Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Balancing the Family Budget

Settle in. I got a bunch to say, and not much of it has to do with Sotos or special needs. That's tomorrow's post, if I have time to write it.

So, yesterday I proposed canceling cable, which went over... not so well. Today, as I sat paying bills and trying to get Quicken to give me that stupid "Congratulations!" screen, I lost it. I stormed into Mr. WG's office and ranted like a crazy woman for about 20 minutes.

The outcome was that we actually calculated our current monthly expenses, took another look at the income, and Mr. WG agreed that we need to figure out places to cut in order to pay off our debt.

He called AT&T back, lowered our cable package by $20/month, signed up for phone service (still don't get what's the deal with that), and got $120 credit for our troubles. I have no idea what the new monthly total will be, but I suppose we shouldn't continue stealing phone service once we know that's what we're doing. I suppose.

I called T-Mobile and canceled Internet on both cell phones, sending us back to the dark ages, but saving us $50/month. This means, of course, that I have a Blackberry that is no longer really a Blackberry, but I'll find a way to muddle through.

Mr. WG called the alarm company and cot them to slash the bill from $35 to $19 WITH THE SAME SERVICE. Just for making the call we saved over $10/month.

I went back to my office a calmer woman and looked at the facts. I think part of my freakout was caused by the fact that in April, I invoiced less than I have every other month this year because I had to turn down work while we were away. This means that my checks are rather sparse this month, and I had to pay 1/4 of the kids' registration fee for next year and half of the camp fee, as well, which were big hits to the bank account. But my invoicing for the year is great, frankly, and it should leave us with enough left over each month to make some nice debt payments.

So now I feel better. And when Mr. WG's cell phone contract is up in August, we'll shop around for a better deal, although I'm not sure we'll do much better than $85/month for two phones if we want text messaging. I can live without the Internet on the phone -- I'm ALWAYS AT HOME. And we're hoping to cancel our personal Internet access in the next few weeks -- Mr. WG has a high-speed line with 5 static IPs on it, and there's no real reason I can't hook into that. So there are places we can cut, and we will do it.

And we found the $100 gift card AT&T sent us for signing up for U-Verse, so we'll use that for part of this week's grocery budget, which is nice. And I realize that saying that makes it sound like we're really living hand to mouth, which is not true. Our emergency fund is exactly where it should be, with the amount we agreed to keep in it. We have other savings accounts as well, and I continue to make payments to our debts each month. In fact, I closed several credit cards last month because we paid them off.

I just freak out a lot. Our expenses are going to soar in the next few months (tuition increase, new baby necessitating full time childcare if I'm to continue working, D's ever-growing appetite, etc.).

But this, too, shall pass.

In other news, I made a fantastic dinner tonight. Baked salmon, tomato and mint salad, pasta with pesto, and garlic rolls. I enjoyed it thoroughly, particularly because the mint and basil came from my garden.

Also in other news, Mr. WG planted me two trees today, an orange tree, and an avocado tree. I think of these as investments. :-)

Anyway, tomorrow I'll tell you all about the annual developmental assessment we had on Monday.

Later, peeps.


Melissa said...

I commend you on all of this! That's wonderful that you were able to find so many places to save some money.

moplans said...

dinner sounds lovely. As do the trees.