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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: TGod on October 02, 2013, 03:32:38 PM

Title: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on October 02, 2013, 03:32:38 PM
This is a long one.
Sooo, I've been lurking around the site for a couple of months, getting excited about financial freedom in 10-15 years (i'm currently 36, my DH is 44). I didn't really get a steady job until my early 30's after travelling lots, going to school and then having kids. So I've only really been pulling in a steady paycheque for the last 4 years, most of it self-employed, so no pension and not really saving anything until the last couple of years and even then, not much. My husband has been working steady for the last 15 years and has a pension at his job that I believe he will be eligible for when he’s 55 without taking much of a hit, but without any outside savings.
I’ve been wanting to jump on the wagon, and start making my way towards FI, and have been talking to my DH about this site trying to get him into the groove. He doesn't seem to be embracing the idea, mostly I think he questions my ability to change my spending habits (I like shoes, and purses and clothes…I don’t buy stuff every month, but probably twice/year I spend about 300-500 on clothes etc). He likes books, and beer and martial arts stuff. Needless to say we both spend more money than we should on things we don’t need. Also, I handle ALL the financial stuff, I don't think think he's looked at a credit card statement in the last 5 years. I make sure the bills are paid, and juggle the visa and LOC. He's in lala land a bit I think.
I just finished going through my finances for the last few months, did a big account dump into excel and slicked it up a bit, and to be honest the numbers kind of made me want to throw up. I know we spend all our money every month, with a little left over to put extra on the mortgage and pay off an old family loan, but I was shocked to see what came in and what went out. We just spend money, we’ve never had a budget, the entire time we’ve been married we just spent, it’s really disturbing.
Here’s our stats:

Family Net Income (me, DH, and 2 kids, both in school now – they don’t contribute any cash…yet )
   Steady Salary (Me & DH ) ~$6600
Random Contracting (Me) ~700 (varies, some months none, some months $7000 – so I
averaged)
   Total = 7300
Savings
   Me: 10,000 (RRSP, TFSA)
   DH: pension, but nothing outside of that
   RESP – we don’t invest since my in-laws put money on every year

Expenses – I’ve attached a spreadsheet so I won’t go into detail here. Biggest issue (but obviously not the only one) for the last few months is the fact that we own 2 homes. We just moved to a different city and we bought here before we sold our old one, because were commuting 230km/day, and our old house is taking a while to sell. So we are paying mortgages on 2 places as well as the minimal expenses on our old home (small power bill for minimal heating, insurance etc). Yucky situation which we hope will be resolved soon via selling, since the rental market isn’t great there and the price we would get for renting is crappy (I’ve already been given that lesson by nice folks on this site…I couldn’t charge the 1% of the value to make renting a viable option at the most I’d break even, without accounting for vacancy or maintenance).  We also were hit with moving expenses (tho my employer chipped in some cash for this, which is accounted for in my income in August) so that jacked things up.
The loan payments are from paying off HELOC (small amount from move) – all paid off, and irregular loan payments to my in-laws who sold us a car way back and helped with our downpayment on our first house. We owe them about $6000 still @ 0% (lovely people, they were charging us interest at the beginning, but decided to stop since they figured it was part of my DH’s inheritance), so we pay them when we can. We intend to pay them off totally once we sell our 2nd house (selling for 310K, owe 240K). Our house #1 we owe 257k (we bought for 360K and pulled out 100K in equity from our 1st house) @ 2.99 for 5-years. If I can swing it, we will be doubling up payments and making anniversary payments to pay the house off by the end of the term, so we can then start saving….or invest and pay off after. I’ve run some #s, they work out pretty close.

Those are the details. No high interest loans or anything, no expensive cars (I have a 2009 toyota carolla – I had a sweet business program loan that forgave a BIG chunk of my loan as well as forgave all the interest so it’s all paid for) and a 2003 mini-van bought from my-inlaws 4 years ago.  Our spending is just way out of control (notice my cash and miscellaneous buckets that I can’t even account for), particularly if we want to retire…EVER.

Face Punch now….
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Megatron on October 02, 2013, 04:09:07 PM
how are you staying afloat every month?
is it coming out of the loans or are you carrying over credit card debt?
looks like you are in the red most of the time.

but kudos on trying to get your shit together.

but facepunch on the alcohol, (2 people?) and eating out.

have you considered maybe doing a monthly lease on your old house, while putting it on the market?
you are hemorrhaging cash like crazy in mortgages.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on October 02, 2013, 04:26:44 PM
We've actually managed to pay off debt over the last few months and stay afloat because I had a big contracting paycheck come through in September, so that saved our butts. To be fair, these probably aren't the most typical months, simply because we had home purchasing costs, extra gas for our commuting before relocating.
Quote
but facepunch on the alcohol, (2 people?) and eating out
I don't really feel like I drink a lot, I've started buying the boxes again (booze isn't as cheap here as it is in the states), and I can make that last for a month (30bucks), but my husband tends towards microbrewery beer and that adds up.
Quote
have you considered maybe doing a monthly lease on your old house, while putting it on the market?
you are hemorrhaging cash like crazy in mortgages
The 2nd mortgage thing is my worst nightmare. I actually put out an ad for renters last month and we had some solid interest, but my husband balked and wanted to wait to see if it will sell. He really doesn't want to be a landlord. I don't either, but we're staring down a slowdown in the market as we head into winter and am not really interested in forking over $800/mth for the next 6 months before things heat up again. Really, if we don't get any offers over the next couple of weeks I want to advertise for November 1, and get somebody in there to offset the costs. We are currently just paying interest, no principal, so it's just basically throwing money away.  My DH and I have very different opinions on what to do with this house in the short term.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: backyardfeast on October 02, 2013, 04:33:27 PM
OK, I don't mean to be overly gentle, but I actually don't think this is as bad as you think.  You two are in a transition period, but their are really 2 problems here: 1, all the money going into 2 houses, but obviously you're doing what you can about that one, and 2, you haven't been paying attention to any of your spending, which you're rectifying now.

What I notice in your spreadsheet is that there's little consistency month to month.  One month you've got $400 on eating out (!), another month almost nothing.  One month's groceries are $600, another's $1300.  What this tells me is that by simply paying a *little* more attention, and thus making some deliberate decisions each month, you can get into shape quickly. In other words, your stats show you *can* be comfortable on a $600 grocery bill (to start); you already know how to do this!  Good news!  And with minor attention to sales, eating leftovers, etc, you shouldn't have trouble bringing that down.

You might want to spend a couple of months tracking your cash, to see if there are categories you're spending in that you're not yet aware of.  You know, the things that always feel like surprises, even though they happen every month. :)  Like how I was always surprised when the car insurance was due. Lol.

But what will make a HUGE difference, without your DH even really noticing there's been a change, is simply making a plan, deliberately allocating some money to specific spending items each month.  Create a base budget so that you have an idea of your core living expenses, and know how much is left over from your H's salary each month after those expenses are covered.  Then decide where the rest should go, and then where your income should go, whatever it is each month.  I suspect you'll gain a sense of control and confidence really quickly.

The real emergency is the 2nd house.  Once that's sorted out, you'll be able to breathe a lot easier.  Good luck!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on October 02, 2013, 04:44:53 PM
Thanks backyardfeast. Mostly i'm just overwhelmed when I look at how much we've been bringing in and how much is going out, and I shake my head that we don't have more saved. I don't feel like we're living high flying lives. We eat leftovers ALL the time, my kids have leftovers in their lunches, I garden, can, we buy bulk, we generally  rarely eat out, maybe 60$ sushi/month etc. BUT I find we waste a lot of food, our compost bins are always full, so that is definitely
something that has to change.
I have downloaded HomeBudget onto my phone and plan to get it loaded on my husband's phone, that way we can keep up to date with out budgets which I think would help a lot. Right now we do random spending without really communicating with each other. I'm thinking October will normalize us, I'm going to implement the BUDGET (dun..dun...dunnnn), and hopefully we'll see some action on our other house, either selling or renting. And then start saving like crazy. Now that I know FI is a possibility within the next 10-15 years I really wanna do it. I can't imagine what it would be like to retire around 46, but I know I want to, I've just got to make some changes.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: shusherstache on October 02, 2013, 05:17:19 PM
I find this website really has helped me combat food waste (seeing someone else do it well, that is):

http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/category/food-waste-friday/ (http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/category/food-waste-friday/)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: ricric on October 02, 2013, 09:44:05 PM
I think you're getting things in order especially with the house.  I would however recommend you pay off your family debt soon.  I couldn't imagine owing family or friends money without an extremely urgent hair-on-fire emergency mindset to pay it off.  I think the family debt should have come even before any extra payments to the mortgage (if I read that correctly).
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on October 03, 2013, 10:36:49 AM
Quote
I would however recommend you pay off your family debt soon.I think the family debt should have come even before any extra payments to the mortgage
. The extra payments on the mortgage were part of a loc portion for our new house that we used that had a higher interest rate so we wanted to nuke that pdq.
My in-laws are pretty amazing. My husband initially borrowed cash from them for the downpayment on his first house,  they then sold us their 3 year-old minivan for a great rate when we had our 2nd kid, which added to our debt. We've paid off the downpayment and part of the van. We were initially paying 30$/month (that's when we I was a SAHM, working only casually, without much cash. I've switched that up and now just make a lump payment4-5 times per year for between $200-$400.  While we are very conscious of this debt and do want to pay them back their attitude has always been take care of our other debts, the kids etc.  We ALWAYS keep the communication lines open on this one, and never let them think that we've forgotten about it. They are fairly well off (amazing savers!!! holy crap they're my inspiration for saving your cash and retiring comfortably....well them and all you other folks who are FI at a young age), and they don't look at it like money out of their pocket. They've said they would have liked to have just given us the van but they didn't think it would be fair to my SIL, a sentiment that I respect them for immensely.  That said, we don't want them to ever feel that we are taking advantage of their generosity and ensure that they know that they are definitely on the list of first up when we have extra cash and hopefully will have them paid off soon.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: jpo on October 03, 2013, 11:42:37 AM
   RESP – we don’t invest since my in-laws put money on every year

Face Punch now….
To me, this is one of the bigger face-punches with respect to personal responsibility. To me the above sounds like a big fat excuse.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on October 03, 2013, 03:56:21 PM
Quote
To me, this is one of the bigger face-punches with respect to personal responsibility. To me the above sounds like a big fat excuse
....Huh??? Is this because we don't put money away ourselves or because family has chosen to do it for us? We don't invest in the resp because my in-laws decided from the get go that they wanted to invest in my kids education rather than buy them a bunch of crap toys for their birthdays and Christmas. If they had chosen not to do this we would most likely be making the same choice at this point.   If I was socking away cash and maxing out my retirement savings it would make sense for me to save money for their education, but at this point it doesn't. If they don't have enough when they start school, they can work their way through university or trades school like my husband and I did. If I don't have enough to retire on, whether i'm 45 or 65, because I put money in an resp instead of investment savings I doubt my kids are going to want to support me.
If your comment was focusing on the fact that I seem to be relying on my in-laws to provide for my kid's education, fair enough, we are, and we're thankful for it and we make sure our kids are thankful for it.  it's a gift from them to my kids, it beats a pile of plastic Chinese crap under the christmas tree, and ya, hopefully at some point in the near future we'll have a better handle on our finances that we can max it out ourselves or jointly with them, but  right now that's not gonna happen, so for my kids sake I willingly accept their help.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Deano on October 03, 2013, 06:10:10 PM
Quote
To me, this is one of the bigger face-punches with respect to personal responsibility. To me the above sounds like a big fat excuse
....Huh??? Is this because we don't put money away ourselves or because family has chosen to do it for us? We don't invest in the resp because my in-laws decided from the get go that they wanted to invest in my kids education rather than buy them a bunch of crap toys for their birthdays and Christmas. If they had chosen not to do this we would most likely be making the same choice at this point.   If I was socking away cash and maxing out my retirement savings it would make sense for me to save money for their education, but at this point it doesn't. If they don't have enough when they start school, they can work their way through university or trades school like my husband and I did. If I don't have enough to retire on, whether i'm 45 or 65, because I put money in an resp instead of investment savings I doubt my kids are going to want to support me.
If your comment was focusing on the fact that I seem to be relying on my in-laws to provide for my kid's education, fair enough, we are, and we're thankful for it and we make sure our kids are thankful for it.  it's a gift from them to my kids, it beats a pile of plastic Chinese crap under the christmas tree, and ya, hopefully at some point in the near future we'll have a better handle on our finances that we can max it out ourselves or jointly with them, but  right now that's not gonna happen, so for my kids sake I willingly accept their help.

I would disregard jpo...some people believe that you shouldn't take any help in any form. Maybe it's a libertarian thing, maybe too much Atlas Shrugged, I dunno. If both parties are comfortable with it and no one is being taken advantage of, I say it's fine.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: jpo on October 04, 2013, 02:02:14 AM
Quote
To me, this is one of the bigger face-punches with respect to personal responsibility. To me the above sounds like a big fat excuse
If they had chosen not to do this we would most likely be making the same choice at this point.
I misunderstood, it sounded like the only reason you were not contributing was because family was taking care of it for you. Since this is not the case and there are other valid reasons for not contributing, punch retracted. Plus it is a RESP and not RRSP, so to your point it is a much less critical type of account to fund.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: mensa on October 06, 2013, 07:03:29 AM
A few things jumped out at me:

1) Your house insurance seems really high. In August your expense was listed at 624, and you indicated that it was for 3 months. The same expense is listed in September. Not sure if it's been counted twice by mistake, or if you're actually paying that much. My assumption is that this is for 2 houses, and therefore the rate is 104/month/house, if the expense listed is correct. This seems outrageously high. Is it a result of house #1 being unoccupied, and thus the rate is jacked up?

2) You may be able to claim a portion of your moving expenses. I see that the employer has/will reimburse some, but you may be able to claim part of the balance.

3) You've listed savings as 450/350/150. Is this what makes up your 10k rrsp/tfsa contribution, or is this separate?

It's obvious that selling your original house would relieve your cash flow. That said, while you're in this situation with the 2 houses, you really need to lower expenses. You're running so close to the line, that you may end up overspending. Good for you for being conscious of the need for belt tightening. What other areas could you reduce in the interim?

Your 1300+ grocery bill in August was, I assume, stocking your new house?

Your internet/phone costs seem to vary wildly. Maybe you could have a look at what's going on there. Perhaps it was hook-up fees, but August was listed at 40ish, then September at 133+. Presumably you paid the hook-up fees in July (listed at 200).

Your husband's martial arts fees seem frivolous when you've got two mortgages to pay...especially if he doesn't want to rent your original house. Perhaps his reading habit could be curtailed as well, while you're carrying 2 places. The library is free...

Fuel expenses seem high to me, especially since you've moved to eliminate (or reduce) your commuting costs. What's going on there?


Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on October 07, 2013, 10:31:49 AM
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) Your house insurance seems really high

Our new house is outside the 8km to fire station so our insurance is higher $1800/mth - yuck. We are looking at other options but we need to do a bit of investigating on our house to see if we're eligible, and if we are we can potentially knock that down to 650/year. Our old house is about $1000/year but will go up to about $1800/year if we rent it out.
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You've listed savings as 450/350/150

This is a mix of TFSA/RRSP & extra payments on the mortgage principle.
Quote
Your 1300+ grocery bill in August was, I assume, stocking your new house?
There was a big Costco run in there stocking up on stuff. For us though Costco is one of the worst places for giving into temptation and buying stuff other than the essentials.
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Your internet/phone costs seem to vary wildly
Some of this was overbilling on their part and then prepaying on services for the new house. It should be around 70$/mth for landline and internet.
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Your husband's martial arts fees seem frivolous when you've got two mortgages to pay...especially if he doesn't want to rent your original house
This is probably the one thing that I could not pry away from him and to be honest I don't want to. He had a hiatus over the summer while he was slaving away on our old house trying to get it ready to put on the market, and he was getting a bit depressed. Bottom line, it makes him happy. I think if he curtails anything it should be beer.  He doesn't really have a budget, and he when he's not making his own he's buying premium beer which definitely adds up.

Quote
Fuel expenses seem high to me
We didn't actually move to be closer to work, we decided that we wanted to change communities but we're about the same distance away from our work as we used to be, about 14km. I'm hoping to start biking...when I get a bike, which I'm currently keeping my eye out for.  it's a bit daunting, but I have the more fuel efficient car out of the 2 of us, so my DH could use it on the days I bike (he has a physically demanding job, so bike riding 14km to and from work doesn't interest him). We also had some steady back and forth over the summer between our 2 houses, often with both vehicles while we picked things up. I've budgeted about $300/mth for gas which is high, but i'm hoping to get that down to $150 now that we're doing less back and forth.
I've just implemented our home budget and have my DH hooked up on his phone for easy syncing. My budget is still fairly high $4600/mth, but that includes the current extra payments for the old house. the rest of our income will go to savings and investments and when we've off loaded the other house that extra will go to investments, roughly an extra grand.  It feels pretty bleak right now with this 2nd mortgage, and we do skirt close to the edge, but now that my DH and I are being more conscious of what we're spending and keeping track of it, I already feel a bit more in control of our finances.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: MsSindy on October 30, 2013, 12:00:03 PM
So, it's the end of the month (nearly).  How did you make out for October?  Were you able to get a better handle on your expenses?
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 03, 2013, 11:30:34 PM
A resounding No! My husband started to buy in (sort of) about 1/2-way through the month, so we'll hopefully see some vast improvement for November. We still went over in groceries by about almost 200$ (total $800 for the month...WTF!!!, my boys are small, they aren't crazy eaters yet and we cook from scratch ALL the time, so I have not idea where this is going). I blame this monstrous spending on our Costco trips. Costco...not always the cheapest.
Restaurants underbudget (spent $27 off the $50 planned). Made up for that with the $350 auto gas bill for the month ($50 over budget). $155 for alcohol (doesn't take long here in Canada if you like a glass of wine or a beer at night), over budget for home improvement (spent $213 and budgeted $150). This is mostly because we took advantage of a sale at Costco for LED lights to replace our kitchen halogens.
We spent a wad of cash on the garden (cedar for the beds and soil for a total of $427, just slightly over my $30 budget), but we knew we would have this given that our new property had no garden whatsoever and we needed to plant our garlic this month so couldn't do things slowly. We'll reap the benefits come spring when we start producing veggies.
Underbudget in pet food, personal care (big fat 0$ spent on that).
I'm not super happy with our performance, but I didn't actually think we'd do a 180 last month, more of a 20 degree turn.
Made a few changes over the last couple of weeks, loaded Mint onto mine and my husbands phone with the instructions for him to check our budget status BEFORE buying anything. We pay for everything on credit card so sometime it's hard to see where we stand. Not anymore with mint though.
We've also put our other house up for rent, given it's not selling. We've had a couple of people show some serious interest with one looking at a possible rent-to-own. Regardless we've priced it to cover our costs in the short term while the house is on the market. That will help us move past this break even situation we're currently in.
I've made the commitment to my husband that I will not to buy ANY clothes in 2014. socks and underwear only, and that's only in absolute desperation. 
And my husband and I both set up RRSP & TFSA accounts at TD and sent in the paperwork to convert to e-series funds, so once we get control of this spending we will have somewhere to throw that extra unspent money.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Rural on November 04, 2013, 07:07:08 AM
So what do you want from us?  Doesn't seem like you're willing to make any real changes.

I don't know about that. It seems like changes happening more slowly than some people here recommend, but I don't think that this sounds like someone who's unwilling to change. If it forms habits that are more likely to stick, then in the long run, a slow change is better than the immediate about-face that doesn't last.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 04, 2013, 10:48:59 AM
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So what do you want from us?  Doesn't seem like you're willing to make any real changes.
Wow, you’re right RunningFromSpider. I totally don’t want to change. Why am I wasting my time on this blog when I could be shopping online?  I don't need any handholding in this process, and I don’t need negative poopy pants telling me what I want or don’t want.  I appreciate honest, hard feedback, face slaps with good intentions that challenge my current way of running my finances. I appreciate feedback from people who have been there, who have turned their financial lives around from a situation similar to mine. If you have any positive feedback, or sarcastic encouragement I welcome it. You could say something like “Seriously, yo, $450 on a garden? Can’t you just dig some holes in the ground and plant your precious organic garlic there? Build raised beds when you’re retired, and can’t bend over”, and then I could make my excuses that it’s $900 worth of garlic going in the ground, so basically it’s paid for since I don’t have to buy garlic next year, the garden area is full of fill, as well I'm saving money on gifts by giving it to my garlic loving friends as xmas presents, blah blah blah, ...but it would actually make me think that my husband is still intending to spend $150 on more cedar to finish the beds, but maybe we should just use some of the old pallets we’ve got hanging around the yard instead of buying new wood.
 But if you’re 2 cents is the quote above, you wasted your time typing that, and I’ve wasted substantially more time getting mad about it and typing a rebuttal to your defeatist attitude.
If you’re in coupledome, mid-30s, have a couple of kids, live rurally, pretty much pissed your money away, rather than saved it, have 2 cards, don’t own a bike (yet), but aren’t carrying any emergency debt other than a second house that you can’t sell, or are none of the above, but would like to impart your hard won knowledge, please tell me that my $800 food bill is stupid, stupid, stupid, and that if I can’t control my Costco spending, than maybe don’t go to Costco...wow thanks for the advice, guess where i'm not going to go this month other than to buy dog food and gas.
I may not have upped my savings rate to 75% in the space of a month, but my life wasn't really set up to be able to do that readily. October was about change, getting my husband on board, mapping my finances and setting myself up to succeed. That's a goal, and I'd like to get there sooner rather than later.  So thanks MsSindy for making me be accountable for my spending by asking me how my October went and forcing me to face my failure, I appreciate you reminding me that I posted my details on here…cause I’d actually forgotten, and I was happily hiding my shame.  For me this is about somebody challenging me on my status quo, forcing me to break crappy spending habits, and making me face the fact that just because I didn’t spend my allotted 30$/month on personal care that I am not anybody’s financial hero.
Happy Monday!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Dulcimina on November 04, 2013, 02:56:35 PM
how are you staying afloat every month?
is it coming out of the loans or are you carrying over credit card debt?
looks like you are in the red most of the time.

I'd like to see the answer to that too.  You wrote that you had a bonus in September that saved you, but still show $4,000 (!) more in expenses than in income that month. 
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 04, 2013, 04:07:45 PM
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I'd like to see the answer to that too.  You wrote that you had a bonus in September that saved you, but still show $4,000 (!) more in expenses than in income that month
Probably staggered credit card bill, which comes out the next month. Not sure, all I know is that we are slowly paying off mortgage debt...slowwwwly...but other than that and my inlaws, we don't carry any debt. We're debit intolerant, CC gets paid off every month, and don't carry anything on the loc as a general rule, unless we did a larger house project and then we do everything to pay it off.
We are break even type of people, we've been pretty successful at it, but the current lifestyle isn't bringing us towards early retirement. The goal is to either sell our other house or find renters to free up about 1000$/month to put on our current house's mortgage, and free up about $2000 from the regular monthly financial buckets to either invest or save,  and get so that we pay off our credit card at the end of the month, not at the end of the interest free period, then I would feel like we are keeping on top of our lifestyle a bit more.  Doable, but requires the 180, which I wasn't able to pull off this month.
I've always struggled with the "unplanned", like last month we needed to get our septic field flushed and pumped...kaching, $700 later, over the next couple of months we'll need to seriously consider replacing our hot water tank which is 13 years old and leaking, none of which is in our regular budget. We'll squeak by, but again that's one more reason (or excuse) for not  making the extra payment on the mortgage this month.
We've become complacent, since we're not stressed for cash, we haven't felt the need to worry about where our money is going, the old head in the sand scenario. Now that I know where our money is going, I just need to be a big girl and own my spending issues.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: cdub on November 04, 2013, 04:39:35 PM
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I'd like to see the answer to that too.  You wrote that you had a bonus in September that saved you, but still show $4,000 (!) more in expenses than in income that month
Probably staggered credit card bill, which comes out the next month. Not sure,

Wait... WHAT? You don't know? You don't know what you've been spending or how much your credit card bill will be?

STOP EVERYTHING. DOWNLOAD YNAB (Free 31 day trial)

http://www.youneedabudget.com/download

AND GET YOUR FREAKING FINANCIAL LIFE IN ORDER... NOW.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 04, 2013, 05:32:47 PM
I have Mint downloaded, see previous post. I started tracking last month. I know exactly where I spent my money in October. The time in question was August/September, when we were moving cities and juggling the expenses at our new house etc. We spent a LOT of money, which I could drill down and figure out, but it was a freak month, given that I don't intend to move again for a long time.. The question was how are we not going into debt, I responded, that I wasn't sure (mostly regarding that month), given that at the end of it we broke even.
I know where we're spending out money...now. The "uhhh..maybe it was the credit card", was mainly because we have a 30 day grace period, so the credit card was racked up and paid in the following month. So though it looks like i'm over 4000, we paid that off the next month.
We don't always spend 12000/month....I think that was the first (and last) time ever.
To clarify - October income was $6646 net, spending was $5762. Started this month with $884 in the bank, that was with an extra mortgage payment coming out this month, $3000 on the credit card to be paid off by end of November. This is our typical scenario.  So I know my offhand comments about the "summer of spending" seem casual but the months that the initial data was based on were from some big change months.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: olivia on November 04, 2013, 06:14:24 PM
I think a challenge would help you and your husband get into the MMM mindset.  I started reading MMM back in May and made a few changes (cancelled cable, etc.), but we were still just pissing away all of our money.  So I decided to join in on "Austerity August," which involved buying only essentials (toilet paper and such) and groceries.  No eating out, no household goods spending, no clothes shopping, etc.  August was also my birthday month so I told my husband that all I wanted for my birthday was to NOT SPEND MONEY the entire month. 

Just doing that one month really turned us around and got us into the habit of not eating out and not shopping.  We saved over $2k and have been able to keep it up since then.  We've still had a few unexpected expenses here and there, but we also had a way bigger cushion, so didn't need to use the credit card to make up the difference. 

Why don't you institute "No Spend November" for you and the entire family, and make it your early Christmas/Hanukkuh present?  Or have a contest between you and your husband, and whoever cracks first has to do something not fun, like rake all the leaves.  Making it into a challenge really helped us change our habits.  That's all mindless eating out/shopping is, really-a bad habit.  When we took the option off the table, we stopped doing it.  If we were too lazy to cook, we threw tuna fish on top of arugula and called it dinner instead of spending $30 on takeout. 

It's definitely been more of a gradual change for my husband and I, so don't feel bad about not magically turning your life around.  You're getting your finances under control, tracking your expenses, and implementing changes.  It takes a while, especially when you have to sell other people on it.  But having your husband on board will help you stay on track, too. 

I would also send him some articles here and there from MMM and try to figure out which part of MMM could appeal to him.  The idea of FI wasn't that appealing to my husband since he actually loves working, but the idea of having "Fuck You" money in case one of us ever wants to quit our jobs did appeal to him.

Good luck and don't get discouraged...but also, don't go making $500 flower beds this month! ;)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 04, 2013, 10:04:01 PM
No garden beds this month.....that will be my mantra. Good thing the garlic is planted.  Yes definitely a challenge might be good. I've envied people's ability to do no spend months. We could actually live off the salmon and berries in our freezers, but then we wouldn't have any salmon and berries for the rest of the year.
I don't feel that we do "mindless spending" anymore, I've been in walmart and target, once each, since we moved to town in august. Whereas before finding MMM I would pop in and buy a new jar to help organize the pantry, even though I've got big mason jars coming out of my ears. Now I drive by and think "wow I don't need to spend money on crappy stuff, and I really prefer how all my dried goods look in glass jars". For me, it's the big ticket items, like the 500$ garden bed (granted it was a big bed and a massive truckload of soil that will do the entire garden...but still). The garden kills me. I'm going to be frugal tho and go pull out all the blueberry and strawberry plants that we planted at our old house since it's taking forever to sell anyway and plant them at our new house and not spend a single dollar on fruit bushes in the 2014 season.

My challenge, for this month will be to:
a) spend only $300 on food. That is 1/2 our regularly budgeted $600 for 4 people (granted 2 are small kids), and about 1/3 of what we actually spend. That could save us $500 this month. I already spent $100 this weekend stocking up, so there's $200 for the next three weeks.
b) 0$ on personal care (no haircuts even tho my hair looks haggish, I might embrace my forgotten self styling skills from my university days
c) 0$ on anything to do with Christmas decorating (which maybe shouldn't count cause it's never part of my budget anyway)
d) And given the coming Christmas season my big challenge for the rest of the year. I have allotted $90/month for "shopping". Christmas is coming up and usually I will spend at least $1000/ year by the time I've bought for my husband, he's bought for me, we've bought for parents, siblings, kids etc. That's a lot of cash and a lot of stuff that none of us needs. This year I am going to challenge myself (I can feel myself sweating already just thinking about it) to only spend $180 for Christmas presents this year. That is my $90/mth shopping budget for the next 2 months and come January I will cancel that $90/mth shopping budget.  For the past few years a friend and I have gone to a bigger city and spent the day Christmas shopping. Not this year tho. This year I have talked her into having a craft day where we make Christmas presents, instead of randomly shopping for people. We're doing a massive soap making marathon, forget those $5/tiny bar organic soaps, we're going for a $1/bar. So I will be purchasing odds and sods (at thrift stores tho) to complete my projects for the people in my life. I Love Christmas, I love buying gifts for people at Christmas so this will be a big hurrah for me if I can wave goodbye to Christmas after spending under $200 for EVERYONE. Knitting, soap, etched beer glasses for my man, all fun stuff to work on, and thrifty as well.

Based on all this we should have about $2500 left over at the end of the month.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on November 05, 2013, 08:03:52 AM

For the past few years a friend and I have gone to a bigger city and spent the day Christmas shopping. Not this year tho. This year I have talked her into having a craft day where we make Christmas presents, instead of randomly shopping for people. We're doing a massive soap making marathon, forget those $5/tiny bar organic soaps, we're going for a $1/bar.

I would just suggest that you do melt and pour (glycerin-based soap).  I've made these with success.  You can add essential oils, oatmeal, color, whatever and pour it into molds to harden.  Cold-processed soap is my dream to make, but it takes several (3-8) weeks to cure and have a pH neutral enough to give as a gift.  Not to mention that cold processed soaps need their own mixing equipment and measurements which could be costly.  The glycerin soap base is available at craft stores (Hobby Lobby or Michaels) and you could use a 40-50% off coupon on that to save money.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 05, 2013, 10:02:57 AM
Quote
I would just suggest that you do melt and pour (glycerin-based soap). 

Yes Mrs. Green'stache, that's the plan. I did it a few years ago for gifts and it was a hit. I initially thought that this year I would try and make it from scratch, but I have a local provider that sells the melt and pour (not as cheap as micheal's, but the stuff at micheal's has sls in it, so I try to avoid it).
Plus will ALL my big Christmas craft plans, some things have to be simplified.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Mr. Minsc on November 05, 2013, 10:15:55 AM
I recently was introduced to a website called Unfuck Your Habitat (http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/) in another topic on these forums.  While its purpose is to give inspiration to help a person get motivated to clean up their home I find the basic idea can be applied in may situations.  Depending on your personality the fellows writing style might help you buckle down.
Quote
UfYH Fundamentals (http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/ufyh-fundamentals/)

Some key points of the UfYH system.

•20 minutes is not a long time. Marathon cleaning sessions, while satisfying, are exhausting and make you never want to clean ever again. 20 minutes at a time, once or a few times a day, is a sustainable way of keeping your habitat unfucked.

•PUT IT AWAY. Probably 75% of our mess is made up of things we didn’t put away. Whether it belongs in a drawer, in the closet, in the trash, or in the cabinet, make sure it finds its way home. This is critically important in two areas, especially: laundry and the dishes. Doing laundry and doing the dishes are not difficult tasks, but most of us give up before the “putting it away” step. Don’t. As soon as it’s done, everything goes back to its home.

•Most of the rest of our mess is because we have too much stuff and not enough places to put it. There are two solutions: less stuff, or more storage. Less stuff is, in the long run, almost always the better solution.

•GET OFF YOUR ASS. Look, housework is a pain in the ass, and it’s rarely fun. No one is disputing that, but it isn’t hard. What is hard is overcoming your own lack of motivation to just get up and do something. Anything.

•When your flat surfaces are clear, you feel like you’re making serious progress. Counters, tables, dressers, nightstands, etc. Try it.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO UNFUCK EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. In fact, you shouldn’t. That’s how burnout happens. One thing at a time.

•TAKE BREAKS. It’s important for your state of mind. You can integrate cleaning into everything else you do. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.

You can only change your own habits. If you’re dealing with roommates or spouses or kids or parents who aren’t on board, the best you can do is tell them what you’re doing (trying to keep ahead of the mess), and ask them to help to not make it worse. Getting passive-aggressive or resentful because other people aren’t playing along only hurts you, and it’s not good for your brain.

•A little effort now saves you a lot of work in the long run. That’s why I advocate getting your stuff together at night for the next morning. That’s why I like dumping some cleaner in the toilet or tub or sink and letting it start to work while I do something else. That’s why taking the extra five seconds to wash your fork or put it in the dishwasher will always be a good idea, because it’ll stop Dish Mountain before it starts.

•STOP MAKING EXCUSES. Yes, yes, you have a million valid reasons why your mess has taken over. But I refuse to believe that you can’t spare 20 minutes, once a day, toward improving where you live. If you’re still making excuses, you don’t really want to do it. If you realize that 20 minutes is really no big deal, I can pretty much promise that things will get drastically better pretty quickly.

Addendum: If you are someone dealing with physical limitations, chronic illness, chronic pain, mental illness, or any other situation that makes getting your living environment under control difficult, please know that you are not lazy, and that we know that “getting off your ass” may not be easy or even possible sometimes.

We encourage anyone who has limitations to modify challenges, suggest alternatives, and, above all, put their health first. If you can only do five or three minutes of unfucking, that’s worth celebrating. If you accomplish something that’s been modified so you can do it seated or in shorter stages, we want to hear about it.

Most importantly: do what you can. Some days, this might not be as much as you’d hoped. That’s OK. Even tiny progress is still progress, and small but consistent change is more important than overnight miracles. You can do this. And if you get overwhelmed or discouraged, we’ll do our best to help.

MMM himself says there's more than one path to FI (even more leading away).  Do what you can, focus on the progress and not the failures.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 05, 2013, 10:37:09 AM
Thanks for the encouragement Mr. Minsc.
Though I didn't make any radical spending changes in October, I did flip a switch in my brain which is making me much more aware of what we are spending things on.
The point about dealing with husbands who aren't onboard is key. My husband isn't anti-frugality, but he's not reading MMM on a daily basis either. His typical response is "Ya, that's great, but I don't really spend much". To be fair though, he was much more frugal when we met, before we got into house renos and having kids, but that was probably more out of necessity than anything else.

But the big message is "NO EXCUSES". Of course I needed that garden bed. But you know what, I had a ton of 1x6 cedar boards that we'd bought to build a fence at our other house, but we didn't want to use them because we thought they weren't thick enough. So we bought 2x10s instead. We've gotten out of the habit of using what we have and making do.

I appreciate the feedback, even the feedback I don't agree with, because it makes me process this crap in my own head space. And even tho I don't think i'm making excuses, I'm still making excuses. Could I turn around and not spend $2000 this month? Yes. Could I get my husband on board with a challenge? Probably. So why don't I do it? Cause it's overwhelming sometimes and it's like cutting little bits of fat off here and there. Is it impossible? No. Am I being a chicken shit about it? Yes.

I've set some goals for myself this month. I will check in at the end of November with an update of how much extra cash I stashed.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: jat9449 on November 05, 2013, 12:30:15 PM
It's good that you've set up your budget. I think you could benefit by going one step further and only spending cash (utilizing the jars/envelopes method). For my family, the credit card leads to unnecessary splurges and we easily blow the budget. With cash I have to watch it go out and it hurts much more. If you only have $200 left for the next 3 weeks, then you should divide that $200 up now in cash and take things one week at a time. When the money is gone, it's gone.

Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 05, 2013, 03:49:22 PM
Quote
I think you could benefit by going one step further and only spending cash (utilizing the jars/envelopes method).
My husband and I just talked about this the other day as I was running through our budget performance. We've tended to put everything on the card because we have an avion card and we pay an annual fee, so we might as well use it. That said, we are hoping to use our points in the next 6 months and intend to cancel that card and get a no fee cash back, so that we will feel less need to use the card to get the points to make the card worthwhile... nice circular argument there.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on December 02, 2013, 12:27:55 PM
Well, another month another failure  This is really a struggle to get our groceries and alcohol spending in line. I thought that my husband and I were on the same page at the beginning of the month, but clearly with $700 in groceries and $300 in alcohol that is not the case.
I spent $60 on wine for myself (that’s 2 boxes of wine that I nursed to the end of the month), My husband spent $220 on beer (and a couple of special bottles of wine for me that I didn’t ask for).
Groceries, I spent ~$100 on groceries myself, with another 90$ over the month for our biweekly organic veggie box (which we will most likely cancel given that tho we do want to support local farmers it’s substantially more expensive than superstore for organic stuff). That is a total of 190$ of spending  that I was aware of.  500$ was grocery spending by my husband. I’m really discouraged. We had a plan to put a big dent in our freezer and pantry foods, but we’re still pretty stocked and we’ve veered off in opposite directions.
To top it off whenever I would try and check in about where our spending was at this month and to try and get it under control, he just kind of smiled at me and behaved like I was being unnecessarily cheap.
I’ve been trying to make him aware of what we have coming in and what we have going out, since he’s pretty hands off with our finances, but he just doesn’t buy into the process. I’ve tried to keep it digital to avoid having papers and money jars, but I feel like maybe we need to go old school and do the money jars and tape spreadsheets to the fridge since he hasn’t really embraced Mint like I have. We've been just so programed to rack up the credit card and pay it off the next month and not pay attention to what we're spending, I think this is a hard habit for him to break.
Luckily, I had some extra contracting work this month so I made a bit of extra cash, and I landed another contracting gig over the next few months so that will help. We have a 2nd showing on our other house next weekend, and we had person approach us as short term renter, so hopefully 1 of those will work out to either eliminate or offset the extra house costs we're currently carrying.
But, I'm pretty frustrated and disappointed. I had intended for us to do better than this.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Self-employed-swami on December 03, 2013, 06:14:36 AM
Hey,
I live in Canada, so I know how expensive alcohol is, but maybe you should try to lead by example, and not buy any booze yourself? 

It also sounds a little like he isn't truly interested in becoming more frugal. But that you are forcing him into it, which isn't going to work. My husband started out similarly, and he didn't really want to change. But, I just started changing myself, and after a bit, he followed. I declutered my stuff, selling all my own nintendos and my records that I didn't listen to anymore, and he decided independently, to sell some of his stuff as well.

Have you sat him down though, ala Gail Vaz Oxlade, and showed him all the numbers?  Does he see a problem, or maybe he is just one of those people who don't care about consumer debt, and isn't interested in changing.

As for the groceries, my DH always seems to stop at the store on his way home from work, when he is hungry, which leads him to buy more food than we need (I do the same if i shop when I am hungry) and less healthy things as well. Could you take over that household chore?

A marriage has to be a partnership with give and take, so one partner can't just unilaterally decide to change the rules, because it isn't going to work.
Hugs, and good luck.

And make home-brew ;) check kijiji/Craigslist for the starter supplies, and don't buy any more alcohol :)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Self-employed-swami on December 03, 2013, 06:18:41 AM
And my husband still thinks the idea of retiring early is silly, but he can relate more to the idea of having FU money, and not having to stay in a job you hate. Either goal will still take you in the right direction, of amassing a nest egg, even if you can't agree immediately with what you'll spend it on.

And I'm willing to bet that ER isn't going to sound so silly to my DH in 20 (or less) years.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Wiggle on December 03, 2013, 07:11:34 AM
Even in Canada, $220 is alot of beer for a month.  That's about 3 beers every single day of the month.  Thats for a decent beer too, it'd be more beers if it's just a mainstream beer you're getting.

If your husband seriously drinks that much beer he may want to look into homebrewing.  You break even for cost on the first batch and it's alot of fun.  I just started doing it a few months ago, my first batch (a Honey Brown Ale) turned out great.  I worked it out, and after initial materials cost it costs me barely 50 cents a beer, versus $2 or more for a good beer at the liquor store.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on December 03, 2013, 10:24:50 AM
Thanks for the feedback guys.

The booze - my husband was home brewing up until about 6 months ago when we moved and he hasn't reset up his equipment yet. He didn't really drink that often until he started homebrewing and then he really started to enjoy his beer, which was fine since the beer he made was great and cheap. But his consumption hasn't gone down even though he's now buying it, so what used to be $100 every couple of months has turned into 200 every month. I will encourage him to get his home brew equipment set up and get back on that path because he enjoys it and it's cheaper especially since he has all the equipment already...and then maybe he'll stop drinking my wine as well :)

This is a struggle for me because I don't feel like we're  big consumers. We don't have flashy cars, he drives a 10 year-old minivan, we live in a modest house, we have 2nd hand furniture, and other than my recently abandoned, pre-mmm love of boots, purses and scarves (which was a new pair of boots and a new purse per year) and his love of game systems (wii, xbox, ps3, psp, Nintendo ds....he would usually buy these with xmas or b-day money) we don't buy a lot of "stuff", but at the end of the day we break even with very little to put away for savings.

My husband doesn't like his job, complains about it constantly, so I had hoped that he would jump on this earlier than expected FI opportunity. He is 44, ideally I would hope that he could retire at 55, and coast until he can start pulling his pension, and I can keep working for a few more years if need be (I'm 36). I've been walking the walk for the last few months, but perhaps something more drastic on my part is necessary.

Quote
my DH always seems to stop at the store on his way home from work, when he is hungry, which leads him to buy more food than we need

Yes! I actually cringe whenever I hear him say he's going to stop at Costco on the way home from work. "I'm going to Costco on my way home" loosely translates to "I'm going to buy lots of pita and dip and big bags of chips because I'm so starving after work because I never take a lunch so our bill will be higher than it needs to be". I actually like the grocery shopping but he has taken it over since he gets off earlier than I do.

We'll get there, it's just not the 180 that some people have experienced, but as I said in an earlier post, it's harder when there are 2 people involved in changing a lifestyle instead of just one.


Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: MsSindy on December 04, 2013, 09:23:00 AM
FWIW, I'll share a bit of my story.  My DH and I are both in our 40s, and while we've made good income, we didn't really have that much to show for it, until I started to take control of things.  My DH is kinda-sorta on board, but not really.  I knew he would never read MMM, early retirement didn't appeal to him, but having FU money did.  So, I focused my conversations on having FU money and being financially secure.  Whenever he complains about his job I use it as an opportunity to remind him about the actions we take today will help set the stage for FU money later, and meet our (mostly my) goals.  I've really dropped any conversation about ER.

I started my journey by figuring out where the money went - it went to "stuff" - things that I would classify as "miscellaneous".  So, I really set out a budget that included the things that were part of our life: dog groomer, haircuts, wood chips in the spring, overseeder and seeds in the Fall, etc.  Alot of this I would just cut out, but DH didn't agree.  A good example is the amount of money we spend on our lawn - ridiculous!  I knew he wouldn't give it up, so I showed him how much we spend on an annual basis and asked if we could skip one of the fertilizing applications - he agreed.  I pushed out the dog groomer to be less frequent.  I cut my own hair for the most part.  Then I focused on things that I didn't need his buy-in for like shopping insurance, meal planning, turning off lights and appliances, and quit buying "stuff".  Also, I control all the food purchases and cooking (I make the work lunches).  He often suggests going out to "give me a break" - this is something that I have control over, so I assure him that I am fine and would prefer to eat at home (I'm a good and efficient cook!).  It's really a long-winded way of saying, start with your own actions.

Now, keep in mind, my journey is going on about 3 years, so none of this happened overnight.  However, I have noticed a huge change in my husbands' attitude about money and how it's spent, so the conversations do sink in.  He'll never be Mr McFrugal buy he has good DIY skills and likes efficiencies, so I try to exploit those when I can!  He's even had a couple of conversations where he has asked, "so when did you say we could retire" - he's starting to dream a bit!

One thing I might suggest is that you take over all food responsibilities.  Make sure that he has his 'favorites' in the house so that he doesn't have to stop anywhere for snacks - yes, it would be better that you're not eating chips and crap, but hey, baby steps right?  Also, I would suggest trying something different than the CC.  It seems that maybe because it's so easy to use a card and you don't really "see the money" coming out.  Even using a debit card and check register allows you to keep track of spending on an on-going basis.  I use Excel and just post to there from my check register each week.  This way I can tell if we already went over or are nearing a budget category.  I know, all of this takes additional effort, but if you don't take control, who will?

Oh, and one more thing.  You should be setting aside a monthly amount for things that you know will come up through out the year, so you don't have "surprises".  For example, we have yearly expenses: auto insur, life insur, car repair, house repair (something's going to break), propane, etc.  I figure out what they are on an annual basis then divide by 12 and put that money away into a savings account.  This way, my monthly budget doesn't get skewed and I don't have an excuse that says, well that month wasn't normal because we had to buy XXXX, it's already accounted for.

Stay focused, don't give up and quit saying "failure" - set smaller goals if you need to: "I'm only going to spend $100 on wine this month" -- and just do it!!  Give yourself some small wins to be proud of.  Good luck, I'm rooting for you!!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on December 04, 2013, 01:31:07 PM
Thanks MsSindy. It's interesting to get a bit of background on members who generally post good, sound advice or comments and makes me feel better about what is a slow change. It also gives me hope, given that i'm in my late 30s and my hubby's in his 40s and I feel like we're a little late in the game...BUT...late is better then never.

FU money, that really is what it is, since he would love to say FU to his job, every day - I will promote it this way as much as possible to help get him into the spirit of things. I will try to wrestle the shopping from him, which if that is successful will allow me to keep using the cc to rack of travel points, since it's linked to Mint and I always see where we're sitting in the budget. I love numbers, I love crunching financial data...love love love it. Which is probably why it was easy for me to jump on the bandwagon, hubby not so much, it mainly stresses him, so the more aware of finances I am, the more stressed he is.

So, my challenge this month (which also involves not spending a crazy amount on Christmas presents, which i'm sort of succeeding at, i'm making a lovely soy candles and soap for everyone), is to:

a) providing my husband with some kind of easy, mobile snack that he can carry around with him at work (he's a mobile worker) so he doesn't make a store pit stop on the way home.
b) take over all shopping
c) find a way to get him excited about telling his job to get fucked in 10 years...which is exciting in itself.
See ya in January.....
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: MsSindy on December 05, 2013, 08:07:32 AM
Those sound like solid plans.  You only need to get through 3 more weeks of December, which is one of the toughest months for spending.  Stay Strong and Focused!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: backyardfeast on December 08, 2013, 11:31:19 AM
Just wanted to offer my support and encouragement too!  I can totally relate to the crazy feeling of knowing that you're making good money, knowing that you're not living a crazy consumerist lifestyle, AND never seeing money accrue in the bank!

I've had a few months of reflection about where our money goes...and recognizing that both DH and I have to be on board.  We're giving You Need a Budget a try, because I didn't want to tie mint to our bank accounts.  But already I'm recognizing that even though it was convenient for me to blame DH for all our spending ills, it wasn't the whole story.  I'm trying to share with him more of my own struggles--wow, I really wanted all that stuff too, but now it feels worse and I don't think I want to do that anymore...and try to make our process a partnership, rather than just me trying to control everything.

I also realized that things might click for him, as they did for me, when I realized the reality of trade offs and choices.  It's not just about "don't buy that!", but about the calculated recognition that for every extra beer (my DH) buys, he's TAKING that money OUT of his RRSPs.  We are stealing from our future selves.  Now this might be too harsh a perspective if we were choosing between food and rent and laudry and utilities.  But good grief!  We have everything we could possibly want and need.

In our budget, when we started with YNAB last week, it was the reminder of some of our choices.  We spend $500 min/mo on our sailboat.  We spent $500 + on our commutes.  Etc.  We don't have to do these things.  They are worthy of facepunches.  However, we LOVE them.  Which means that we CHOOSE to spend that money on those things, and that ALSO means that we HAVE to NOT spend money on other things, because there's only so much money.  It's been really helpful to put all of that in perspective, even for myself, but I think for DH too.  He can see that I'm not trying to take things away from him that he cares about.  I want him to be happy, and I tell him that we will put money into things that make him really happy.  But he has to also then help decide where we will NOT put money to compensate.  And then we celebrate that we are so rich that we get to make these choices. :)

Good luck getting through the holidays on a budget.  Hope you're surviving this cold snap, too!  Our chickens are NOT happy. :)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Strawberrykiwi75 on December 08, 2013, 11:56:30 AM
Sorry I haven't read everyone's posts, so ignore me if someone's already mentioned it- have you asked your bank if you can go interest only on your first home? Many banks do this if you have good account conduct with them and have plans for the house- such as major renovations or selling. It's not great, but could improve your cash flow a little while you have two properties.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: tariskat on December 08, 2013, 03:59:48 PM
Some things you might try are:

- Selling your van and getting a smaller car - even a hatchback would fit 2 kiddos plus you and save you gas.

- Play mind games with yourself by keeping your checking account at your new 0, or 1,000 min (or 500, if you think that's too much); when all your bills go through, it should be around 1000.  Then a few bigger bills won't get you overdraft fees, and if you can log into Mint and see that you're sitting at only 1,100 you just go Oh crap I need not buy this until we get another paycheck. 

- Set aside a day this month that you and DH are home to set up your beer stuff, and you can do some financial house cleaning or help or something, instead of just reminding him (reminders never work with my own SO, I need to be in the same room doing something or he forgets about it).  Maybe while you're soap-crafting, he can be in beer heaven.

- Pay yourself first.  If your bills are getting paid (which it sounds like they are, drastic double house payments aside) then take a chunk out of every paycheck and put it in a different bank entirely, like Ally, that's harder to transfer around, and that's your new savings account that you just ignore (except for sticking money in it).  "I will teach you to be rich" by Ramit Sethi really helped me get a handle on savings, paying down loans, and contributing to retirement, well before I learned the way of the Mustachian.

- Try to eat through your pantry for a time period.  I did this with the intention of just doing it through October and it actually lasted me almost two months before I gave in and started restocking (I don't eat meat though, so a lot of my goods were beans and canned stuff and keeps a long time).  I really dug into my freezer, too.  I don't eat fresh produce quick enough to make it worth the money, so I do a lot of frozen veggies which are still great nutrition-wise.  I know you have kids to keep healthy, but a bean/rice/veggie dish is good for them, too!

Good luck.  You can do it, and Mustachians everywhere are cheering for you (even after a little face-punching).
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on December 09, 2013, 02:21:54 PM
Wow - thanks for all the positive energy! It's a nice thing to receive on a grey Monday.

Backyardfeast - your post made me reflect about my attitude about this. I definitely embraced an all or nothing stance, and was feeling that I was failing. It's definitely all about trade-offs, which we haven't really embraced. We need to find the balance between our wants, because we can't have them all. We have the 2nd home which we are having to pay for, which is about $1100/month  leaving our pockets that we won't get back, and honestly we don't miss that money, and we're not going into debt because of it, but it's also money that isn't being used to get us further ahead. Have we cut back on anything because of it that would allow us to be feeding money into savings? No, we still buy all the wine and beer we want, yummy food, still have 2 cars and commute 15k each way and I'm still giving my kids an awesome Christmas (albeit toned down because they have a LOT of stuff already). We haven't reacted to our situation and cut back, and reducing further sometimes feels like trying to suck juice from a potato, but I know that we have excess. My intent is once that house finally sells is to treat the $1100/month like it still doesn't exist and funnel it into savings knowing full well that we can live without it.

 
Quote
have you asked your bank if you can go interest only on your first home?
Strawberrykiwi75, we are only paying interest on it right now. We were "lucky" that our 5 year mortgage was up pretty much around the same time as we were purchasing our new house, so we just rolled most of it into a LOC @ 3.5% and the rest we had to put in an open variable @ 4%. Not awesome rates, but not $1500 penalty when we do sell.

Manner - lots of good points there.
Quote
Selling your van and getting a smaller car

My husband would love to get rid of the minivan since he's the one who drives it and I have the more sporty car. For a long time we felt like we needed to have a bigger vehicle (we had 5 acres - or still do since it hasn't sold yet!), and we had actually been looking at getting a truck. Now that we've downsized to a smaller property (.6 acres) we don't need it. The minimum we would need is something that can pull a little utility trailer. The crappy thing tho is that we probably could only get $2k for our van...so we've been thinking more along the lines of driving it till it dies.

Quote
Pay yourself first.
Yes! I was thinking about this on the weekend. I finally got around to setting up my fancy new TD e-series acct for auto withdrawals and was trying to figure out how much to save every month (was doing about $300/mth before), I upped it a bit, but not much, since we walking a fine line with the 2 houses, but it's a great point. I never thought about saving money as paying myself, but really at the end of the day, once you eliminate the fixed costs that you can't  avoid, save the amount of money that you want to save and then the rest is for the flexible costs.

Quote
- Try to eat through your pantry for a time period
I've been trying. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies and are pescotarians, so most of our meals are like yours, with the odd salmon feast.  If someone had asked me a few months ago whether we eat a lot of prepared food, I would have said no, but we've gotten into the habit of buying French fries, spring rolls, gyozas and that sort of thing from Costco. Convenient yes, but not really necessary. I haven't been restocking on these as we've finished so we are slowly getting towards the middle of the freezer at least.

All good points and great encouragement. Thanks everybody.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on December 13, 2013, 11:16:34 AM
We've found renters for our house!!!! Yay. It turns out it's an old friend from university who is temporarily in town with his family and wants to rent until the end of march which is perfect. We'll pull the house off the market for a couple of months, refresh the listing and put it back on the market. We'll pull in enough rent to cover our expenses every month. I'm so excited!!!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: backyardfeast on December 13, 2013, 09:07:56 PM
Congratulations, TGod!!  That's great news!

What a great Christmas present for you and your family.  Enjoy the holidays!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Self-employed-swami on December 13, 2013, 11:42:38 PM
Woohoo to finding renters!  March is a much better time to list a house anyway :)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Jenny on December 18, 2013, 12:42:08 PM
Congrats!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on February 13, 2014, 04:42:44 PM
Well we continue on with are struggle to sell our house. Our renters are leaving at the end of March. The house is back on the market to sell as of late January and we've had 3 showings, another happening right now and another one schedule for tomorrow. Meanwhile I put up a rental ad looking for renters for april 1. I had 2 different people approach me about rent-to-own. I'm in the middle of a half-assed negotiation with them. In the meantime I mentioned it to my realtor who of course poo-pooed the idea and said "hold off, I've got a couple clients really interested in the place".....blah blah, basically what she's been saying since Christmas, it might be true but I'm thinking if they do exist they're waiting for us to drop the price. We dropped from 319 to 309 when we relisted in January, our realtor came back at us within a week or so saying we should think of dropping to 299. We'd still get money out of the house for that (owe 240), so not a loss but I'm suspicious of her eagerness to drop given that it's 2 of her clients that are interested.
Anyway, with that going on, we've got this couple who checked the house out yesterday who have been pretty eager to set up a rent to own deal.  They don't have a downpayment, he has bad credit, she has good credit but student loans. They are working with a broker who says within 3 years of good credit behavior they should be eligible for a mortgage.
I've offered them a 309,000 purchase price,  requiring  2% option fee (works out to around 6K), regular rental fee of 1250/mth plus another $250 monthly option fee for a total monthly cost of 1500. The option fees get put away and will be paid as a downpayment if/when they pursue a mortgage. They've come back with no 2% option fee up front, or possibly only 2K after tax refund, and a total monthly payment of $1550, with a portion of that going towards the downpayment.
I've talked pretty straight to them that they should really think about what they're considering that they stand to lose up to 15K at the end of the 3 year deal if they don't end up buying. They really like the house and say they really want to pursue this. So potentially we could get what we are asking for the house, plus have about 4800/year going towards the principal, for a total of $14400 for the 60K of equity we have in the house (on paper) back at the end of it. And if they default, up to 15500. They would also be on the hook for most maintenance and upgrades.
I'm humming and hawing, granted our house has been on the market since july without any nibbles, so this could be viable, we would just have whatever equity exists in the house on hold for 3 years.
I'm tempted to go back to them with a 3k minimum option fee up front, and the $1550/month with 375$ going towards the downpayment (we currently rent it for 1100  so we're still doing well).
Anybody have experience as a seller in a rent to own deal?
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Cassie on February 13, 2014, 09:35:48 PM
We did it and it turned out horribly.  The market dropped a lot in 12 months-they decided they did not want to buy at any price and ruined our huge backyard. We could not sell and ended up with 2 homes.  8 years later the market is still nowhere near what it was. Had we just sold instead of the deal we would have been rid of the house & made a lot of $. I think it is a big gamble. I even knew these people.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: MsSindy on February 17, 2014, 10:53:40 AM
Really think hard about why this couple wants to RTO.  Are they putting any money up front?  How much?  Is it that they don’t have the whole down payment, or they don’t have any money (or hardly any)?  If they don’t have any money saved, you need to question why not?  Are they good at managing their money?  What is their Income to Debt ratio?  Do they have extra money to put into savings each month?  Have they been saving a set amount each month (this would show that they have good financial habits and discipline)?  Or, are they looking for the ‘quick fix’ on how they could get something that is ‘theirs’ without putting any skin in the game.  How long have they been at their jobs?  How secure are their jobs?  Do they have any emergency funds?  You need to understand their income vs expenses, and see if they have any leftover monies for savings, emergencies, and the like – and be sure you’re applying “standard” expenses, not Mustachian expense levels!  They may tell you they can afford it, but really look at the numbers.

Really think about their financial stability.  Because if something “happens”, you will need to go through the eviction process.  I don’t know eviction laws in Canada, but something tells me they are not landlord friendly (do your research for your area - Google is your friend).  Here in the US, depending on the state, it can be anywhere from 1-2 months to a year – insane!

Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on March 14, 2014, 11:19:32 AM
So after 8 months of showings with no offers we had 2 buyers competing last night. The first one started a couple of days ago with a lower 265K on a 309K listing, after some back and forth and the knowledge that there was a late afternoon showing yesterday they came up to 290K which was our "ok, but we're not happy about it number". The showing in the afternoon went well and by 9pm we got an offer for 300K with possession in 2 weeks. Sign, sign, sign......glass of wine, high fives all around....oh but wait, our realtor hadn't provided any of them with the updated disclosure statement where we had added something that she suggested we not add, but we didn't want to get bit down the road if something came up.
Everything came to a screeching halt after we told her we wanted her to submit that info to them, now i'm waiting to hear. Needless to say my anxiety prone husband didn't sleep well last night, I did ok mainly because i'm getting a delivery of bare root fruit trees today and I dreamed of all the cool backyard orchard stuff i am going to do with them.
But here it is 10:16am and only silence is coming from my realtor. She knows she fucked up! The issue on the disclosure statement isn't huge, but when you've signed off and then come back with an "oh wait...and oops there's this to consider" it would raise a red flag for me if i was the buyer.
It's a good thing this is a swearing blog cause...SHIT SHIT SHIT.
As I"m a positive person I will focus on the fact that either of those offers may stand regardless, plus we have another showing tomorrow where some city folk are coming to take a look at our little rural pad. My fingers are so crossed I can barely type
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Cpa Cat on March 23, 2014, 04:29:11 PM
I'm a little late to the ball game, but if you're still struggling with the grocery bill...

I'm going to suggest revamping how you plan meals. You can find a variety of books and reviews on Amazon by searching "cheap meals." Many of these are actually free from the library or from authors who maintain blogs - such as $5 Dinner Mom. Family Feasts for $75 isn't a bad cookbook either. Don't go hog wild - check the library or pick up one or two selections used.

These types of books will change your meal-planning habits, but it's likely that you will "outgrow" them - so you don't want to make some huge investment. Using them for a couple of months will absolutely change how you think about meals.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: strider3700 on March 23, 2014, 11:02:51 PM
I'm way late to this thread.  Best of luck on selling.  Not sure where on the island you are but at the moment take what you can and get out.   I can't think of a single market on the island that is unlikely to drop over the next few years.   
Going way back to october  someone argued that RESP was lower priority then TFSA or RRSP.   I completely disagree if you intent to fund your kids university.   Right now the government does a 20% match on anything up to I believe it's $2500 per kid per year.      There is nothing out there investment wise that is close to that risk free and guaranteed.   So make sure your family is putting the full $5k/year (I think you said you had 2 kids) into it.  If they aren't then make up the difference.  I'm comparable age to you and  my savings priority are RESP, TFSA,  RRSP  (I already have a cash emergency fund fully funded).

Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on March 25, 2014, 05:47:46 PM
The house sale has been melodramatic to say the least! The high bidders who won out had the inspection done right away, like the next day, and schedule the deadline for removing conditions at midnight the following Friday. They then proceeded to NOT contact us until late Thursday, we replied that evening and then didn't get their prompt reply till about 2 hrs before the deadline. Our crap realtor was MIA so we couldn't discuss specific details and at this point I have very little good to say about her. There were a couple of outstanding issues (electrical permit to close off, no probs, a hold back of 5K for debris cleanup and a boat removal....don't ask on the last one, it was one of my husbands precious items). We busted our asses last weekend to clean things up, bonfires, scrap metal trips, garbage bin, a crazy cleanup on a 5 acre property most of which had been left behind by the previous owners. Now the buyers have gone back and accused us of burying everything under dirt piles that have been uncovered since removing and burning piles of wood. We really just can't win. At this point I doubt they will sign off and we are worried that they are going to try to keep the 5K holdback if they find a single nail on the ground.
Closing is Thursday @ 5pm, and we leave for a tropical vacation on Saturday, which will be epically relaxing without the 2nd house to worry about.
Strider3700, we were selling a house in Port Alberni...and feel very happy about having managed to sell. We got less then we'd hoped, but knowing that I don't have a financial stake in what has been a chronically struggling town comforts me.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on March 28, 2014, 09:58:57 AM
Wow, well the sale went through and I have to say it was the most distasteful experience in my life. I'm not sure if these people are actually crazy or just generally toxic individuals. But my husband and i's excitement over selling was shat on by these buyers.
We finished the yard cleanup late Wednesday, we'd had a fire, and their last, late request on Tuesday evening was that they were concerned about glass and nails at the burn site but that they would be satisfied if we scraped 3-4" of soil off and replaced it, and that they would inspect it prior to closing...we had already scraped it with an excavator and were going over it with a magnet...but Whatever! We replied that yes we would do that, along with the list of things that we had said we would do on our previous email and that when that was complete we expected them to remove the holdback clause. Fast forward to Thursday, my husband takes the day off work to go in and sign the paperwork, gets to the notary only to find that, not only had they not removed the clause, they changed the wording to basically say that they would keep the 5K holdback to make changes or fixes to the property as they see fit and they would refund us whatever was left. They also said the house was damaged since we last saw it, which refered to a hook that held the dog line, that cracked the trim a bit (which had been done before they signed off on the house......) WTF! Thank god for our good notary who punted it back and said no way, that we had met the intent of the initial holdback and that they need to remove all conditions. They told the notary that we could expect a letter from their lawyer....clock keeps ticking as we approach the 5pm deadline. At this point we no longer wanted to sell our house to them, because they are horrible people. And we were secretly hoping they would walk away from the purchase and break the contract. We offered to walk the property with them twice to go over some details, since it's a big property with some quirky stuff about it. When my husband showed up at the property to fix the cracked trim, they were outside in their cars and drove away as soon as they saw him. No interest in being civil or pleasant.
So their parting shot @ 4:20pm was that they sent in an updated contract that removed the conditions but had a clause that said they reserved the right to sue if they weren't happy. Now I know that all buyers could sue whether they say so or not, but jeez, to actually say that staggered me.  They are absolute jackasses!!!
But we got our money, we don't have to worry about that house anymore and we can move on with our lives and start really working at achieving early retirement!!!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: sherr on March 28, 2014, 10:50:29 AM
Congratulations! I've been watching this thread for a while, so I know you've been waiting for this. It does seriously suck that your selling experience was so bad, but time heals all wounds eh? A few years from now you'll still have the money and still won't have to worry about the house, and things will look a little bit rosier. :)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on April 15, 2014, 12:34:47 PM
Well post house sell, I've got 30K burning a hole in my bank account, not as much as we'd hoped but still ok. We've already paid off my inlaws for their downpayment loan, so now the question is what to do with it. My DH really wants a new Toyota truck so we're thinking about purchasing one......queue facepunch.....I'm partially kidding, he does want a truck but no we are not buying one.
We do have a slightly higher than average cc payment to make due to what felt like an extravagant but was quite frugal, vacation in the carribean.

My inlaws had their 50th wedding anniversary and wanted to do a trip somewhere to celebrate. After lots of research, I convinced the crew (5 adults and 2 kids) to head to the carribean, where we rented a "villa" with a pool beside the beach. I used quotes, cause tho it was termed a villa, it was by no means fancypants. My inlaws are pretty mustachian people and have worked hard all their lives and are comfortably retired, their offer in all of this was to pay for the kids airfare, share of the house etc. My DH and I footed the bill for ourselves....which amount to our share of the rental van, and food and the house. We used our CC points to purchase our tickets (everytime I think about canceling my rewards card because we have to pay for it, I can't seem to do it....it takes about 2 years to save up enough points to purchase 2 $1k tickets to somewhere nice for the cost of 340$ (170$/yr). The fee always seems like a lot until we use the points and then we're happy. So for our family of 4 we ended up spending about $2500 on a 14 day trip. 
I'm writing this after reading MMM's post about buying happiness and the purchasing of experiences. I definitely bought into this idea. I traveled a lot before having kids, and I do miss it. Our experiences now tend to be more of the white bread type vacation, stay somewhere middle of the road that doesn't smell like urine, rent vehicles instead of hitching or taking old buses etc. But what I miss is the walking through crowded streets eating food from vendors, hanging out in hostel type environments and pushing myself onto a crowded bus winding my way through super steep mountains on really crazy roads. The trip that we just returned from, wasn't cheap, but wasn't expensive. We made the mistake of going out for dinner a couple of times and then settled into the habit of going to the market and buying veggies and fresh fish for dinner every night. Our accommodations were nice, but not luxurious by upper class standards, but they had everything that we needed and our kids had an absolute blast. We all relaxed. After the emotionally taxing experience of selling our house and the stress of owning 2 houses for the last 9 months it was nice to go somewhere that we could and did veg out. There was nothing we needed to do. I didn't even do any side hustle work while there, now that's really a vacation! Is this something we would do every year? No, but I know from the feedback from my inlaws that this was an experience that they absolutely cherish. They are on the other side of the country and make the trip our twice/year for a visit, but it was pretty amazing for them to have 12 days of full on access to their grandkids and lots of evenings of sitting around on the patio drinking wine with their kids. A pricy vacation...yes, but possibly priceless for the family.

Now.....about that 30K!
I'm leaning towards a combo....put a chunk, maybe 15K into RRSP to take advantage of the tax refund next year which could then be put on the Mortgage and put some away as a little emergency fund (which we don't have). The rest as a little lump payment on the mortgage. My husband is definitely of the "Pay off the mortgage first" line of thinking.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 17, 2014, 05:41:15 PM
Well it has been just over a year since I posted here for the first time. Given that, I thought it might be timly to post my spending from over the past year since finding MMM. Things have changed a bit, we sold our old house last spring which freed up cash and I’ve started saving more.

That said, my spending is still SHOCKING! There is cash leaving our accounts that I can’t account for because it is my husband making cash withdrawals (100$ here, 200$ there) that I know nothing about.

My husband is not a spendthrift in that he doesn’t make big purchases without a joint decision to do so, but he seems to always want to be dropping 1000$ here, 500$ there, as well, as I said he deals in cash often so that there is not trail in terms of where the money goes. He knows I keep up on our spending and that I’m always on this blog, but when I propose that he reads some of the ideas on the forum, he says he doesn’t need to because I do. He’s got the job that he hates, but he is not particularly energized at the idea of retiring in 10 years. He can’t even be bothered to go activate his RRSP account. That, and he’s pretty lackluster about following a budget. Not that I’m faultless, I’ve got $2000 racked up for my personal spending and the Costco tally, while it includes lots of food stuff, also has household stuff not accounted for in shopping.

My plan at this point is to go over our year’s worth of spending and then to do a monthly report to review until we can get on the same page and start cruising a little more smoothly.

Anyway, in the spirit of shaming myself in this blog, here are my crappy spending habits – this is total spending from January 1 to October 31, 2014:

Income: $125,357
Salary & Side Gig: 89210$ (After tax)
House Sale Cash back: 36,147 (this was dumped into our account, some was used to pay off parents loan, invest and put towards new house improvements)

Savings: $38,023
Mortgage Extra Payment: $10,745
RRSP:                                     $23,608
Emergency Fund:                 $3,670

Spending: $87334
Mortgage:      $15,760
House Insurance:   $1,156
Property tax:      $1565
Groceries:      $5911
Alcohol:      $2596
     (this includes boxed wine, Ubrew wine,  husbands beer – he no longer Ubrews)
Car (2 cars, 15km commute each way, drive separately)
     Gas         $3252
     Servicing      $501
     Insurance      $1,929
    Motorbike Insurance   $221
   (husband just sold it)
Daycare/Summer camp  $2701
Entertainment      $175
    (Netflix, movie, weekend excursions)
Bank Fees      $257
    (includes visa fees of $170/yr, overdraft protection, atm charges, account fees)
Coffee Shops      $23
Utilities         $947
    (includes firewood, garbage, septic etc)
Husbands Cell      $145
Hydro         $1220
    (this will be lower in the coming year since we installed a woodstove this fall)
Health         $480
    (whatever isn’t covered by our work benefits)
Internet & Landline   $1,328
Kids         $1385
    (school fees, clothes, shoes, bday presents – I buy a couple of larger sizes when things are on sale)
Lawn & Garden      $2384
    (big this year because we built raised beds, and a greenhouse – will be MUCH smaller next year)
Life Insurance      $995
Old House Expenses   $2530
    (no longer an issue given that we sold)
Parental Loan payout   $6980
Restaurants      $1356
   (this included about $500 on our 2 week vacation since the others in the group paid for 
               groceries)
Pets         $960
   (2 dogs, a cat and chickens – older dog just died so saves on future food and medication)
Moving         $223
Sports         $1294
   (my husband is a jujitsu fanatic, so this includes his & the kids lessons….does NOT include his 
seminars which I don’t know about price wise)
Vacation      $2748
   (every other year)
Misc         $644
   (finally did a Will…)   
XMAS & bdays…so far    $403
Me         $2000
       (includes my bi-annual haircut, Shopping & I bought a bike this year with the intent to start
biking to work….)
Husband       $2226
        (includes UFC tv, Jujitsu gear, books,  work shoes)
Home Improvement   $12642
Costco         $4774
Cash & ATM      $3623

   

The worst of the lot are the last 2...the Costco (which is on top of the groceries), and the unnaccounted for ATM withdrawals....crazy!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: bigalsmith101 on November 17, 2014, 07:55:58 PM
Please take all pending face punches as they are intended, as proverbial aching stab wounds that make my mind and body hurt in lieu of your excess.

That being said, I'm not trying to be a "meany pants" but rather "see the light" in your present scenario/s.

I've read your journal from the beginning, and have waited until now to open my "big mouth", so please understand that I'm writing any/all of this from a cliff top scenario where I'm trying to pull you away from the edge.


....That said, my spending is still SHOCKING! There is cash leaving our accounts that I can’t account for because it is my husband making cash withdrawals (100$ here, 200$ there) that I know nothing about....

Where is the communication! You guys are married, have kids, have purchased and sold a home, and are parenting a growing family, not to mention everything else. You've got most of your shit together already it would seem, but the financial communication is outrageous.

My husband is not a spendthrift YES HE IS! in that he doesn’t make big purchases without a joint decision to do so, but he seems to always want to be dropping 1000$ here, 500$ there, as well, as I said he deals in cash often so that there is not trail in terms of where the money goes. Any purchase over $10 is a purchase that needs to be discussed!He knows I keep up on our spending and that I’m always on this blog, but when I propose that he reads some of the ideas on the forum, he says he doesn’t need to because I do. He's 100% NOT invested in the MMM (or any other ) concept! He’s got the job that he hates, but he is not particularly energized at the idea of retiring in 10 years. He can’t even be bothered to go activate his RRSP account.ACTIVATE IT FOR HIM! He's been bred into this cycle. You've gotta make the example, or it'll never happen That, and he’s pretty lackluster about following a budget. Not that I’m faultless, I’ve got $2000 racked up for my personal spending and the Costco tally, while it includes lots of food stuff, also has household stuff not accounted for in shopping. Do you really want to change? Or is this an outlet for you to find others like you that also see $15k+ in discretionary spending as normal/ok

My plan at this point is to go over our year’s worth of spending and then to do a monthly report to review until we can get on the same page and start cruising a little more smoothly.
This is a good idea. You should do this tomorrow, ie. immediately. Again, good idea.

Anyway, in the spirit of shaming myself in this blog, here are my crappy spending habits – this is total spending from January 1 to October 31, 2014:

Income: $125,357
Salary & Side Gig: 89210$ (After tax)
House Sale Cash back: 36,147 (this was dumped into our account, some was used to pay off parents loan, invest and put towards new house improvements)

Savings: $38,023
Mortgage Extra Payment: $10,745
RRSP:                                     $23,608
Emergency Fund:                 $3,670

Spending: $87334
Mortgage:      $15,760
House Insurance:   $1,156
Property tax:      $1565
Groceries:      $5911!!!!!! If this included your alcohol and restaurants, you'd be ok, but it doesn't!
Alcohol:      $2596!!!!!! Nearly 4 drinks daily at $2/drink. This assumes a constant and ever-present need for alcohol. Could you quit if you wanted to?
     (this includes boxed wine, Ubrew wine,  husbands beer – he no longer Ubrews)
Car (2 cars, 15km commute each way, drive separately)
     Gas         $3252
     Servicing      $501
     Insurance      $1,929
    Motorbike Insurance   $221
   (husband just sold it)
Daycare/Summer camp  $2701
Entertainment      $175
    (Netflix, movie, weekend excursions)
Bank Fees      $257
    (includes visa fees of $170/yr, overdraft protection, atm charges, account fees)
Coffee Shops      $23
Utilities         $947
    (includes firewood, garbage, septic etc)
Husbands Cell      $145
Hydro         $1220
    (this will be lower in the coming year since we installed a woodstove this fall)
Health         $480
    (whatever isn’t covered by our work benefits)
Internet & Landline   $1,328
Kids         $1385
    (school fees, clothes, shoes, bday presents – I buy a couple of larger sizes when things are on sale)
Lawn & Garden      $2384
    (big this year because we built raised beds, and a greenhouse – will be MUCH smaller next year)
Life Insurance      $995
Old House Expenses   $2530
    (no longer an issue given that we sold)
Parental Loan payout   $6980
Restaurants      $1356, this is addition to your expensive grocery bill. Unacceptable.
   (this included about $500 on our 2 week vacation since the others in the group paid for 
               groceries)
Pets         $960
   (2 dogs, a cat and chickens – older dog just died so saves on future food and medication)
Moving         $223
Sports         $1294 Isn't this covered in his $3600/yr spending and "Husband" allowance?
   (my husband is a jujitsu fanatic, so this includes his & the kids lessons….does NOT include his 
seminars which I don’t know about price wise)
Vacation      $2748
   (every other year)
Misc         $644
   (finally did a Will…)   
XMAS & bdays…so far    $403
Me         $2000, Shopping isn't allowed, you're barely out of the hair on fire stage
       (includes my bi-annual haircut, Shopping & I bought a bike this year with the intent to start
biking to work…. So, why aren't you biking to work then?)
Husband       $2226 He already spends $3600 a year on other things, he should learn to pick/choose
        (includes UFC tv, Jujitsu gear, books,  work shoes)
Home Improvement   $12642
Costco         $4774, you're shooting yourself in the feet every time you go there
Cash & ATM      $3623, this would cause serious relationship issues in my household

The worst of the lot are the last 2...the Costco (which is on top of the groceries), and the unnaccounted for ATM withdrawals....crazy!  I can't agree. There are lots of "worst of the lot"

You're at a 42% savings rate if your numbers are correct (savings/income), but that is not a constant number and reflects the income from the sale of your old home. Proactively, your savings are forecasted at near 0% given your spending rate vs income. This is terrible. Just like many have asked, how is it that you intend to break even?

I've taken the liberty of highlighting in red things that should likely be considered if you intend to make a serious change.

I've got a friend that is in a similar situation as yourself,
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: gimp on November 17, 2014, 09:03:38 PM
On the plus side, you're doing better. On the downside, you're still doing quite poorly.

Cut groceries.
Definitely cut liquor, you can't afford it.
Insurance is quite high - why is it so high?
Why are you paying visa fees?
Overdraft protection isn't protection, it's crap, get rid of it and set it so your debit card just declines if there's no cash, and use a credit card if you're accidentally dry / have unforeseen expenses (and pay it off.)
Why are you paying account fees?
Why are you paying so much for internet and landline? That's over $100/month.
Lawn and garden obviously needs to be much smaller.
Old house expenses gone - good!
Parental loan - how much are you paying? For how long? $7k is not a bad yearly repayment, I would consider this net worth increase if not savings.
Restaurants, obviously you need to cut. I combine restaurants with entertainment for myself as one budget. You can't afford them!
Vacation - you're spending $5500 every two years? Why? There are plenty of great, incredible vacations that cost hardly more than the gas you need to drive there; I guarantee you I've had better vacations for $500.
Shopping on what?
Costco on top of groceries? Or is that a sub-budget? And costco is a great company but they're not the cheapest way to eat, not by a long shot.
Cash and ATM - spent on what? Track every bit of cash you spend.

What you need to do, immediately, in my opinion, is the following. This won't actually hurt, by the way.

1) No more cash/ATM whatsoever unless every penny is strictly accounted for.
2) Create a monthly spreadsheet of expenses. Every single item, have it on a separate line. If it takes too long, it's because you're buying too much. Okay, you can put multiples of the same thing on the same line (eg, 10 pounds of beef, or whatever.)
3) At the end of the month, look at every item and ask the following questions: Did we need that? Did we use that? Would we notice had we not bought that?

Then, you start with low-hanging fruit. "I didn't even know we bought that." Okay, don't buy it again. Rinse and repeat. After a couple months, you get the harder questions. "We need it but we didn't use it." Don't re-buy it until it's been used and you need it soon. "We used it but we didn't need it." Don't buy it, look for things that are cheaper, or just don't bother replacing it at all. And so on. This time next year, you'll know what you're actually spending all that cash on!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: backyardfeast on November 17, 2014, 09:23:07 PM
TGod, it's brave of you to post all this--I haven't had the courage!--and I appreciate seeing your numbers just for comparison with ours.  We're just down the island from you, as you might remember, so lots of our numbers are similar.  Our mortgage and insurance is similar, cost of living area is similar.  For the last poster who wondered why utilities are so high, internet here is $60 for a basic package, with no competitors to switch to.  If they have a landline, that makes up the difference (although, TGod, if you're not on the basic package, you might want to consider it!).

Breaking down these numbers to monthly, I think you're doing pretty well; $500 for groceries for a family is pretty good in these parts, even with the Costco runs not included, for instance.  We don't spend quite as much as you do for alcohol, but we do spend 100-150/mo for regular, less expensive but still quality booze.  ($2 drinks are hard to come by in Canada!!) We are able to have some leftovers for savings, and we have some expenses that are much higher than yours (we have longer commutes, so our gas costs are crazy, and we have a sailboat with associated expenses), but a major difference is that we have no kids.  I think that's where our savings really come from, when I look at your categories.

But I think the reality check of the last poster is worth thinking about.  For the standard of living that's common in these parts, I feel like we're pretty frugal and not at all keeping up with the Joneses.  And I could see your husband getting lazy because against that backdrop it probably feels like you are trying to sacrifice in some areas.  But the truth is...you have NO savings in this budget.  And you still have debt to pay off.  So there is a hard conversation worth having with DH about what the present and future look like.  Where is the flexibility in case of a layoff or illness?  Is there an emergency fund?  How long will it take to build up a cushion or pay off the family?  It's time for a heart to heart and a real plan.

Some low-hanging fruit: no-fee credit cards, bank with Coast Capital Savings or another no-fee bank/credit union.  The woodstove will be a godsend (with it, our TOTAL utilities of all kinds are $50-55/mo).  Do you need a landline?  We pay $135 or so for a 2 phone family cell plan (unlimited everything with Bell).  Will there be more home improvement costs?  Can you budget for these?  I see that there are some other expenses that will not continue, but if you're anything like me, new surprises will pop up to replace them :).  I like the idea of sports coming out of the "husband allowance", although you may not have that structure yet? 

Good luck to you; I'll be really interested to see where this goes.  And if DH is still resistant to the RE motivation, you may have better luck with a cold look at these numbers for the year and basic financial security...
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: 1967mama on November 17, 2014, 11:47:30 PM
TGod, it's brave of you to post all this--I haven't had the courage!

+1

Also, great job with the tracking .. at least you KNOW where you stand (for the most part, except for the vanishing ATM $$ and Costco), even if its not pretty.

I actually rarely shop at Costco; too many temptations. Shopping has always been my drug of choice.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 18, 2014, 02:53:28 PM
This was a day I was actually a little scared to login to the forum.....So yes, I agree with everything you have all said. This is an embarrassing display of spendiness. What's crazy is I don't feel like we're living high on the hog even spending just shy of 90K of regular income on all this. We don't buy new furniture, we don't have car payments, we have a modest house.  That said, the shopping, the husband fund, the unaccounted for cash spending and the Costco bills at the very least stink of consumption.


On the plus side, you're doing better. On the downside, you're still doing quite poorly.

Cut groceries. - This has been a goal of mine but doesn't seem to happen. We don't buy a lot of convenience foods, other than my husband's cereal, his preferred bread and veggie burgers. We cook from scratch 95% of the time. BUT we have yet to stick to our budget which I tried to implement last year, $600/month (including Costco).
Insurance is quite high - why is it so high? - not sure if this about house or car insurance? Car insurance is what it is in BC, that's with a 40% discount. 95$/month on each vehicle. House insurance, again that's what it costs in BC. It's actually about 1/2 of what we paid last year because I did even more shopping around this year.
Why are you paying visa fees? - Ya I know...not sure what to do about this one. We have Avion cards, and it's a pretty good payback for flights. We've got about 2000$ worth of flights every 2 years for a visa fee of $340....BUT that's only because we spend so much. We discuss letting this one go.

Why are you paying so much for internet and landline? That's over $100/month. As Backyardfeast said, basic internet here in BC is 60$/mth. No other option other than to not have internet. Landline is $30/mth, basic, the rest is long distance. We can't get rid of the landline because our cell coverage is spotty at best at our house. Our total phone cost is ~42 plus long distance since my cell is covered by work.
Parental loan - how much are you paying? For how long? $7k is not a bad yearly repayment, I would consider this net worth increase if not savings. Loan was paid off entirely. We owe nothing.
Vacation - you're spending $5500 every two years? Why? There are plenty of great, incredible vacations that cost hardly more than the gas you need to drive there; I guarantee you I've had better vacations for $500.
 No that would be 2200 every 2 years. This was the first big tropical vacation we went on with out 2 kids. We have no plan to do it again anytime soon, but figured maybe every couple of years.

Costco on top of groceries? Or is that a sub-budget? And costco is a great company but they're not the cheapest way to eat, not by a long shot. I know! We go in there for dog food and almond milk and come out with all sorts of other stuff.



bigalsmith101 - if I didn't expect comments on my poor yearly showing I wouldn't have posted. And your feedback is well received.
Quote
Where is the communication! You guys are married, have kids, have purchased and sold a home, and are parenting a growing family, not to mention everything else. You've got most of your shit together already it would seem, but the financial communication is outrageous

Alcohol:      $2596!!!!!! Nearly 4 drinks daily at $2/drink. This assumes a constant and ever-present need for alcohol. Could you quit if you wanted to? Yes, I don't think we've entered alcoholic territory...yet. I have a glass of wine/day. My husband will have ~glasses/day or maybe a big bottle of beer. I don't think we will give up alcohol altogether but we definitely have to get a handle on this.

I will start by saying I am not perfect. Passive Aggressive anyone? But, my husband and I have a dynamic where if I am in any way critical, his response is to criticize me on something, mostly unrelated and get angry and an argument ensues which effectively ends the initial conversation. I'm not here for marriage counseling or feedback on how to approach my husband better, but that has been my reasoning for NOT pushing this too much, even though I know that I should. We have a great relationship, lots of communication on everything, even money, but the willingness to change just hasn't been there. And as much as I want to march home today and throw down these details and say "We're sticking to a budget and NO we're not spending $1000 on an effin' cargo trailer right now", I also don't want to be a nitpicky partner. I have taken over the finances in our lives mostly because I enjoy it more, so he rarely if ever sees the bills, whereas I get to cringe every month at the 3500$ visa bills plus the 400$ Costco bill. Every once in a while i'll ask him about an Amazon purchase to make sure its legit but that's about it.  Savings wise, my husband feels a disgust for the entire stock market thing, he has not interest in investing in his RRSP because he feels it's all a big scam. He wants to put all our extra cash on our mortgage. I've chosen to balance between the 2 to keep us both happy.

The little things I am happy about are a) paying off our loan to my in-laws so we only have our mortgage as debt now. Upping the game on my RRSP contributions and putting extra money towards the mortgage. As stated however, that pretty much all came out of the house sale money. In order to replicate this we will need to cut back $30K of spending next year.


Where is the flexibility in case of a layoff or illness? Is there an emergency fund?   My husband's response to starting an emergency fund is that we can always use our line of credit....face palm...I've squirreled about $3500 way in a savings account for this.

Will there be more home improvement costs?  Can you budget for these? Yes, we still have improvement costs, probably another 10K to redo the 2 bathrooms (1 shower between the 2 bathrooms, and it's a corner shower that is literally falling apart....my husband had a shower the other day and the walls collapsed on him I like the idea of sports coming out of the "husband allowance", although you may not have that structure yet?  We don't currently have an allowance set up but we will, but given the 90$/mth martial arts and beer and martial arts seminars and gi's and books I don't think he'll be dancing for joy at my proposal :) .

Anyway this evening I will sit down with him and go over our finances and discuss the changes that need to happen and set up a budget. Set up mint on our tablet (which I got for free when I opened a TD account to put my emergency fund into) which I will hang on our kitchen cupboard so that he can also check in on this and become part of the solution.  Right off the bat there is about 22K that we should be able to trim off. I'd like us within the next month or so to get us down to spending 1/2 our regular income and save the rest. Right now that works out to about 42K after tax/year, plus I bring in another 12K-ish from my side gig that I would like to flow straight into savings, but till now it just goes to cover living....Yuck. That would funnel about 54K into savings. At this point it feels very far out of reach.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: gimp on November 18, 2014, 03:11:30 PM
There's no need to add any more feedback to the actual spending until after your conversation. The one thing I should say is that going from nothing to 50% in a month is a commendable goal - but likely not just unrealistic, but will plain old lead you to abandon the idea of savings. Just like weight loss, it's not a temporary diet but a consistent way of living. Cutting 5% of your spending per month puts you there a lot later, but it's a lot easier to do without rebelling and undoing all the good by gorging (shopping.)

Also, the good news is that you have $7k next year you can immediately save (loan to parents).

And yes, you need to actually stick to a budget if you have one. If you don't, it's like a speed limit: it makes you constantly paranoid, because you're always exceeding and you know you can get in trouble.

And stop dealing in cash. Stop it. Stop stop stop. You have no fucking clue what you're buying when you spend cash.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 18, 2014, 03:22:42 PM
And stop dealing in cash. Stop it. Stop stop stop. You have no fucking clue what you're buying when you spend cash.

I know, right! I think I've taken out cash about 5 times this year, and it's been for things like the Farmer's Market or to pay for firewood. My husband works near the bank, so he's the one who typically deposits my side gig checks, so I think it's a convenience thing for him. I'm always surprised when I see him pay for something with cash cause I pull out my credit card for every, single, tiny, little purchase. I figure if I'm paying a credit card fee I'm going to rack up as many points as I can.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 19, 2014, 01:54:21 PM
Well, last nights conversation went better than I could have anticipated. It always helps to start with a big bomb drop of "We've blown through 90K in 10 months" to get his attention.
So we cracked a $5 bottle of U-brew wine and started going through all the spending, I highlighted the big things which in my mind is Costco, cash, and the extra spending and shopping that we just need to eliminate period. And then reviewed the other high spending areas that we should look at lowering.
There was a couple of times where he threw out quality of life and let's enjoy ourselves in case we die tomorrow, but when I looked at him like he was crazy he said he was only joking.  What I really tried to drive home to him was that the big goal of all this is for him to be able to leave his regular job in 10 years, that it's not just don't spend to make our lives difficult. I REALLY encouraged him to read MMM to help him understand that it's possible to live below your means and still have an awesome life.
After going through our spending I focused on the budget that I came up with. He brought up accountability and before I could say anything he suggested a monthly conversation to check in and review our spending. We also made it clear that while we work through this process of getting control of our spending that we are, respectfully able to hold each other accountable and if I come home with a new pair of boots that he knows cost 250$ bucks that I'm going to have to justify it based on my personal spending money.
Probably the only area of minor conflict was the renovation amount.  We need to do our main bathroom and would really like to do our master bath (yucky jaccuzi bath). We are also going to need to do some plumbing updates to replace the piping. My husband is pretty handy, so we figure we could rock our main bathroom for about $1500 depending on good deals, and the master bath for maybe the same. The plumbing, we may look at hiring someone to do it, as he is not super keen on tackling that project himself.  He wants to have a bit more freedom to pay for these updates then I initially laid out in the budget. So that part may be a work in progress, and may require us to dip into our Emergency Stash every once in a while to cover the extra work. But we have decided to be a bit more conscious of when we spend money.
Anyway all that said, here is the budget we've agreed on:

                        Monthly           Yearly
Income              $6,800.00     $94,500.00 (yearly balance includes extra pay period for SO & my side gig)
Budget              $4,611.37     $55,336.40
Savings                $2,188.63       $42,436.40   

Savings Fund           $238              $2,805
Investments         $1,400             $27,300
Extra Mortgage        $800              $9,600


Car Insurance        184                2208
Gas                        300                3600 Extra to Savings
Car Service          60                 720 ROLL OVER (this is not a car service where someone drives me...its repairs, oil change etc)
Firewood                  50                 600 ROLL OVER
Hydro                  75                 900 ROLL OVER - Still seeing how the woodstove works out, hope to make it 600/yr
Garbage                  26                 312
Entertainment          40                 480 Extra to Savings
Internet&Landline    110               1320 Extra to Savings
Mobile Phone          11.2                134.4
Life Insurance          96               1152
Groceries                 550               6600 Extra to Savings
Alchohol                 150               1800 Extra to Savings
Restaurants           30                 360 Extra to Savings
Home Insurance         100               1200
Home Improvement  400               4800 Extra to Savings
Garden                   20                 240 Extra to Savings
Mortgage                1440             17280
Kids                          200               2400 ROLL OVER (this includes sports, and summer camp/daycare, clothes, shoes, school)
SO Spending          235               2820 ROLL OVER (extra $35/mth for work shoes - 3 pairs per year - extra on paycheck 2x/yr
Me Spending          200               2400 ROLL OVER
Visa Fee                    14.17         170
We are going to phase this out next year - we have enough points for all 4 to fly to visit some friends up north so will use those up before canceling - yearly fee due in May
Health                  100                1200 Extra to Savings
I had planned to make this part of our spending, but felt this is more appropriate. We don't have high health costs, but sometimes we do need to pay small amounts out of pocket for prescriptions, benefits deductible and we also get body work done to manage chronic injury issues that aren't covered by benefits. So it won't necessarily cover everything, but anything above the amount will come out of personal spending.
Xmas & Bdays            50                  600 Extra to Savings...but really who am I kidding, this will be a tough one for me
Pets                            35                  420 Extra to Savings
Includes dog food for our small dog who catches rats around the property so he's worth every penny, our cat who, to be hones,t at this point mostly sits around getting fat since I put a bell on her to keep her from killing birds, and our chickens, who give us eggs and compost for the garden, and we can sell our eggs  and make about 15$/mth if we want to.

I set up Mint on our home tablet, and SO has agreed that anytime he makes a purchase, particularly with cash, he will log the transaction and account for it. He will also cut back on the amount of cash he takes out, but informed me that he pays for the kid's martial arts in cash, which when both were taking it, amounted to 90$/mth and now that just one of them is taking it is still $60/mth, for 2x/week for an hour. That seems crazy expensive to me for a kids activity. But anyway that accounts for some of the cash withdrawals.

Anyway there it is. The initial plan. Not quite the 50K savings rate that I would like, but as someone else pointed out, if it's too painful from the get go, we'll abandon the budget. And as it sits it's a pretty extreme cut for us.

Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: gimp on November 19, 2014, 02:16:25 PM
That is a pretty extreme cut for you. I applaud the ambition, and definitely caution against too much too fast. Also importantly, this obviously needs to be fully and enthusiastically agreed on by both of you, not dictated and accepted, you know? But assuming that's the case, then, awesome.

A budget not kept just makes things stressful. Sometimes people end up hiding expenses or justifying them as "they bought x so I should get to buy y", etc etc etc. It has to be kept! I have however found it fun to as a couple search specifically for fun free or nearly free stuff to do. Hiking, exploring, wandering, watching that show you already have on netflix, ... "snuggling", you get the point. Eventually you have a repertoire of fun things that cost nearly nothing and you can't fathom going out without a good reason, or buying shit to fill the hole in your happiness, or whatever.

(Ah, who am I to lecture? I just bought another lens.)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Cassie on November 19, 2014, 03:47:33 PM
Your budget looks good. If you start to fail don't give up.  Just realize that you may need to start with smaller cuts.  If you guys make this work right off the bat that will be awesome!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: ThatsMyOtter on November 19, 2014, 03:51:49 PM
I'm glad to hear that your husband suggested having the monthly conversation and that he agreed to the new budget. It'll be a lot easier to get him to stick to a budget that he agreed to. I strongly recommend affirming whatever progress he makes, even if it takes a while for him to keep to the new budget, so that he doesn't get discouraged and give up. Good luck!
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: RetiredAt63 on November 23, 2014, 01:12:07 PM
Looks good - good luck!  I don't have a formal budget, but I do all my spending on CC and debit if I can (some things do have to be paid by cheque).  It gives me almost instant feedback - how is the CC balance or bank balance doing?  Cash is deadly unless spending is written down immediately - and how many of us can do that?  Or get receipts for everything - and entering them into a spreadsheet is a pain.  Can your husband pay for more things by cheque?  At least then you have a better record, and he doesn't have cash burning a hole in his pocket.

Re costs, I am always amazed at how inexpensive things are in the US compared to here, and that is when I am visiting people who live in fairly high COL areas (Cape Cod is not cheap, right?).  Maybe Canadian posters should add the little caution - "American readers, remember that Canadian prices are higher - much higher, especially away from major urban centers".  ;-)
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Bikeguy on November 23, 2014, 01:23:37 PM
Get DH a prepaid debit with an agreed upon amount loaded every month. Bluebird.  Target Prepaid Redcard.
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: TGod on November 24, 2014, 11:26:13 AM
Can your husband pay for more things by cheque?  At least then you have a better record, and he doesn't have cash burning a hole in his pocket.

We do pretty much all of our purchasing on our credit card, so it's fairly easy to keep track of the majority of the spending. This cash thing was just an extra...."while I'm here depositing this cheque, it would be convenient to take out some cash in case I need it", which I think ends up getting frittered away in 10-20$ chunks.
He has committed to not taking cash out, unless he accounts for it. I know he will continue to pay for our kid's martial arts with cash, but at least I will now have a heads up.
It's been less than a week, but he's been pretty proactive about giving me the heads up about receipts, so I'm pleased. I just emailed him MMM's latest post about the actual point of frugality, I think this is a good and timely read for him. We're dealing with a bit of a November spending hangover,  since we flipped this switch over halfway through November, we still had some pretty hefty reno spending that occurred earlier in the month, so my budget tracking on Mint has lots of red in it.

Though I complain about his spending, I am right up there with him, I just don't do cash, but I've given my credit card a great workout this year.


Quote
Re costs, I am always amazed at how inexpensive things are in the US compared to here, and that is when I am visiting people who live in fairly high COL areas (Cape Cod is not cheap, right?).  Maybe Canadian posters should add the little caution - "American readers, remember that Canadian prices are higher - much higher, especially away from major urban centers".  ;-)

Definitely! Canada is more expensive for almost everything. Comparing prices of things on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com often makes me mad. Particularly when the $ is on par. We often pay 10-25% more than what something costs in the US, which is avoidable by just not buying stuff. Food however is also higher, about 10%. And I'm not talking about processed crap, but raw ingredients.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Canada&country2=United+States
Title: Re: I deserve a facepunch...just do it fast
Post by: Hey It's Me on December 18, 2014, 08:13:51 AM
Expenses – I’ve attached a spreadsheet so I won’t go into detail here.

Where is the attachment? Sorry, I'm new here and I can't seem to find it.