Mr.Awesome Boyfriend and I finally sat down to discuss our finances. Over the last few years, we have accumulated a lot of debt. The debt, is mostly credit cards and a lot of student loans. We purchased Quicken 2014 to help organize our payments. Quicken is an awesome way to set up a budget. Now, the first set up is a pain in the booty but it is worth it! The most important information for our credit cards was the APR and the due date of payment. Quicken figured out the best way to pay the credit cards off. Then, Quicken shows you a graph every month of how your accounts are doing. Your main goal is to make sure that your bank accounts to go down to zero dollars. So, monitor and set up your payments wisely.
Before Quicken, I just had automatic payments every week for about $20 for each card. In reality, I was just paying the interest and the card’s balance wasn’t really go down that fast. Then, I would use the cards here and there for small purchases. Yeah, lesson learned. :-D Once Quicken had a set plan for payments, We went into out bank accounts auto bill pay and set up the correct payments. I am still trying to build a good credit score and my biggest problem is my debt to income ratio is huge.
To continue to build good credit, I decided I would use my Cash Rewards credit card for groceries and ONLY groceries. According to Quicken, I can have $250 for food and household items. I decided to look at this not as punishment but as a game. I want to have our groceries less than $250 a week so, I can but some money into a savings account. Right now, my goal is to have some spending money for a Disney Land trip we are taking in November. We planed this with our dear friends in January… our hotel is already booked!
This is WEEK 1 of the planed budget. I will be honest because we are working out and monitoring our calories our food items are pretty much the same every day. This makes it easy to know exactly how much we are spending AND this makes it easy for me to find coupons! So let me first introduce a new app that was highly rated and helps with grocery shopping. It is called Out of Milk and can be purchased on apple or android devices. We paid for the pro version (it wasn’t that much) that allowed to sync with multiple devices and the online website. Again, the first set up is a pain… X-D
I set up my ‘pantry’ list first. I created multiple categories: birdies, breakfast, camping, dinners, household, hygiene, lunches, pills, spice rack. I had fun and took screen shot my ‘pantry’ list. I used a red marker to highlight my categories. I found breaking items down into categories was the easiest way to manage it all. The pantry list allows you to add an item by scanning the bar code or you can enter it manually. You can put in how much of an item you have by percent or quantity. If I had an item that was super low, I copied that item to the shopping list. This also allowed me to clean up my kitchen. I threw out a lot things I knew we would never use or was too old.
The shopping list is cool because you can add in the settings sales tax. While you are shopping you can enter the price of the item. It keeps track of how much everything is going to cost so there are no surprises at the register. There is a notes section too, like if you have a coupon.
I also used Google to find the best online printable coupons. I signed up for Coupons.com and LiveBetterAmerica.com. They are free to sign up and have a ton of printable coupons. This would be great for a big family because there was everything from pampers, cereals, beauty products etc. Our household is small, so I printed only the products I know we use. We are pretty brand loyal and I found a coupon for pretty much everything. Now, the coupons are to save a small amount; save $1 or less. However, every little bit adds up. I organized the coupons into two envelops: 1) coupons now and 2) coupons later. It really did not take that long to find the coupons print, cut and organize.
We also decided to help our food budget, we would stop all the mini transactions. Since I work at Safeway, I tend to make at least 3-4 transactions every time I work. Most of those are for less than $5. Those can add up to be a lot in the long run and can really hurt a budget. So, we are shopping only two times a week. With the help of the Out of Milk app, we should always know what we have and need.
-girl in pigtails