Money on My Mind

I’ve been trying hard to figure out a way to avoid the $15 fee my bank charges if I fall below the $100 monthly minimum balance but it doesn’t look like it can be done. Not too long ago I had a large enough balance to cover two months of utility bills (what this account is primarily used for) but then I signed up for the Target Red Debit card and Christmas happened.

Me and Target get along nicely. My wallet and Target do not. I’m getting rid of the card. Yeah, it saves me 5% but I always find something a little extra to buy and those little purchases always add up to more than the 5% I’m aiming to save by using the card. And then there’s their Starbucks. Oh and Christmas. Sigh.

Once I get my account back in check I’d like to put aside a little every week so next Christmas I just have a set amount to work with. If I put $20 a week into a Christmas savings account I’ll have about $900 for gifts. That would cover the big kids and Aidan. Or all four kids depending on how we work it out. The idea is good but the follow through is what I am not good at.

We recently paid down our credit cards considerably and next months bills should reflect our lower monthly minimums. That will provide a ton of relief as it will give me more wiggle room and allow me to start paying them off once and for all. Believe it or not 5 years ago I had no debt except for utilities and house payments. There was a balance of $60k on my house and I was so proud of that. Then I lost my job and got divorced. I had to get a credit card to make ends meet. Now that I’m not struggling to keep the roof over my head I’m just trying to pay back the past few years. It’s not a super ton, but it’s more than enough to make it a burden.

I can’t wait to get back into the black.

We’ve done a lot to lower the bills we pay out every month. Aidan bought me a car a few years ago and quickly paid it off. I got rid of the extreme cable bill and now we stream tv with a Roku. That alone saves us $1200 a year. We combined car insurance policies and I signed up for a budget with my electric and gas company. I definitely overpay on my homeowners and think I should shop around or make changes to my policy, but we had 2 claims last year so I’m not sure if I’ll get any type of reduction. It’s worth looking into though. My water bill is astronomical and because there is only one water company here I can’t do anything about that, nor can I do anything about the insane taxes. What could be fixed though we did, so far.

We really need to hammer down our food budget. My menu for the month really needs to happen right away. I used to receive food stamps but when Aidan moved in I no longer qualified. That was a loss of $650 a month. We survived on that amount plus a little so I know we can do it again. I think if I do the menu I can get it down to around $550 a month. For 5 people. We eat well, too. Challenge accepted. Once (if) I figure it out I’ll share some tips :)

Well, have a nice day. They are calling for snow and I have a lot of errands to run so wish me luck with driving! Stay warm!

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