I have planned out our expected income

and expenses for literally the next 5 years (grinning, only because we should be debt free but for the car by May, and completely debt free by September/Oct, so I did a plan for BS3 etc….including paying cash for a house.)
Our plan is on Excel; we get 2 paychecks a month.
1 is planned for and goes mostly to rent (welcome to California), car gas & groceries for 2 weeks, car insurance & meds & small recurring incidentals. Rarely do I go off plan with this check.
the other is planned for: utilities (gas, electric, water, cell), piano and/or baseball fees, car payment, car gas & groceries for 2 weeks, and debt repayment. This check quite often goes off plan via our debit card(s) which is why I am putting both of them in an inconvenient place after each check starting last Friday.
I never go off plan for say, gas or groceries when I use cash; I will frequently go off plan when I am too lazy to go get cash, swipe my debit card, and then what happens is something doesn’t get paid that check because I overspent at say, the grocery store….and then the next month really sucks because I have robbed peter to pay paul.
Utilities stay pretty constant, except for gas heat in the winter, so they are pretty easy to plan for. Groceries? I just make it work with the money I have, although if I overspend elsewhere, it comes out of grocery money, but we have food storage so it sounds worse than it is. Gas for the car is the only real variable…..when it jumps a dollar a gallon in a week and we need gas, that’s when it becomes a problem.
So I am unclear what you mean by budget? If you have listed all your monthly household expenses, all of your debt/payments, and all of your income…what is left?

Hummm… Its hard to explain but very easy to use.

At its simplest, it is a checkbook register. Give it a starting balance, and then deduct your purchases/expenses and add deposits as they come about. I no longer keep a paper register.
Since you can set up several accounts (probably unlimited), I keep track of my cash spending, several savings accounts, my household account and I do so immediately. When I use my debit card (attached to my household account) for groceries, I deduct the amount right at the cash register. I like the ability to reconcile immediately, I’m horrible with coming home and putting it into quicken, excel or anything else. If I don’t do it right then and there, it won’t get done for me.
I then login to my accounts online, and there is a reconciliation feature within easy money to let me tick off what I have entered when reconciling.
Budgeting – setting up what I’m going to spend before I spend it, can be done within the register, I just don’t do that part.

I used to use a spreadsheet for my budget, but now use Qucken exclusively.

I auto enter all my bills (aprox numbers), my aprox dining, gas, groceries, entertainment, etc. I have Quicken auto enter entries a month out. Including estimated salary. That way I can adjust the “gift budget” right in Quicken. So for example: I have Quicken auto populate the month of January with $25 for gifts. Then my daughter gets invited to a party and we spend $22.51. I just change the “gift” line to the exact amount and bingo I’ve stayed in my budget.
Using cash in this type of budget works really well too. I take out the grocery money in cash. So the line item in Quicken is the same every week. Any extra cash just stays in the grocery envelope. There is no need for adjustments in Quicken. There is just a weekly line item of the cash I take out for groceries. It is autopopulated. It makes it so easy.
I don’t need an app on my phone because I do very little with my debit card. I may use a debit card for gasoline, but I have a set budget (ie. $60/week). I only put in $60 with my debit card. If it is less, then I just adjust the $60 line item in Quicken to reflect the actual amount.

Also, does anyone use mvelopes?

It costs money so I don’t want to pay for it unless I know that it is worth it.
I used to use quicken and it was great. I am very much a numbers person and that is why the excel was taking so long. I really like to track everything when I am tracking. I switched to Mint because it was free, but it is not compatible with everything and hard to track some of the more specific things like a budget.

Anyone have anything that they use to create a budget. That is what I really need to work on this year.

If you are not a numbers person,

then the easier, the better. Try settingyour budget and taking all food, clothing, entertainment, and personal supplies, ie makeup, haircuts, etc out in cash. Put it in envelopes labeled and only buy out of those envelopes.
No need to categorize each individual transaction, because you will hardly use your debit card. One big withdrawal after each paycheck, then divvy the cash up into your envelopes.
No mint or spreadsheet to update more than twice or four times a month.

So, how do you keep track of funds,

especially in reference to the budget. I started attempting to do this last summer and was kind of doing it, but it was very time consuming. When school started this fall, I ran out of time to keep it up.
What I was doing was using Mint to keep a tab on the overall funds and then using an excel spreadsheet for budgeting, but the excel is very time consuming.
I was also using hand written notes to keep track and to put in the excel at a later time, but I cannot seem to get an efficient way to do the budgeting and tracking of the different types of funds and the payoff of debt.

I don’t know if many people know this

but you can order some food staples (red wheat, rice, quick oats, white wheat, white flour, pinto beans) directly from the LDS food storage site. Only sold by the case, (six #10 cans to a case) the average price per case is $30 (some higher, like pinto beans- $40, some lower, like oats $20).

I believe shipping is free, but it’s been awhile since I purchased from this site. You DO NOT have to be LDS to order from this site. Only FedEx will come knocking on your door

I watched a show last night

that figured out how many items they had to sell per day to break even. Maybe you could figure out which produce or eggs makes the most profit and how many items you would have to sell per day.
Then market those items to customers when they come. Place that item prominently in the baskets, top of produce aisles, etc. Also, my cousin sells U-Pick grapes at his farm. He found that certain fruit trees and tomatoes where very profitable so he pulled out some vines and planted trees. He now has a longer selling season because the fruit trees come into season sooner than the grapes and he gets repeat customers coming first for the fruit and then again for grapes and tomatoes.

Well, I have a lot of farm produce to sell this year, to bump up to that level

But now I know what it’s going to take. I found myself thinking this morning that gosh, I wish someone had laid out this math for me when I was a teenager. And again when I was 25. And again when I was 30. And again when I was 35. And again when I was 40. But honestly, I suspect they did and I didn’t want to hear it. In my particular case, it wasn’t until I was 46 that I was ready, willing and able to hear it. Here’s to old dogs learning new tricks. I’m just so disgusted right now I could.. well, never mind. Suffice to say my next task today is figuring out how to sell a LOT more stuff from the farm this year. That’s the only way we’re going to get those payback numbers where I want them. This is one VERY irritated gazelle, looking at how to kill off those cheetahs faster.

Yes and no.

He pays the water and electric, and then 1/3 of the phone and internet, plus buys all his own hba items and detergent and some of the groceries and animal feed—which can all be floated to some extent if necessary. He can’t be floating his Sallie Mae that is due the 15th (and it’s pretty big) though, or his medications, so he’ll have to pay those this pay day. He’s offered the rest of his pay check to help cover this big hit on us until we can get the wrinkles ironed out. Then we’ll have to pay him and our bef back asap, which will now be harder with the ss pay hike. Ds sent an email to the comptroller and asked why we were not given a warning about this because it would be putting a hardship on ALL the employees to pay their bills properly. Her response was “that’s why we decided to go ahead and pay you on the 4the instead of the 7th this month, to ease the difficult transition.” He nearly popped his cork on that one, but has learned to not argue with the powers that be at a job long ago. Uhhhh, payday was previously already scheduled for the 4th. If they’d left it alone there would have been no trouble!
I think what irritates me most about the whole tax thing is all those of us who work and pay taxes will get a cut in pay while Biden and Congress are all getting big pay raises for NOT doing their jobs properly-per a presidential order. But let’s remember the poor and middle class will never be taxed if they make under $250,000 yeah right.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I watched this last night. I’m in disbelief as David Siegel goes on about his home not having a mortgage, but basically goes on to tell us he borrowed on it because it was a smart business decision. At one point both he and his wife tell the viewers that because of their financial situation the kids have to face the fact that they’ll have to go to college and learn a career to work! Apparently they were telling the children they’d never have to go to college and never have to work. He also mentions he hasn’t saved anything for his children’s college, yet, at the time the documentary started, I believe he was considered to be a billionaire (or at least on paper from what I can gather from the movie).

We rocked along in 2016

We incurred no new debt and continued paying extra on the mortgage each month. I have not checked it the last couple of months but I know the balance is down below $69,000. We have been consistent in paying extra and we are seeing the dividend of the balance coming down. Can’t wait to write that last check!

During 2015 we explored the possibility of opening a 2nd business. One we looked at was through Subway. There is a franchisee in our town looking to sell multiple locations. It was our plan, if we bought, to buy all his locations. The owner was reluctant to share details that are very important … such as letting us look at the books. He promised to show us certain other financials but never did. We went to the regional office about an hour away to get some info from them. Come to find out some of the things he was telling us was not exactly the whole truth. Like why he wanted to sell the multiple businesses over the next 2-3 years. Some of it had to do with the way Subway handles things, not just because he wants to handle it a certain way. Other things set off that “feeling” you hear DR talk about, that red flag, the security gland. So we are not proceeding with that. Plus our economy here in south Louisiana is tanking. It is not a good idea to take on a new business that requires debt.

During the time we were looking at Subway we also looked at a locally owned business, a laundromat. I had used it over the years when our washer was broken. I liked it because it was in a safe, heavily traveled business area. The owner had rejected $300K a few years ago offered by someone else, an unknown (to us) potential buyer. However the business owner has neglected the property and we thought the price had come down. We went in to look at it and the owner’s wife was manning the facility. The property had really gone down due to neglect, even since the last time I was there. It looks very much like they have pulled all the $$ out for personal use and put none of it back into the business. The HVAC needs a LOT of attention. Machines that are broken have not been repaired or replaced. At least 2 times people have driven into the building. Minimal repairs have been done to secure the building. So, as with Subway, this is a no go. Dh says the property would be better off if you bulldoze the building. Dh is not a contractor but is very handy and can do most minor or moderate repairs at home. He knows enough to know when something is over our ability.

I have learned a hard lesson on helping individuals. A young lady came into my life, in financial need. I helped her a little with her knowledge. Then I helped in such a way that she did not know where it was coming from. The $$ was supposed to be used for a very specific purchase. Then I’d hear her talking about how little $$ she had left and didn’t have enough for that purchase. Little did she know that I had supplied her that $$ for that purchase. It was disheartening, discouraging, maddening and I was plain downright angry about it. It got to where the only time she contacted me was when she needed something and it was always by text. She often texted me needing money for “personal items” and use payday loans near her service. I KNOW some of the personal items were cigarettes. Wow! I don’t smoke (and no one in my family) and she wanted ME to buy HER cigarettes! I have distanced myself from her till I can figure out how to proceed. She is in a living arrangement where she and her live in unemployed boyfriend have nothing of nothing. Some people have little of nothing. They have nothing of nothing and he can’t or won’t hold a job. I want to wash my hands of them but before I do I am thinking of sitting her down and explaining why I have distanced myself from them. I want to try to get through to her about not abusing others. I want to help people when appropriate but this is not the time for me to help her.

Due to the economy we are not taking raises on our salary through our business. As I said the economy is taking a big hit here. We are fortunate we have no business debt except a monthly payment to my dad for buying him out when he retired. All our merchandise is owned by the store. If we can’t pay for it we don’t order it. It will probably be a slim year for business in 2017.

Strange you should mention this

This last weekend dh told me the HR person, who is in her late 50’s, asked him how he planned on surviving without a paycheck if he retired.
Dh told her we had our 401K, and our IRA’s plus both our ss and we were debt free, house included.
Since he knew she had the owner’s ear he suggested she suggest to the owner that he share his knowledge of Dave Ramsey with her and the rest of the company so others could get that way too.
She remarked that the owner had actually brought it up a couple of times to her, but that she hadn’t ever “bothered” with it other than to starting a 401K for the first time this year and she is only putting 5% (the amount they match) in. Dh knows she heavily uses credit cards and she knows we do not because of all the business trips he and ds have taken that they wanted, often demanded, that dh or ds use their own credit card. They wouldn’t believe we didn’t have one at all. Not to mention we wouldn’t put expenses on one for the company. Even on this last trip ds was on, after five years of telling them no they still told ds to purchase his meals on a credit card and they would re-imburse him when he got back. He once again told them he had no credit card. Duh!
She said she had no idea that SS supplied so little money until she was talking to a guy that retired last month and he mentioned it. So she checked to see what her monthly payout would be and freaked out!
Do people not open their mail? I get notices a few times a year on the status of my ss.
Dh strongly suggested she at least get the TMMO out of the library, but got the feeling she had no intentions of doing so.

If we decide to make that route

I’ll let you know because we will leave the Tulsa area and go to Davis, OK (sw of okc) We’ll be there about a week, maybe more. Then back to Tulsa area the first week in June (if not sooner) for several appointments. So it’s possible we could meet up. Just gonna roll with the punches.

Your plan sounds perfect to me!

I told dh one time that I’d like to head out with no particular destination in mind. When we would hit an intersection we’d say “left or right” and make a decision. Then just stop wherever the mood strikes us. He was not too keen on it back then. Not sure he would do differently now. It has been 2 years since we took a vaca and I am craving getting out of town for a bit.

Heads up our first “destination” is chosen

Because of various things going on here even after dh retires we won’t hit the road full time until the second week in June most likely. Since by then most of the northern states will be thawing out we are planning to heade north and west. We are going to go up through Kansas, and either slightly east to IA and IL or straight up to the Great Lake states. As we go we will be working our way slowly westward through South Dakota and over. Nothing is set in stone. We may take all summer to make it as far as the west coast before we drop southward for the winter.

It’s just a rough game plan at this time, but at least we’ve decided to drive no more than 8 hours (preferably less) any given day/trip and stay as long as we want in each place. That means we may not hit all the northern or western states in the first summer, but hey we have the rest of our lives to do so.


Once dh retired on Friday the various insurances had to be changed immediately, so that’s what we’ve been doing this morning. Verifying we are covered on Medicare, A and B, supplemental, getting D. Legal insurance (because of THE sil we don’t dare be without it), working with the homeowners insurance on trying to get more money out of them because of the furnace and the upgrading on the roof. Calling the sheet rock/siding people and so forth.
Since Friday dh has been Mr. Honey do. Our garden tractor has set for nearly 9 months because he thought it needed major work because the way it simply stopped moving last July. Since things are greening up we figured we just might need it. So yesterday he bit the bullet and started tearing it down to fix it. The first thing he checked was the drive belt. It was loose, he tightened it and…the guys used it to haul cut firewood out of the woods to the wood stack yesterday afternoon. 9 months and it was just a belt that needed tightened. Cheez.
He’s taken the old tv that needed a convertor box out of the camper and installed a flat screen, tested the batteries on the camper, prepared some meals, walks every day with ds, me, the dogs and the cat (yes we form a parade as we walk). Fixed some minor stuff on the truck and trailer and taken over some of the financial stuff. He is also in the process right now of checking on his VA benefits (Viet Nam) which may change the supplemental insurances a lot. This is all stuff I previously had to handle, now he’s doing it. I think I’m going to like this retirement stuff.

Part of our adjustment to retirement is going back on a fairly strict budget. Since we paid off the house we’ve been buying a lot of stuff. But now we no longer have his free and clear every two week pay check coming in so our income has cut over in half. Luckily we are well trained on budgeting and should be able to handle it fairly well. We are setting up everything to be an automatic draft for what few bills we have to pay, like insurance and then will adjust our travels based on what monies will be available after every thing else is paid.

Because of my bulk buying habits groceries should not be a concern for quite a while. We eat a lot of dried foods normally and that is mainly what I am packing. Lightweight and takes up very little space.
I did buy the page protectors yesterday for the cookbook I am putting together for ds of his favorite meals. He’s an excellent cook but a lot of what he really likes the recipes haven’t been written down, so I’m doing that and putting them in a recycled 3 ring binder with page protectors for him.

That’s about it for now.