Week 1: Establishing Debt Relief Goals

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You are reading Week 1 of 52 Weeks to Eliminate Debt & Curb Spending.  Please read the overview here to learn more about the series & get your FREE financial planner.

If you are reading this, then you already know that your financial situation is not where you want it to be. This week we will begin the process toward getting out of debt.  We will start with Establishing Debt Relief Goals. Before you can make real progress on your finances, you must understand what you truly need to make happen.

ESTABLISHING DEBT RELIEF GOALS

Be honest about ALL of your debt. Now is not the time to pretend a debt doesn’t exist. Pull out all of your bills, creditor notices and even court cases pending due to lack of payments. Be honest about every debt you have. Include things like late utility bills, debts owed to friends and even that nagging student loan you have put off paying. It’s time to get serious, and that means full honesty with yourself and your spouse about the debt you currently have.

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52 Weeks to Eliminate Debt & Curb Spending

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Eliminate Debt Series
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Are you ready to get your budget under control?   Do you long to live a life without debt?  Then get ready for our new series: 52 Weeks to Eliminate Debt and Curb Spending!

Each week we will discuss practical ways to help you get out of debt and take back control of your finances.   Now, this isn’t an easy challenge but it’s one that you must commit to in order to help secure your financial future.

Some of you may be thinking it’s not possible to be debt free.  Maybe you’re living paycheck to paycheck and are just barely making your minimum payments each month.  Regardless of your financial situation, you can still get out of debt.

For some people (depending on the amount of debt) it may take just a few months, but for others a few years.  However long the road to a debt free life, it will be worth it in the end.  Just stick to the plan.

My family is finally living debt free.  Our goal was always to be debt free except for our mortgage.  Once we wrote that last check, it was liberating.  I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I want all of you to feel the joy of not owing your hard-earned money to someone else.

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Are your ready to eliminate your debt?  Get started with Day 1 on January 5th!

Week 1: Establishing Debt Relief Goals
Week 2: Make a Functional Family Budget
Week 3: Making a Debt Repayment Plan
Week 4: What Debt Should We Pay Off First?
Week 5: Finding Income When you Have None
Week 6: Change the way you view money
Week 7: 3 Ideas to Make the Step to Downsize
Week 8: Making Wise Budget Choices
Week 9: 8 Ideas for Finding Alternative Sources of Income NOW
Week 10: Is Bankruptcy Ever a Good Choice?
Week 11:

Don’t miss a week of the series.  Get each weeks post straight to your inbox and get a FREE Financial Planner!  The planner includes:

  • Savings Goal Worksheet
  • Debt Payment Checklist
  • Debt Repayment Plan
  • Bill Pay Calendar
  • Monthly Budget Worksheet
  • Cash Envelope Template

Sign up below or click HERE to get your FREE financial planner.

I’ve also created a Pinterest board that you can follow along as I pin each weeks post plus more ways to keep your budget on track and curb your spending.

Now let’s get started!

Disclosure:  I am not a financial adviser nor do I have formal financial training.  All articles are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice or consultation.  Please consult your account and/or financial adviser before making changes to your finances.  All situations are different, so please consult a professional to determine your individual needs.

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Thrifty Thursday: How to Set a Budget

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Having a budget is one of the most important financial decisions you can make.  As Dave Ramsey says, you need to make your money work for you.  Once you know how much money you have coming in each month and how you’re spending that money, you can start to overhaul your finances.

So, how to do go about setting up a budget?

First, you need to know that the perfect budget doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes, on average, three months to get a budget right for you and your lifestyle.

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January & February 2011 Grocery Tally

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I’m WAY behind!  I didn’t get my grocery tally up for January and our February just ended on Friday.  I didn’t do too much shopping in January, so we had extra money.  LuLu just had her birthday the beginning of March, so I spent a good portion of the last weeks budget just on cake supplies, without coupons.

We have a $70 per week or $280 per month grocery budget.   Want to learn more about my family and our spending habits? Read THIS post
*I use the  free Savings Tracker to track my grocery spending

January 2011

Total Shelf Cost: $460.05
Total Savings: $295.54
Total Rebates Owed: $2.50
Savings Rate: 64.24%

Total OOP in January: $167.36 or $41.84 per week
Total Remaining from Budget: $112.64

February 2011 

Total Shelf Cost: $589.67
Total Savings: $349.91
Total Rebates Owed: $0
Savings Rate: 59.36%Total OOP in February: $239.76 or $59.94 per week
Total Remaining from Budget: $40.24

How have you done with your Grocery Budget in 2011?

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December Grocery Tally & 2010 Finals

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My December savings is atrocious!  My shopping basically involved running in the store for holiday party items & whatever else struck my fancy that month :-) 

December 2010

Shelf Cost: $355.21
Savings: $199.33
Total Paid: $156.18

Average per week $39.05
Total Remaining $123.82
Savings rate 56.03%

My 2010 Savings 

Total Savings: $5624.89
Rebates Submitted $193.90
$56.60 weekly spending average
Variance for year (leftover from budget) $876.78

My plans for 2011 spending:
Not slack off too much but remember to give myself coupon breaks 
Continue to add more natural & organic foods
Increase donations

How did you do in 2010?

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My 2011 Financial Goals

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I posted my personal goals for 2011 yesterday, so today I wanted to mention our financial goals for the new year.  Thankfully, our only debit going into 2011 is our mortgage!  Our plans are to save more & enjoy life as a family. 

Financial Goals:

– Save for Disney: We’re planning a family trip to Disney in either June or November.  My mom was planning to take the kids, so she’s paying for them.  Yeah! 

– “Car payment”:  My explorer is only a 2004 with 80K miles, but we’ve had a LOT of problems with it.  We’re planning to add a car payment category to the budget sometime this year.  The money will go directly into savings, so we can pay cash (I hope) for a new vehicle.  Our hope is my truck will last at least 3 more years, though.

– Ski weekend in February

– Weekend trip to mountains this summer

– Increase retirement savings

– Increase monthly payment to the principle on our mortgage

– New dishwasher

– Paint & landscape outside

– Add to general savings account

– Kids & Derrick want a dog

– Remodel kitchen (gotta dream big right ;-) )

* Derrick wants new tires for his jeep.  Since that is not a necessity (tires are good for another year or 2) he better start working some overtime!

What are your financial goals for 2011?

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November Grocery Tally

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My savings rate is pitiful this month.  I like to see it between 70-75% or more.  I know I’ve purchased a lot of items without coupons for the holidays & kids.  That trend seems to be continuing into December.  Oh, well.  I’m still under budget for the month.  Also, Derrick bought a 1987 jeep wrangler (he didn’t have a personal vehicle), so I dropped our grocery budget to $280 from $300 to accommodate the additional insurance cost. 

Total Shelf Cost:    $ 568.94     Monthly Budget:  $         280.00
Total Coupon Savings:  $ 276.55     Variance:    $           52.42
Total Savings:    $ 341.36          
Amount Paid (after rebates):  $ 227.58     Rebates Owed:  $           10.98
Savings Rate:   60.00%     Amount Paid (exc. Rebates)  $         238.56

 

I just copied everything directly from the savings tracker this month.  See more about my families spending habits here.

My weekly average was $59.64 (not too bad)

How did you do in November?

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September Grocery Tally

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Yes, I realize it’s already the 9th of October. September was another 5 week month for us, so my month didn’t officially end until the 6th. I have to give myself a big pat on the back. I came in $93 under budget!

A few healthy changes we made this month:

1. Kids are only drinking organic milk
2. Family mostly consuming wheat or whole grain bread

The kids are only drinking organic milk, but Derrick and I are still drinking regular milk. Since we go through 2-3 gallons of milk per week, it saves me a little money. Second, we’ve always eaten wheat bread when I could get it super cheap and store brand white bread, under $1, other times. I’m not eliminating white bread from our diets, buy I’m spending the extra money to make white bread more of an exception than the norm.

I also made 2 “extra” shopping trips this month without coupons:
Trader Joes $42.17
Sam’s Club $25.41

Now on to the good part:
We have a $75 per week or $300 per month grocery budget. I don’t allow an additional $75 during a 5 week month

Want to learn more about my family and our spending habits? Read THIS post

Total Shelf Cost: $719.93
Total Savings: $524.87
Total Rebates Owed: $11.00
Savings Rate: 72.91%

Total OOP in September: $206.06 or $42.21 per week
Total Remaining from Budget: $93.94

Have you made any changes in your budget?

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August Grocery Tally

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I came in under budget again this month!  I didn’t come in as far under budget as in July, but under nonetheless.  I also went to the commissary with my MIL at the end of the month.  I spent $110.91, slightly over my intended budget.  My savings rate looks pitiful since I can’t factor in my commissary saving (other than coupons) and that was 1/3 of the monthly budget.  However, it worked out beautifully because we’ve spent less than $30 so far in September. 

We have a $75 per week or $300 per month grocery budget.  Want to learn more about my family and our spending habits? Read THIS post

Total Shelf Cost: $794.10
Total Savings: $528.12
Total Rebates Owed: $0
Savings Rate: 66.51%

Total OOP in August: $265.98
or $66.50 per week

Total Remaining from Budget: $34.02

How did you do in August?

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