Friday, December 20, 2013


We have come to a point in our financial journey where we are back on track - for the most part. Our summer vacation, which we did not budget for, was our down fall. We had a lot of fun but used our credit card to finance it all. Then when we returned, we had a few set backs. We chose to use our credit card for gas and groceries until we could get back into the "black".

I know all of the die-hard Dave Ramsey fans are telling us that we should have cut them up long ago, and they are right - to point. Although we used our credit cards, they also helped us get to a point where we can live on cash again. Yes, credit card debt gets a lot of people in trouble but it also helps get people out. I think there needs to be discipline when it comes to anything.

The other thing we have done to get back on track is around food. We went "shopping" in our freezer one week and found an entire weeks worth of meals frozen. That really did not shock us but made us realize that keeping track of what we have in our home already is part of stewardship.

We have also started freezer cooking. This also helps with how busy we are with both working full-time. It is a large upfront cost but well worth it. We made 18 meals from around Canadian Thanksgiving (mid October). Near the beginning of December, we were still finishing them up. We did not use them on Mondays (we have our Bible study group and bring something separate) or on the weekends. We have done a second batch with 40 meals. They have saved many nights. Prep the food in freezer bags, take them out the night before, throw it in the slow cooker in the morning and supper is done when you get home. It sure has saved us from eating out or unhealthy on many of those nights. Twice a year we also buy 1/4 beef from a farmer in Saskatchewan. I am proud to say we did budget for that.

It is now Christmas and we have used our credit cards for our shopping. It is now maxed out and we have made a plan to pay it off in the next year. Mark from YNAB posted a blog post a few weeks ago about setting a REALISTIC goal for the next year. We have done that and I believe we have a good plan going forward. Having goals is not something we are very good at but it is a promise we have made to each for the coming year.

We may also be facing a challenge. My husband is a contract technical writer and he was just informed that his current position, where he has been for a year, will be reducing his hours to two days a week in 2014. He has been applying but has not been offered a new contract. We have also planned, or started to plan, for that. It is something we should have planned for months ago.

This year, or almost full year, of using YNAB and taking a good look at our finances has been very eye-opening. We are very, very thankful for all we have talked about and learned. Here's to 2014 and more improvements in our financial journey.

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