Spring has officially sprung and with it comes rain, pollen, allergies, and home shopping! After YEARS of wanting to purchase our own slice of heaven and over a year “casually” browsing the MLS in our new town, Ryan and I decided to get serious about home buying. We became pre-approved for a mortgage, found a realtor, and started touring some potential homes. Making the decision to leap towards buying a home now wasn’t easy. If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you know my husband I were both pretty adamant about waiting until we had 20% down plus closing costs before starting the home search. But despite having set this goal, we’ve found ourselves having the same conversation over and over.
Category Archives: personal finance
February 2016 Budget Review
Lemme tell y’all, I have been trying to sit down to write this post for ages. Things have been so hectic around here for the past 2 weeks, I was afraid I was never going to get around to this post. But today, I finally have a nap time where the house isn’t a complete wreck and I don’t still need to eat lunch, so conditions are perfect! As always, the month flew by, but I’m not even going to try act sad about that fact because the month of March means spring is here! The cold weather was fun for a bit, but I think four months of coat weather is enough for me. As I write this, it’s sunny and in the low 70’s outside. I might actually start wearing shorts again this month!!! Y’all, I am seriously brimming with excitement.
January 2016 Budget Review
Spoiler alert, y’all, it was not a good month in the Hooper household, budget-wise. I was having trouble keeping track of our expenses via Mint because my Target card hadn’t synced for over a month (it was an issue for all Target REDcard users on Mint). When everything finally synced up, we were about halfway through the month, and we had already gone over budget in one expense category. I think I just felt completely hopeless so I stopped paying attention to our spending in this category for the remainder of the month. Obviously this is not the way to go, so I knew this month’s budget review was going to be painful. When you struggle with any issue in your life, it can be really disheartening to not see progress. Some days are good, some are bad, some days you wonder why you try so hard, only to end up failing. When you get to this point, you have to step back and take a hard look at your behavior. Are you setting yourself up for failure? Do you truly believe you can accomplish your goals? Are you putting the right systems, resources, and influences in place? These are all things I started to think about before I even took a look at my budget for the month. In 99.9% of situations, if you do not meet a goal, you have yourself and yourself only to blame. I’m about to go into my 29th year of life on this Earth; by now I should be aware that I should always have a plan B, plan C, plan D, and so on. I can’t just throw my hands up in the air and say “I’ll do better later”. There is no later. There is NOW and that’s what I should be focused on improving.
Halfway through the month of January, I went through a bit of a crisis. It started when I learned that the vegan bag company that sells a purse and wallet I had been lusting over announced a big sale. The purse and wallet that I felt were “essential” to my year-round capsule wardrobe were now 40% off the normal price. I had been using a diaper bag in place of a purse since I started staying home full-time, and I didn’t want people to perceive me as “just a mom” the moment they saw me. I wanted my clothing and accessories to reflect that I still had time to piece together a suitable outfit every day and that I wasn’t letting all the neccessary kid accountrements cramp my style. So when I saw the sale, I immediately asked Ryan if this purse and wallet could be my early birthday present. He said “yes” without hesitation, and I placed the online order that night. About a week and half later the package arrived in the mail. I was extremely excited to open it, but my home was a complete disaster (aka it’s normal state) so I wanted to get everything cleaned up before opening the package. I went about my regular business for the rest of the day – cleaning, cooking dinner, taking care of the kids.
December 2015 Budget Review
You know how sometimes you think something is going to be really time consuming and difficult, so you put it off. And then you finally do it, and it was ridiculously quick and easy. That was this budget review. My Target REDcard (along with every other cardholder) has synced up on Mint for almost a month now. Since the majority of my large, split purchases occur at SuperTarget, I thought it would take FOREVER to manually add everything together. Nope, it was like a five minute process. Moral of the story – procrastination is my biggest downfall.
Resolving To Spend Smarter in 2016
Happy New Year, everyone! We’ve been back home from visiting family for almost 2 days now so I think it’s time I started to get back into the swing of things. If not for that reason, but because there is so much stuff scattered about our home, I’m beginning to not be able to see the hardwood laminate anymore. Moral of the story – I really, really, REALLY need to clean. But I’m not ready to be a productive member of society again so instead I’m snuggled up in bed with a pup, writing down all the New Year’s resolutions that have been swirling around my head for the past few days.
The Financial Benefits of a Zero Waste Home
Happy New Year’s Eve Eve, everyone! This is my last blog post of 2015 so I thought I would post about a subject that will definitely be influencing my choices in 2016. I wouldn’t say it’s a New Years resolution so much as a lifestyle change. Which in my opinion is one of the best ways to really stick to positive changes in your life.
A Week in Our Pantry – Receipts + Meal Plan
As I mentioned in my past two monthly budget recaps, our grocery expenses are a little out of control. Our average monthly grocery expense since moving to Alabama has been way too high for 2 adults and 2 toddlers. Yes, there’s the Celiac’s disease which attributes to why EVERYTHING has to be gluten-free. And I’m all about about supporting local businesses and buying organic. But I felt that it has to be possible to eat gluten-free, organic, healthy, hearty foods without spending over $1000/month. So this past week I decided to be very conscious of our food spending, eliminately anything that seemed wasteful or unnecessary. I was going to put a limit on our spending for the week, but I’m more interested in what GF + organic really costs when you’re living comfortably, not subsisting off of paltry meals. I NEVER want to not look forward to things I’m eating. Food is sustainance, but food is also fun!
The 7 Baby Steps
On the blog past Friday I provided a quick synopsis and review of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsay and the 7 Baby Steps described in the book. If you haven’t already read last week’s post, I recommend you read it first before learning about my progress. We’ve been following the baby steps for almost a month now, and we have kind of fast tracked our way through them since we were already being pretty responsible.
“The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey – Synopsis & Review
In case y’all didn’t realize it, Christmas is in 1 week! And I’ve only had two blog posts this month….smh. I always dream big about posting a bunch and life gets in the way. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve started writing or have started researching, but haven’t finished. It’s seriously a miracle that this post is even getting published! I read this book almost a month ago, it’s been renewed at the library twice, so I need to turn it back in, like, tomorrow. I don’t want to promise that I’ll be more consistent because I can’t make this blog a priority right now. I will promise that I think about my awesome readers daily, and I am working on getting content out there quicker versus ruminating on an idea for like eight years before scrapping it. Anyways, on to the review!