Posted by: waterwalkerla | February 28, 2010

Making Over Our Money – February Round-Up

Wow…can it really be the last day of February?  The first two months of 2010 have flown by.  It feels like I just posted my mid-month Money update and now it’s time for a month-end summary!

So…first things first…let’s see how we did on those February goals I posted in our January Round-Up.

  • We will have our emergency fund completely funded within the next 10 days.  Done!
  • We will be receiving a tax refund later this month, and will use it to pay off two bills and to pay down a third.  After assessing where we were financially, praying,  and looking ahead (more on that below) we decided that we could use this money to pay off 4 bills, not just the 2 we had cautiously set for our goal.  We did not, however, use more of this money to pay toward another bill.  Instead we chose to move the remainder to savings.
  • My husband wants to use all of his referee income to pay off debt.  February should be a very good month for him on this front – unless there are weather-related cancellations or his knee decides to give out before the end of the season.  Therefore, we estimate that we will be paying off that third bill and paying down a fourth by the end of the month.  February did indeed turn out to be a good month for my husband in this area.  He had a couple of games canceled due to weather, but was able to pick up games to make up for this.  We used this money to pay down two bills.
  • By the end of February, we will also create our March budget spreadsheet.  The budget spreadsheet is created, including updated debt amounts.

In The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey defends his decision to encourage creation of an emergency fund before getting started on the debt snowball.  He says, quite simply, “It is going to rain.  You need a rainy-day fund.” (page 102, 2003 Edition).  What’s that sound?  Could it be raindrops striking our windows?  Indeed, I believe it is.

On Friday, the job that was our main source of income was placed on furlough.  What does that mean for us?  It means that we still have insurance but we won’t have income from that job until the furlough is over.  Are we worried?  Not really, and here’s why.  We started seeing the signs that this might happen in January.  This made us be even more diligent about getting that emergency fund in place.  Additionally, we cut out some discretionary spending and put a little more money in savings than we had originally planned.  This is one of the reasons we set such conservative goals for February.  Looking back at our income for the month, we could be farther along in our debt reduction plan.  However, we would have less money in the bank to tide us over until our income returns.  It appears, for now at least, that this period of furlough will last for only a week or two.  Then, there should be a month of steady work leading until around the middle of April.  Between April and June there could be another period of furlough lasting for weeks or possibly a month.  Finally, we aren’t worried because we know that this is all part of the plan God has for us.  We may not be able to understand the plan completely now, but we need only trust in Him to bring us through to the other side.

So, what does all this mean for our Money Make Over?  Well, our long-term goal isn’t any different than it was at the beginning of January…

Be debt free, of course!

However, our short-term goals for March are going to be a little different than we might have otherwise planned.

Short term goals for March:

  • Cut a few more discretionary spending areas.
  • “Trim the fat” from our grocery and gas bill.
  • Find extra sources of income – including selling some of the things we no longer need or want.
  • Stay current on our utilities and debt payments, even if it means not paying any extra.
  • Keep our emergency fund fully funded.  Alternatively, if we have to dip into these funds, return the balance to $1000 before moving back into debt pay-off mode.
  • Create a budget spreadsheet for April.

As you can see, we aren’t panicking and we aren’t quitting the program.  We are simply adjusting our course just a bit until these rain clouds clear away in favor of a bright, sunny day!

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Responses

  1. […] I mentioned in my February Round-Up, our income took a bit of a hit this past month.  This was reflected in the short-term goals we […]


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