Money Matters

Do you ever feel frustrated about money? UUGGHH!!! I am at that point today. Those of you that know me, know that I am a budget queen. I love to help people get on a budget, stay on a budget and I love making our budget work for our family. With gas and grocery prices getting higher everyday, I have had to increase those two categories in the budget and decrease a few others. Not fun. We live on a set income, so what we have is it. God is always so incredibly faithful and we have never gone without or had needs that were not met. I do work hard at not just creating a budget, but living by it. When the money in my entertainment envelope is gone. . . then no more eating out that month. Every now and then I will steal from one budget category to give to another. But I try hard not to do that very often.

Anyway. . . on Tuesday night at 8:30, my computer crashed and died. I mean, dead, won’t come on, no way to bring it back, dead! Now, all my little “jobs” that I do (Just Say No, shopping reviewer, mystery shopping and even MOPS) require me to use my computer – a lot! My hubby had been telling me that our computer was way outdated and we needed a new one. . . but I am not the spender in the family and I was gonna use this thing until it died – which it did. We have to buy a new computer. So, on Wednesday, he purchased a new computer (just the CPU) and had it hooked up and ready to go by Wednesday night (It was around $515). I was thrilled with the computer, not the cost. Except that the new computer runs on Microsoft Vista which I know nothing about. But it doesn’t matter as long as I can get on line. Well, when I went to print, we realize that the printer is not compatible with the new computer. Okay, I can handle that. I go to Office Depot and buy a $50 cable (excuse me, how much?) to make the computer and printer connect. Hubby informs me that the cable works, but the printer is so old that it is not compatible with Vista. AAAGGGHHH! Are you serious? I have a great laser printer that works just fine, but yet I cannot use it anymore. So, today we leave to go return the cable and look for a printer.

Before we leave Rick reminds me that I need to take my jeep Cherokee in to have the tires rotated/balanced. He thinks we may need two new tires, not sure. We drop off the car and later get a call that we need FOUR NEW TIRES and that the front brakes are bad. They wanted $150 for the brakes and $415 for the tires. Tires we had to have. Hubby said he would do the brakes himself. We bought new brake pads for $35 and he will put them on. Whew! At least we saved $115 there. But still, spent $415 on tires.

We returned the printer cable and got that $50 back, but spent $200 on a new printer. It is an all-in-one (print, copy, scan, fax) machine. I am beginning to become ill about all the money. I decided to turn today into a game of “let’s see how MUCH money we can spend this Saturday.” Rick thinks it’s great and is ready to buy a new car (to replace his car that has 255,000 miles on it). He was just kidding. Though I was reminded as we drove the old Honda that he desperately needs new struts – we hit a tiny hole and it felt like we fell into a pothole; and when I asked what the popping and clicking sound was, he informed me that his drive axle is going out. GREAT! For heaven’s sake. . . when will the madness end????

After I picked up my car, I went to Walgreens by myself to pick up a few things we needed. I was armed with my coupons and the store flyer. I proceeded to spend a good hour in the store, but left THRILLED about the money I saved. I got $40 of stuff for only $9.20 out of my pocket ($11 was paid with a gift card I earned from rebates on a previous purchase). I coupon-ed the poor check out lady to death. But I got most of what was on my list and didn’t have to pay much for it. Even so, I am frustrated that the whole $20+ I saved at Walgreens pales in comparison with what we spent today on items we had to have.

All that to say, that so far today, I have spent:

$25 on family breakfast at IHOP (our one eating out adventure for the weekend) – we had money in our entertainment envelope for this

$415 on tires

$35 on brake pads – I had money in my car maintenance envelope for this

$200 on a printer

$9.20 on toiletries at Walgreens – I had money in my walmart envelope for this

The money for the computer, printer, and tires all had to come from our savings fund for the new house. Yikes! But we will trust that we will have all we need when it is time to move to the house. For today, I think I am done spending money. Tonight we are having “mustgo” for dinner. Have you ever had that? You know. . . you eat all the food that “must go”!! It will be a fun food adventure for a family on a budget!!  I must say that God is good and continues to bless our family in ways we can’t imagine.  I used to roll my eyes when my dad would tell me and my sisters, “Girls, we may not have much money, but we are a wealthy family.”  Oh gag, dad.  But now I really do understand what he meant.  Money isn’t everything.  And the more you have the more you want.  But we are blessed with good health, a good marriage, two precious children, a roof over our head and food to eat.  That is truly more than most of the world has.  I am going to choose not to be “ill” anymore today about these money matters, but instead focus on all the blessings in my life.  Whew!  Thanks for letting me vent!  I feel much better now!

Here are a couple of questions:

1) Do you live on a budget? and 2) How have you made your budget work with the increase in the cost of gas and groceries?


6 Responses to “Money Matters”

  1. waters71 Says:

    Uugh Amy!! I can so empathize with you. We have a budget and also do the envelope system and within the past few months I have had to increase our gas by $75 a month and I’m not totally sure that’s getting it- I need to re-evaluate. Jim went out last Sat morning and there was a huge gash in his tire so we took it in and ended up having to get new tires– I just hate spending money on that type of thing. We are with you on the car situation too!! Our little 1996 Ford Taurus has over 200,000 miles and I guess we’ll drive it till it falls apart. 🙂
    I’m thankful we have a savings but you’d rather have your savings for a nice vacation as opposed to tires, brakes, washer, and dryer, etc.
    I’ve had to lower our entertainment fund and up our grocery bill. 😦
    You’re so right though girl- God will provide. I just wanted you to know you are definitely not alone. 🙂

  2. montee Says:

    Yes, yes, we go through these things too. Our computer is our original, I think it’s about 12 years old. It still works but Phillip bought me a laptop for my birthday which I have found is not compatible to our printer/scanner/fax either. It’s just acting up all the way around. My washing machine is about as old as the computer and is really making some noise so it’s probably about to blow but it and the drier have been good. When Phillip gets back from baseball in Sept., we will have to buy tires for 2 cars, mine and the old Mitsubishi Monterro. My son, Brett drives the Monterro with 227,000 miles on it. We got a 50,000 mile engine put in it last summer, so it keeps on moving. I have an Expedition so the gas is not good for now. That car is good for my traveling in the summer (plenty of packing room) but I have to carefully plan trips around here. My daughter drives our paid for 2000 Explorer to college. Phillip is driving a courtesy car while in MS but he is wanting to get me a smaller car this Fall and he have the Expedition. We have always had only one car payment so we may just be sharing the Expedition for a while. I am a tightwad. I especially have to be during the summers when we are paying for 2 places to live. He works for the Braves but he in no way makes big money. I have to laugh whenever people (especially high school kids) think we are loaded. If they only knew! I am a budgeting fool! God provides I know, but a lot of times what you plan for the money you save, it does not always turn out. You just have to remember God is in control and take one day at a time. Sorry, I wrote a book.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    I stink at all the details and organization of a budget. My problem is that if I allocate $50 for my entertainment, I will find a way to spend the whole $50. I cannot keep cash. But, if I don’t set a limit, many times I don’t spend near the $50. It just has never worked for me. I love a bargain and always like to negotiate and hunt around. I feel that creativity can take you a long way, especially if you’re bad at the budget thing. Truly, the best thing is just trying to keep my life uncluttered and free of extra stuff. You know, buying just to buy. That’s where some people can get into trouble. I applaud you for your budgeting. You seem like such a great wife and mom. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a little bit about you through the internet. Happy Mommy Day, too!

  4. Melissa Howell Williams Says:

    Hey Amy!
    I’m so glad I found your blog! I came across it randomly through another blog I found through facebook. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and totally identify with your budget and money-saving obsessions. We too have totally felt the gas crunch; I decided against a trip to feed the ducks last week at centennial park because I only had $20 in the gas envelope for the week and knew it wouldn’t last long if we took that trip. Totally stinks. Your girls are adorable–Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  5. carriehayes Says:

    we had similar weekends girl! i got four new tires ON mother’s day and they said i needed to replace my brakes too…i feel your pain! although we were out of town so we didn’t shop around and it cost us 600 dollars for the tires…yikes. looks like you got a better deal! budgeting has been wonderful for us!

  6. carriehayes Says:

    oh and i meant to say we had to pull from every possible envelope just to pay for the gas to get to SC and back. it was hilarious!!!! can’t wait to refill them! we are about to up our gas budget in June. i think a hybrid will be our next car!

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