Friday, January 18, 2013

Paycheck To Paycheck

No matter what I do it feels like we are living paycheck to paycheck. I wanted to start 2013 by spending less and only buying the things we truly need like gas and groceries. Last Wednesday night I ran out of money so a few items like lunch and gas ended up on the credit card. This is how much is left on our Bank of America checking account:


Payday is not officially until the 20th and the 22nd so one direct deposit already came in. I can transfer some money back to our checking account to continue living but something has to change. We did really good the past couple of weeks but still ended up spending $900 on groceries, gasoline and some eating out. The last portion of that money was spent on baby formula and diapers, that came in around $90. Hopefully I won't have to buy baby items again for a while but the little one is eating more and more.

The good news is we already saved $500 this month. I went ahead and sent another $250 to our Discover savings bank account. I can't really explain the feeling of saving money but it feels just as good as swiping a credit card. I'm hoping we can continue to save money and keep the credit card spending down.

Murphy's Law: Most PF bloggers out there are familiar with this term. Yes- "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong" but I'm prepared. Our tax return should be a little bit higher this year so a big portion of that money will go to cover anything that can break or fail. The big items that worry me are the water heater, dishwasher and our washer and dryer. Most of these items are almost 10 years old so I'm waiting around for them to fail. The minor items are stuff like our garage door opener and the garbage disposal. They key to dealing with Murphy is to know he is coming and be prepared, I will not let him / her catch me by surprise.

Expenses: There are things coming up that I need to plan for and I'm not really sure where most of this money is going to come from:

Wedding:  In March we have a wedding in New Orleans. Flying is out of the question since it will cost well over $600. We are driving and hopefully gas won't be more than $130 in the small car. I have 65,000 Marriott rewards points so hotel is paid for but we have some friends that want to stay with us. I don't mind sharing a room but we would need more space. My points will not cover a suite and the average going rate for any room is $229. I do know someone that works at another hotel and I could get  room comped but again not for our DF's.

Birthday: This year we have a new birthday to celebrate in the family. March will be baby's first birthday and we're already in the planning stage. Somehow I know this will probably set us back at least $200 but my plan is to fully utilize the grandparents. I'm hoping my parents can cover the food catering and the mother in law all the champagne for the toast. My portion of the expenses will be the birthday cake and her gifts. I expect no more than 25 guests but the list keeps growing, do we really need to invite the babysitter?!

Landscaping: March is also the time when we will have to do our landscaping. I need to replace a couple of trees in the front yard so I expect that to set us back another $200. Our gardener will do most of the work and put in mulch so that will be another $150. Another $100 will be flowers and fertilizer. I also need a couple of trees in the back yard but I don't expect those to be more than $40.

If anything else comes up, don't worry there will be a blog post about it.

HS

22 comments:

  1. It is all about looking to the future...which you can do for the bigger stuff...and struggle for the smaller stuff.

    The big thing that stands out for me is Baby's birthday....and your hope that grandparents pick up the tab. NO. She is YOUR child, you are responsible for her birthday. And if that means a small party with just the grandparents and a cake...then that is what it is.

    You have to get out of the mindset that someone will be there to bail you out.

    As for the wedding....it is great you have enough points to cover your hotel. But you need to tell the friends that they can't stay with you. You don't have the room. Unless you can use your points toward the stay, and the friends pick up the rest....the answer is NO.

    Say it with me....NO.

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  2. I'm confused.

    You have a gardener?

    I'm not normally one to make comments on how others spend their money - but if you are struggling to pay off debt...it doesn't really seem the time to buy trees and pay someone else to plant them. Why not just wait until next year?

    The baby is not going to remember the party...so it's really a party for you and your spouse. I totally agree with Mysti...just have cake with grandparents... no need to invite the whole neighborhood.

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  3. Mysti, the grandparents want to help so yes there's a bit of guilt but they can afford it and it makes them feel like they're helping etc.

    No one ever bails me out silly! If they did I would be debt free LOL

    Jessie- yes we have a person that comes and cuts the grass and handles the yard... I could do it myself but I'm basically helping them out by giving them some of the money we make... no big deal, I didn't do the landscaping last year so I have to replace the trees this year... I'd like to think of myself as a perfectionist and the old trees and the yard are driving me crazy..

    HS

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  4. Well, I can remember my daughter's first birthday, and we had a relatively big party, but we paid for most of it. However, the grandparents graciously offered to host it at their place. A good friend made the cake for us, and our babysitter brought chips and dips. It was more of a party for us to celebrate our daughter's first birthday. I have shown her pictures, but she does not remember anything. So, you need to determine who the celebration is actually for.

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  5. A catered party with champagne for a 1 year old is ludicrous. It's one thing if you have the money to spend, but when you're complaining about how you seem to live paycheck-to-paycheck on a 6 figure salary, then it's pretty freakin' stupid to spend that kind of money on a 1 year old.

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  6. Your little girl isn't even going to REMEMBER this birthday. Don't cater it, don't buy expensive alcohol. Just get her a few little gifts, and get her a cake. Please use common sense. You're already in a huge mess and I feel like sometimes you use your daughter as an excuse to dig yourself deeper. There's no reason a one year old's birthday should cost $200. I agree with Mysti, do you really want to pass these values to your daughter? She's going to become spoiled and materialistic and that will hurt her future relationships. If nothing else, for the sake of your daughter: get a grip, dude.

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  7. And I agree with Mysti, again, that it's your responsibility to pay for your child's birthday. Just get her a cake and a few gifts. Invite her grandparents and just have a small family celebration.

    Honestly I am starting to feel SO bad for your parents!

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  8. If I may...
    About the wedding: Can the friends pay for part of the costs? Like, split it 3 or 4-way? It's definitely cheaper, and you may be able to afford a suite that way. About the birthday: Can you make the food instead of having it catered? I mean, it's a 1 year b'day. People won't be expecting all that fancyness; cake and gifts are cheap for someone that young, so you could definitely make it more low key without sacrificing the quality. And yes... you should invite the babysitter, if they want to attend. I mean, she's watching your kid as needed, on an ongoing basis. It would be a nice gesture to invite her. If she doesn't/cant show up, then fine, but not inviting her would be kind of leaving her out of the baby's life... and she's a part of it too.

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  9. Yes, the 1 yr old bday party is for you, not your kid...BUT, it's a big day, and I'd say it's worth the $200. I'd say cut the $200 from somewhere else (aka - just don't eat out for a cpl weeks and you'll easily save that much money). To me, it's one of those events that you'll remember forever and your daughter will love to see pictures of. Cut out eating out for you and the wife for a bit (something you won't even remember a month from now) and make it work!

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  10. Friends will probably pick up bar tabs and food etc..

    HS

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  11. J o s e y ! Good to see you're still around!

    HS

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  12. The first birthday of the first child is absolutely the best time to set the tone for future birthdays. The number of gifts. The food. The cost. Etc. being strong now is going to help you so much in the future.

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  13. Your baby won't remember this birthday at all so it's really just for the adults. I wouldn't go too crazy with it. Save that for when she'll actually remember it. Lol

    Grandparents like to help out and be a part of their grand kids' life. I don't think that's a big deal at all. They're not bailing anybody out. They're simply contributing. I would do the exact same thing.

    You may not have much in checking but sounds like you have plenty in savings. Perhaps you just need to cut back how much you put in savings? I don't know. Just a thought. I'd also prefer to "borrow" from my savings and put the money back after payday rather than resorting to a credit card with interest. Just a thought.

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  14. For friends to ask and expect to stay with you in your hotel room (and possibly they are expecting for free?) is just bizarre. Tell them you are on a strict budget and using rewards points to pay for your room. You must run with a high-flying crowd to be so reluctant to admit you are in a financial crunch.

    My friends would think nothing abnormal of me paying for a room with reward points. I imagine most average people would think nothing of it.

    I would save a little less each month if it means you can avoid the credit cards.

    The birthday: Your daughter won't remember it. It's also a big, tiring event for a baby and she is likely to tire out or meltdown before it's even over. Keep it small and simple, but do get the usual cute cake eating pics to remember the day. We had all sets of grandparents over for cake while sitting in the back yard on a rare cool Houston-area day in October.

    And trees? Trees are OPTIONAL. Don't spend money on this. Where I live we actually have to remove trees because there are too many! I would love to have fewer trees!

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  15. I think it is absolutely okay to celebrate your daughter's 1st birthday.

    She's not going to remember it. She's not going to understand that it's her party. And in no way shape or form is this setting the tone for the rest of her birthdays. She won't be spoiled, or become materialistic just because her parents love her and want to celebrate this milestone.

    Because quite honestly, the first birthday is more for the parents than the kids anyway.

    It is also celebrating your wife's birth day. And the two of you as parents and with all the struggles you've been through to get pregnant and raising your little girl.






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  16. I am going to put it out there that maybe your parents are into a fairly fancy lifestyle? I say this because of their birthday/Mother's Day/champagne toast at a 1 yr old's birthday expectations? This would explain why you are where you are right now.

    I mean no snark here I promise. I am fascinated by the different ways people deal or deal badly with their money. My inlaws are pretty well-off you could say. But for birthdays one of us bakes a boxed cake and we order pizza. Or, we just went to a birthday lunch for MIL, where her sister bought her lunch, and the rest of us paid for our own. And we were all happy with that. The verbal invitation from her sister stated, "I am buying for MIL, and the rest is go Dutch." It was clearly understood before lunch, so nobody was surprised. It's about having fun together, not who can put on the biggest show of a party.

    I am not saying at all don't celebrate your baby's birthday. Just simplify.

    I know you don't want to disappoint. Your family probably doesn't know the financial situation you are in. And it's hard to tell one's parents that you ran up debt and have to trim back.

    Just keep trimming!

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  17. We been talking a little more about the birthday, I will make that my next post.

    HS

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  18. You know what, I've decided that no matter how annoyed your blog makes me, your'e so SO much better than C the blogger that it's not even funny. I think your priorities are screwed, but at least you have a job and pay your own way and take responsibility for your situation and your actions.

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  19. I get why you want to spend $200 on her first Birthday...I would cut back in other places to make up for it. I don't get why you have a gardner.....DYI...I get they doing it isn't fun, trust me my husbnad isn't around to do it!

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  20. H - sorry, I missed your followup question. C the blogger ... I know she mentioned you in a couple of her posts.

    http://dealwithmoney.blogspot.com

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  21. If you are living pay check to pay check I'd say there isn't an extra $200 for a 1 year old B Day party with a caterer. Heck, even if I wasn't pay check to pay check I probably wouldn't spend that much. I tend to think people go overboard on baby parties. It sounds like you are very aware of where your money is going so if you do it then at least you fully though it out!

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