I don't talk finances too much around here, other than trying to promote a low level of personal fiscal responsibility.
A week or two ago, my wife and I had to sit down an have a fairly serious discussion about finances. Without talking numbers, I feel I make good money. It's enough to lure me away from a cushy federal job, and allow my wife to concentrate on home schooling. If you had told 25 year old newly married me, living off E-5 pay in the Navy, that I what I make now is 'not enough', I would have thought you were crazy.
Before I bring the mood down too much and you think I am throwing a pity party...luckily, my wife and I are having this conversation not because things are going badly, but more because they are not going the right direction as fast as they should be. We intentionally bought less house than we could afford(or, settled for 'enough' house instead of getting more than we needed), with the intent of using the money we weren't spending on a house to get land at some point.
One thing we kind of overlooked though, was that the right thing to do first was get out of debt. Once upon a time, when we moved out of Western Washington, our home we owned there spent 22 months on the market before selling...and even then, sold for 20K less than we paid for it. Sad Story...and over that time, we(I) allowed one of our credit card balances to creep up, and up.
We are not full on Dave Ramsey followers, but I like a lot of what he says, and so we are following his route to clearing our debt...pay off the smallest loan/debt first, and work your way up. It's working...I only have three payments(or one lump check) left on my used F-150. After that, it's 6-9 months on clearing the student loans we took when my wife worked on her LPN license(crazy...school we could afford, it was the child care that killed us)...and then, the credit card.
It's just, that while follow that path, the finance charges on the credit card hurt, eating into the other money I was hoping we would start building towards a vacation property down payment. Basically...we were trying to follow only part of Ramsey's method...in his world, you put every red cent into debt reduction...we were trying to play both sides of the fence, and finally admitted to each other that we aren't going to get there. Time to put the 'vacation property' idea on hold for a year or two.
But hey, look...fresh bread!
In an effort to jump start us in the right direction, my wife issued some kind of 2-Week No Spending Death Challenge. Basically, all we are supposed to spend money on this two week period is gas so I can get to work, and milk. We originally had bread on the allowable expenses list but I said, hey...I can make bread(came out okay...only got about 75% of the rise I was hoping for, but it slices good and holds up well) and that will save an extra $6-10. However...I did NOT offer to drink powdered milk.
Are we actually going to save any money? Yeah...I think by cutting out 'impulse' buys, and my tendency to always buy something more than I meant to whenever I hit the store on the way home...we will spend less money this week than most other two week periods.
It's also good because it is forcing us to use stuff form the pantry/freezer we not usually use. Yesterday for dinner, I did a corned beef that I bought back in March and forgot about.
Once this is over, we will need to restock some things...but luckily, we are in a position with food storage that we can be patient, and wait for sales. Plus, I already told my wife we will hold off on stocking up on meats. Hunting season is a month away, and we will wait an see how that goes before spending too much money on meat.