Sunday, November 3, 2013

Money and Parenting

Sometimes I have different ideas or things I want to share on my blog.  Lately I've been posting logs about our daily activities, but not much else.  I feel like I've been busy with other things (and then again not) and haven't kept up with my blog very well lately anyway. But I've been thinking about doing a money/budgeting post for awhile and thought I'd through some parenting stuff in there too (not a whole lot really), just cause.  Now that it's been so long since I had my initial post ideas, that this will be a mixture of this and that.  Ignore the random topic jumping.

I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan, if you didn't know.  Lately his show went live, online, which is pretty cool.  I've only seen maybe an hour total of his show online because I don't really have much time to sit and watch something during the day.  But I do listen to the archives of his radio show a lot.  Almost everyday during the week actually.  What I really like about his "new" archives is that the commercials are cut out!  So sweet. 

My sister Lena and I like to talk money stuff too and she told me about Dave Ramsey's daughter, Rachel, and how she has a video blog about various money topics.  In one blog post she talks about her "envelope system" for keeping track of her money.    A few days after I watched the post (not sure when Lena watched the post), Lena and I actually went out and bought ourselves a wallet with lots of dividers. That was pretty fun.  Shanna was with me when I was picking one out.  There were some fun options, but there was one on sale that I liked.  This isn't my dream wallet, but I do like it quite a lot.

It's the start of a new month so my wallet is a little fatter and I have money to spend!  Granted most of it is for groceries, but that's okay.  I like spending money, even if it's on groceries. I love the different dividers!  I can separate out my money without actually using envelopes. When I saw all the pockets for cards I thought there were plenty, but actually I could have used more! Especially when I carry around six insurance cards. Double stacking, or multiple stacking works just fine too.

A couple days ago I finalized my budget for November and I have done some shopping already for the month.  For the past several months I like to buy as much as I can the very first of the month.  Not sure why really, but I like that the money is gone so I can see what I have left over. We tithe 10% of our income to our church and since we didn't go to church the first week in October due to a church-wide general conference, I actually withdrew cash from my account, just so tithing would be gone from my account. Sometimes I get impatient waiting for a tithing check to clear.  Not sure how much the guys enjoyed counting the cash, but it was deducted from my account the 1st part of October, which I liked.  At least I didn't send in rolls of pennies or something.

Our current month's budget is based on what we made the prior month.  Right now we are living off of what money the practice brought in from October.  I've done mock budgets for December and January already, so we'll see how it matches up with actual money.  Can you believe Christmas is next month?  My sister-in-law has been great about saving up for Christmas the past several months.  I probably should have done the same.  I am not really sure what the average amount people in general spend on their kids at Christmas, but I don't feel like we spend a whole lot...which is good because I have no idea what Lee will make this month! Twice Lee and I have gone without spending anything on each other for Christmas and it has actually been a great thing for me.  One year we spent $5 on each other.  FYI-we are not destitute by any means, I am just throwing stuff out there.  Like I said, it's a random post.

What initially sparked the idea for a money post was actually when we finally had everything in place, in case of an emergency.  Someday Lee would like to get a motorcycle and use it for commuting.  I don't mind at all, as long as he has long-term disability insurance.  He got the paper work going this summer and the policy was finally official in early fall. It is nice knowing that if he is disabled and can't go back to work, he'll receive an insurance benefit up to age 65. In addition to that, we each have life insurance.  Lee has two different policies because he got a small one when he was doing his undergrad work at BYU.  He has one policy for $150,000 and another for $800,000.  We have one on me for $200,000.   The disability policy and term life insurance policies cost us $78 a month.  Not bad. 

Also this summer, we got our wills in place.  We got them at and if you click on the Dave Ramsey Specials in the upper right hand corner you can buy two complete packs for about $40. (The only reason I am telling you this is because I thought it was a good deal.) Lee and I now have a will, living will/medical directive (I think those are similar anyway), and a power of attorney on each of us.  I ordered the paper version, which is a little more money (a few more dollars) but they also sent me examples of how it would look filled out, which was great.  It took me forever to even start on the wills and then when I did, it did take a while to fill them out. But now it's done! Thankfully our accountant is a notary and the other employees there stood in as witnesses for the will too, which was great.

Another exciting thing was when we finished our 6 month emergency fund.  I've heard from lots of people and from leaders in my church to have a 3-6 month emergency fund.  We had a three-month emergency fund a couple of years ago, but used it up when we had just moved here and were living off of it.  I get impatient with "money goals" sometimes and it seemed to take awhile to get the emergency fund done, but looking back, it really wasn't bad at all.  Our emergency fund is pretty basic; like $200 a month for food, no piano lessons, minimum gas budget, no Lee/Ruth spending money, about $20 per month for clothes (with seven people, there needs to be some sort of clothing money around!), etc.  I recently read somewhere, either in our church magazine the Ensign, or a conference talk, or something, about the peace that we will have in our heart for being prepared in these things.  (I should find the quote.) 

Doctrine and Covenants 29:35 has a great scripture that goes along with this: Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.

I guess one could argue that having life insurance and what not, is not a commandment.  But if the prophet and the church teaches to be prepared and have savings and adequate insurance, that's good enough for me.

Lastly Lena and I were talking about food storage and how her friend buys it.  Each week she takes $25 and spends it on a food storage item.  We both started doing the same thing, and with our current food budgets.  Let me tell, you, it's been awesome!  I am still spending the same on food, yet somehow I am managing to buy a good amount of food storage too.  Mainly I think I am more intentional and careful about what I buy with my grocery money.  It's been fun seeing extra food on my food storage shelves in my bedroom and talking to Lena about what we are going to spend the food storage money on each month. I know that even doing a little--buying a couple extra of this or that--can add up pretty quickly.

As for parenting, actually there isn't a whole lot to say, really.  I could just write that I need improvement in all areas and that pretty much sums it up. Recently I told Lee how I was feeling discouraged about raising kids, and come to find out he was feeling a little discouraged too.  We are taking a marriage class right now at church and we've both been enjoying it.  Today our friend Cory gave a great lesson about raising/teaching kids.  One person said that the spirit can't be there when you're yelling.  I need to remember that.  Not that I literally yell/scream at my kids (sadly I have done that before), but my tone of voice when I am annoyed is not condusive to the spirit, at all.

A couple weeks ago was the Primary program in church--where the kids age 3-11 sing and share things they've learned, and their testimonies of the gospel.  Sadly I was frustrated about something and because of that I lost out on the opportunity to enjoy the meeting and feel the spirit. I do have the hope that I can change and do better.  I just need to remember that, everyday--and continually ask for guidance from the Lord.  Those are my rambling thoughts for the moment.  If I think of any others I'll throw them in a later post.


shelly said...

Hi Ruth! Your family is so beautiful =) I appreciate this post because I, too, am a Ramsey fan and am working on the baby steps. I am also a spender and lose my patience so it's motivating to read other people's experiences and ideas. What I'm taking from your post is to get on my food storage! These are such important principles for us to work on as mothers in our world today. Thanks!

TheAlbrechtSquad said...

I'm so glad I checked in on your sweet family and read this. This was truly an answer to something I have been praying about. Thanks for your example Ruth!