this is a page for

Monthly Archives: February 2017

Our Monthly Budget with Real Numbers

 

Happy March y’all!

Today’s the day.

 I am going to share our real budget with real numbers.

Before I get started, please remember that our budget fits our life. There is no one size fits all budget, and our priorities may be different than yours.

For example, we budget $100 each month for our dogs, while some people may scoff at that. Their health and happiness is a priority to us, so we put our money where our priorities are, and you should too. You may enjoy eating out at restaurants, while that is not something we do on the regular.

So, be nice and don’t judge. No judging allowed 

Each month, we budget down to zero and tell our money what to do. I am paid once per month on the 28th, which I LOVE. I love having all of that money at the beginning of the month to work with. My husband is paid weekly. We are still in our debt free journey, therefore, we are not living on last month’s paycheck like so many financial gurus tell you to do. Sure, it’s a goal. It’s just not the reality right now.

Obvious disclaimer: I’m not a finance expert.

{I’m just a girl in debt, trying to be a girl not in debt.}

Here’s a quick rundown on how I create our budget each month:

  1. Calculate our total income
  2. Budget our Fixed Expenses (Living, Debt, Miscellaneous)
  3. Calculate our balance after Fixed Expenses
  4. Budget our Variable Expenses
  5. Calculate our balance after Variable Expenses
  6. The balance from step 5 is then either put into savings or on debt, depending on our plan for the month.

So, here lies our plan for March. Notice, it is a plan. Things will happen, because…well…Murphy. First, a detailed paragraph form of our budget. I will follow it up with a spreadsheet for all of my spreadsheet lovers out there. No shame, I’m one of them.

INCOME – after taxes

Mrs. Daisy: $3931.88

  • The above amount is my take home pay after 401k contribution, taxes, and health care.
  • Here is the breakdown:
    • $55.34 for dental
    • $51.23 for short term disability
    • $100.00 direct deposited in our HSA account
    • $160.68 to 401(k)

Mr. Daisy: $2808.80

  • Mr. Daisy works as a heavy equipment operator. The number reflected here is his base hourly pay with no overtime. Now that Spring is starting to peek in a little bit, he will be getting more and more overtime. I will reflect that, if any, in the end of the month recap.

Total Income: $6740.68

___________________________________________________________________________

FIXED EXPENSES

Living

Rent: $450.00

*We are lucky enough to be renting a house owned by my in-laws. They are extremely generous with the rent amount

Utilities: $350.00

*The city we live in operates on a co-op. Our electric, wireless Internet, cable, trash, water, and sewage is all included on one bill.

Gas: $70.00

Cell phones: $120.00

*I am researching alternatives in this area. The area I live in is notorious for spotty service when you veer away from Verizon.

Car Insurance: $123.00

Total Fixed Living Expenses:  $1113.00

Debt

Student Loans: $ 846.11

Consumer Debt: $334.21

Personal Loan: $137.40

Vehicles: $699.47

Total Debt Payments: $2017.19

Miscellaneous

Daycare: $540.00

Subscriptions: $38.00

*Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited. We may cancel Hulu, our Roku picks up pretty much everything we care about on Hulu.

Total Miscellaneous Fixed Expenses: $578.00

TOTAL FIXED EXPENSES: $3708.19

Total Income: $6740.00

Total Fixed Expenses: $3708.00

Left to Budget: $3032.00

_______________________________________________________________________

Variable Expenses

Groceries: $225.00 or 56.25/week

Pets: $100.00

*This includes their food and preventive care

Household Miscellaneous: $50.00

*Repairs, décor, etc.

Fuel: $300.00

Entertainment: $120.00

*This includes my bowling budget. Yes, I’m a bowling nerd.

Spending Cash: $320.00

*My husband and I each get $40 in cash as spending money per week. I usually spend it, my husband on the other hand, tends to save it up and splurge on himself (or Little Daisy and I) every few months.

Little Daisy: $50

*Clothes, ballet, anything else she may end up needing

Oh $hit: $150.00

*A buffer I like to leave in the checking account in case of a little emergency or unexpected expense.

Total Variable Expenses: $1315.00

Balance from above: $3032.00

Total Variable Expenses: $1315

Remaining Income: $1717.00

Here is a link to a .pdf file that contains a spreadsheet of our monthly budget for a more concise view:

DRD Budget March 2017

Our current plan of attack is simply banking the remaining $1717.00 in a savings account to build up our savings this month.

So, there you have it! My first foray into using the entire Internet as my accountability partner. Oy. At the end of the month I will post what we actually spent. Let’s see how well we stick to our budget this month.

Have you created your March budget? What format do you use? What are your challenges? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! 

 

5 Frugal Things

 

Much like a budget, a food journal or a gratitude journal, I believe that recording and acknowledging your frugal successes (and maybe some failures) is a necessity when you are embarking on a frugality adventure like myself. I first came across 5 Frugal Things on THE FRUGAL GIRL who came across it on THE NON-CONSUMERADVOCATE.COM and I’ve been hooked since. It is amusing to recount the frugal events of the past few days to keep encouraging me on this expedition.

Without further ado, here are my 5 Frugal Things from the weekend:

  1. I was away on a bowling trip this weekend, so Mr. Daisy and Little Daisy were holding down the fort. They stayed home all weekend entertaining themselves and eating at home.
  2. We had budgeted $100 for me to have this weekend on the girls’ bowling trip. I’m happy to say that I came home with $50…even after having a few too many blackberry Long Island Iced Teas during Applebee’s happy hour.
  3. I listed some items on my EBAY STORE. Once each month, I transfer this money directly from my PayPal account to whichever debt I am currently using the snowball method to pay off (in addition to the minimum payment).
  4. I made a batch of breakfast burritos for a quick-grab breakfast to bring to work.
  5. I found a cart of final markdowns at our local supermarket that contained a large cardboard box of travel size shampoos and conditioners for 15 cents! I refrained from buying the whole box, and instead limited myself to 10. These little guys work perfectly for my gym bag!

Frugal fail…woh woh.

Usually, I do the grocery shopping by myself. It is my mommy time on those glorious early Saturday mornings. However, since I was away all weekend, I brought along the entire Daisy family so that we could spend a little time together. I just couldn’t bring myself to come home from a trip and leave them again to go to the store.

Bad idea.

Have you ever shopped with a husband and a toddler?

I generally keep our grocery budget to $50-75 weekly. Our total was, drumroll please….$155! What the what?! It is safe to say that this will become a mommy-only even from now on.

Because of this crazy $155 shopping excursion, I’m challenging myself to make it on $20 the next two weeks. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

What are your frugal successes and failures (if any!) for the last few days? Do you think it’s possible for me to restrict myself to $40 for the next two weeks?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

8 Awesome Frugal & Lifestyle Blogs I Follow

I have a pretty set-in-stone routine in the mornings when I arrive at work. I have my coffee, do the daily USA Today Crossword and Sudoku to get my brain ready for the day…and catch up on my 8 favorite blogs. I love the feeling of community that each of these blogs foster. I come away each day learning at least 10 new things from them, so I thought I’d share which blogs I love and why!

Here they are in no particular order.

Actually, there is an order. The first one is my all-time favorite, the one I religiously go to every morning, and if she hasn’t posted an entry – I keep coming back throughout the day waiting to see what she has to say 🙂 

Disclaimer: I’m still working out the kinks of this blog theme. Sometimes it shows links in a different color, sometimes it doesn’t. So until I figure this crap out, all CAPS denotes a link. Thanks 🙂 

  1. THE FRUGAL GIRL – I have been reading Kristen’s blog every day for over six years now. She doesn’t have a monumental, ground breaking get out of debt story; but the way she leads her life is inspiring. Her blog is straight forward, practical, and easy to follow. Her kindness and passion comes through in her writing ranging from frugality to practicality to DIY to cooking from scratch to less waste production. If you are looking for a frugal blog starting point, Kristen is your girl.
  2. THE PICKY PINCHERS – They are making frugality cool again! I love to follow their journey of retiring early, Mrs. PP’s beauty and fashion hacks, and the adventures of their adorable kitten Zap!
  3. SIX FIGURES UNDER – Stephanie over at Six Figures Under is the reason I started Dirt Road Daisy. Through her blog, she chronicles her family’s debt free adventure using her readers as her accountability partners. She uses their real numbers, and is honest with how they spend their money. I though it was so brave of her to share this information in order to help herself and others and wanted to do the same.
  4. MONEY SAVING MOM – If you’re a frugal, money saving blog follower, I am sure you have heard of Crystal Paine over at Money Saving Mom. She is amazing. Her blog is a perfect mix between money saving strategies, personal growth, spirituality, and motivation. Crystal and I couldn’t be more different in terms of personality, but when I read her open and honest blog posts, I feel like she’s a friend. And it keeps me coming back for more. I have scored some bomb deals and freebies through her site.
  5. THE BUDGET MAMA – Jessi Fearon over at The Budget Mama is another blogger I admire for sharing her family’s real numbers, successes, failures, and honest insight. She is a sweet, Southern belle living credit card free!
  6. THE NON-CONSUMER ADVOCATE – Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate is my spirit animal. She is fiery, opinionated, a bit sassy…and I love it. Katy doesn’t buy anything new. Crazy, right?! Her lifestyle is uplifting and eye-opening in so many ways. Head on over to her blog and click About Katy to learn about “The Compact” movement.
  7. FOOD STORAGE MOMS – I feel like Linda is my blogosphere Mom. She always replies to emails and questions I post in her comments. She is passionate about emergency preparedness and her blog is filled with wonderful resources. I have learned so much from her blog and continue to do so every day.
  8. BACKDOOR SURVIVAL – Gaye’s blog is one of my daily prepper blogs. Her perspective on the world is refreshing and educating. She is extremely generous and hosts giveaways on her blog all the time. I finally won one!

Although I’m not sure that I’ll ever be as frugal or prepared as the blog queens I’ve listed above, they inspire me to keep trudging through my debt free journey.

Do you have a frugal or lifestyle blog that is a must read? Let me know in the comments, I love finding new blogs!

SO, What can you expect from Dirt Road Daisy?

My intention is to document my family’s journey to slash our very large, intimidating amount of debt. I will be sharing real, actual numbers and be 100% honest with what we make, spend and save. Successes, failures, milestones, and slip-ups. Oy, what am I getting myself into?

Here are some of the things I hope to share:

  • Monthly budget reports – much like my blog inspiration SIX FIGURES UNDER, THE PICKY PINCHERS, and THE BUDGET MAMA. (All caps denotes a link…I haven’t figured out how to make the links appear in a different color yet with this theme. Any help would much appreciated :)) It  will hold me accountable for my finances. How crazy am I, using the entire world as my accountability partner?

  • Frugal lifestyle habits – we are continuously working on becoming more frugal. Disclaimer: frugal does not mean cheap. I am a firm believer in the adage, “You get what you pay for.”

  • Reduced waste and recycling – I am a scientist and environmentalism is one of my passions. I hope to share how we reuse as much as possible in order to minimize what we send to a landfill that my daughter’s house may be built on one day.

But, I won’t only be sharing finance and frugal topics…

Education, the outdoors, food, resume and interview coaching, DIY, and emergency preparedness are all subjects that I am extremely passionate about.

I guess in their own way, they could all be tied to a frugal mindset…

Education – Being frugal is a continual learning process. It involves research, trial and error, mistakes, and successes. I hope to share posts that are thought provoking, that stir conversation, and are beneficial. I will also share how we are educating our daughter as children’s education is something I am very active with in our community.

The Outdoors – Free entertainment, free education, free fun, and free beauty. Mr. Daisy and I both grew up on farms showing cattle and growing crops. We even met at our local county fair!

Food – It’s no secret that eating at home saves you money. Meal planning, smart grocery shopping, and being creative with food all have frugal benefits. We’re still working on this one…

Resume and interview coaching – This is one of my side hustles. Side hustle = money to help attack debt. While reading a book on blogging by Ruth Soukup over at LIVING WELL SPENDING LESS, she asked the reader, “What are you good at? What do people ask for your advice on? What do you really enjoying talking about?” For me, that is resume writing and interview coaching. Friends, family and colleagues are regularly asking me to look over their resume, help with a cover letter, or assist in interview preparation. I have three resumes in my email inbox at any given time. It is something that comes naturally to me, and I really enjoy it. There will be more information about this coming soon!

DIY – We are DIY fanatics here in the Daisy household. My husband is extremely gifted when it comes to mechanics, wood working, and fabrication. Rather than buying a fancy $500 headboard, he made me an extraordinarily beautiful headboard (with lights!) for less than $60.

Emergency Preparedness – Let’s be real. Emergencies and disasters are happening every day somewhere in the world. I am an avid preparer, because I am not only responsible for my well-being, but my family’s. And my neighbor’s. And any strangers that may need it.

What dirt road daisy will NOT be

  • I will not be condescending, judgmental, or unkind.

    • There is no room for that in the world. Everyone deserves kindness, a shoulder and an ear. If you need that, I’m available.

  • I will not present our ideas as a cure-all.

    • Just because I do something one way, doesn’t mean I think that you should. I do not intend for the ideas I post to be a fix all to end all.

  • This will not be a How To blog.

    • Hell, I’m learning as I’m going. I won’t post catchy titles like “The 5 things you MUST do to get out of debt”, “Here’s how to make your mornings more successful”, implying that I know what I’m doing. I like to think I do, but that’s not always the case. And I’m not too self-assured to admit it.

    • My hope is to build a small community of like-minded people who can learn from each other.

  • I will not be posting our real identities.

    • A photo of myself, probably. When I’m at a blog, I like to know whose thoughts I’m reading.

    • But no real names and no photos of my daughter. At least not yet. The Internet is a scary place. A photo of my daughter in her bathing suit when she was a little over one year old was hijacked from my Facebook page and found in a disgusting part of the dark web. We only found out because we have a friend on a local task force aimed at stopping this sort of thing.

    • Also, because we are sharing real numbers (and I’m still a little embarrassed to admit it) I want to keep some level of anonymity.

I truly hope you decide to stick around and tag along on this journey with us. And I hope we become friends. The world needs more people being friends.

Tell me in the comments; do you have any ideas for my posts? I’d love to hear them!

Welcome to Dirt Road Daisy!

Hi!

I’m Mrs. Daisy.

And my family is $115,676 in debt.

Not including a mortgage.

Yep, you read that correctly.

What a way to start off my very first blog post. You are probably wondering why I am airing my dirty laundry for the entire internet to see, right?

For the longest time, I have felt ashamed and embarrassed over the amount of debt that we have racked up. While doing some research on strategies to dig ourselves out of this hole, I came across some staggering statistics:

  • The average American household has a total debt of more than $90,000. This includes households that are debt free.
  • The average household carrying debt averages more than $130,000.
  • Total debt in the U.S. is $12.12 TRILLION.

I may have done a selfish little happy dance when I realized that we are not alone in this hole. Just a short dance though, because it also kinda sad and disheartening that Americans have been sucked into this debt trap.

We have not taken out any new credit lines or used any credit cards in over two years, but it’s still an uphill battle.

Who is Mrs. Daisy?

I’m going to have a hard time making this short and sweet, because I’m the kind of person that wants to give you alllllll the details. Here we go.

Mrs. Daisy is not your typical frugal finance lifestyle blogger.  I am not a homeschooling, stay-at-home, Christian wife and mom of several children that makes every meal from scratch.

Please don’t get it twisted. I have no dispute with anyone that is. Do your thing, sister. That’s just not me – but 7 of the 8 blogs that I dutifully read every morning are.

I am a 50 hour per week working, sarcastic, slightly (ok, really) inappropriate, non-religious, mother and wife that serves my family processed foods at least once per week.

Working mom guilt is a thing y’all. But that’s a topic for another day.

I am a happily married woman to man much younger than me.

Where my cougars at?!

Mr. Daisy’s list of talents is a mile long, but my favorite things about him is that he is willing and able to cook, clean, bathe not-so-willing dogs and our 3 year old daughter (not at the same time…at least I don’t think so), pick up tampons from the store, do laundry, and let me sleep in when I’ve stayed up until 3am reading a book that I can’t put down. Insert heart eyes emoji here.

Little Daisy is our three year old, stupidly smart, animal loving, dancing queen of a little girl. She makes our hearts smile every single day. But damn, she’s expensive. Kids are expensive.

How did we get here?

By here, I mean $115,676 in debt. Without a mortgage. Let me break down all of the embarrassing details for you.

STUDENT LOAN DEBT $86473

I am the first member of my family to attend and graduate from college. It’s safe to say, we had no idea what we were doing. I blindly took out loans, chose an extremely expensive private school, and paid for room, board, and a meal plan for 4 years.

 CREDIT CARD DEBT $ 4785

Mr. Daisy had never had credit cards before we got pregnant with Little Daisy. I had one in college to pay for important things like textbooks and spring break trips. Priorities. There’s no excuse for our credit card debt other than we were impatient and wanted things now rather than waiting to save the money to buy whatever super important item it was.

VEHICLE DEBT $25847

When Little Daisy was born, we realized I needed a car that was a tad bit safer than the old (paid in cash!) Impala that I was driving. We decided to roam a Kia lot one day around noon, and by 2pm we had been financed for a brand new $26000 2013 Kia Optima. Walking out of the dealership was like exiting the Twilight Zone. It all happened so quickly. But it happened, and now I am going to drive the wheels off of this beast.

Mr. Daisy’s trusty old truck started to have some transmission issues and he let me know that we needed to find a replacement quickly. He is a mechanic after all. We didn’t have the savings, but had the credit approval from our local Credit Union to purchase a $17,000 truck.

 

PERSONAL LOAN $2571

We ran into an unfortunate personal situation that required a few thousand dollars that we did not have saved. Our only option was to take out a personal loan from our Credit Union to take care of it.

So, here we are.

Come along with us as we navigate through this debt; share our frugal lifestyle adventures, our failures and successes, some of the things we’re passionate about, and hopefully a little entertainment.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing with you what you can expect from Dirt Road Daisy should you decide to come back…which I hope you will!

If you stopped by today, I’d love to hear about who you are in the comments! Tell me one thing about yourself…frugal related or not and how you found Dirt Road Daisy.