Category Archives: Dave Ramsey Financial Peace

the Financial Peace University Journey, Week 5: I Feel a Test Coming On….

We’re 5 weeks deep into our Financial Peace University journey and I feel as if I’m being tested every day! I truly feel like starting FPU at this time of year is a blessing and a huge challenge. You see, I’m a musician, and January-March are my lowest income months of the year. They can be very challenging. (As if the winter months aren’t tough enough.)

 

Let’s think positive first:

The Victories

  • My grocery ¬†budget evened out in the second week! I still think we will need a bit more per week on a grocery budget, but all in all, I’m feeling great about the groceries we’ve been able to stock.
  • Here are some of my big deals that made the budget possible this week:
    • 3 lb. bag carrots: $.59 cents (I bought 3 bags!!)
    • 1 dozen eggs: $.69 cents (I bought 6 dozen, the max. allowed. One of the ways I stretch our budget is to make a frittata 1-2 times/week. But more on that later! ūüėČ )
    • Frozen veggies: $1.19 each (this is great and easy on the go)
    • 3 lb. bag sweet potatoes: $.99 cents
    • a big bag of dried black beans: $1.39. We used half of it this week on one batch and we ate black beans for days, at both meals!¬†so cost-effective.
  • It looks like my gasoline budget is coming in lower than I estimated, but we’ll see how it plays out during the end of the month!

 

The Trials

  • We’ve been really good about not buying anything but groceries…..but sometimes the trivial stuff gets in the way too. A week ago our smoke detector started beeping. It drove me insane. Every 2 minutes or so, it would beep. I could hear it from our bedroom but my husband couldn’t, as he suffers from high-frequency hearing loss. (I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me in the rear once we have kids! HA!)
    Anyways, we didn’t have 9-volt batteries, which is the type of battery our smoke detector needed. I couldn’t handle the beeping anymore, and I caved. I bought two, 9-volt batteries for about $7 (with a coupon) at Target. I didn’t budget for this. But at least our smoke detector has a fresh battery in it!
  • We are also low on hand soap. Again, this doesn’t sound like a big expense, but when you’ve come in¬†just under budget in the “grocery” category, you do everything you can to avoid breaking it. But alas, I got a huge thing of soap to refill our soap dispensers. $4.99 later, I’m full of soap but didn’t budget for it.
  • I’ve been pumping all of my extra here-and-there income into cash flow for a trip I’m taking in a few weeks. This program has actually made me second guess going on this trip (“look at all of the money I could be using to pay down my debts!!”), but this is a necessary trip for my Master’s thesis research. Unless something awful happens in the next 2 weeks, I’m going.
  • Lastly (and I¬†know this sounds nit-picky): I didn’t budget anything for Valentine’s Day¬†or my husband’s birthday this month. I sound like a horrible wife, I know! But believe me when I say that this is one of the toughest financial months of my year. There really wasn’t much left for wiggle room once I budgeted the essentials. (I’m griping over hand soap and two batteries, for pete’s sake!) So tonight I’m sitting down and figuring out where I can wiggle a little room out for his Valentine’s card and birthday gift (whoops, did I just say that?).

 

 

Summary

So far I’ve been really loving the Financial Peace University journey, I’m not liking the guilt that comes with buying hand soap and batteries. Seriously.

Next month: I won’t have an entire trip to cash flow; I will make a “misc. housewares” section in the budget; I will pray more and trust God more. He’s the one that’s gotten us this far!

 

Thanks for following my Financial Peace University journey! Tune in to see how we do next!

 

 



Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University: Am I a Budget-Buster?

As you know, I am currently following Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I feel like I’m out of my league when it comes to budgeting. I know that it takes 3 months to really get the swing of things, but this week was a struggle when it came to groceries.

 

If you know anything about me, you know that I love grocery shopping. I love picking out the foods that we can afford (because of Aldi, my favorite grocery store) and imagine what I will craft this week with them. But because I spent half of our weekly food budget on meats, I didn’t have much left over for the fruits, veggies, dairy and eggs that I get at Aldi.

 

Alas, and alack. I threw caution to the wind and I went over the weekly budget.

 

What does this mean?? I felt like a failure immediately, but¬†I’m working on giving myself some grace. Here’s how I break it down:

I spent $126.95 on:

-10 lbs of lean ground turkey meat

-4 pounds of chicken breast

-a huge container of Parmesan cheese (thanks, Sam’s Club)

-a week’s worth of eggs (6 dozen, to be exact. yes, we go through 6 dozen)

-2 lbs of coffee grounds

-a week’s worth of fruits & veggies

-1 carton of almond milk

-2, 16-ounce containers of organic baby spinach

-6+ bags of frozen vegetables

 

…plus more. But there it is. A week’s worth of groceries (and more) for us. The meats will actually bring us through next week, which ate our budget plenty this week.

But let’s theorize that every single grocery item above is consumed this week. That would break down to:

 

$126.95 / 7 days / 4 meals per day / 2 people = $2.27 per meal.

 

If we were to remove one of the 5 lb containers of ground turkey that will not be eaten until next week, that breaks down to:

($126.95 – $12.95) = $114 ($14 over budget)

$114 / 7 days / 4 meals per day / 2 people = $2.03 per meal.

 

Is that too much math for you? It might be for me!

 

Either way, I’m over-budget this week. Rats.

 

I have to admit, I’m feeling a little bit like a failure on this first week of budgeting. I mean, come on! It’s the first week, and I’ve already gone overboard.

But on the same token,¬†it’s just the first week. It’s given me a chance to see what we typically spend on our groceries each week. Next time I’ll know better.

 

I think this blog entry would be under “The Setbacks” section, but soon I hope¬†it will be a “triumph”!

 

Onward and upward! Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is not conquered in one day.

Interested in what I’m doing with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University? Subscribe to my blog and see how I do in week 2!


Posted on February 10, 2017
By amanda.plazek@gmail.com

Filed under Dave Ramsey Financial Peace, Health
Comments Off on Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University: Am I a Budget-Buster?


Financial Peace University: Baby’s First Budget

It’s me again! So the hubs and I are 1/3rd of the way through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University system and we’ve created our own budget. (How embarrassing is it that I’ve never stuck to a budget? Look, I have no qualms about who I am. But I’m glad that I’m making this change in my life.)

 

Also- I secretly like that our first official budget month will be February because it’s the shortest month of the year! HA! Moving on….

 

We’re using “the envelope system” from Dave Ramsey which essentially directs you to put cash in envelopes for things like groceries, restaurant outings & “fun money” (i.e. Target runs for me). This is meant to¬†make it hurt a little and create more mindfulness about how much we actually spend.

 

We are abiding by the envelope system and being more mindful of our spending.

 

The setbacks:

Realizing what a pain in the side student loans are. Yes, we’ve had them for awhile, but writing out a budget and seeing the percentage of how much we spend towards them is¬†not fun.

The triumphs:

The system is like changing to a healthier lifestyle. You can go as fast as you like, with as much intensity as you like. Some people go to a drastic level and cut anything and everything extra for 12-18+ months. I’m using the same philosophy I use for my healthy eating; 70-80% healthy eating, with 20-30% of the indulgent stuff in-between.

What does that mean, financially? We¬†are cutting some things, but we’re keeping a bit too:
1) we budgeted for a nice dinner out (for either Valentine’s Day or the hubs’s birthday, which is this month)

2) we are keeping the cable bill¬†for now because it’s only about $20 extra/month, and my husband loves his sports!

3) we don’t plan to eat less, grocery-wise. We plan to buy our meats at Sam’s Club (which saves us 50% right there), our vegetables at Target and Aldi (which, again, I’ll explain soon), and use other money-saving techniques in-between. I can’t say we’ll be the “beans-and-rice” couple, but we’ll be mindful!

 

The next steps: 

Sticking to a budget for the month, especially for groceries! Will it be tough, or will it be do-able? Time will tell! Stay tuned!

 

Interested in following Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University? Click here and find a local class near you!¬†(and no, this is not a paid advertisement for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I’m just a normal person who wants to document the journey and hopefully inspire others!)



My Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Journey

I love blogging, and I truly try to be an open book to you, my readers & followers. I’ve decided to share the next chapter in my life because I hope it inspires others to make a positive change in their lives, just like I strive to do with my health & fitness journey.

 

 

When 2017 began, I wanted to make sure that “my house was in order” in more ways than one: I am working on taking care of myself, and what that really looks like. I’m exercising regularly, I’m eating healthy 75% of the time, and I’m working on meditating and other personal care. But something needs to be worked on in my own personal life the most right now: my finances.

 

And so I’ve decided to follow Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and document my journey, just like I’ve done with other major life changes!

I will not share our personal incomes, but I absolutely will share the setbacks and triumphs of the journey.

 

 

The beginning stages:

I am so, unbelievably grateful that my husband has decided to take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University with me. We are taking the class from home because my schedule is too ridiculous and I literally never have a consistent night off. So we bought the kit on eBay! Each week we pick a night that will work to completely devote to it. No cell phones, no texting, no Facebook-checking (which my husband has to remind me about).

 

The setbacks:

As a musician and someone who owns her own sales business, my income is really difficult to track. I’ve always used this as an excuse, but I’m following the correct tracking forms that Dave Ramsey suggests for people in my case. I will not allow this to be an excuse anymore!

 

The triumphs: 

I’ll just put it this way: I think every engaged couple should take something like this, because the husband and I have conversations that are open, honest, and exciting about our financial future! We didn’t have these before, and¬†dare¬†I say, this process will make us even closer.

 

What’s next:

Our first budget + using the envelope system!