Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year New Budget

We had a beautiful simple Christmas. More on that later perhaps.
This is what I am working on now.
BUDGETING. 2012 is the Hicks no spending year. I love it. No joke. Maybe its because I'm a control freak, I don't know what it is, But I do know that there was a time, that we had no idea where our money was going. I hated that feeling. 2008 was a HORRENDOUS year for us financially. We drove ourselves into a hole spending frivolously on things that we thought we needed or things that we didn't give much thought to. We also had the mindset of "well Mike makes this much and we can afford it." Well, that may have been true, we could afford that one thing, But we couldn't afford ALL of the things that we justified buying with that mindset.

Example. "Mikes makes this much and so we can afford a $400 4 runner payment" That part was true. Add another $400 in gas... I don't think we were thinking about that part.
"Mike makes this much so we can afford a truck that costs us $800 a month in payment and gas." That was also true, However, Put $800 and $800 together, and it was something that made us reach a little too far into our pockets. Make sense?
We justified A LOT that way. " Mike makes this so we "deserve" to be able to eat out when we want.
However, What we didn't account for, was a HUGE pay cut, and a premature baby that came with LOTS of NICU bills. A lot of our hardships could have been avoided had we planned and saved.
Cant I just say how STUPID we were.
Ugh, I'm embarrassed about the whole thing. At this very second I'm considering deleting this... However, I want to share it so that perhaps someone can learn from my stupid mistakes and not have to learn the hard way.
The good news is we have learned A LOT. And it really was a huge blessing in disguise for us.
Our long term goals financially include
paying off our next house in 15 years or less.
having a healthy emergency fund at all times.
having enough put away for an early retirement
savings accounts for all of our kids. {missions, college, weddings, etc}

Short term {the next 2-3 years}
Buy a new house and put 30% down.
have x amount of money in emergency fund savings
contribute x amount of dollars to retirement each month. {separate from 401k}

So, in order to accomplish those things, we have to have a plan in place.
Here's our plan.
CASH BUDGET for 2012.
There are 2 approaches to this, The envelope system, and the jar system.

To start off until we get into the groove of things, we're going to use jars. Because if i have the envelopes of cash with me, its going to be way too easy for me to just take $20 from the "clothes budget" and blow it on the grocery budget.

I like Gail Vaz Oxlade's budget builder. You can find it here.

Obviously our fixed expenses are fixed and there isn't really a whole lot I can do about those right now.

Here's what our budget is going to look like for this year. I'm putting it all out there. And once a week or once a month I will report and let you know how I did on staying on budget. It's the new year. It's a good time to start. Do it with me.

car 1
car 2
life insurance
car insurance
House keeper {I'm putting it all out there, I cut the budget other places, and right now, that's something that I need help with.}

Variable expenses.
This is the fun stuff, these are the amounts that will go in each jar each week

Gas- $100
medical/dental- $25 {This jar will accumulate money}
Groceries/diapers/household-$125 {lets see how good I really am at couponing}
restaurant-$25 {date night}
clothes-$25 {this will accumulate as well}
family/gifts-$25 This will accumulate}
Hobbies-$10 {This will accumulate and pay for my running shoes every 3 months}
Costco-$50 {this will accumulate and I will go once a month}

Here goes nothing. But when we stick to this for this entire year, we will be able to save a substantial amount of money and we will be so much better off having learned to really budget.  If these numbers look crazy one way or the other to you, go back and look at what you really spend. I bet you'll be surprised. Scratch that if you really don't budget, go back and add up what you really spent. I PROMISE it will shock you.
Here's to becoming better stewards of the things that the Lord has so abundantly blessed us with.


  1. So I'm intrigued... is that $125 a week or a month for food?
    I really have to get into couponing!

  2. So excited for you! Go Hicks Family! You've inspired me to tighten up in 2012, gotten a little slacky lately.

  3. Holly, $125 is per week. There are 6 of us though! Man, I'd be really good if I could do that for a whole month! lol. But that includes food, diapers, cleaning supplies, soaps, shampoo, conditioner, etc... I can get almost all of my toiletries free or pretty close to it, and I can always get diapers and wipes super cheap. We are pretty picky about what we eat, so thats where the majority of our budget goes, fresh produce and grass fed meats organic things... Not impossible to find coupons on those, but it's much harder.

  4. I like the whole jar thing! I need to tighten things up too. Lets chat more about this :)