Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saving the Moola: April in review

April was a crazy month! It didn't really go anything like I expected, in both good and bad ways. There was a lot going on this month. Our work lives seemed crazy {they weren't really, but it felt that way...}, our personal lives were busy, busy, busy and God was preparing our hearts for a lot of different things!

We shared that we started cracking down on all of our bills - we canceled cable television and our home phone service.

We also shared that you need a financial plan. Jason shared with me a quote that we wanted to share with you:

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

If you don't have a plan, how do you know where you're going? How will you know how to get there? You need a plan!

Throughout the entire month of April, we also declared a Pantry + Freezer Challenge in our house. We were to cook meals using items on hand. Jason, who is head chef, didn't seem very fazed by this, but I have to confess: I'm very much looking forward to getting back to a more varied menu. It was getting boring there for awhile!

Our savings accounts are all still intact - this is great. It means our car didn't die in any form, Jason earned at least as much as we planned for him to (he's actually earned more than that set amount every month this year!), and no real emergencies occurred. We couldn't ask for much more than that.

We are on track to pay off one of two student loans by midnight on May 31. We are both so, so excited about this. I have a baby loan and a bear loan - I didn't really take out loans for a baby or a bear. They were for school, but I call them that since one is tiny and one is huge. We'll be paying off the baby one so long as nothing horrific happens. Our goal for paying off the bear loan is by midnight on December 31. Our hope in telling all of you is that you can hold us accountable and cheer us along! Please keep us in your prayers as the year continues for this special intent.

Throughout the entire year, I've been maintaining a special savings envelope. Money that is unexpected goes into this envelope to pay for unbudgeted needs and wants. I completed saving for a special item primarily for Jason's use in March. The special item was the Bible Experience electronic Bible. In the first week of April, I also completed saving for another special item for Jason's use, which was a pair of Bose in-ear speakers.

I was shocked when during the month of April, I saved enough money to purchase the long-coveted iPod Touch. I bought it on Sunday, using my Target debit REDcard so I could save five percent right at the register, and I love it! It's really handy to use and have and I'm so glad I bought it - I will admit that even as we were walking into the store, I told Jason I didn't think I could actually buy one. He lovingly said we weren't leaving the store without it, even if he had buy it for me. He did end up swiping the REDcard, but I was so thrilled I was able to purchase this. Jason likes it a lot, too, so we might, at some point, save up our gift cards from SwagBucks to get a Kindle Fire. He would like a bigger screen for himself; plus, we can share and experience different gadgets that way {I've borrowed his electronic Bible a time or two since I purchased it}.

It is amazing to me that I was able to save so much in only three months of unexpected money. Any extra income Jason earns did not go into this envelope. I had unexpected money from jam and earring sales, a bonus from work, etc. I also put in money I was willing to sacrifice from other areas of the budget like grooming and entertainment.

Jason has also started his own special saving envelope, and he has picked up a couple of odd jobs here and there to help fill it out. He's not really saving for anything he solely wants in particular at this time, but he, just like I, really enjoys being able to put money in it and know that if he does need or want something, he has the cash to pay for it and doesn't have to consult with me before doing so.

I have one item left I want to purchase in 2012. Jason and I are pooling both of our special saving envelopes together for a huge household purchase. We have very little saved for this item so far, but our hope is that we can purchase it by the end of this year. After that, there are no items we want or need and plan to hold off on any huge purchases until we are debt free. We have a couple of items in mind for next year, though!

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