal of 2 days a week I am out of the house doing something.

Wife

Occupational Therapist- It is hard to imagine that in high school, I saw a video and said “That is what I want to do.” But that honestly is what happened and I have never regretted that decision. I went straight from HS to Stanly Community College for 2 years and received my Associate of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. At that time you were able to go to work while you waited to take your boards. I worked in all types of settings but knew and enjoyed working with children the most. Until today, there has only been a period of 6 months that I have not worked in the field. During that 6 months I ended up taking a job in a daycare but got right back into the school system. I knew early on that I wanted to get my Bachelor degree so that I could work independently with the need of a supervisor. My BFF and I met by chance just prior to starting Stanly and after riding together 2 hours a day we because best friends. Now 18 years later we are still best friends, (sounds like another post!). The reason I mentioned BFF was that together we decided to attend WSSU to complete our Bachelors. We found out that our credit were so old that the majority would not transfer so we began taking classes online. It took 2 years of full time credit hours and some summer session to finish the class required before we could enter the COTA to OTR program. The program was class every other weekend for 2 years and then 6 months of field work. This program was ideal for me because Amanda and Haley spend every other week with their father. I (God) worked things out so that I attended class on the weekends that I did not have the girls. Amazingly enough I was 6 months into this program that I met Matt.

West Piedmont Bible Quizzing Zone Coordinator- Currently this means that I am a quizmaster and head scorekeeper. I also pull questions for the majority of the quizzes during the year, we (Matt and I) help at Invitational in January, this year we are doing the scores. I also manage the scholarship for our zone as well as the checkbook and fees.

Angel Food Coordinator at our church. Angel Food will also have its own post  probably next month while I sit here!

So I think this pretty much describes all the roles I assume in life right now. Plus I have been writing for an hour and need to stretch! I am going to post this goal as well so that hopefully if Matt reads this he will help! I plan to get a picture on my blog of at least me in the next week!

Work in Progress

I have just started blogging. I really feel this is what I am to be doing this year. So I am going to try and blog at least once a day for the first year. Later today I am going to write about my couponing adventure. I just got organized about a month ago but am so proud of myself with what I am accomplishing. I plan to use this blog as a way to help other figure out how to save money but most importantly it will be a way for me to talk to myself :). Time to feed the little girls lunch!