Out With The Girls While On Baby Step #2

So, what do you do when your group of friends want to meet up for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner or a movie, and you can’t really justify using the family “Dining Out” or “Entertainment” funds for just yourself?
At the time that I’m writing this, I’m on Baby Step 2 of the Dave Ramsey plan. My husband and I have budgeted for $50/month for any dining out situation that may come up. That fund tends to be used for birthdays when we go to a pizza parlor. Very special occasions, and we’re paying for 3 of us to eat. So, in the case of just me going out with the girls, I realized that I needed to budget my personal pocket money. My husband and I budgeted $20/month for ourselves to get things we wanted like a coffee while shopping, or a magazine (me). Very recently, I bowed out of, yet again, another get-together with the girls from my old youth group days. I can’t attend every single event, but I realized that I really did need to go out now and then. For the record, this particular “bow-out” was also due to having several household projects going on as well with a time line. I’ve had friends offer to buy my coffee or meal if I come, but I don’t want to owe anyone.
This is the time that I realized, that to be able to say “yes” more often, I needed to start telling my pocket money where to go. I needed to start an envelope for “girl time”.

So that is the plan. My next outing may only be for coffee, but I’ll be able to visit with friends for a bit.

UPDATE: It’s been about a year since this was written, so I’ve had that time to put this into practice and really follow through.  The get-togethers for meals tend to not happen as often as the get togethers for movies.  I’m ok with waiting for most movies to come out on DVD and watching them at home (another post for another time). When my friends start planning to get together at a restaurant, I check to see how much I can afford, including the tip, look up the restaurant’s menu online and see which meals are in my budget, and let my friends know.  Hopefully, they’ll read this and know that I’m not poor, or strapped for cash, sometimes dinners are just not in the budget at that time. There was a time in the recent past where that was the case. But not now.  Now, I can.

Elizabeth

New Years 2019 Post #1 New Financial Goals

At the beginning of 2018, Kevin and I decided to take a finance class, more specifically, Financial Peace University, taught by Dave Ramsey. About 9 month prior to this decision, I started reading the book version and started listening to his show on YouTube. At around that same time, our daughter was getting married, and because we didn’t have the money to pay for a wedding, Heather and her fiance were paying for most of the wedding themselves. We felt so bad that we couldn’t do that for them. Many evenings, Kevin would get rather bummed out that he didn’t have the money to do this for our only daughter. During this time, we were also looking down the road at retirement, possibly 17 years away, and we started getting the question, “What are you going to do when you retire?” Our answer was “travel”. Both of us had grandparents who traveled a lot after retirement. The thing was, I was also looking into the future, and I knew how much debt we had and how little we had saved, and I didn’t want to be 17 years down the road and having the same conversation with my husband, bummed out that we didn’t have the money to do what we wanted to do with all of the “free time” in our future.

So, while Kevin was on a business trip, I gathered all of our bills regarding debt. Then I made a list of what we owed from largest to smallest and started planning how to attack it and focus on that initial emergency fund. When my husband came home, he noticed that debt list when he went to bed as I had it taped to his closet door, which is next to his bed. I think he thought I put it there to bum him out. So I explained what I was hoping to accomplish and he was on board with that.

In the 9 months since we started, we each worked hard to watch our spending and we paid off a few of the small bills. However, we still hadn’t attended the class or any financial class together. I had attended one years ago (not FPU) at my church. During this 9 month time, we also had new debt crop up, so the list of what we owe had a couple of revisions. But we kept plugging away and thanks to that emergency fund that we saved up for, we were able to pay for minor emergencies that cropped up. So we were doing ok, but I was still the one who had most of the information from the FPU book that I was reading.

So, back to January 2018. In December of 2017, there was a small announcement in the local newspaper about an FPU class at a local church. We both decided to go and agreed that it was a worthy investment, and it would be good if we both had all of the information. I ordered the materials and signed us up.

The class was held at the Nazarene church here in town.  There were 3 other couples attending with us, so it was easier to get to know the others who we were going to talk about finances with.

Along with setting up an emergency fund, our first order of business was setting up a budget together, which this time included entertainment, clothing, doctors, prescriptions etc. Basically giving our money assignments.  So, jump to today. After being on the plan for the past 17 months, we’ve been able to keep our bills paid and take care of the unexpected  things or basic maintenance things fairly easily.  Anytime we’ve needed to repair something in the house or on the car, we’ve been able to take care of it because it was in the budget.

So, this is hopefully the first of a few posts about this journey we’re on. I’ll try to share how we’ve found alternatives to going into debt (my husband will hopefully be sharing how he was able to replace his phone when it stopped working).

I’ll chat with you later,

Elizabeth