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The January Budget Breakdown

January 9, 2016

Hahaha.

Apparently we don’t finish strong around our neck of the woods as our last two budget breakdown posts have been a week late. They’re the last ones and from here on out you can find a budget breakdown post for EVERY month of the year! ūüôā

If you are only now joining us, in these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month so nothing can sneak up on your budget.

With that, let’s dive into our January post.

  • ¬†Travel
    • Going home after the holidays
    • FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) annual conference travel
    • Weekend winter getaways
  • Fitness
    • Workout clothes
    • Gym membership
    • Fitness DVD’s
    • Supplements, vitamins, protein powder
  • Organizational Items
    • 2016 Planner
    • Storage bins to organize around the house/car
  • Winter Clothing
    • Jackets/Coats
    • Ski or Snow boarding gear
    • Boots
    • Gloves
    • Other accessories
  • Winter Fun!
    • Ice Skating
    • Skiing
    • Snow Boarding
    • Sledding
    • Cross-country skiing
  • Birthdays
  • Car Maintenance
  • Life Insurance premiums

January is a quiet month as everyone typically keeps things simple after the holidays. It’s also a month of getting your New Year’s Resolutions going which you likely need to budget for. As usual some of the above¬†expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or¬†life insurance premiums.

Happy New Year! It’s never too late to start budgeting or change your spending habits so make this year one to remember by getting financially fit!

Money, Monthly Budget Breakdown

The August Budget Breakdown

August 1, 2015

Welcome back to the budget breakdown here at True Good and Beautiful!

 

We’re still on the road…

Yes there have been many adventures but we are ready to be home. Only a couple more weeks until you start hearing from us regularly once again!

Until then, lets get down to some budgeting.

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month. No uploading of photos this month, due to being on the road.

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of August:

  • Back To School Season
    • New clothes
    • Tuition
    • Backpacks
    • School Supplies
  • Labor Day
    • Getaway
    • BBQ
  • Utilities increase
    • Air conditioning
    • Fans
    • Water bill
  • End of Season Deals (only if you really need it) ūüėČ
    • Patio Furniture
    • Grills
    • Swimsuits
    • Clothes
  • Wedding Season (finally the tail end!!!)
    • Gifts
    • Travel

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like vacations or gifts.

Happy budgeting y’all!

Adoption, Money

Adopting Again…How Soon is too Soon?

April 14, 2015

This is a topic that’s been on my heart lately.

I love being a mom. I really really love it.

Not only am I content and joyful with having Josie, I find myself being hopeful for future siblings for her to be close with while growing up.

But then I come up against the facts – siblings for Josie will likely happen through the means of adoption and not a miraculous pregnancy. Now, I am certainly not God nor do I claim to know his will for our family but by looking at my medical history…adoption will probably be how our family grows.

It’s no longer getting pregnant and watching my belly grow that fills my dreams now.

I dream of the adoption process and getting to do it all over again.

Filling out paper work. Having our lives examined and cross-examined.¬†Connecting with¬†a birth family. Being chosen to raise and love the most precious gift of all. Meeting our newest little one at the hospital. Taking the full milk supply I’ve painstakingly built for Josie and getting to continue breastfeeding both my babies.

And everything else that goes with adoption.

But then one thing stops me in my tracks: Money.

We fundraised¬†a majority of¬†the $25K+¬†for Josephine’s adoption. It was such a gift, honor, and privilege to have the love and support of so many behind us. I can’t tell you how humbled we were and still are that so many people walked our adoption journey by our sides.

But when is adopting again too soon? And can we actually fundraise again or will we get the stink-eye from people?

I don’t want this to come off wrongly but Josie is almost 6 months old…and if I had healthy fertility and was yet again cycling, Jonathan and I would likely begin trying to have a sibling for her. I really like the idea of having a few kiddos close in age to one another, no matter how crazy life would temporarily be. I would rather condense the wild and sleepless years together into as brief of time period as possible….

I can already hear God laughing at that one, as he prepares a nice curve ball for me. ūüôā

With a natural pregnancy, the wait time is typically 9 months from conception through birth. With adoption? The average wait is 2-3 years!!!

I am well aware that our first adoption happened from start to finish in under 6 months. Highly unusual! I can’t say it wouldn’t happen that quickly again, but statistically it won’t.

That means that if we start the process all over again in a couple months time…we *might* have a second adoption by the time Josie is 3 or 4 years old. Still pretty close in age for siblings but it’s about as far a part as I would like.

This is when I start to get nervous though. We couldn’t afford adoption the first time around without significant help. We likely won’t be able to a second time around either. Part of me wonders if those cheerleaders from our first round will still be around for the next one. Did we wear our welcome? How soon is too soon?

If we were talking about natural conception, we wouldn’t have to factor in anyone else’s opinion…but I feel like with adoption we HAVE to weigh others opinions and perceptions…since we will likely rely on their help once again.

Hopefully we can start saving right away¬†for future adoptions and be MUCH more prepared and not have to do as much last-minute fundraising. I also plan to do more adoption grant applications that we didn’t qualify for this first time around since things happened¬†so¬†quickly.

But what if we do need the help of others?

Will people judge us for trying for another adoption so “soon” not knowing we could be waiting around for 2+ years? Will people think we are free loaders who want handouts? Do people think we are not sacrificing enough lifestyle to save for adoption on our own? (Trust me when I say your jaw would drop on how little we spend on lifestyle as it is.) Should we be fundraising a higher annual income than we currently are, to build in the cost of future adoptions and not have to fundarise for adoption specifically at all?

These questions come from a place of prudent planning but also of fearing others.¬†I don’t want to be there but I admit some days I am.

The other part of me remembers how special fundraising for Josephine was. I felt united to a large family…people cheering us on from around the globe. People who knew that by giving to us…they were primarily¬†giving to God and doing his work. People happy to give, knowing it was not only a blessing to¬†us but it was a blessing to¬†them¬†to be part of the story. Those memories are wonderful and make me believe fundraising again is possible.

Only time will reveal God’s will for growing our family and other’s reactions to how soon we choose to move forward on another adoption. We will keep praying about when and if God will call us to move forward on that.

Until then, I’m just going to think out loud with you here at True Good and Beautiful.

Feel free to let me know how this topic makes you feel.

Really. I am curious.

What is your gut reaction to us thinking about adopting (and mostly fundraising to adopt) again?¬†You can always email me using the¬†contact us page¬†if you don’t want to share your thoughts publicly in the comments section. Thanks y’all!

Money

Dave’s Smart Money Tour: A Review

February 26, 2015

Last week Jonathan and I attended Dave Ramsey and Chris Hogan’s newest Live Event – The Smart Money Tour.

live-events-page

This is our review of the event.

Overall, I would rate the event a 10/10 and it not only met our expectations, it exceeded them.

How?

1. Foundational and Fresh

We brought a couple of friends with us, each of us at different places in the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps.

Of course, they¬†more or less revolved around those 7 Baby Steps, which could have seemed boring for us since we’ve read the book, co√∂rdinated Financial Peace University, etc.

But they repackaged and condensed the timeless principles alongside new stories and partially a new voice РChris Hogan.

I will get to him in a moment though.

They did an outstanding job of keeping the old and new fans engaged and inspired throughout the entire event. Below are some nuggets from Jonathan’s Tweet fest.

jontwitter

2. Free Budgeting Software

This may have been the MOST exciting news of the night.

Dave’s team has spent the past few years and a couple million dollars creating budgeting software called Everydollar with an app for your smart phone.

Best part?

It’s FREEEEE!!

everydollar

We’ve been proudly sharing our love of YNAB – You Need a Budget software for over a year now…but this may change our tune.

Free is always better, amirite or amirite?

It launches next month but everyone who attended Smart Money Event received a code to use it EARLY. Boom.

Expect a review on that once it’s up and running. I would love to do a side by side analysis of Dave’s software vs. YNAB.

3. Chris Hogan

This guy is on fire right now.

He’s hilarious, animated, inspiring, and made me cry at least four times with the stories he tells.

Dave was smart to bring this guy on the tour with him. Not that Dave himself isn’t awesome…but it’s great to see him bringing other voices to the Baby Steps and his timeless financial lessons.

Chris also has a new website that I am pumped to use. It’s for retirement forecasting, which can be both motivational and terrifying at the same time.

4. Free Will Kit!

Dave gone and read my mind!

Did you know 78% of people die without a will? That’s CRAZY since 100% of us will die someday.

Now that we have Josie, it’s time to update our life insurance beneficiaries and create a will to navigate those funds in the result of our untimely death. Lord willing it won’t be necessary anytime soon but I will have peace of mind knowing we have a plan for her financially if something, God forbid, should happen to us both.

Below is Josie getting excited about us making a will!

smt

5. Inspiring and Upbeat

The entire event was just a lot of fun!

There were giveaways. A live debt-free scream on stage. And most of all, content that was relevant to all, presented in a way that gave hope.

It wasn’t dry. It wasn’t ordinary. It wasn’t hum drum. It was anything BUT those things. Which isn’t always what you expect when going to a financial seminar.

I love how Dave and his team strive to make learning about money fun and encouraging! Really, it’s what sets him a part in this area.

Overall, I highly recommend this event to others! It’s only happening a few more weeks but keep it in mind if it comes to a city near you in the future!

Money

5 Ways To Derail Your Budget

January 13, 2015

Some of you are new to the world of budgeting.

Perhaps it was a New Year’s Resolution of yours. We’re about two weeks into January so by now you’ve either nailed it, completely forgotten about it, or crashed and burned hard.

No matter where you are with budgeting, I¬†want to share with you five ways you’ll be thrown off course as you learn how to make it a habit in your life.

1. Pretend You’re a Pro

You will mess up your first few budgets. If you walk into budgeting acting like a pro and expect perfection, you are setting yourself up for failure.

How can you be excellent at something you’ve never done before? You can’t. We’re all human. Do your best and give budgeting all the effort it deserves…but inevitably as you discover you underfunded/overfunded/totally forgot certain items to budget for you need to cut yourself some slack. You can get back on the saddle and get it more right the next round.

And the next round.

And the next…until you are a true budgeting pro.

2. Forget About Tracking

If you are one of those people who plans to mentally keep track of your budget as you go through the month, you’re crazy.

You won’t do it.

Especially if you are married and you not only have to keep track of your own spending but that of another spouse’s spending.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

You need a way to track how you are spending money from your budget each month. I don’t care how you do it but you need something other than your fleeting memory. Paper and pen. Budgeting Apps. Dave Ramsey Gazelle Budget website.¬†YNAB – You Need a Budget software.

Something. Anything.

In the beginning we were pen and paper people. We tracked on the back of every envelope how much was spent from it and the various purchases. This worked but man did it get old. We then switched to Dave Ramsey’s Gazelle Budget but it was a pain in the rear to have to save receipts from the day and then enter them one by one into the budget every evening. That’s when we got YNAB software and we’ve never looked back. Jonathan and I can spend from the budget and track it throughout the day on our phones. It then auto syncs in the cloud so our budget is up to date at all moments. Love it!

3. Don’t Consult it Before¬†Purchasing

If you show up at the grocery store or and begin to just place items in your cart without first checking your budget, you will bust your budget quicker than the speed of light. Or agree to go to the movies without first checking in with what the Entertainment category has left in it.

The budget is meant to be a guide and not a noose. By checking in with what you’ve set aside in varying categories, you are giving yourself freedom to make wise choices with how you planned to spend money that month. You free yourself to say “yes” or “no” to whatever items or activity has come up based on what amount is left in the budget for that particular category.

By consulting the budget, you won’t end up accidentally overspending your gas money on one too nights out at the movies.

4. Be Ashamed of the “B” Word

In the world of responsible budgeting, a common phrase would be, “Let me check the budget” prior to spending money. This phrase can be really hard to use when in the company of other people and typically invokes great fear or shame.

I remember in the early days of our journey to financial freedom, it was late in the month and friends we were hanging out with asked us to go to a movie that night. We honestly didn’t know what we had left in our “entertainment” category for the month since we’d already done a few fun things in the previous weeks. Jonathan looked at me and said, “Is it in the budget,” and I got completely embarrassed.

I shouldn’t of felt anything negative since budgets are not a matter to be ashamed of. We had other priorities and going to the movies wasn’t top if we didn’t have the funds available for it. Much to our disappointment, we had already depleted our entertainment budget for the month and turned the friends down. Thankfully they were very understanding but even if they hadn’t been we didn’t need to feel anything but confidence.

5. Over-complicate Things

Lastly, one way to get derailed in the budgeting process is to make things so complicated that even you, the budget creator, can’t tell how or where to categorize things.

There is a tendency to create way too many categories in one’s budget. You don’t have to budget for shampoo. Budget for toiletries. You don’t have to budget for an occasional magazine. Budget personal blow money. You don’t have to budget for Netflix. Budget for entertainment.

You get the idea. Finding ways to bring lots of different expenses under common categories will simplify your life. Think general and make categories for those commonly occurring expenses. Those smaller ones that come up only a couple times a year can find a home in one of your general categories. We even have a “miscellaneous” category for things like stamps, Amazon Prime, and the random items that come up every now and again that need a home in our budget.

If you over complicate the budget, you won’t stick to the budget.

Hopefully you can avoid the common ways to derail your budget this year!

I think the number one reason people don’t stick to a budget is lack of accountability and support. Starting next month we will begin providing some form of budget accountability. We’re still figuring our the logistics…will it be a link-up? A photo? A hashtag? Some combination of those? We are working out the details but starting February 1, 2015 we are here to support and encourage all of you trying to stick to a budget this year!

Hope you can join us!

Money

Our Total Money Makeover

April 30, 2012

Jonathan and I got married this past October. By November we read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and got pumped up about our finances! We even started listening to his podcasts every single morning while we get ready for the day. We were sick and tired of seeing so much of our paychecks go to student loans! Since we fundraise our entire income, working for FOCUS – Fellowship of Catholic University Students,¬†we take every paycheck seriously. The money we live off of is the hard earned tithe to God from so many generous family and friends we’ve made through working in campus ministry. We owe financial responsibility not only to God and ourselves, but to these people who are donating to us, who desire Jesus Christ to be known in our world.¬†It was time that our money started working for us and not some bank! I can think of a LOT of great ways to give & spend that money I see whisked off to Sallie Mae every month…now it’s time to kick the old woman out of our house!

After going through all the necessary changes from getting hitched – name, driver’s license, SSN, address, etc., we were ready to start our new financial ¬†journey in January. We had around $21,000 in student loans at that point and have been working the baby steps. We got our $1,000 in an emergency fund set aside and then began with gazelle-like-intensity to pay down our debt as soon as possible!!!!¬†We have lived on next to nothing, literally. We chopped up the credit cards and started paying cash for our purchases. Every date night is spent playing board games at home and eating home cooked food. We took a “stay-cation” over Spring Break under our own roof instead of traveling to see family or go on a mission trip. We haven’t bought any clothes or anything non-essential. We’ve eaten beans and rice…a lot. ¬†I’ve been selling things so fast, I wonder if we will have anything left by June! We splurged once, to see The Hunger Games¬†with friends, but it was in the budget ūüėČ

Despite it seeming like we haven’t had much of a ¬†life in some people’s eyes, we are so HAPPY! Living frugally has forced us to come up with new ways to have fun, create a budget and stick to it every single month, to communicate about what we buy and why we value certain things, to dream about all the ways we desire to give and spend our money once we become debt-free, and to have a less distracted life by the fact that we don’t have “stuff” to distract us as often. Thankfully we have amazing and supportive friends who like to do free things together and working for FOCUS provides us with so many exciting adventures with college students built right into our daily lives. So we don’t feel like we miss out on too much since we are surrounded by a great community of joyful people.

So, we’ve got four months under our belts of our gazelle-like intensity and we have seen results!!! As I said earlier, we started out with close to $21,000 in debt. I am excited to say that today, we only have $10,461.09 left on those student loans. Our income fluctuates, but we’ve been paying 50-65% of our income towards debt each month. I don’t share those numbers to toot our own horns and to show how great Jonathan and I are…but to INSPIRE anyone reading this who wants to dump their debt too! If we can do this, anyone can!!! We are set to be debt-free sometime between August and September 2012. We originally thought we would need 12 months to pay it all off but once the ball got rolling, we got more and more excited to see our loans GONE, it truly became a snowball effect.

We aren’t at our final goal yet, but it’s close on the horizon and we are already talking about how to celebrate being debt-free. ¬†We aren’t sure about what we’ll do but we’re certain we’ll be paying cash ūüôā You can bet we’ll be calling Dave to do our “debt-free scream!” Thanks be to God for the ministry of Dave Ramsey and his team of workers. Their hard work is truly paying off in the lives of so many people and we are just one of many. YOU CAN BE NEXT!!!!¬†www.daveramsey.com