Where Antelope Roam

In Black and White
March 19, 2016, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Day-to-Day, Financial Fitness | Tags: , ,

Okay.. so the pages I posted last time is to help you keep things in black and white.   To have nebulous numbers running around in your head is just one way to end up with a massive headache.   So write those numbers down….You can’t deal with something unless it’s in black and white.

Start with when you get paid as well as how much.   If you get paid every week, start with that.   If you get paid biweekly or monthly start with that.

At the top of the column I put the date we receive income.    Then right below the date, I put the amount of the income.   On the left hand side of the sheet, I have general categories of items we pay on.    Under the general categories come specifics… For instance, one of the general categories could be utilities.   Under this category I would put sub categories which would be electric, gas/propane,  telephone etc.  each item needing payment owns it’s own lines out to the right of  it.   It  would look like this.


Electricity             ______/_______

Gas/propane        _____/_______

Telephone            _____/_______

The lines are divided in half.    As I go down the list of what needs to be paid out of that dates’s income, I start with the original amount and as I write the amount of the bill on the left side of the divided line, I subtract that amount from the original amount and put that number on the right side of the divided line.   These become subtotals and tells me how much remains of that dates’s income to tell it what I have left to spend.  We continue down the column until all the money from that paycheck is told where to go.

Think about this information for a while.

Until next time, love God, love others and remember if you don’t tell your money where to go, it will dissipate and you’ll wonder at the end of the month where it really did go.




Let’s Get Down and Dirty with the B- word
March 14, 2016, 12:02 pm
Filed under: Day-to-Day, Financial Fitness

Let’s just be honest…..No one likes to budget but… to have the financial freedom we all long to have, it’s a must…

Now, let’s talk about how to set one up.   When I first started thinking about a budget … a long, long time ago, I read books (or tried to) regarding how one must have a budget and how you had to formulas  to know how to budget all these things… needless to say my eyes started looking like an old TV screen at 3 in the morning. (for those of you who don’t know what that means, talk to your parents… they know!)  Because I’m only somewhat nerdy when it comes to this kind of thing I adhere to the KISS method of budgeting…For me the envelope system is as simple as it gets!

The only thing you really need to get started is to have a list of monthly monetary obligations. … known as bills.   These are usually easy to itemize because they tell you how much you have to pay each month.

Then you will need to know what it will take for you just to live every month. (If you don’t know, do what my dad used to do.  Carry a small notebook with you for a couple of months and note only those things you buy as a living expense… that is food, transportation costs and  housing costs such as utilities/rent/mortgage    Notice clothing and eating out are not considered must haves for month to month living.   Though if you do your budget right they might be added later to your plan.

Debt is defined as a monetary amount you owe another person or institution for something you did not pay the full amount of cash when you purchased it.    These would be credit card debt, school loan debt, mortgage debt, car loan debt.   This is not an all inclusive list.  I may not have included a monthly debt obligation you specifically have.  However, many people have these debts.

Here are some pages I modified to use in our budget from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course.    (If you are handy with a computer and word processing software, you can make your own up based on your financial obligations each month.)

20160311_201606           20160311_201617

I only use two pages though the original was about three pages long.    I included categories that were more applicable to us.    Except for a few expenses like insurance and taxes that come yearly and/or car tags, our monthly budget stays pretty much the same.   Yours may not so adjust it for you.

We’ll talk about this more in depth next time.

Until next time, love God, love others and Budget on!

Budget 101
March 12, 2016, 11:02 am
Filed under: Day-to-Day, Financial Fitness | Tags: , , ,

Recently someone asked me to help them with a budget so I thought I’d share on my blog what I do to budget.

First let me explain what a budget is NOT.   A budget is NOT a  “kind of… sort of knowing what bills have to be paid every month and hoping you have the money in the bank when they come due”.  It is NOT just having a list of things that need to be paid (although that’s a good place to start).   A budget is NOT a strait jacket though if you’ve been accustomed to spending your money willey-nilley, it may feel like it at first.

A budget IS a written plan to tell your money where to go and when to go.   This is not something you can do in your head.. it IS something you have to be intentional and disciplined about.   I wrote in a previous blog article how I came to doing a budget and my apprehension in doing so…. you can read about it here:


Now, when we got married, my hubby handed me the checkbook and put me in charge of paying the bills.  I was good with that… most of the time.   Previous to having an intentional  plan to to tell our money where to go, I really thought I could keep those amounts in my head and the money would just magically be in our checking account when the time came to pay them…. I mean, we weren’t big spenders and we got paid on a regular basis and it was in the bank, right?

The problem with that theory is that I would look at the balance in the checking account (because I always, always, balanced the checkbook before this!).. and think, well, the money is there so I have the money for whatever instant gratification item I thought I could not live without at the moment.  Then when the bills came, I’d go into panic mode because I wasn’t sure where the money was coming from or if there would be sufficient money to pay it (this was particularly true of credit card payments with those nasty late fees!).

Since starting to intentionally budget, I’ve learned to use the envelope system, which really eases my mind and helps me to stay out of panic mode.   You can read a little more about the envelope system here:


The envelope system helps direct our money into the areas it needs to go particularly areas that are cash flowed such as groceries or transportation costs.   It is also where I put my sinking funds.

Sinking funds for me are things I know will come up and will need to be paid for I just don’t know when or how much will be needed.  These would be things like house or car maintenance items (plumbing/sewer issues, new tires for the car, oil and engine tune ups) or I even will put aside money for property taxes I know I will need until the time they can be paid.    A great sense of peace is had when you know the money has been set aside and cannot be spent “accidentally”.

When setting up a budget there are three major areas that must be priority, they are: food, housing and transportation.

Having said this, one more thing must be put into play and that is an emergency fund.   An emergency fund at this point is to keep Murphy at bay while you’re trying to get your budget working… if you don’t do this, you need to know Murphy WILL visit and you’ll be in a constant panic mode without the EFund.   An emergency is defined as: something totally unexpected requiring immediate attention and financial wherewithal to pay for it.    It is something one cannot plan for.

To begin with  if you’re single start with a $500 emergency fund.   If your’e married this should be $1000.   Put this in a savings account and do NOT touch it except for the case of an emergency.   Do whatever you have to (that’s legal, ethical and moral) to fund that emergency account.

Okay, enough for now.    Next time, we’ll look at how one actually goes about setting the budget up.

Until then, love God, love others and remember budget is just a word used to describe wise stewardship of the resources He has given us!





Thanks, Dad…. and Dave
May 5, 2014, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Day-to-Day, Financial Fitness | Tags: , , ,

Recently, while going through some of my dad’s stuff to find necessary documents, one of my sisters found something that brought memories back to all of us.    It was a stack of some of dad’s 3 x 5 flip-top notebooks.

The stories some of these notebooks could tell if they could talk!    In these notebooks, Dad kept record of everything he spent.      I don’t know if Dad did a zero-based budget like Dave Ramsey suggests, but I do know he knew that you can’t spend more than you take in and live comfortably all your life.  Dad watched his pennies.   Now, I have to admit when I was growing up, I often wondered why and quite frankly sometimes thought he was being stingy.

Now that I’ve grown up a little bit, I realize that Dad was “living like no one else then, so he could live like no one else did later.”    It must’ve worked because he lived to be 88, still lived in his own home which he’d lived in for that last 50 something years and to my knowledge had no outstanding debts to pay off.

Dad laid the foundation for me… though he didn’t really teach how to budget, he did plant the seed.    I knew when I married that we needed to live on a budget but quite frankly all those budgeting books were too nerdy for me…. I just couldn’t grasp some of the concepts they were trying to put across…. all the formulas and math…. have I ever mentioned that I’m mathematically challenged?  Hmmmm…

Well as some of you know, we’ve been going through FPU (Financial Peace University)… and actually had been applying some of the principles before this.  So that when in January, we were told that Dad probably wouldn’t live out the year, we knew we had to plan to make a trip to Michigan.     We started putting aside money to make the trip so that even though we thought we’d have him longer, when his call came so soon, we had almost all we needed to make the trip.   Making it easier for us to focus on the events happening rather than worry about how we were going to be able to pay for the trip.

So….. thanks Dad for laying the foundation and thanks Dave for showing us how to tell our money what to do rather than it telling us what we can’t do.

Until next time,  love God, love others and think about how many things you might be able to do for others if you just told your money what to do.

Do the Envelope System
February 23, 2013, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Financial Fitness | Tags: , ,

As I mentioned in my last post, last year we started listening to Dave Ramsey’s CDs on budgeting… Now, I must confess that since neither hubby nor I were big consumers I figured that we were really doing fairly well but I must also confess that we really didn’t have money to do some of the things we needed to do at home.

I had known for a long time that a budget was really what we needed but I really had no idea about how to go about setting one up.  I’d read all sorts of financial and budgeting books, but they seemed to be way over my head..(math is not my forte)…but after listening to Dave’s CD I thought we’d better start thinking about how to do a b-b-budget!

So, I set about adhering to a “budget”… or the closest thing I could come to one…Every pay day,  I would figure out what we needed for food, gas and giving and that was about as close as I got to truly budgeting… My biggest confusion was on how I was going to keep track of the money I set aside for other things.

Now,  I’m a little slow… envelopes never really occurred to me… well, okay maybe they did but I thought I could keep track of it in the checkbook and that envelopes would be rather time consuming… hmmmm.   Did I mention, I’m a little slow?

As I mentioned, we had taken care of what litttle consumer debt we had.  We have no mortgage or car payments but I was still having a hard time thinking about saving for the future.   For things, not the far future but the “Murphy” future.  You know, when things start needing repair/maintenance/ or even a trip to the ER.

Then I came across Dave’s “Money Makeover” Book at a thrift store.. I figured it was a “sign”.   I took it and read through it and discovered it was basically what was on the CDs..  I discovered some forms for common “budgeting categories”.   I knew I should do this but again, how was I going to keep track of all those categories in the checkbook… Well, I wasn’t.   Hence the reason Dave suggests your grandmother’s envelope system (I don’t think my grandma had one… but I sure wish she’d have taught to me about it if she did!).

I started using the envelope system —  now I had a way of truly tracking what I had  set aside for certain projects (they were not nebulous numbers running around in my head any more!) and as it turned out it was a good thing…as Murphy has come to our house a couple of times since my hours on the job have decreased.

The envelopes have given me a little peace of mind now that we’re basically living on one income (until I find another job).   I know our basic  bills are being taken care of and where I need to tighten the belt so to speak.

If there’s not money in the envelope, we don’t do what’s written on the outside of the envelope.

I’m so glad God looks after us slow folks…

Until next time, love God, love others and don’t be as slow as me…do the envelope system NOW! You’ll be ever glad you did!

Now about the B- word
February 2, 2013, 11:19 am
Filed under: Day-to-Day, Financial Fitness | Tags: , ,

Around the New Year everyone (except possibly those in Congress) think about their budget and getting out of debt.   Some of us succeed, some of us just think about it.

So last year (around New Year’s) someone loaned us some Dave Ramsey CD when my hubby and I went to a couple’s retreat in the mountains.   I didn’t know anything about him except I had heard him once in a while on the radio on the rare Saturdays we stayed in bed till after 7 a.m.

We took the CDs and started listening to them.     Both of us listened.   Now, I have to tell you that hubby and I are not big consumers.   We buy what we need, have never been too much in want but we’ve been pretty conservative over the years with our spending…

Our biggest problem was the b-word… you know budgeting… we knew we should but to be quite honest had never really taken time to figure it out… pretty much we lived our income life by default.

We’d taken a trip to California to visit hubby’s uncle and no, we hadn’t budgeted but we had a credit card … one I might add that we usually tried to pay off.

However, this time, we put more on the credit card than we anticipated.   It took us some time to get it paid off… almost a whole year in fact… didn’t like that feeling.

The interesting thing is that by May of last year, I knew I would be losing my current job by the end of the year… which for all intents and purposes, I have.

Until next time, love God and love others… even in the tough times.