Pay Cash, a novel idea!

We have FINALLY done it! Completed an entire month back on the cash envelope system. Whew! We used to do this in WI when the budget was a little tighter but had not gotten ourselves back on it since we moved. I imagine that if you're a St. Luker who's taken Wendy's Financial Peace course, you've been using cash for a long time! But, for the rest of us... it's a big step!

In these strained economic times when we all need to tighten our belts and be more frugal and responsible- the discipline of only using cash makes sense. The benefits in brief are:
  • We are less likely to spend $$$ when it's cash vs. a card!

  • When the $$$ for that line item is gone, it's GONE- and you can easily see it.

  • It would be tough to do the cash envelope system without first making a budget- and using a budget is a GOOD THING!

I'm sure there are tons more reasons- but for me- I spend a whole LOT less money when I'm paying cash!

If you do this... do you literally use envelopes? Do you have a little divider for the cash? Something else? I have used a little plastic expandable coupon holder- but I've been unsatisfied with it in 2 ways- 1) when I'm paying, I don't want to pull it out- b/c it's obvious that it's full of case and 2) the coins don't stay IN much less organized. Please share your suggestions. In doing a little time wasting online, I mean, research, I found two things that I am as of yet unwilling to part with my cash for! Perhaps you'll have a better idea :)

Hannah Hansen coupon organizer
Coupon/Script Organizer Wallet

So, let me know what YOU do! :) And, have a super night!
~a more fiscally responsible Katherine


Just a quick tip--- I'm sitting down to do this myself, so thought I'd share.

As you're in the final stretch of the school year and have thoughts, like "next year we really need to ________"--- take a minute to jot them down all in one place. Then, as you're doing your final reports and you know what you want to continue doing next year and what you want to change- go ahead and ORDER next year's books/supplies. You'll beat the August rush, backorders, and delayed shipping and have a lot more peace during the summer. All that's left are the things you want to change or switch. During the summer you can talk with other moms about things they've used and do a little research to finalize those decisions. I also have saved money this way because I don't overbuy and reinvent the wheel each year. And on that topic- a good school shelf (cabinet, tubs, whatever you use) cleanout at the end of the year reveals LOTS of things I have but didn't use for one reason or another. I can either build it into next year's plan- or be realistic about it and GIVE IT AWAY NOW while there's still a co-op meeting to take it to!!! :)

Hope that's helpful to someone! Cheerio!

Organizing the Home- Being a Manager

I am not an accountant by nature, as many of you know. I like organization, however, though it often escapes me. For about 3 years now, I have been trying to get our "stuff" organized- by stuff, I mean things like tax records, insurance, health records, vehicle records, etc. I have file folders to file away statements, but things that need a little more interaction have just piled up. Finally, I have what I'm calling my home manager's notebook. I have tabs for 1) Administrative with information on savings goals and records, cash envelope alotments and records, and non-monthly expenses to be planned for. 2) Tax Rcords (we're supposed to keep a lot of these b/c of clergy's self-employed tax status) for health expenses, mileage, and other deductible items. 3) Health (with a sub-tab for each kids w/ vaccination records, meds taken, allergic reactions, etc. 4)Assets for vehicle and electronics information, service records, etc. and 5) House/Parsonage with insurance policy, septic and heat servicing records, etc. Now my great challenge will be to keep it up- or keep up with it! :) The goal is to sit down (weekly ideally) and enter receipts, write down tax records info, file the stuff that needs filing, and do the stuff that needs doing. Here's my question for you...

How do you keep these things organized? Hanging files? Notebook? Drawer? Fireplace? And what is your system or schedule for getting this stuff done? :) Give me all your good tips!!! Obviously- I need them!

to be the best I can be!

Please Just Bring it, Lord

Hello friends!
I have this new prayer pattern- "Please just bring it, Lord". There are so many things in my life right now- that in my female, controlling way- that I would like to orchestrate. Do you know what I mean? I'd like to make them happen. I have days when I'm antsy for my own house. Days when I think I should find something to do part-time to supplement our income. I'd like to get a real pet for the kids (no offense to Mort the Newt!). And, I have just decided to ask the Lord to bring them, the perfect match, in His time, and to help me to not force them, go after them, and be obsessed (my natural tendency)! :) So, we'll see what happens. The hardest part for me is not taking it back- getting online to look at houses, or dogs, or jobs... the research nut in me thinks if I just look for a few more hours... I'll find the perfect _______! (yah, right!)

So, here I stand, with open hands, asking, please, just bring them, Lord!

Soli Deo Gloria~ Katherine

Tip for Saving Money

You know how there is just never money "leftover"? :) Well, I wanted to share something I've been doing for a few years that works for us. I take advantage of savings accounts to do just that- SAVE. (Original, huh?) BUT- I set up one for each thing I need to save for. (Christmas, Travel, etc. each have their own savings account) While in WI- we banked at a credit union and you could have pretty much as many different savings accounts as you wanted. When we moved to NY- I switched to using ING Direct's online savings accounts (at the time that had GREAT interest rates on them). Perhaps you already participate in a Christmas Club or something of that nature through your bank to help you save for Christmas time expenses. Same principle, just extended to more areas.

I have accounts for things such as-
  • Home Downpayment Savings
  • Christmas
  • Homeschool Expenses
  • Auto Insurance
  • Taxes (we pay Self-Employment taxes quarterly as clergy)
  • Traveling
  • and others
This system (since I am NOT an accountant!) takes the "work" out of saving for me. From our budget- I have the designated amount transferred automatically each month into these various accounts. The rest of the money is our working budget to pay bills and get cash for monthly expenses like gas and groceries. Then, when I need to pay, for example, my six months of car insurance, the money is sitting there in the Auto Insurance account waiting. I transfer it into checking and pay the bill.

[Take the auto insurance bill that comes twice a year and divide it by 6. Have that amount transferred each month into the account. It's like paying yourself a monthly bill- and paying them twice a year.]

When I need to buy homeschool curriculum or go on an expensive field trip- the money is available and doesn't have to be "found"- as in "where am I going to find the money for THAT?" It's worked pretty well for us. If you are financially savvy- this may seem silly to you. In that case, disregard it. If you, however, would spend every dime in your hand (like me!) and then some- this may help you greatly- and "save" you from yourself!!! Happy Saving!