Why I Wish I Would Have Waited…

In 2013, I graduated high school. I was immediately expected to go to college. I had a (virtually) free ride to college for a full four years on a great scholarship and it really seemed like life was looking up for me.

Although I could have attended any school I wanted, I settled on a local community college. I figured I would at least take my basic, general education classes there. And I did.

But here’s why I wish I would have waited: I never knew what I truly wanted to do.

I took all of my general education classes and started taking program-based classes. I originally thought I would be a dental hygienist. Then a teacher. Then a computer major. The list went on and on. In all that time, I was racking up the amount of credits I had taken.

Needless to say, the scholarship amount ran out and I’ll never get a Bachelor’s degree.

So what am I doing for a major now? Working towards and associates in Human Services. I understand that even though I will have an associates degree, that will not be enough in this field. However, being the first one in my family to graduate college will be my greatest accomplishment thus far.

Perhaps one day I will gather up the funds to go back for my Bachelor’s, but I’m not counting on it. As mentioned in a previous post, I never imagined myself as being a working wife. Having a large family (whether biologically or through adoption) has always been my main goal in life. And while I understand this may not be the case for everyone, I think it is important to remember that your life can never compare to anyone else’s.

But more on that later. 😉

How My Husband and I (And Our Cat) Live on $2000 a Month

Dear Hubby and I have been solely living off of his income for quite some time now. Between my mental and physical status, I am unable to hold a job. And while I will admit that we don’t live the most glamorous life, we keep our heads above water.

We are rather traditional in our views towards money – spend less, save more. I’m not an extreme couponer (although I am in  couponing groups on Facebook to follow the deals!), I don’t use food stamps or any assistance programs (nothing wrong with using them, we just don’t qualify), I just think outside the box and do the math.

So without further ado, here is a breakdown of our budget and the various things we do to stay afloat.

  • Rent – 525.00 – We live in a small, two-bedroom apartment. Water, trash and cable are included. We also have a pool, which is pretty neat.
  • Personal loan – 211.03 – We used a personal loan to save on interest from the credit cards. While I don’t normally agree on taking out a loan, the difference in APR was astounding!
  • Car loan – 210.00 – We drive a seven-year-old Toyota Corolla. Base model, nothing fancy. I bought a Toyota back before we had gotten married, as I knew it would be a reliable, dependable vehicle. Most importantly, we only have ONE CAR!
  • Both cell phones – 75.00 – We spend $35/mo each on our cell phones. We use Cricket Wireless’ Basic Plan, which includes unlimited talk and text and 4GB of high speed data. The plan typically runs for $40/mo, but is $35/mo with auto-pay.
  • Car insurance – 103.32 – We got double the amount of coverage at less than what we were paying by price shopping (we settled on Geico).
  • Renter’s insurance – 15.34 – We bundled renter’s and auto with Geico to save a bit more each month.
  • Internet – 25.00 – 10Mbps, no contract through Wow! Internet.
  • Credit card – 100.00 – Only $600 left to pay off! We’re paying more than the minimum on this one to knock it out!
  • Electric – 123.50 – Rather high, in my opinion, but this company is the only one that services our area.
  • Health insurance – 276.36 – Once again, rather high, but it saves us a ton for when we actually do visit the doctor. We opted for a lower deductible. Once open enrollment comes around, we may opt for a higher deductible and lower premium.

Total cost of fixed expenses – $1,659.55 

Now for the tough part, the variable expenses. This is where people typically overspend, since there’s not any fixed amount that you have to pay. I, myself am totally guilty of this. What I’ve learned is that using cash envelopes keeps me in check because if it isn’t there, I can’t spend it!

Here are our variable expenses:

  • Groceries – 200.00 – I shop at discount stores (think Aldi, Ruler, etc.) and mostly buy generic items. I also always take a peek at the clearance/scratch and dent section. A lot of the time, it can either be frozen or it’s shelf stable, just ugly.
  • Gas – 25.00 – Gas is usually around $2.30/gal in our area and our little Corolla is pretty good on gas. We plan our routes, and work relatively close to home, so one tank of gas lasts us the whole month.
  • Pet Care – 20.00 – We buy litter and cat food in bulk, so our furbaby is always taken care of. So while there are some months that we will not need to buy food or litter, I always put a little money aside to save up for when we run low or find a great deal. I just recently got a bunch of food and litter by using a Groupon for Google Express.
  • Miscellaneous – 50.00 – Life happens, so it’s always good to have a little set aside for life’s little emergencies.

Total cost of variable expenses – $295.00

Of course, we don’t always spend the budgeted amount or we spend a little more than anticipated. We’re not perfect, so we adjust accordingly. If a fixed expense is higher than expected, we pull from the variable expenses. Checks and balances.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone living on one income is to ‘trim the fat’. Cut out the unnecessary expenses from your budget! Call and negotiate with bill companies, make your meals at home, utilize the internet for entertainment… The list goes on and on.

All of the little things you do to save here and there really do add up, as you can see.

Drumroll please for our grand total!

…………………………………………………………..


Total needed for the month – $1,954.55!

 

 

The Modern, Working Woman

Truthfully, I never envisioned having a job after I got married. However, with looming debt and the high cost of not being able to make a baby, I had no choice but to become a “modern, working woman”.

I hadn’t been working since I started school back up this past summer semester. Dear Hubby had been picking up extra hours so I could focus on my schoolwork and finish my degree. What a sweetheart!

But back to me working… Why am I doing it? Because Dave says so.

And just who is Dave, you may ask? OH LET ME TELL YOU.

Dave Ramsey. A highly controversial financial ‘expert’. He has sold many books including “Total Money Makeover” and “Complete Guide to Money” as well as hosted financial literacy classes called “Financial Peace University”. But most importantly, he has helped thousands and thousands of people get out of debt and build wealth for themselves. His approach focuses more on the psychological aspect of money. I’m a firm believer in changing your mindset in order to change your habits. So that’s a big reason we follow Dave.

I was first introduced to Dave in a high school personal finance class. After many years of not following his advice, I figured I’d give this wacko a try. Couldn’t hurt anything, since we already didn’t have a pot to piss in. I got Dear Hubby on board and we’ve been following ever since 2015.

So what does Dave have to do with any of this? Well, we discovered we simply were not making enough money each month. We were constantly pulling out of savings to cover basic necessities. But before we even had savings, it was going on [GASP] credit cards.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

So I am returning to the workforce to add to our income. I got a full time job recently and have my official first day today. I’ll be doing activities in a nursing home. Which is actually what I went to school for this past summer, so it will be nice to utilize my knowledge. I just hope my anxiety doesn’t get the best of me. But I’ll be thinking positive thoughts!

Wishing everyone a blessed day!

My (Brief) Infertility Story

A while back, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Basically, I have cysts on my ovaries and it’s causing me not to ovulate. Well, no ovulation = no baby. This explained the nearly two years of our failure to conceive.

I had tried every ovulation predictor kit, supplement and old wive’s tale. Wake up every morning at 6 a.m. for your temperature, stare at a clearly negative ovulation test for an hour, take a million supplements, lay with your butt in the air for half an hour after sex… The list goes on and on. Nothing worked.

After many blood tests and tears, my nurse practitioner prescribed the birth control pill (to regulate hormones) and Metformin (to regulate insulin levels). I felt that there was to be some sort of resolve with this cocktail of pills. I was told once I stopped taking the birth control, I would have the highest chance of ovulating.

And it happened. I ovulated. So dear hubby and I meticulously timed sex and I prayed.

So we waited. And waited. And waited.

Here we are at the end of the dreaded two week wait and guess what?

Still not pregnant.

And So It Begins…

I never intended on creating a blog. But after months and months of writing continuous ‘letters’ to myself in Microsoft Word, I figured it would be best to share my thoughts, feelings, victories and losses. As a twenty-three year-old wife, I feel like there is not much representation of young, married women who share many of the same struggles as I do. Between everything from struggling with infertility to finishing college, I feel it is important to share my life with you all (if anyone reads this, that is!)

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to grow with me.