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Operation Financial Freedom

So this is it.....we are going on a strict "cash-diet" budget as of January 2009.

No more debit cards
No more extra spending
No more fun (kinda kidding here....but not really)

It will def. make things super tight......but we are determined to clear up the last of our debt and get on an even more rigid financial plan that will ultimately set us FREE!

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. ~Romans 13:8

So we are obligated......by the world's law and more importantly God's law to repay our debts in a timely fashion. We are also encouraged to not have the burden of debt upon our lives.

We are thankful that our debt is not enormous.....but it's those few small payments that add up and put us over our comfort zone. And this is stupid old debt that we just have been skating along paying the minimum and we certainly know that it will be 2015 before we get them paid off at this rate. So I am "robbing Peter to pay Paul" with one of those 0% offers and planning on knocking down the balance to zero in less than one year. This does seem pretty impossible with me not working.....but we really are determined to do this. If I have to get a more steady part-time job, I will. I really have no problem working, it's just that the amount of money I can possibly generate doesn't make what it takes for us to keep things running smooth in the homefront worth it. *WOW,.....super run-on sentence.

So let's just say I get a part-time job at Target (now the discount is tempting!).....and I start at minimum wage ($8.50).....if I worked 3 nights a week from 4-9, that would be about $127.50. Take out Big Brother's share.....and I am pulling in about $100 week. Now don't get me wrong....the extra $400+ a month would def. be great, but now the night-time commitments of a family of six would fall on one person 5-6 nights a week. Josh works 2-3 nights/week with the recent changes at his job. Again....still is doable and I know many single moms/dads do it everyday.....it's just that we made a commitment to keep family first a while ago and we knew that it would entail sacrifices.

So we are starting our cash diet as of next week. We used this cool budget calculator I found online that helps convert your monthly expenses into a weekly commitment. I tried to do it myself, but it was too confusing when some bills are monthly, some are bi-monthly and then factor in that some months have four weeks, while others have five.

We plugged in the "constant" expenses such as the mortgage, utilities, tithing, etc. So the calculator shows what is "extra" at the end of the week......and this is what we are going to withdraw as cash and use for groceries, drug store runs, birthday presents, Dunkin Donuts coffee runs.......everything else! eek!

When our debt is paid off, we will then know that we can cover the payment for the projected well needed addition to our home that is anxiously waiting on the back burner. Our plan is to convert our garage into a family room with a wood stove, therefore making us totally free from relying on oil, (Josh is actually borderline psycho when it comes to his feelings on oil, Iraq, the government, etc) We also will have more room for homeschooling, a home office for me and a workout area (DESPERATELY needed!.....my treadmill, although very dusty and basically used as a coat rack at the present time.......is in the middle of our family room and quite the eye sore)

So we have a nice little dream all laid out that we hope/pray will come into fruition in the very near future. We are going to pray about it and declare that it will happen. And we will do it without causing more stress (financially) and stretching ourselves too thin.

So with that said.....I am really going to be diving into more coupon clipping, thrift store shopping and evaluating the wants vs. needs more often.

Thankfully, I subscribe to The Coupon Mom and Money Saving Mom. It is unreal to see how much money you can actually save by clipping coupons and using them when certain stores have buy one/get one free offers and special sales. They have all the inside scoop on the CVS deals with the Extra Care Bucks program. Figuring out the money saving systems does take some extra time and energy.......but when you see what you can save, it is totally worth it. And for us.....it is going to be a necessary thing to do if we want to keep brand name toilet paper and Tide in the house. For what it's worth........I am far from a brand name snob, believe me! My kids are used to Crunchy Sugar Bombs and Fruity O's.....they can tolerate store brand peanut butter and jelly.....they even are starting to enjoy the way Josh enhances the store brand pizza with his own special toppings.

But there are only a few things I cannot go generic with.. toilet paper and laundry detergent. I have tried.....but I just cannot do it. I can accept that we are living on half our income and need to make many sacrifices to keep me home.....but I have informed Josh that I use toilet paper more than twice than he does, and my only request for luxury/comfort is soft toilet paper. I will feel defeated in this rat-race if I have to subject myself and my tender parts to toilet paper that feels like I am using newspaper. I told him that if I cannot buy the "good" toilet paper.....then we would convert to "family cloth" (which a few of my extra crunchy friends use......basically re-usable cloth wipes). I know this sends Josh into a ballistic frame of mind when he even thinks about it.....he made a funny comment about how he would rather drag himself on the floor like a dog than consider using cloth wipes. (sorry about that gross visual, but it was hilarious when he said it).

So yes, I do treat myself to good TP and Tide detergent. I am not a huge fan of Procter and Gamble, but I have tried every other detergent that exists and nothing gets clothes as white and clean as Tide. And I am so not particular about most things in life......my house can be upside down.....I can have piles of clutter everywhere......but I have this thing about white clothes being white. I actually am a little quirky about it.....I get this great sense of accomplishment when I take out socks and they are stark white. I even give them a quick whiff to seal the deal. I love the way they smell when they are warm with a hint of bleach......reminds me of when you are in the hospital after having a baby and they dress them in those freshly laundered onesies/blankets. Yes, I have issues.

So back to Operation Financial Freedom, I am working on the last of the budget plans these next few days. I might even peek in the Want Ads. I am going to say good-bye to 2008 with a happy heart.......we were blessed with good health, employment and spiritual growth......and now look forward to an even better 2009. :)


Catherine said...

I am so with you on the toilet paper thing. I have to have Cottonelle; it's a non-negotiable. I've found that they have 50 cent coupons in the paper quite often, and our Kroger store doubles coupons, plus they have four packs priced at 99 cents. So I get it free that way, and use coupon overage from CVS and Walgreens to get the rest free too. It's totally doable to factor in your little "luxury" things into the couponing thing!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Oh thanks for the tip Catherine....I am going to be even more diligent with keeping tracks of sales and keeping my coupons organized properly.....right now....they are all over the place, half in envelops...half crumbled at the bottom of my pocketbook, AKA the Black Hole.


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