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Abridged Version

June 9th, 2008 at 03:02 pm

I suppose some people drop off on their blogs because they don't have much to say. I have plenty to write about, but a bunch of Real Life stuff to take care of and so have had no time for blogging.

The abridged version, with more detailed entries to follow:

* We went out of town for Memorial Day weekend, plus one extra day. We are keeping busy with end-of-the-school-year stuff.
* DH finished the Dave Ramsey book.
* DH has decided to replace his 1992 full-sized truck with a 2004 Honda Civic. He did all the leg work (insurance quotes, talked w/mechanics, worked with sellers) plus he's figured out how to pay for it. I'm shocked. Go DH!
* We are looking at Away School (as opposed to Home School) for Daisy next year.
* DH used Quicken to create an expense report for the last year. Neither one of us are really sure what to do with it, but he is interested in some kind of a budget.
* We still ran a deficit in Checkbook Number One in May. Despite my attempts to pin our money issues on DH, I'm definitely the culprit on this one.

Reinventing the Wheel

May 21st, 2008 at 07:26 am

I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio the other day. A caller said that he and his wife had just started doing a budget, and that they kept having all these unexpected expenses - software for his wife's college class, something for the kids (don't recall it specifically) etc. Dave said that these type of expenses could be anticipated, that as time went on and they continued to work on their budget they would be able to anticipate them, that it took people generally about three months to get the hang of it, and that when these things came up the couple needed to have an "emergency budget committee meeting" and decide what they would do.

DH and I have never really had a budget. We've had a loose spending plan that worked reasonably well when our income was higher. We continued this when I left paid employment. Since neither of us are big spenders it worked okay for a while and now isn't working so well.

When DH and I talked about our spending for May we listed out several expenses that we saw coming that month. Soon after May started I noticed four things:
* We had expenses that we should have been able to anticipate, like Daisy's end-of-year dance photos.
* We had potential expenses that are unexpected, like our cordless phone breaking.
* If it was written down we were likely to think about it and come up with a different or lower-priced alternative.
* I've gotten really used to buying "little stuff" that catches my fancy, and I'm going to have to break that habit.

We paid for Daisy's photos. We haven't yet replaced the cordless phone. Since it has an answering machine that still works, it's been moved to another room and we're using a corded phone for our main phone now. Instead of buying a new bicycle DH decided to borrow a relative's bicycle for a while. And I started to keep a list of the little stuff that I wanted to purchase instead of just buying it.

I guess we are reinventing the wheel in many ways. . . and the wheel still works.

He Asked

May 17th, 2008 at 06:44 am

Last night I was out running errands. When I got home DH asked where the Dave Ramsey book was. He had left it on his library book shelf. I had taken it off the shelf in the morning (and finished reading it) and hadn't put it back.

Do you know what this means?? DH is taking the initiative to read the book! Well, at least he was yesterday.

Trying not to get too excited. . . trying not to get my hopes up. . . trying not to get too excited. . . trying not to get my hopes up. . .

Dave and Me

May 15th, 2008 at 04:09 pm

I hadn't heard about Dave Ramsey until recently. I think he's on to something.

I've read a number of frugality/financial philosophy books and most of them assume that you and your spouse have agreed on or worked out how to handle finances. They also assume that you and your spouse have similar financial philosophies. While I haven't read (or listened to) Dave all that much, he appears to give way more information about the process of working out and agreeing. And his work seems focused on getting you and your spouse to work together.

I talked DH into reading The Total Money Makeover book. DH hates to read books of this nature, and generally he'll agree to it and then not follow through. (I, on the other hand, read this kind of stuff as bed-time reading. Go figure.)

So far DH has read to part of the way through Chapter 4. His response - "I already know all this stuff except the thing about the Visa debit card."

Since he "already knows all this stuff" I started with Chapter 5. I know a lot of this stuff, but not all, and the way he prioritizes finances into steps could be really useful. I think I need to read a different book of his to learn more about working out a budget with a spouse.

Stay tuned. If DH is not done with the book by the end of June, he's not going to read it. And I'm not going to bug him about it - that won't turn out well.